I have to remind myself sometimes that we’re still coming out of lockdown; that there are things we’ve not been able to do for a long time. When we can, they are small explosions of delight after so long away.
The cinema was our treat last week in a nearly-deserted room; a few other people ended up coming in, and it was rather lovely. We watched Peter Rabbit 2, which I laughed at just as much as Bryan – a mean feat indeed – and we smuggled in some snacks as I was reluctant to take out a second mortgage to buy some popcorn and a drink large enough to expand my bladder to outlandish proportions.
Bryan is a typical child; he likes playing with his friends, being intellectually challenged, and having fun. So when I suggested that we walk home after the cinema, he looked at me like I had suggested we kill all the world’s wildlife; he clearly thought I was mad. It would be fun, I insisted. So would a taxi, he countered. No, I insisted, it’s good to get some fresh air; he was semi-convinced, but the stroll home from Westwood Cross proved me (thankfully) right. We played, chatted, and watched the world go by. He even held my hand on a couple of occasions, even though he has a reputation as a cool kid to maintain.
I wrote a while ago about the Kent Test, which used to be known as the 11+ (I am now at the age when things that happened when I was at school have changed beyond all recognition – middle age has well and truly hit). I wanted to involve Bryan in this; it’s his future, after all, and the school he spends five years at needs to be one he feels passionate about.
There are some children in his class who want to do the Kent Test and some who don’t; it’s a real mixture. I’ve really encouraged Bryan to think about it and tried to give him an honest view without forcing him to tell me what he thinks I want to hear; I would be mortified if that were ever the case.
That said, he came to the conclusion – after some practice papers and conversations – that he doesn’t want to do the Kent Test, instead focusing on going to a good secondary school. He’s ambitious for himself academically, and he’s got a good moral centre – and, more than that, he’s a kind and generous young man. Am I biased? Of course I am, but all those things are also true.
I’m glad he has expressed an opinion on what type of school he wants to go to; this is a choice that affects him, and his voice deserves to be heard. All I want for Bryan is to be stretched, to make some good friends, and enjoy his school days. I wasn’t a very cool kid, nor was I very socially confident; school was certainly more difficult as a result. Bryan is his own person, of course, and a very different personality in some ways to me!
My son is growing up fast, and this must stop; I am not pleased that my diktat for him to stay 10 forever is being ignored. He is making me proud every single day, even when we have minor disagreements (!), and I hope he continues to enjoy his education; it’s a responsibility and privilege to help him choose the next chapter in his life, and I know I’ll never take any of these important years for granted.