It has been quite a week. Celebratory cakes and champagne have been consumed in abundance; special dinners have been enjoyed with much glass clinking and happy smiles. It has been a joyful, family time as we have shared in each other’s events and achievements. I feel exhausted by it all, but in a good way.
My children did well in their exams. There is quite a fanfare around collecting GCSE results from school and my daughter did not wish to be a part of this. She opted to attend late morning in order to miss the rush and avoid the need to open her results envelope in front of friends. She was happy to share once she had absorbed the impact of grades given. After the nervous anticipation she needed that initial space.
Schools are under a great deal of pressure to produce a slew of top grades each year. Teachers must be so relieved when their charges put in the work and fulfil their potential. Although the overall marks can, year on year, impact a teacher’s professional progression, it is the pupils whose lives are affected by the individual outcomes. It is a relief to get beyond results day, and a joy that we did so with the satisfaction of success.
I am very proud of my children’s achievement. I am also aware that it is theirs, not mine. The way I have mothered them may have set the groundwork for future success, but it is their ability and the work that they put in that resulted in their attainment. As I bask in the shadow of their happiness I will not try to take any of their credit.
For them, the next stage is higher level coursework and the preparation for more exams. As a parent there will be many more results days to anticipate and deal with. These good grades will make my children’s lives easier, but I do not wish exams to be the focus of their development. Their learning and preparation for adult life and independence should not be confined to the classroom.
As my elder two children relax in the knowledge of their success, my youngest son’s belief in himself has been knocked. Where my elder son takes his sister’s successes as a challenge to emulate, my younger son allows himself to feel pressurised and inadequate. His self doubt and fear of failure will need to be overcome if he is to achieve his potential. I can understand that his siblings are a hard act to follow; convincing him that he should be doing what is best for him rather than attempting to imitate is tough.
However, I do not wish to bring negativity into a period of our lives when things have gone well; it would be sad indeed if we could not fully enjoy these times. Whatever may or may not happen in the future, it is important to retain the ability to take pleasure in the here and now.
Another milestone has been passed, but we still have much to look forward to. I have our imminent trip to Berlin to prepare for as well as catching up on more mundane activities, neglected in the excitement of this week. I will enjoy my time away so much more if I know that those left at home will not have to deal with the tasks that I can complete in advance.
It has been a good week. I will cache the experiences for future times when life is harder to cope with. For now though, I will simply enjoy.