Fourteen years ago I took you by the hand, somewhat reluctantly on both our parts, and brought you to school; big school. I unclasped your hand from mine and with a kiss I walked away, heartbroken as I saw your look of discomfort and distress.
That was the beginning of a new life for you.
In the early years it was a fun place to be, where you were encouraged to grow and form your own opinions, nurtured by teachers who guided you as you blossomed. Eventually you outgrew junior school, it was time to move on, away from that nurturing environment into formal secondary education. There you became one of thousands but despite meeting some amazing teachers, education was largely for the purpose of exams, not life.
Many years have passed since I took you by the hand that first day and now you are, in theory, no longer a child. The state tells me it’s true, but in my heart I know differently. You are, and always will be a child of mine.
Today you begin exams, ‘The prees’ we call them, the precursor to ‘The Leaving Cert’. You must answer a series of questions in various subjects which will supposedly tell the world how clever you are. The results will let us know how you are doing and if in time you will get enough points to pursue your course of choice.
How do I tell you it’s all nonsense? How do I explain to you that this is just a moment in time which may seem the be all and end all? How do I make you understand that you are so much more than the result of an exam?
As I wave you off this morning and wish you luck I will watch you as you pass beyond the gate. I will feel your anxiety and rail against the pressure you are under. Quietly I will whisper to no one at all, ‘Best of luck sweetheart’, but inside I will roar, ‘Wow, isn’t she amazing?’
For regardless of results, today, or in the future, you will always be so much more than a good memory to me.
I would like to dedicate this post not only to my own young lady, but to my Godchild.
photo credit: Ashitakka via photopin cc
photo credit: Petra Senders via photopin cc