Last night we went to our first ever parent-teacher meeting. You could tell we were novices. For starters, unbeknown to me, Gary booked us a slot at 630pm and a couple of days later, I booked us a slot, worried that we’d miss out if I didn’t. Y’know, sure to be sure as the Irish say! So I phoned up to cancel my slot and was told to email the man in charge. Meanwhile, I looked at the booking emails again and realised that whilst they had sent tickets for Gary’s booking, they hadn’t for mine. So thinking they simply hadn’t allowed us to make two bookings using one email and one surname, I decided not to email and cancel mine. Are you keeping up? So we arrived, having got slightly lost, struggled to find parking and then realised we had 95p, 5p short of the £1 parking cost. We now had six minutes to get there.
Thomas and I took off (“Mum, there are five flights of stairs. I think you need to start soon to give you the best possible chance of getting up them safely!” “Yes, son.” Gives son swift slap round the head for being cheeky to his poor mother. Son grins). Gary stayed behind to try to pay for parking with his debit card.
Gary caught up easily. We mount the stairs. I manage fine. Didn’t need to stop once.
Trying to catch my breath whilst Thomas announced us, I hear that the receptionist I had talked to earlier the week before had been ultra efficient and cancelled our appointment. This appointment. The only one that had actually gone through. I really should stay out of organising anything of any sort. The organiser, bless his heart, crammed us in for 15 minutes later than our given time. Sheepishly we tried to blend in with all the cool music students and their equally cool looking parents. Gary managed this with astounding alacrity, like he was born to be there.
I did not.
At this point I was sweating profusely. There were no windows in this cool and funky building. Air, I needed air…
Just before leaving the house, I had bathed (so was clean and fairly sweet smelling), but I had thrown on a top which had been hung on the floor. Needless to say it was a little crumpled. I added a lovely bright pink duffle coat and a cotton pink scarf, and figured so long as I didn’t take them off I looked good. Not cool-music-college-good. More frumpy-stay-at-home- rarely-ventures-out-good, albeit a little creased underneath. But no-one would see underneath so I’d be fine.
Move forward an hour or so, and five flights of stairs, and nerves at being a hot pink blob in my duffle coat (and therefore not blending in at all well with the hip crowd), and I was feeling a little hot under the collar. I was oscillating between taking my coat off and trying to prevent my face (flushed and sweaty) becoming the same colour as my hot pink coat, or keeping the coat on. The down side to the first option was the very crumpled top underneath. Ah, heck. Embarrass son and possibly husband or melt into a hot pink puddle, which on reflection might cause even more embarrassment. The lighting wasn’t great, and my crumpled top was black, so I went for it! Off came the coat. I cool-y wandered over to my husband and son who were talking musical gibberish. I nodded, smiled and even giggled in all the right places (I think. They giggled so I joined in. Who knows if it was appropriate. I didn’t have a clue what they were talking about) I felt like Brigette Jones. Only larger and pinker.
Finally we were called in to see the teacher. Thomas came with us (apparently normal and expected). I could smell his feet. Or those of the boy that went before us. Hard to tell. Not mine on account of my bath. I was nothing if not clean.
I kept wiping my hand on my trousers to make sure it was nice and dry when I shook the tutor’s hand, which was superfluous as it turned out. The whole thing was very relaxed, and within moments I could understand why Thomas loved studying here. My nerves left, as I sat back listening to Thomas’ tutor say one positive thing after another about him. Somehow, even though I wore crumpled clothes, I was organisationally challenged (if not entirely organisationally disabled), uncool, flustered, very very out of place, not to mention pink all over, somehow, I had managed to produce (from my very own loins) Thomas.
Thomas, who is fairly unflappable. Thomas, who also hangs his clothes on the floor and yet the crumples seem to drop off the moment he puts on the clothes. Thomas, who knows exactly what he wants, and has the confidence to go for it one hundred percent. Thomas, who is fiercely loyal. Thomas. Thomas.
It is very gratuitous to listen to another adult list off all the incredible qualities of one’s own son. He is in the top few of his class. His attendance is excellent. He is intelligent, engaged and a pleasure to teach. His first term project was two marks off an ‘excellent’ and his second term project was an ‘excellent’. He clearly takes this business seriously, works hard and knows what he is doing. He is there to make a career of it and the tutors can tell this. And he is just generally a real pleasure to be with. This was reiterated again and again. The tutor barely drew breath for twenty minutes. At the end he said that he really had nothing negative to say, and that Thomas should just keep on doing what he is doing.
I wanted to cry. Just before we left (having been there waaaay longer than the allotted fifteen minutes) he shook our hands. I held out my sweat free, relaxed hand and confidently shook his, looking him in the eyes. I walked a few inches taller as we left the room. I practically glided down the five flights of stairs and once we got out of the building I turned to Thomas, who engulfed me in a huge bear hug. He did not care that I was pink. He did not care that I was uncool. He did not care that any of his friends could see him and I hugging. I told him how proud I was of him. His hug told me that this was a journey we had gone on together. Him and I. On this great home-school adventure that we were blessed to call life.
The tutor asked Gary and I at the end if we had any questions. We didn’t. But I took that moment to thank him and the college. This music college was such a good fit for Thomas, and I was so grateful for tutors who cared about him and about his future.
Sometimes something happens which affirms decisions made so powerfully that it seems like there surely will never be another doubt again. Last night was one of those times. I don’t know much, but I know that home-schooling my children has been the most incredible and fulfilling journey I could ever have hoped to have been on.
Thomas, you make me so proud to be your mum. I feel utterly blessed by your life over the last seventeen years. I could not ask for more in a son. I love how close we are and I thank God for allowing me the opportunity to pour into your life over the past few years. We grew roots together and now you are ready to soar.
I love you son.