Yesterday was a day of mixed emotions. I was excited, proud, reminiscent, scared, and sad.
Yesterday we took our eldest for an open day and interview at The BIMM Institute (British and Irish Modern Music Institute) in Manchester (I know, how cool is that!).
On the drive down there was a sense of excitement in the car, that was until the rain starting coming down really heavy, and quietened us all down for a while. At one point visibility was nearly zero, and this does tend to concentrate the mind somewhat.
Once we parked up an got on the tram the excited and nervous chatter started up again. Well me and Lisa were talking excitedly, Ben was a little more circumspect, he was going to have 2 interviews after all. Lisa has a particular soft spot for Manchester, and was a regular visitor to the city as a young adult, therefore this added to her excitement.
When we arrived at open day, that is when the reality of what we were doing really hit home. We were helping Ben choose where he will spend at least the next 3 years of his life. There were plenty of positives and the institute looks like a fantastic place to be, with amazing opportunities, including working with some iconic names in the world of music and media. This to be frank was just making it worse for me. They then started telling us about all the pastoral support that is on offer, and the holistic approach they have to education. All I kept thinking was…. “what about us, do you offer pastoral support for the parents?” I kept a brave face though, I projected an excited engaged exterior and to be fair that was mostly true, I hope I hid my feelings of dread and despair for losing my little boy to adulthood.
In the afternoon Ben had his interviews, so myself and Lisa had a look round the city centre and attempted to retrace our youth. Lisa was desperate to revisit her old shopping haunt Afflecks Palace. We eventually found it once we got our bearings. It was like jumping back 25 years. There is a little more choice than there was then, but essentially the place was the same. Lisa loved it, however there was that realisation that in the proceeding 25 years her sartorial taste has changed somewhat. It was great to see the place though.
Our shopping trip did not last as long as we anticipated, this was down to the poor weather, and our inability to concentrate, wondering how Ben was doing, so we ended up in a coffee around the corner from the Institute killing time until it was time to go and meet him. The reality of our trip hit me again. I kept telling myself we are doing the right thing, we are helping him find his future, we are supporting him to find his own way. God I’m filling up just writing about it!
So after 20 minutes (that felt more like an hour in the coffee shop) we went to meet him. He had a broad grin on his face when he came to greet us, clutching 2 offers for both courses he interviewed for. Now all he has to do is pass his A Levels and decide which course he would prefer to do. I felt so immensely proud of him. I know he has got a lot still to do, to realise his dream, but he has taken the positive step and impressed the tutors at BIMM with his attitude and application so far. Also when you are a year older than nearly all of your fellow 6th form students it can be hard to stay motivated positive, this was a much needed shot in the arm for him to get over the line.
In our excitement, we left the institute in the wrong direction and got lost. Luckily Manchester is fairly easy to navigate and we eventually after a tour of Manchester City centre in rain found our way back to our tram stop and back to our car.
I am so proud of both my boys, and like many parents I love them with all my heart. On the face of it preparing for them to leave home is heartbreaking. At the same time I know that my role as a parent is simply changing (something I have written about in previous blogs). As I have said many times, it is so important to pay attention to what is happening right now. Yesterday was a wonderful adventure, where we helped Ben add some reality to his dream. Those kind of moments are priceless.
If you or your children are struggling with the prospect of moving away, get in touch, it doesn’t have to be painful.