Wednesday 2 January 2019
This blog may be a New Years Resolution, but a notable D-Day for me actually came back in August, my first GCSE results day as a parent….
After very little sleep, my eldest and I set off to school. As she dived into the babbling crowd of teenagers heading inside, I was left in the carpark, with only anxiety and panic for company. I was unsettled and on edge, with scenarios to deal with delight or utter despair racing around my mind in frantic flashing images.
Children began to emerge; some waving results slips aloft and punching the air in triumph; others in tears hurrying to the anonymity of a parent’s car, results in brown envelopes, hidden from view. The contrast was shocking. I felt completely sick. Would I hold it together if my daughter, who had worked her socks off, was one of the inconsolable ones? I swiped and scrolled my phone like a lunatic. No messages. Did I dare to send one? No I did not! I turned the radio on, turned it off. I said a prayer. Then came a text
“Should be out soon, sorry for the delay!“
I bit my lip and risked a reply
“Any news? …….. “
“All good” flashed onto the screen, and I began to breathe again!
But it was moments later, as my daughter slipped back into the car, and handed me her results that I got my single-parent wake up call. A sea of top grade 9s and the occasional grade 8, swam across the page. Her results weren’t just good…they were phenomenal!! And I hadn’t expected that. I realised, with a jolt, that I really hadn’t expected it. I had assumed that the very top grades simply weren’t for us. They were for children from ‘other families’. Households, I’d probably invented in my head, where one parent seminared through Science revision, whilst the other dashed off a few French flashcards. Homes where a duo of parents balanced exam tuition with time for nutrition, nurture and well being. Simply put, children from families where day in day out, there was more adult time and input to share out than I could ever hope to manage. I had trapped myself into believing that, whilst we did ‘our best’, we would always fall a little short of where we might have been as a two-parent unit.
Thankfully one person hadn’t done this, my amazing daughter. Determined, driven and totally focused upon her own goals, as opposed to worrying about anyone else, she had set about simply smashing those GCSEs. And she is my inspiration for 2019. No more worrying about everyone else for me. Hard work and focus, not family background, enable you aim high and chase your dreams. It’s more than time for me to forget seeing single parenthood, as the poor relation of the family unit, and start smashing it. Here goes ….