August 22nd 2018
I woke up this morning with a lot of anxiety and realised that tomorrow is going to be a very big day for my son.
He is one of the millions of teens receiving their GCSE results, and I really cannot believe that my eldest is at this point in his life. It only seems like yesterday when I was waiting to get mine. I can remember the evening before getting my results feeling very run down; my mild acne had flared up, probably because of stress, and I have the clearest memory of laying on the sofa with head on my mum's lap, her stroking my head, and I was crying because of the age I was, my spots were getting my down, and of course I was very nervous about getting my results.
Now it's my eldest son's turn, and the way he has dealt with all the stresses that come with exams has been amazing. I really do admire my son so much. He always seems to be so calm and collected, and seems to take everything in his stride. Of course he gets nerves and gets stressed out, but he seems way more equipped to deal with stressful times than what I did at his age. A few days ago he even told me he was excited to get his results, and so he should be. In year 10, they now take an English GCSE early and after being predicted a certain grade for years, he put in a lot of hard work and he ended up smashing his targets. He couldn’t believe it, he even said he thought he’d been given someone else’s results!
This made me giggle, I told him ‘No, that grade is all yours, forever.’ With the biggest smile on my face and bursting with pride. It was the absolute perfect moment for him, and I was so happy that he could then go into his final year with an inner confidence that with hard work, you really can achieve your goals - and sometimes even smash them. Now, it's the day before the BIG day and I feel sick to my core. I’m being really cool with him, trying to keep everyone busy and take his mind off tomorrow; he is being quite nonchalant about it all. But at the same time, if all goes well tomorrow the future will be really exciting for him.
Josh has always had a burning desire to go into the British Army. Ever since he was a small boy he has played war games, run round the house using anything he can possibly find to shoot at people, do commando rolls and generally being obsessed with all things army. Then as soon as he turned 12 he joined the army cadets. His passion to move through the ranks is unfaltering, and every camp they go on whether it be a short weekend or a few weeks away, he has always had all his kit in order., Boots polished, survival food packed and a brilliant ‘I will achieve my goals’ attitude. He has been part of several teams where they compete for trophies for their detachment, and always comes back buzzing and can't wait to tell us about his adventures.
He even spent his work experience on an army base. I thought, if anything is gonna deter him from joining the army, it would be a whole week living as a solider with adults showing him no mercy. A total real-life army encounter. He came home buzzing more than ever. It was then that as a mother I had to give in to the fact that my son had a genuine passion for the Army, and this was going to be his career path for the future (I could now write so much about my thoughts and feeling about my son joining the army but I will save that for another blog!).
I really am so proud of my son’s attitude and how focused and determined he has been over the past few years. From the age of 14 he has known exactly what he wants to do with his life, and has stuck to that path. He has chosen to join the Army with the Royal Engineers so he needs certain grades to achieve that. I have everything crossed that tomorrow will be an amazing day for him. I also wish all the parents reading this in the same boat as us the best of luck for tomorrow, our babies are so grown up now and the most important thing for us to do is just be there for them tomorrow. I can see myself sat in the car, waiting very impatiently for him to come out, it will be the longest wait of my life, but no matter the outcome, I know I will just want to hug him and tell him how proud I am of him.
I’m sat in the car feeling sick to my tummy. I look across the car park and there are so many other parents in my shoes, sat there either biting their nails or staring blankly in to space. We are all here for he same reason, to support our children whatever the outcome. But I see so many smiles bouncing around the car park, and deep down inside I pray to God he comes out smiling too. Before he left he car to go and get his results, I asked him if he could remember just to text me to let me know how it went, as I knew he’d bump into a lot of friends he hadn’t seen all summer, and I couldn’t bare the thought of sitting in the car for ages not knowing how he’d done!
The text came through.... I passed them all. Seriously, I could of jumped out that car and screamed at the top of my lungs! I took the deepest breath in - and burst out crying, the years of worry, stress, being a whinging parent and just trying to get the best out of him had paid off. My son walked towards me with the biggest grin on his face; he was happy, I was ecstatic. Proud as punch we drove home to discuss what his next step was going to be - little did I know that all my prayers and dreams had been answered that day. Josh was looking to start the army, but with his grades being so good, and after hours of talking, he decided to stay on at 6th form to do his A-Levels and enter at officer level. I cried so much that day; I cried because I was getting 2 extra years with my first born at home; I cried for the relief of not having to deal with the reality of him going off to the army for another 2 years; and I cried with pure admiration of what an amazing young man he has become. And then I cried because finally I realised after everything we’d gone through over the years, it had never affected him or weakened him, I could hold my head head high and say, I have raised an amazing son.
And today is the day he starts 6th form.... today the next chapter of his life starts and I couldn’t be prouder.