It has been months since I wrote a blog post. This is in part being busy but also because life has been too deeply personally challenging to be able to put any public words to paper to share. At the moment these challenges and personal hills to climb continue and I am feeling to be honest battered and bruised from it all.
However I have sat down today as I feel compelled to record the latest regarding bringing up boys. For them the last six months has been one of celebration but also with amusing hiccups along the way. The large boy graduated this year. His student years since sixth form have involved changing universities, subject, course and final qualification but he got there. As a single Mum I was shocked at how emotional I felt about his achievement. Now he is older large boy he has shared with me a few reflections on growing up. Firstly he has remarked that he now realises at stages in his life how poor we were in comparism to fellow students. He has noted that other students have had privileged lives of private education and large financial support from parents. He notes however they have few or little life skills such as budgeting or cooking. He comments how different his upbringing was. Large boy has no resentment about this and as he grows up he is appreciative of the time and opportunity I have given and supported him with his education. He realises the contribution his grandma has made to this too. You know whatever the success of the degree in engineering he now holds I have brought my boy up with good values and a kind heart.
He is however not overly organised at times and somewhat scatty for an engineer. My partner thinks this is because he spends too much time on computers and little time in real world! Returning home from university I keenly asked large boy when his graduation was going to be. A little over enthusiastic Mum I was keen to dig out my posh frock and go celebrate. Large boy was vague referring to some kind of drinks reception. Roll forward a couple of weeks later and he discloses said graduation should have been booked months ago and it looked like we would miss it! The sad thing is that I have had such a dreadful year of hopelessness I accepted this, of course I would not be able to celebrate my son’s achievement. What made me really sad was that I knew that the big boy really wanted to go and he may miss this once in a lifetime moment.
In large boys usual last minute way it managed to be sorted with stress and hoo haa and off small boy and I went to whoop and cheer large boy on. I am even getting emotional writing about it. Smallish boy was very keen to wear his suit and insisted on new shoes. Big boy realised that all the months of sitting behind a desk had taken their toll! The night before he realised his suit trousers were a tad tight he had to breath in all day! I was sad that my lovely Mum could not be there as she is now too frail to travel. The big boy was so keen to share photographs and stories of the day with his Gran.
From reading at bedtime to arguments about homework, providing quiet study space, school shoes, and all the practical stuff I know my investment as a Mum has been worth it. All I have really hoped for and continue to wish for my children that they have passion and enthusiasm for life and have aspirations to be the best versions of themselves. First interview in and the large boy gets a job and moves away from home. He is financially (well almost hopefully at the end of the month!) and socially independent.
No longer is Smallish boy now several inches taller than me and his brother! He has become very blokey! Somehow he has managed to finish school. This last year as he informed me not one exclusion or after school detention. Somehow he got with the plan. Smallish boy went to a kind school. A school that kept pushing him academically but was kind. School accepted who he was which enabled smallish boy to participate in learning on his terms. So he got with the plan and started studying. I held my breath when he attended revision sessions. I held my breath when he told me his controlled art piece was going badly. I held my breath in May when his first exam started. I held my breath and counted to ten as he went in and sat one exam after another. At work I worried if he would bother to turn up for his history exam. The head reminded me the other day that no longer small boy asked repeatedly for two years if he could give up history!
On the day not so smallish boy completed his last exam we danced a little dance. Both him and I knew that together we had somehow got him through school. The boy who hid under desks, ran away from after school clubs, ran off from school, stood on walls and threatened to jump, took fake drugs to school, got drunk at school, threatened to jump off mezzanine floors and a whole lot more has completed school! Not only that but he has kept his lovely quirky strong self-determined spirit.
The no longer small boy has completed school as he always insisted he would without compromise and on his terms. This means that he is now growing into the self-determined young man I knew he would become. This in itself is worth celebrating but no longer small boy and I were over the moon when he passed every exam with grades to be proud of.
So school has gone from my life and from no longer small boys. His latest obsession is kick boxing and mixed martial arts. I am wondering if I am the only middle aged Mum in my street who can deliver a passable cross cross jab? MMA suits not so small boy. His self-determined, slightly obsessive uncompromising personality is suddenly an asset.
So I have written about good stuff this year. I cannot write some of the horrid stuff that has happened to me and impacted on my family this last year. It is way too personal to write about but caused immense distress. Work has not gone well, home life has been at its most challenging, I have lost friends and my rock of a lovely Mum has suddenly become very old and frail. This has impacted on my boys yet somehow they have managed to stay focused and get on with what they had to do this summer and last year. As a Mum I realise I have despite being and feeling broken managed to protect from the harm and distress that has come my way this last year.
I am sat here coming to terms with dealing with the latest challenge determined to celebrate the good stuff. My boys are okay. My lovely man is okay. I am hanging on in there.