This morning 17 has gone to enrol in her final year at college. So have thousands of others, yes, at the same college, it is a pretty big place. She won’t actually begin classes until the beginning of September. Naturally my mind has gone back to an Autumn morning thirteen years ago when she toddled off to primary school, dressed in red polo shirt and grey pinafore, for the very first time.
Five years earlier, when my oldest started school, my father told me to make the most of them because the years would soon be gone. When that same son began his comprehensive school at age eleven my father, himself now more than nine years gone, said a slightly different thing, they enter this school as a child, they finish it a young adult, ready to leave home.
The school my children attended only taught up to sixteen year olds, so 17 has been gone from it for a year already. She wasn’t quite ready to leave home then, even earlier this year she talked of applying to a university close enough to live at home and travel each day. How quickly that changed once she talked to her brothers and older friends, went to see some possible places. Who can resist the lure of finding one’s own way? I couldn’t at her age, why should she?
The shy, sometimes reluctant to join in child has gone, the young woman who has taken her place is finding herself, finding who she is and discovering she has no need to hide away. She has determination, drive, she still needs to know, sometimes, that it is okay for her to want to go for her dreams. That too will leave her, I hope, as she knows that she has as much right and as much ability to achieve and be as anyone else.
This time next year something new will be awaiting her, university, a gap year or a year’s work placement, those are what are in her sights at the moment. They could change, she is 17.
What ever it is, she will capture it and give it her all.
I will, quite possibly, have three kids at university at the one time. I’m not going to think about that bit of it.
© 2012, Penbleth / L. McG.-E.. All rights reserved.