We dropped Belle off at school this morning at 7.45am for her end of term trip to London. She’s going to be away until Friday night and, as you might imagine, she has been a good mix of nervous and excited for quite a long time now. Having finally resolved the dilemma of whether or not to take her teddy – (she consulted a friend and they agreed they would take a very small one each) – we left her, suitcase in hand, on the curb outside school.
“Do I get a kiss?” I asked, very aware that two of her friends were standing next to her but also aware that if she went without one she would secretly be sad.
“Sure,” she said, shuffling awkwardly.
And then she was gone.
Belle is going to be 13 this year and it seems incredible to think how quickly she has grown up. I look back at posts like this one that I wrote in January 2010, where Belle got excited about sliced bread, and it’s just bizarre to think how much has changed. It makes me so grateful for blogging, as my memory is hopeless and I’m sure the only way I’m going to be able to remember family events and holidays in years to come is to read about them.
Last night we took her out for dinner, to celebrate the end of Year 8. It’s not been as easy year for her, as she was new to the school right at the end of Year 7, after we moved back from Bristol, and settling in somewhere new is always hard. It didn’t help that for her first few weeks of her new school she was on crutches. (Or that it took me two weeks of complaining to finally relent and take her to the hospital…)
She has done brilliantly though. It’s safe to say that school isn’t Belle’s favourite place; she’s like me – she has a strong sense of justice, and wants everything to be fair and right all of the time. Unfortunately school isn’t like this. Nonetheless she works really hard, (when she feels that the commitment of a teacher warrants her respect), and she’s thrown herself into all of the extra stuff too – she’s in the choir, she does reception duty, and she was fantastic in the school production, despite her frustrations over her fellow actors not always turning up to rehearsals.
As a treat for us at dinner, she brought her school report – an A4 brown envelope carried all the way there under her arm, like a tiny businesswoman about to give a report to her board of directors. She took the occasion very seriously – woe betide us if we were not maintaining eye contact with her at all times throughout the reading.
Her teachers were full of praise, as we expected them to be, and she had a stack of certificates to show off, plus a form award for outstanding contribution to her tutor group.
Where am I going with this?
I’m not sure really, I think I just wanted it to be a message to Belle – Belle, we are very proud of you! School does suck sometimes, but you are brave and clever and wise and thoughtful and it will all be OK in the end – only three years to go!