I wrote this blog in a rare moment of peace early last Sunday morning…
The house is quiet, and I'm sitting at the window in the back room, looking out across our garden (with the lawn freshly mown by Billy yesterday – his first time and he did a great job, bless him!) and the low morning sun is winking at me through the trees with their newly acquired full coat of leaves.
I was up early to wave Charlie off to Derbyshire for a day of training with the England U16 hockey squad. I now have 2 whole hours before I need to wake Billy for his cricket match, and I'm going to make the most of it!
Our household is pretty fraught at the moment, along, I'm sure, with many others. Charlie is revising hard for his GCSEs – his art exam was last week, French oral on Tuesday and then they start in earnest. Bex, at 17, is facing her A Levels, with physics, chemistry and biology on her plate. She needs 2 A grades and a B to follow her desired path to becoming a doctor.
They are coping really well, but there's an underlying atmosphere of tension which gives me the feeling that we're on the edge of a precipice and one wrong step would put us over that edge!
They are both people who have always crammed a lot into their lives, and their enjoyment of sport helps them now by giving a physical release to all the mental cramming they're doing.
But it also leaves them struggling to find the time for their revision, which can add to their stress – it's all about finding the balance. I'm trying to help with that, but sometimes a sensitive teenager can interpret a well-meaning word of advice from Mum as interfering and accusing, so I have to be careful!!
Lots of revision = little housework
One thing I've noticed is that there is always a vital piece of information that needs to be checked just as I open my mouth to ask for help with the washing up. It's funny, because I remember exactly that all those years ago when my brothers and I were going through the same situation. Revision for exams always takes precedence over household chores, we assured my Mum!
Looking forward to the summer
One thing that keeps both Bex and Charlie going is the thought of a long hot summer once exams are over. That's what we've been promised isn't it? Let's hope it arrives – I think we deserve it after the last couple of wet excuses.
They both have some travel plans to look forward to and they know that a few weeks of hard work will soon be over and then they can relax and get down to some serious enjoyment of life. Except they'll be back on washing-up duties, of course.
Until then, I'm happy to be elbow deep in hot soapy water as my part in the family effort. After all, as Winston Churchill once said, 'If we are together nothing is impossible. If we are divided all will fail.'
Let me know if your home is suffering from exam fever at the moment – any hints on how to relieve the pressure gratefully received!!
Take care – and good luck!