I haven’t written a blog post since the 22nd March. I’m not really sure why; it wasn’t a conscious decision, I just haven’t.
So, what’s been going on? Quite a bit, actually. The extension is well under way and I’ve coped remarkably well, considering. Considering my OCD tendancies. Considering we have stuff all over the place – at least, not where it’s meant to be. Considering there have been various strangers working outside and, more recently, inside the house for the last 2 months. Considering the dining room, garden and garage have been off limits for the last month. We are eating our meals off of trays on our laps in the living room – which, I know, is normal for a lot of homes and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it, it’s just that we have always eaten dinner at the table. On the rare occasion that I have been working from home (it’s been preferable to be in the office, away from the noise and the strangers and the stuff everywhere) I’ve been confined to the living room, and feel reluctant to even go into the kitchen. I have been drying washing on a clothes-airer in the living room (just realised how appropriately named it is, as we have basically been living in there since the knock through) apart from a couple of trips to mum’s with the bedding, to dry it on her line. In the grand scheme of things we’re not exactly suffering, it’s just not normal and I like normality.
In the midst of all the abnormality, T has been revising for his GCSE’s, which begin on Monday 14th. He officially leaves school tomorrow. I cannot believe that my boy is old enough to be at the stage of his life already. We’re entering a new phase and, like all milestones, it feels massive. He’s having to think about his future in terms of what he wants to do after his exams, which inevitably leads to thoughts about what he wants to do post-18, what he wants to do with his life. At 15 it seems a bit too much. And, of course, what he decides now doesn’t set anything in stone but it does dictate a path of sorts, albeit a path which can change direction. Trying to advise him on the best course to take is really hard. He has always wanted to be a police officer, since he first knew what one is. He asked for a police uniform for his third birthday and he hasn’t wavered since. Being a Cadet has fuelled his interest and it’s now a case of which is the best path to take to get him there. He has enrolled on a Public Services course at a local college, to start in September. The course is aimed at anyone wanting to join any of the forces, but also looks at social services and other public servant roles. A number of the older cadets in his group are already studying on this course and it seems to be a fairly recognised way of starting on the journey to becoming a police officer. My concerns, which I have shared with T, is that this is only going to take him one way. If, for any reason (medical, change of recruitment policy, for starters) he is not able to join the force, he has to start again down another path. At 19 he will have less (free) options open to him. He has also applied for Sixth Form at the school he currently attends, signing up for Business Studies and ICT BTEC’s. We are also going to look at signing him up for these at college. In my heart of hearts I am torn: I stayed on for Sixth Form and a big part of me wishes that I had stuck to my guns and gone on to college. I didn’t get particularly good grades in my A levels and had no interest in going on to Uni. I don’t want my negative feelings about Sixth Form, and the pressure I was put under to continue my education, to impact on how I advise T. I want him to do what he wants to do but, like most parents, I want him to be happy and to choose the best path, the one that leads to his dream job, his dream life. He is so lucky to know what he wants to do and I want to help him to be able to do it. But, I also want him to have as many options as possible so that he doesn’t have to rethink and redo and take steps backwards if something should get in his way.
I am feeling nervous for him, but excited too. He has all this potential and, depending on the grade he gets in his exams, he can do what he wants. Exciting times. I was watching an interview with an actor talking about a new TV serial that she is starring in, about a child that goes missing. The interviewer asked her if being a parent herself has made it easier or harder to play parts in dramas where children are involved. She replied that she was more emotional since having children, which could be both good and bad, but she also said, and this really struck a chord with me, that “having children makes you vulnerable”. You want to protect them and make them happy above anything else and that is the hardest thing. The responsibility is overwhelming sometimes. When they are small you can stop them from running into the road by holding their hands tightly; you can dictate, to some degree!, what they eat and what they wear; you can choose which school they go to. But when they get to the age that T is now you have to just advise, nudge, help in the best way you can. And hope that it all works out for the best.
I’m not going to his leavers assembly tomorrow. He doesn’t want me to go, saying that there is no point as he won’t be getting any sort of award (they all get called up to the stage to get a folder). I hasten to add, that I have told him I am happy to attend – truly – but he insists that he doesn’t want me to “waste my time”. I feel a bit sad about it. But, I have been very un-involved in his life in secondary school. I drop him off, pick him up, talk about his day, go to parents evening, read reports, help with homework (where I can, most of it is beyond me) and advise him about how to deal with stuff. He doesn’t want me to go, so I won’t. Maybe it’s for the best – I might cry. It’s a fine line between being supportive and just downright embarrassing!