A Mother's Tale...A Mother's Love

It is exam time in our household. The tension is mounting and Mom (that's me) is trying to stay calm. You would think by my fourth child that I would have this mastered but I never give up being anxious for them. English, Science, Maths, Religious Education, French, Geography, History and Maths and English again...all in three days and he is just 10. He asked me to help me with his Maths homework the other day and I nearly fainted. Crikey, have I really forgotten that much? Then again, I was not a model math student. My standard answer seems to be 'go ask your Father' . It is a worry when I hear the same reply on the other end. Poor little thing...my son, not my husband :)

On top of this I have been living in a sea of papers trying to sort out which school to apply to for his High School years. His school ends at 13 years of age and I have discovered that I am behind the eight ball in getting applications into the future school's. I am getting that 'what?, you haven't....???' kind of look from the mothers in the pick up line. The kind that makes you feel like the most useless parent in the world.

I have a list of both Boarding and Day schools. Boarding, yikes! I am sure you can imagine what that is like. My last child, my baby, in Boarding School at 13??  To top it off, I have to totally immerse myself in the English A Level system. Is there no end to the types of High School Certificates in this world?? I had to figure out the HSC in Australia, the NCEA in New Zealand, the IB at an International School in London and now I have to sort thru A Levels. I am thinking there should be a Certificate for parents that manage to understand just one let alone four.

Ok...now I am whinging, but honestly, I am probably just looking for a little sympathy. Am I wrong to be feeling a bit sad that my lucky last is growing up? He turns 11 next week and I will miss his Birthday...the first time ever. I have a good excuse, as I will be in Australia for my eldest son's  University graduation. Still..my baby...going on 11. He is tall and lanky and already in size 14 clothes and has a mouth full of teeth that are two years ahead of schedule. I don't think I can hold him back for long. He is ready to grow and I am not. Well, I shouldn't say that, I am growing, just in a different sort of way :)

My lucky last, following Mom and Dad in Scotland.

A mother's tale... a mother's love.

images~ me


  1. Very sentimental post and written so well, my friend. How the worry never ends! We just pluck it off their shoulders and transfer it to ours. I felt as you do when my youngest {now 19} entered high school. Soon she would be entering the adult world and I felt I would be losing her. And when she left for college, I did lose her for the most part. Saying goodbye was the hardest thing I've ever done. Empty nest syndrome? Definitely.

    I suppose this doesn't make you feel much better!! Your post brings up memories for me. I am sure you will get out from "behind the 8 ball" as we always do. And you will love and appreciate every second with your baby!

    Wishing you have a wonderful week and have a very safe and happy trip! Congratulations to the graduate!


  2. Jeanne, your Lucky Last is gorgeous! That photo in Scotland is sooo nice. But, *sighs*, I feel for you. The wings are sprouting and soon he will fly, we don't know where, but it's always away. It's all so bittersweet.

    British friends have tried to explain all those certificates to me, but my eyes cross. Somehow, I know, it all works out. But the thought of boarding school would make me a bit sad, too. Congrats to your son in Australia. Gosh, so many wings in the air. HUGS!

  3. Jeanne, I feel your pain! I have three gorgeous, wonderful daughters - and my little bonus - my son William! He is now 20 over 6ft tall and simply the most delightful young man! But boy oh boy have I found watching him grow up unbelievably rewarding but at the same time slip by so fast trying to hand onto every precious second as it will be the last time for so many milestones - until the grandchildren come along - hopefully!! Good luck with your quest for a senior school - William went to The Hall School in Wimbledon - a wonderful school but only up to 16 unfortunatley!

  4. He is so handsome! And I know it will all work out in the end. Though boarding school, especially for the baby of the family seems just too hard to face! Hang in there, darling, and a Happy Thanksgiving to my East Coast, Globe-trotting, School System Conquering Friend!

  5. So sweet! What a story (and I didn`t use the translator...)!Oh yes...I can understand what you are going thru and I only have one daughter, but have the same feelings about school, growing up and so on.
    I can`t imagine the day when she moves out...poor, little mama...!
    You have a charming looking young boy and I guess, he`s getting as tall as his father.
    School system in germany isn`t the best for our kids, unfortunately. This is my experience after all these years. The kids are under strong pressure and it isn`t easy for parents...most of the time there are left alone. Marie had always her fights with maths and similiar subjects.
    As far as I can understand, you are a fantastic writer and I wished, I could put it down in *english* words what I wanted to say as I would do it in my mother tongue....but I stay continued...I`m learning.
    Beate :) XX

  6. Lovely and fun thoughts. An ADORABLE son you have there.

  7. Happy birthday to your son from me too, Jeanne! Doesn't the time go by so fast! Our grand daughter is sitting here GCE 'O' level exams in the summer and has her 'mock exams' straight after Christmas. (Tense time!) Best wishes from here.

