Yesterday was Belle’s last day of secondary school.
It’s weird, because although we’ve been counting down to this moment for literally years (‘I know you hate it, but only two and a half years left!’ ‘Just 27 more weeks Belle, you can do it!), it has also flown by.
Belle was only seven when I started writing this blog. At that age she was easily impressed with life. I remember writing this post in my first six months of blogging about her getting excited by the fact that bread sometimes comes pre-sliced.
Looking back through old posts I also found this picture of her first day of secondary school, nearly five years ago:
(The post wasn’t about school itself, more me complaining about getting back to work after the summer, but this is MY blog remember. Belle needs to write her own if she wants it all to be about her.)
And now here she is, nearly 16 years old, with almost half of her GCSE exams done and dusted.
I can’t believe how much she has changed. And how much better my photos are. (We took this one when we did our own mini photoshoot in Bristol, which you can see here if you want to check out how tall she has got.)
Also, I wonder if I will ever get this jumper back? Probably not.
The last year, and the last few months in particular, haven’t been the easiest of times. School has never been somewhere that Belle feels terribly at home and as the pressure of exams has built I know that she has found it difficult. I also know that sometimes she feels like that means she has let me down.
Of course she hasn’t.
I’m proud of her (and of Bee) every single day, for just going about life doing normal things, getting on with stuff. I know that when you feel anxious or sad or worried that just doing ordinary things can be a massive achievement and I value that as much, if not more, as I do grades at school or attendance records.
I know that Belle’s teachers would have her believe that her GCSEs are somehow going to define the rest of her life, but they are not. She is a talented and spirited girl and I know that life is going to have all kinds of exciting and challenging opportunities in store for her.
And thank Christ school has finished because I’m not sure how much longer I could have kept up the whole ‘jolly making pancakes and using an encouraging voice’ thing at 7.30am every morning.