When I first started writing this blog back in 2009, my intention for it was to create an online diary of my families life. In 2009 my eldest son was 8 years old, he has now turned 16 and today is the first day of his GCSE exams!
His last official day at school was last Friday and although he's pretty much in school full time until the end of June with exams and revision sessions, it was still the end of "official" school. It was a day of mixed emotions for me. I thought about his first ever day at school, the day when I took him looking very smart in his brand new uniform, new shoes and clutching his brand new, but empty book bag. I think I was as nervous as he was, although I needn't have worried as he went straight to the computer, turned off whatever was already on there and put a game that he liked on (he was pretty adept at computers - even at four!).
So continued another 12 years of school, the change to high school went well and he's just taken every stage of his life in his stride. A couple of blips along the way, but that's to be expected - kids are not robots, despite the way some schools process kids through the system.
My son's"last" day at school was in complete contrast to his first. Scruffy (but cool) hair, muddy shoes, shirt hanging out and a rucksack stuffed with revision notes, empty drinks bottles and dare I say it - a manky banana skin! He's also about a foot taller than me now. He hung out with his mates after school and came home with a shirt covered in signatures, messages and interesting (to say the least ...) drawings!
I suppose he's now reached the stage in his life where as a parent you can only advise and give them the equipment and tools to tackle what's ahead. I haven't been able to help with his maths homework for years! We've designed an exam timetable, bought all the revision guides and designed a workspace for him. I encourage him to have early nights and this morning he's gone off to school after porridge for breakfast! He's got loads of water and snacks and a clear plastic bag full of stationary - about 15 pens and pencils, just in case they all break! The plastic bag thing, was the same when I was at school.
I wish him all the luck in the world for his exams and as long as he does his best, I really don't mind about the results (ask me again in August). I think he knows that the whole of the last 12 years at school were all geared towards the next few weeks and however well he does I am very proud. The main thing though, is that he has grown into a well rounded, happy young man with lots of friends. The next step will be sixth form, followed by whichever path he chooses. Exciting times!
What's truly fantastic (if a little daunting) is that I'll be doing it all again for the other three children!