  8. Jeanne, I hear you. My babies start school this year and my eldest daughter goes into year 8. I remember so clearly when she started school! Have fun in Aus. Lisex

  9. Oh, you guys are so great! I can't tell you how much it cheered me up to read your comments. It is always nice to know that I am not the only one that feels the way I do...it is one of the things I love about blogging. Thank you, thank you, thank you..so sweet to hear from one and all :)

  10. Sometimes I think that it's our kids who raise us, not the other way around. Think of all the things we learn that we wouldn't if they weren't in our lives...and I don't mean the new maths (although that is true!). Your lovely boy looks as though he has his act together and while it's hard to let them go into the world (but you know that...you've done it) there's a certain poignancy with the youngest isn't there. I'm sure he'll help you through it :)

  11. Jeanne - oh so sweet a post! I love how you say you can't hold him back...I know exactly what you measn. It's not holding back in a literal sense - just wishing that you could freeze frame now and keep them young. I am not sure how I will feel when it's my youngest growing into a young man. As for picking schools - ugh - I will be there soon too. Hardest choices for sure. Lou x

  12. Such a sweet post! I laughed at the 'go ask your father' comment- My biggest fear is that I wont be able to help my kids with their math homework. I couldn't even figure out my own:-D

    I don't blame you for having difficulties letting go of this sweet young man:-d

    Oh the looks that mothers give other mothers! As Madeleine Albright said: There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women. Don't worry Jeanne, I'm sure you and your family will find the best solution.


  13. Dear Jeanne,

    Put the boarding school paperwork down and procrastinate! Just kidding:) It must be terribly hard to even begin into looking into such things and I know how you feel as my son is 10. Lucky Last is a beautiful young man and start dreaming about the beautiful grandchilren that, one day, your Fabulous Four may present to you!

  14. Oh, Lovely! What a darling post. Just heartwarming. And he's such a handsome, engaging little chap. I cannot comprehend the paperwork you must have battled through over the years! Hats off to you, Jeanne. We are at the other end of the journey with our firstborn starting Prep next year ☺. J x

  15. Oh how lovely.. What a gorgeous son you have - you are so lucky to have a big family.I do know what you mean though about exams - I always got stressed out and worried for my daughter and I don't think I was much help..! You will figure out which school and don't worry - but before he does the A levels he sits the GCSE's at 16 years - more stress but I am sure he will be fine! An English education is the best in the world!! (but I am a little biased!!) x And safe travels too!

  16. What a gorgeous young man he is. It never ends does it, the concern you have for your children.

    My baby is about to get married and everytime I think about it I see her as a toddler, big'sighs' from me too.

  17. I really loved this post Jeanne, totally get where you are coming from.

    Now that my youngest is at school and seems to steaming ahead with learning new things every day, I feel so aware of him growing and wanting him too slow down and just stay at this age forever!!

    As for choosing schools, UGH!!! An endless topic of conversation where I live!! My daughter is just Yr 5 but we will be making choices next autumn and I went to view a school last week to get ahead of the game a little. We have no obvious choice of secondary school so knowing where to go next is something I change my mind on by the day, sometimes by the minute!! Big decisions!!

    Love the photos your son, a very handsome young man :)

    A trip to Australia, you sure rack up those air miles!!

    Love to you xx

  18. Life's phases keep us on the move, don't they? Growing up...growing down.

    What a handsome lad you have for Lucky Last!

  19. Relationships like these don't end Jeanne, they transform. Look forward to the changes...let the baby go, welcome the young man with open arms.

  20. Oh my, Jeanne! Poor you! I cannot imagine what you're going through. Certificates??? The only certificates I like to worry about are the gift ones. Which to get and to whom!
    I'm sure it will all work out in the end. It must. Right?

  21. Dear Jeanne
    Wishing your boy the best of luck and calm for his exams... I hate exams... always get myself overly worried.... oh well...

    So you are going to be in Australia??/ Where and when??? although if it is not Sydney it may be pointless asking.. haha.. I just came back from Noosa...and it was WONDERFUL!! rain and all..

    Ok.. best wishes for all ahead and happy happy birthday to your big boy!!! ciao ciao xxx Julie

  22. Oh Jeanne,
    It's so hard when they grow up, isn't it ? I can so remember the 'applying for senior school' scenario. It is so competitive here and not enough places in the good schools for all that apply. I wouldn't worry too much. I think that if they are going to do well they will do well whatever school they go to ( well, as long as it's not too terrible a school !!) I think that where you live, the schools are pretty good aren't they ?
    Your 'baby' looks as if he has got his feet on the ground and, what with having lovely parents, will do very well. XXXX

  23. What a darling boy your have.


  24. Dearest Jeanne, I'm behind the 8 ball replying to your very,very loving post which I have simply devoured this morning in a quiet, peaceful space!! He is a gorgeous young man and rest assured you will make the very best decisions for him but don't get too swept up in the UK madness of the 'importance' of which school - he will blossom and flourish wherever in the world he is with your love and support!

    When we're younger we feel as though we will for always be parents of toddlers, young children, teenagers and then look forward to the time when they are all grown up. The lovely thing is no matter how old they are, they are always close to us and we will always madly worry and love them dearly. I can see that clearly even now with my 91 year old Mum! Enjoy these times.....Kate xx


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