School places. That all important email.

The house is so quiet, I am looking through my Facebook and seeing so any parents waiting, or reporting on secondary school places for their children. I think to myself that could be me. I could be waiting for that email. I’ve done it before, I remember anxiously awaiting the email for my daughter, even though I knew without any doubt that she would get her first choice school there was something about the buzz of receiving the email that made it official.

It was an exciting time for her then. A new beginning at a school that she had chosen and she felt confident and positive, it’s funny how things change.  It’s true what they say, about things getting worse before they get better, about clouds and silver linings, the rainbow after the storm, things having to fall apart so that better things can come together and pretty much every other cliché saying designed to get you through tough times.

What followed for a whole academic year affected both of the children. It affected the whole family. A new school for A and a new head teacher for J made massive differences to our lives.

Now I think back to the morning rush, the stress, the tears before 9am, the disapproving stares as we were inevitably late anyway. The feeling of dread all day waiting for one of those phonecalls.  The tiredness, grumpiness, hunger and anger. The homework the ongoing rush to get homework done, get dinner cooked, get bathed and get ready for the next day. The letters that weren’t received,  the lunch box that wasn’t emptied. The headlice that kept returning, and the weeks when it felt like days would go by with me spending no time with the children due to having to juggle work with every day school demands. That’s all before the low self esteem, the lack of confidence,  the depression and the anxiety that follows the experience of being bullied. I can honestly, hand on heart say that I don’t miss ANY of it.

Currently all 3 children are still asleep, they had a late night, we had dinner as a family when Ry got home from work and then sat together to watch an episode of a historical documentary that we are working through. They will wake up well rested without having to rush around, knowing that they have already chosen what today has in store for them.

The really great thing is that we get to spend quality time together. I get to see that spark in their eyes when they learn to master something new. I see it for myself and am there to snap a photo rather than being told about it afterwards. No more missing out on those all important firsts or worrying about how they have done on some standard test that they have stressed and worried about when in the end their results won’t be relevant to them a week later.

I don’t need to shop for new uniform and specific shoes and equipment with a different logo to highlight to me hoe much the children are growing up. I know where they would be, but that’s not where they are. A is studying for her first exams, working at a level 2 years above where she would be. J is making so much progress in so any areas that his sheer attitude to the world and his opinions and ability to verbalise those opinions is evidence enough of what a clued up, mature young man he is heading towards becoming.

For those of my friends who are waiting for that all important email today, I wish you all and each of your children the best of luck. I know how big it is, I did it, I haven’t forgotten. I hope you all get the results that you want and are happy with and I hope that the transition all goes smoothly. But if you don’t,  or if it doesn’t,  please remember that you don’t HAVE to put up and shut up. There are always alternative options.



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