I have a 16-year-old son who is about to take his GCSE’s – unfortunately he has two teachers for parents who at the same time are preparing their year 11’s for the GCSE’s.
Stress levels are at an all-time high in our house – everything is a drama and no one is coping very well at all. My son has just blatantly refused to go to school some days, or gone and then just decided to walk out. I have received numerous texts from his school during my working day which has sent me into a state of panic – always fearing that something terrible has happened – only to discover he has just come home to play on his PS4.
This has made me reflect a lot on what I was like when I was 16 and going through the same stress. I lived with my dad we argued lots, two peas from the same pod. My dad was not your usual dad he was an adventurous, feminist, vegan who coped with the stress of his job by walking and cycling. I was always really proud of his achievements and would brag at school about how he had walked the Coast to Coast, across the Pyrenees and had cycled from Lands’ End to John o’ Groats. He always thought I wanted a traditional dad who was at home every night and would sit by the fire with his pipe and slippers reading a paper all evening, something he couldn’t be. Too be fair part of me did want that as it would have meant he was home more often.
As I sit and write this I have a little lump in my throat as I know that right now I should be on an Adventure Race in the Lake District, one of my favourite events of the whole school year, it is as exciting as the Tri Wizard cup in Harry Potter. Tomorrow I should be sitting in a canoe all day judging an orienteering race. Early last week I realised I couldn’t go and I need to be that mum at home with the pipe and slippers reading the newspaper by the fire for my son, who is clearly having a terrible time now. He needs me here with the routine and structure I provide. I need to help keep him steady and calm on his path to these exams. He would have never of asked that of me, just as I would never have have asked that of my dad when I was 16, but I recognised it from his behaviour and cries for attention.
My dad is an amazing man who I am still proud of, especially as he is learning to live with Parkinson’s and still be adventurous. My dad developed and encouraged my love for mountains even though I didn’t appreciate that until I was in my 30’s when I needed to find my own stress relief from work and family life. He taught me the importance of getting outside and caring for the environment, I will always love and appreciate him for that.
I need to approach the next few weeks like I do any other adventure embarrass the fear, take on the challenge and know that at the end of the bumpy road both I and Jack will be a lot stronger.
I am just waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel the glorious 6 weeks holidays. I know everything will be calm and good then and all normal adventures can resume and hopefully bring on some new ones.