Today is one of those signpost days for me. My youngest picks up his A level results and finds out where he is going for university (please God) and basically how the rest of his life will go.
It is very different from the US as the results are released at the same time for all the A level students across the country. So everyone finds out where they are going to university (if they have decided to go...) as the university offers are conditional on reaching certain grades. Some people fail to make the grade every year...They then have option of going through clearing (finding a place on another course) or retaking or simply executing Plan B. I believe my youngest's Plan B has to do with the French Foreign League so I am just not going there.
It means my husband and I will be finished with high school and all that it entails.
My youngest turned 18 at the end of last month and we are no longer parents of minor children.
All my late night worries about guardianship's and what if... thankfully turned out to be just that late night mind panics. I know other people who were not so lucky.
Come September, my youngest will leave for university and the house will become empty. It will mean no more school run, making sure various children are up and dressed for school, making sure the various school functions are on the calendar and attended (I will confess to having missed photo days and had the fact of teacher training day not register) and it will mean the house becomes far quieter.
It doesn't mean that I stop being a parent. As I tell my children, part of my job description is to worry so they don't have to. And I don't think you stop needing your parents. You just need them in a different way.
I am so pleased for the advent of skype as it means I will be able to see my youngest when he is at university. I first started using this when my eldest spent his second year of university abroad in the US. It saved on huge phone bills. For him, the added bonus was seeing the cats and dogs in the background doing things as I merrily chatted away. If any parent whose child is going off to college/university this year is reading this and hasn't set up skype -- do so. It just makes life so much more bearable.
But whatever happens, my life will be changing and one phase of it (lasting 18 years --from when my eldest started his formal schooling until my youngest ends his) will be over. University doesn't require any input from the parents.My son can figure out how to get himself to class on time (and yes, he will be given an alarm clock!)
A smallish update: my son did get the grades and is going to St Andrews to study zoology. It is something he wanted so I am desperately proud for him. Today is a cake and champagne sort of day -- with a box of tissues on the side.
Twitter and Facebook are full of proud parents and students. As always, the BBC and all the news organisations are covering the event. There is just nothing like it in the US...
Of course next week, it is turn of the GCSE (age 16) students to get their results and so my fingers are firmly crossed for other parents!
Oh and this is the cover for my latest with cover model Taylor David front and centre:
In the book both the heroine and hero face dramatic changes as Brand Bjornson comes to claim his new lands, lands Edith's family has held for generations. In order to safeguard her people, Edith must Brand's price and become his concubine.
Michelle Styles writes warm, witty and intimate historical romance in a wide range of time periods. her next book, Paying the Viking's Price will be published in November 2013. You can learn more about Michelle and her books on www.michellestyles.co.uk