SATS. I don’t know if I’m supposed to refer to them as sats, Sats, SATS or S.A.T.S. or something else? After an initial, misguided panic several months ago about them actually being important, we’re now taking a much more preferable approach to them – viewing them as something to be undertaken, and putting our best effort into them, but that’s about it. Because they’re an assessment of the school, not him.
Well, that’s all Elliott has to do. We’ve agreed that it’s going to a lot more effort for us as parents. Every whim will be accommodated. Spag Bol – my version, not Dad’s, is to be available every day next week for dinner, with the good garlic bread and peppers and cucumber. Puddings may be varied, they may not be. That will be decided on the day. Drop off to school may be earlier, to take advantage of the tv watching and breakfast hangouts that are available. I must be present for every drop off and pick up. And we will have some very special celebrations for several nights on the run once they are done with.
I’m so into this now – I feel like I’m finding my ‘sweet spot’ for providing parental support. I’m of course channeling my Dad – and my Mum in this. And my Brother. Last week my Mum found the photographs of the day I graduated from The University of Manchester, after doing four long years of study for a BA (Hons) in Psychology. I think as days go, this is the proudest of my life so far. Marriage and the arrival of The Boys are of course, more important, and life changing, but getting my degree. A 2:1, from the department which at the time was second only to Oxford and beating Cambridge in the league tables, was no mean feat. I’ll be forever proud of it.
I’m not suggesting that we’ll take photos of Elliott as he does his exams next week, but I can’t miss the opportunity to share photos of 20 years ago, when I looked a bit different to how I do now. This is my all time favourite photo of me. Modest I know. It’s not my most photogenic. But I remember walking down the aisle after I received my certificate and it was incredible. I felt so strong, so up for everything that life had to offer. That I would make the most of everything I could get my hands on.
And of course, my cheerleading team. You’ll note that my brother doesn’t smile in any of these photos. He just never does. I think he may have had a brace at this point and, being 16, he wouldn’t have been loving a day of following me around pointing at old buildings and waiting for sixty seconds of me receiving a piece of paper. Who would???? !!!
It wouldn’t be a post without me focusing on my Dad. Here’s the photo of my Dad, wearing my graduation cap. I got properly annoyed with him for this – I was so embarrassed. I don’t know why. It just felt really silly. I am sad now, that I got annoyed with him for this.
My Mum and Dad, and my Brother, were such huge supporters of me as I studied. I never found it easy – it wasn’t that I wasn’t bright, I just found the studying hard and I was very much a plodder. And my family supported me with it – the hours and hours my Mum spent revising mind maps for all the topics for my A Levels. They were never ending.
When I did get to the finals of my degree, my Dad actually drove me to one of them. I was so worried about driving in and parking and …. well, I was anxious, to say the least. So he said not to worry, and drove me in and dropped me off at the door.
I will be forever grateful for my Dad, Mum and Brother setting those examples for me. Of being present, of teamwork and supporting each other every time. I think that’s why I’m working so much to support Elliott as he does his first exams – because I want him to remember this as a point where we laughed, went to watch Star Wars at an outdoors cinema, had lots of Mummy’s Spag Bol and whatever pudding he wanted. Because now, as I look back on my Dad’s death, they’re the memories I want to remember of my life with him and as our family.
The Westons. 4th May 2018. May The Force Be With You.