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June 23, 2011


I remember those days - my kids are all in their thirties now - but my daughter has just taken an exam and is about to give birth to my first grandchild - my youngest is waiting to complete on a first house purchase with his girlfriend and my eldest son is helping a friend with a recording studio at Glastonbury. No matter what they are doing you are always their mother and always have them in your thoughts. Although 'A' levels are a long way behind us I still get a pang every year when pictures of teenagers getting their results appear on the news.

good luck to them. And here here to all you say about the dreadful system!

The summer after my A-levels was the best time ever! They have got such an exciting journey ahead of them - wish I was back there! Still, the way you write makes me want to shed a tear! In many ways I'm dreading the moment my two fly the nest despite it being a long way off yet.

oh this brought an unexpected tear. I am so in the early miles of this marathon. The smallest having just hit the big 3!

Is it just me, or are they days where you are overwhelmed by what you could, should, must do....

I want just that for them to be fulfilled, reach their own potential, to be rich in life and moments.

Thank you for reminding me that I am not singular in this littlest of 'wishes'!

While it's done a bit differently here in the states, we are in about the same place. It's a relief and a joy (there was success), but mostly we are all just glad it's over! On to the next challenge--the next wild ride.

Good luck to you all and enjoy this new phase. It is a wondrous thing to see our boys in their new adult lives and we hope you will love that part too.

I can really identify with your comments today Jane! My 5lb (6 week premature) baby boy takes his last A level tomorrow and we've had many similar experiences of "the system" this year. My originally heavier but now much smaller baby girl has just finished her GCSE's so we still have two more years to go.

I am immensely proud of my two and hope I can support them in everything they do but most of all I just want them to be happy, healthy and fulfilled.

Good luck to them! Still just about remember going through it all myself (enough to know that I'd never want to go through it again).

Reading your post has brought a tear to my eye. I am feeling a mixture of nostaglia as A' levels are not such a distant memory (heck, I'm only 42), a sense of closure as a parent on your behalf (my eldest is only 15 but it's only 3 short years before she leaves school too) and a certain sadness for all those young hopefuls who are on the treadmill of university/career options with so much surrounding negativity.

And, thanks for taking us along on their journey. They feel like part of our family. Congrats to all! Spend the summer regrowing your fingernails. :)
PS (Now I know why you only show your toenails. :)~

Hi Jane,
I am sure they have done very well. Is it gap year or uni for the two of them? Fun either way!
Ingrid xx

We, too, found that last year of school to be very difficult. The challenging school work, the incessant standardized tests, the university applications........ Then add in the athletic aspirations, with attendant hours of practice, disappointments, and triumphs.........

A hugely stressful year, and we only had one kid.

May your next year be ever so much more restful.

My goodness! Congratulations to the twins and to their parents for making it through. We're about to start this process ourselves (but with only one, thankfully), and it seems exciting and rosy right now, but I think I'll be very glad when it's through.

Oh gosh, this has made me tearful too! We have all this joy to come both next year and the year after. This must have been the worst year ever to be applying to university as people abandon ideas of a gap year to avoid the enormous escalation in fees.
I hope the twins have a brilliant summer: they'll definitely have earned it! I hope your Chablis is at the ready ....

Can still remember collecting my daughter from school on her last day and that feeling of apprehension and liberation! Since then she's 'done' uni, worked in a high powered job for several years, found a partner and bought a house - so much still to come, Jane. This autumn she's going back to uni to do a MSc. Fingers crossed that Alice and Tom are embarking on many happy years. I'm sure they'll both do well.

In my house as of this week, I have one child at work, one child at high school, one child at Primary school and a two year old! But I understand the feeling of things changing. It's like a presence in the room, that knowing that things are not going to be the same. I feel so unprepared really. I guess I just didn't expect it to be so soon. James is 15 but post-earthquakes school is not working for him, so a drainlayer he is going to be. There's plenty of work for one of those in Christchurch!!

This post, one of a steady stream of beauties, has truly spoken to me Your own heart, the heart of a loving mother has touched mine, an ocean away. Our past two years have each contained the marriage of our children and my husband and I have chosen to re-name our home: Laurel Rest.

All the best to your Castor and Pollux - from the pedagogical point of view I wish them both well; they seem well grounded and creative, a fantastic combination which will ensure their sucess and achievement. The Summer will pass quickly waiting for results, especially if they find lots of interesting things to do

Good Luck to you all! They'll do well and you'll all get through it, and in a few years they'll be looking back with nostalgia at the times in their lives when the most stressful things they had to endure were exams. My oldest two finished college last December and this May, and two more are still grinding away!

Hi Jane,

We have eight children (one girl, seven boys). Our daughter will be in her final year next year, and our edlest son the year after. A few years ago I remember looking at photos of them when they were small and getting awfully nostalgic. Now that they are older and have so much ahead of them, I'm more excited than anything. There's so much ahead for them! Like you, I try to look at all the good things they are doing, at the same time giving thanks for all the things they are NOT doing!

All the best,


I love how much you share your love for your children. It really makes me consider the journey we have with our little 9 month old boy and all the hopes we have for him. Good luck for their results!

I have this all to come in 15 years time...what will it be like then? A beautiful post and your love for your children shines through and through. We can only hope our children are happy, healthy and as you say, `reach their potential`, whatever that may be. Enjoy your summer together. May August bring relief and happiness.

I agree that it is a stressful time (more so now than when my own three were going through it 10-15 years ago). There are so many demands all at the same time. It can become quite emotional (specially when the youngest decides to study abroad!). But there's excitement as well as worry. That said you get through it and life is good beyond the strains of applications, loans and all the rest. Best wishes to all for a successful outcome.


A beautiful post with two lovely photos. My eldest is almost at the end of his GCSEs but September's sixth form is looming and your comments upon 'the system' ring loud alarm bells. Best wishes to your twins and I hope they have a brilliant summer after all that studying.

I know just how you feel. I, too, found it the most stressful year of parenthood. But we survived and one year later my elder daughter is home for the summer after her first year at Glasgow university. It has worked out all right for her and I wish the same for your twins.

"Time flies...whether you're having fun or not!"
---Mary Englebreit

Congratulations to Tom and Alice (and you and Simon!) Good luck to all of you in making your transitions.

Also, please remember to cherish Phoebe's remaining years at home, too! (I say this from the perspective of the third child "left behind" when one older sibling got married, and the other graduated from high school in the same month.)

A milestone indeed. Congratulations to all of you on surviving the year. And best of luck for the next phase!

Oh how I appreciate how you feel. Our eldest daughter finished secondary school two years ago and now we find our baby half way through year 12 and we cannot believe it.
Seeing our children as young adults is inspiring. They give me faith in what lies ahead.
I hope your two have a wonderful summer and whatever comes next is exactly right for them.

It's so nice to hear parents talk with such open, spacious hope for their children and not present a list of things offspring must achieve to be considered worthy of the work of parenting. You've totally made my day, and made me miss my parents in another county a bit - but that's because I love them!

Oh! I just noticed you're reading D.E. Stevenson. I love those (her?) books! Our library doesn't have them all, but, I've enjoyed the ones it does. I don't think Miss Buncle was one of them. You'll have to tell us what you think.

HI Jane - thought I should share this link with you (hope it works):


(check the price)

My baby girl wrote her English final last week and has her graduation prom on Wednesday. I'm glad that you share my optimism. Others ask me if I'm sad. I would be sad if we hadn't made it this far.

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