My girl is officially abandoning me.
She’s officially off to uni. She was lucky. Her place was unconditional and all secured and sorted before this COVID chaos.
Today her A level results are in. She finally dragged herself out of bed to get them. We finally got them after they hadn’t been posted on the online system.
And she’s done herself proud. Very proud.
She’s done me proud.
But then I would always be proud of my daughter, my girl regardless of any grades on a paper, regardless of any flawed education system.
She is kind. She’s loyal. She’s fiercely just. She’s daft. She likes to make people smile.
And woe betide anyone that behaves unjustly. She is ridiculously intelligent.
At 4 years old she memorised books. Because she couldn’t get the words.
She is the queen of distraction techniques.
At 7 years old she was a ‘would like to achieve’ – this was the terminology the primary school popped on her reports to say she wasn’t achieving but also just kept saying ‘oh she’ll catch up.’
At 9 years old she was kept down with the year below to sit at a computer because she just wasn’t getting it. At 9 years old I also kicked off and finally got some acknowledgement that my fine, spirited, logical smart daughter was in fact also dyslexic.
At 11 years old she went to secondary school.
At 11 years old she found herself. She found her subjects. She found her feet. She found her tribe. She dealt with bullying by laughing it off, and those boys that called her names, that tried to break her now call her for dates. (When I say call her I obvs mean Snapchat or Insta or something, there’s obviously no calling.)
She sometimes got knocked down (physically and mentally), she always dusted herself off and got up again. No-one and nothing has ever knocked my girl down for long. She personifies resilience.
She is also utterly shit at concentrating on anything in a text book.
She is also utterly shit at doing her washing.
She nailed her GCSEs. She got into college. It was simply another stepping stone.*
For the past few years it’s all been about leapfrogging from one lily pad to the next so she can have a choice in life. A choice in who she wants to be, what she wants to do.**
The ‘As’ don’t actually matter. What matters is choice. Having a choice on who you want to be. And making that choice yourself.
And today she is choosing to go to university.
That little tomboy that would only dress in boys’ clothes, is today looking through her wardrobe of little pieces of satin that are barely appropriate deciding what she is packing to take to university.
Her A levels results today are a rite of passage for her. Another lily pad leap-frogged to another choice. Another stage in life. A stage that is so exciting and as a parent, as her parent, as her mum really quite terrifying.
Again this bloody chapter is not to be found in the parenting manual.
It’s time for me to let her go and find her own way. Carve her own future. Her way.
I can’t carry her over the lily pads any more. I can’t choose which lily pads she lands on.
My job now is to simply be here when she needs me. Whenever she needs me.***
And to try not to blub like a mahoosive idiot when I drop her off at uni. And leave her.
Or maybe I could just stay a couple of nights.
This girl makes me proud. Every day. Today is no different.
Today was simply another stepping stone to a new adventure.
Congratulations my girl. You rock. I am so bloody proud to call you my daughter.
*although not entirely sure how much work she has actually done in college
** although she is not allowed to be a traffic warden
***Although when she was texting me at 1am the night before last because the tent she put up was leaking, I was not that happy at being needed