It’s GCSE results day in schools across the UK today, and I’d like to say a big congratulations and well done to Lucy. But after all that hard work and worry over the summer, now that she has opened the envelope and confirmed with the school that she will be returning to study for ‘A’ levels in Srptember, the results become irrelevant. They are nothing more than a paper stepping-stone to the next stage of the education system.
As her mum, they have always been largely irrelevant to me, which is why you will find no mention here of what grades she got, nor will I be posting a picture of her results slip on my Facebook wall, tacitly inviting comparison, as I have seen some of the more ‘pushy’ or competitive Alpha mummies of my acquaintance do (the sort who brought their daughters to First Communion in half-size celebrity wedding dresses, and full slap so obvious that they looked like penitent pole-dancers). I do not need a piece of paper with letters and numbers on it to prove to myself, or anyone else, that my child is someone I can be proud of. Besides there are many excellent personal qualities that school never measures. For the same reason, I never share those pre-made ‘share if you love your daughter’ memes. I can just walk into her bedroom and tell her, face to face. I don’t try to be her best friend either: she has girls her own age to fulfil that role. The Mother-daughter bond is unique: why cheapen it?
At the end of the day, a set of exam results proves very little about a person except a few specific details within narrow parameters. I have always been proud of Lucy for the person she is, for the way she approaches the world and other people, and for the efforts she makes to achieve the things she does.
Three years ago, Big Brother Harry collected his GCSE results. To be honest, if you were to ask me now what he got, I wouldn’t be able to tell you off the top of my head. Far more impressive than the grades on the paper were the struggles he made each and every day just to cope with the social environment of school. His dogged determination not to let a piece of paper bearing a diagnosis define him or his life, but to try to meet the world on its own terms no matter how exhausting that was, will never appear on any league table, but it saw him join the Air Cadets, and win the Commanding Officer’s Award. I will treasure the citation forever, because of what it says about him. Already his ‘A’level results are obsolete, and he has gained more from his membership of University social societies than from the course itself. All this with the absolute minimum amount of support. When he needed help and none was available to us, he found the way himself. He is not yet 20.
What fabulous examples Freddie has to follow. Of course, I cannot know what the future holds for him, but whatever comes I couldn’t be more proud of anything than I am of his can-do attitude, and his caring nature and lovely manners. Result!