My Big Fat GCSE Celebration


This Thursday the GCSE results came out and amid the usual furore of news headlines, analysis and debate about the state of the nation’s education system, DS opened the brown envelope we had been waiting all day to open and I held my breath for longer than I am accustomed to. The news was good. Phew. He has done well and I am happy and relieved, particularly with his B in maths thanks to – I am a proud mummy on all counts. So when he asked if ‘ a few ‘ of his mates could come round for pre-Motion ( pronounced Moshun? as if it were a question if you are a Bristol teenager ) drinks then I could hardly say no. How many I enquired? ‘ Oh, just the usual, you know, J, J, K, you know ‘. I don’t in fact know how many ultimately turned up as I lost count of the loud, ebullient youths going in and out the front door as they arrived, departed to get beer, returned, took over the kitchen, lounge, bedrooms and bathroom with their newly large man bodies, but what was probably no more than 12 seemed like 50. They’re so BIG. ‘ Is it ok if H stays tonight? ‘ asked DS. ‘ Just H? ‘ ‘ Well maybe J as well, but that’s it ‘.

The GCSE celebrants left in taxis about 9.30 and I began Operation Clear-up which lasted about the same time as the visit, ie. 2 hours, opening windows to get rid of the particular and clingy smell that is the combination of testosterone, beer and deodorant, before finally falling into bed shortly before midnight. Only to be woken at 2am by a collection of voices and laughter and tugging sounds at the back door. I stomped downstairs and let in what seemed like about 20 boys but was in fact upon a head count 7, drunk but all capable of speech, normal movement and good manners and no one looking like they might be sick. So I set about finding sleeping space and bedding for them as they moved from room to room deciding who was sleeping where and with whom, climbing in and out of the various bedding options on offer like large, tipsy puppies, their loud young men voices filling the air with the same jokes and insults about each other’s physical attributes and sexual orientation they have been making for the past 5 years. They were still jubilant, but tired and so asleep within the hour, not a problem if you are a 16 year old facing a long lie-in. I on the other am some considerable distance from my youth and not so blessed. At work by 9, I spent the day drinking strong coffee and avoiding looking in any mirrors in case I caught sight of the bags under my eyes.  And of course telling everyone I spoke to how proud I am of my son and his GCSE results.

  1. Emma said:

    Excellent, sounds like fab teenagers and the the sort I teach.

    • Thank you for your comment – they are fab teenagers most of the time!

  2. I always get a chuckle from your blog and I am also always intrigued by cultural differences. Here in Berkeley, parents seem hell-bent on not caring about standardized tests and to mention one’s child’s grades is very no-no. Over there, those tests are huge, aren’t they? And then the drinking– here, parents would never question whether their kids were using alcohol because it’s so taboo. Parents are in utter denial. There, beer has a whole different reputation. I love reading your blog, because it always reminds me how insulated my experience is.

    • Ah, thank you, what a lovely comment. I wondered how our teen culture would translate in the US so it’s great to hear about the different attitude to grades & boozing. Most of the teens I know drink, and all the parents know as far as I’m aware, we just try to make sure it’s under control and no one’s bingeing or developing a problem – it’s about the practicalities of managing the inevitable I suppose! Re GCSE’s & the ensuing stress – God, I envy you not having to deal with it, I’m quite relaxed in some ways about how my two do but on the other hand already worrying about my daughter’s GCSE grades next summer – the way things are looking at present, it ain’t gonna be pretty…But she won’t listen, she simply won’t listen….

      How are the crows?

      Helen Royle Creative Director, Stuck Ltd 01452 740795 07774 294 146

  3. Sheer said:

    OMG that is terrific! I love your work! Guess I am not as contemporaneous as your regular readers! I swear I have fallen in love with this blog… Fabulous writing! You’re an amazingly talented person, keep up the individuality 🙂

    • Ah, thank you so much for your wonderful comments, it means a lot to get such great feedback and is much appreciated! I hope you continue to enjoy reading them, I generally post on a Sunday night or Monday morning. I’ll visit your site at the weekend & look forward to reading a bit about you.

  4. Jacq said:

    Eeek. I’m glad mine are still at the stage where all they want after an exam are sweets! Give them another 5 years!

    • Mine still like sweets too & are such kids in some ways – just big, alcohol guzzling ones on occasion…

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