Sunday, August 21, 2016

One more step

In the UK the A Levels are big news every year, although they do appear to have been swept off the front pages of the newspapers this year by Brexit and the Olympics.  Stories of schools pitted against each other and exams getting easier do seem to be being replaced by questioning of the drive for 50% of all 18 year olds to be fed through the college system. 

However, the end of August, beginning of September is still a time of transition in this country. Soon four year olds (some of them only just having celebrated their fourth birthdays) will be going to "big school", 11 year olds will be remembering when they thought the Infants' was big as they contemplate secondary school and yes, masses of parents will be waving goodbye to their young adult children as they go off to college away from home. Dear friends are remembering that time and contemplating a life after "project motherhood".

It's 10 years since we slid clumsily off the conveyor belt of playgroup, reception, school, sixth-form, university.....Younger d's (non) AS levels was the point where we were totally derailed although five years of family therapy had left us all the foolisher as to why we were having such a bumpy ride and why older d wasn't leaving for "Uni" but coming BACK from her eh hum "couple of terms up at Oxford". I still get huffy and do the whole self-blame "I've had family therapy and now I know I'm completely screwed" thing. When "other people" are allowed to mourn the fact that their healthy children are going to college I sympathise but also think "hey, isn't that Expressed Emotion? How come she's allowed to wail in public and if I as much as look at a tissue I'm the cause of mental illness, relapse and very likely world poverty and the atom bomb".

Despite my worst efforts both daughters did do the hokey-kokey of alternating between "student housing" and home, just differently to the way most others do. It saddens me to think that the funding opportunities that allowed them to do it only 9-6 years ago (nursing diploma bursary and disabled person's housing benefit) wouldn't be available for young people under 25 now, and indeed that no one can escape the sausage machine until 18 any more, but that's the benefit of hindsight. At the time of the results we did think it a bit of a disaster. It really wasn't, it was just one more step in our rather chaotic dance of family life.

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