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Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Sweet Sixteen or The Summer That Sucks

Scottish and American parents are officially over the "last week" of the summer holidays and are Back At School.  Here in England, we are walking through the treacle of last few days of the Summer Holidays, trying to fit in social commitments, uniform, book, pencil case, shoe shopping, filling in the forms, emailing staff, finding the games kit, with the white noise perpetual chorus of :

"Have you done it yet?" (Said whilst emailing headmaster about car, whilst talking to Housemistress about how to get hold of Head of Games about pre-season Hockey training, which starts tomorrow.  When giving phone number of Head of Games for Em to call, was told SHE couldn't call him as he was really scary and please could I.  To be fair, she did go very still and kind of pale when listening to his message on the answerphone about training schedule - WHAT IS HIS SECRET AND CAN I HAVE SOME?)

Texts from G, on her way back from SoF with HGG and EHP

"Have you still got the receipt for my TopShop thing?"  (Which receipt?  Which thing?  When?  Don't I always get them put in the bag?  Oh Holy Crap - did I throw away the bag with the receipt in it? upstairs to her bedroom and met with loads of topshop bags, which I suspect are full of receipts for "things".  Stop myself.  WTF am I doing?  She will be back in 2 hours.  She can sort it out)

"Did you pick up my photos from Jessops?"  No.  I didn't.  I forgot.  I was there just yesterday, right outside the shop, talking to my sister-in-law about her car windows that spontaneously combust whenever she puts her key in the ignition and I completely forgot what I was doing so I went back to H&M to find Em and advise on a t-shirt.  

The summer after GCSE's, when you are 16, is supposed to be the best summer ever.  It is the longest holiday, no pressure, no work - just sun and parties and boys and stuff.  Everyone says so.  Everyone remembers the summer of being 16 as a sunshine achingly exciting care-free time.

What I had forgotten is just how hard my mother worked around me that summer to keep me happy.  And how achingly bored and lonely I felt at times.  And how insecure.  And rudderless.  And alone.

Don't get me wrong.  I had fun.  I saw friends.  I went to parties.  Hung out.  Stayed over.  And was care-free, looking back, although at the time I think I felt beset by the woes of the world, the unfairness of it all and was downtrodden by the fact that my parents were SO stupid and really didn't understand the simplest of things, let alone me.

I must have been hell to live with.

My mother was darn lucky that there was no texting or messaging when I was that age.  I am not sure she would have been happy to be besieged by mass media with all those little details I felt she should be doing, whilst I was doing more important stuff, like thinking about sleeping....

When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.
Mark Twain

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