This is my favourite photo of 2011. It is The Boy's last day of school, and he is so happy he even accidently hugs his sister. I have to say that shepherding a charming and feckless 18 year old through Year 12 is one of the more hair raising activities I have ever undertaken. Let's think for a moment about the implications of having 18 as the crucial year of a child's schooling. It is the year they are at last legally allowed to drink. It is the year they get to drive all by themselves for the first time. It is the year all 80 of their closest friends have their biggest birthday parties ever. And it is the year they are supposed to be studying 22 hours out of the 24 in order to get into the university of their choice. It is also the year their parents turn completely grey, require face lifts and become closet alcoholics.
I must say that The Boy studied harder than he ever had previously. The bar was not particularly high. His father and I spent the year balancing that precarious parental tightrope stretched between Incessant Nagging (my perennial favourite) and Child Discovering Natural Consequences of Own Infuriating Behaviour (The Man leans towards that one). Between us we
comprise that wonderful circus duo commonly known as The Parents Who Don't Have a Clue What They Are Doing, Would Be Grateful for Advice, And Hope Thier Children Turn Out Happy Without Too Many Parentally Induced Psycholgical Neuroses. I know, it's quite hard to fit that on the poster.
Somewhere in between visits to bars to see unmissable bands, parties, lots of vitally important driving, other parties, network computer games (can't stop now, James and I are about to invade Russia), and some other parties, The Boy managed to scrape enough points together in exams to graduate and go to the university of his choice, which happens to be in town, The Gods of Family Finances happening to have been smiling the day they created a world class department in his subject at the local university, which means he can live at home, until he stops going to parties long enough to get a job.
Oh the relief... I don't know if I can do that another three times. I will be in a wheelchair, and possibly on oxygen by the time Posy graduates. But I had a little moment the other day. I was reading the paper at the dining room table, and I heard The Boy in the kitchen chatting to his father about something he was doing at Uni, and I realised that we did it, The Man and I, we brought up a child, did some stupid things along the way, didn't drop him on his head though, or lose him at the shops, and no small credit to The Boy himself, who is the just the nicest person, if a bit vague. But we brought home a tiny shrieking bundle from the hospital, just beside ourselves with terror, and here he is, tall and kind and clever and nice, and a capable grown up human being. I've never been more proud of us.
6 hours ago