Well, what strange times we are suddenly living in. I am fortunate enough that all my friends and family are currently well, I have food in my cupboards and a job that won’t stop paying me because of Coronavirus. I am feeling very privileged right now.
But all is not completely rosy chez moi. Whilst I can do as I’m told, stay away from public places, not stock-pile food and other necessities and exercise social distancing because I am an adult and I have the wisdom accumulated over five decades on the planet, it’s still hard to deal with. Our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary falls over Easter and my husband and I had a special trip planned, now cancelled of course. We were due to attend the wedding of our friends’ daughter, the first such event for us. And we had tickets for a variety of shows over the next few weeks that have all now been postponed.
And it’s a bummer. I was looking forward to every one of those events and I am very sad that they have now all vanished from my diary. But I will get over it. Worse things happen at sea and all that.
But it’s different for my children . . .
It is far harder, I think, for the younger members of our community to take all this in their stride. My youngest was due to take his CGSE exams this summer. There will now be no exams. He will be given a grade, we gather, based on his performance over the whole of the two year course which, we are assured, will fairly reflect his achievement.
In many ways, being judged over a longer period rather than on his performance on an arbitrary day in June is likely to be more representative of his ability. Yet, that’s not how he sees it. Not at all. He has been gearing up to these exams for his whole life. The UK school system is about testing pretty much from day one. The entire curriculum is focused around the end result and even if you resent every minute spent at school, you can’t help but come out with the idea that the final exams are the be all and end all of it.
And now that has gone. I heard one of his friends say that they felt their results would be forever tainted, as if the Class of 2020 didn’t really have to work for what they were given and therefore theirs would be somehow less valuable than results obtained in other years. He feels that he will never be robustly tested, will be robbed of the chance to prove how he can think under pressure. He is also undertaking intensive training to become a ballet dancer, spending almost as much time training as he does in school. Secretly, I imagine that he was hoping to prove himself capable in more ways than one.
There are many others who this will hit hard, as well – those due to be taking A levels are also in the crossfire and another of my children is due to sit University Finals this summer too, something that is, as yet, still shrouded in mystery.
The list of things that are important to our children and yet cancelled and never to be replaced goes on – sporting events trained hard for, shows that will never hit the stage, and smaller, but no less important, things like the rituals associated with the last day of school, the Year 11 prom, all those photos and silly videos that my other children have of their special times which my son will not.
it makes me want to cry . . .
and in fact, yesterday I did just that, in the street, prompted by nothing in particular except the huge weight of disappointment that hangs heavy over my children right now when usually they are tightly cocooned in a sparkling veil of excitement and positivity.
I have told them that they will look back over this time and be telling the tales for years to come. Only they are the #classof2020 having to deal with these extraordinary circumstances (or at least I hope it will just be them.) But right now, I’m not sure that that is helping much. I am left just holding them tightly as they cry and agreeing with them that it’s not fair, that everything is completely crap and that I totally understand ( although I can’t understand entirely – it’s not my pain after all.)
I have no doubt that most of the Class of 2020 will bounce back, they are resilient, they will get used to what has happened and it will become their new normal. And in time, it will become a story to dine out on for years to come.
But right now my heart is breaking for every last one of them xxxx