as I sit here typing away in the early hours, unable to sleep but loathe to watch some dire rubbish on tv to make myself sleepy, I am pondering as to why I am unable to sleep yet again. I've always been described as a "night person" but this is not truly the case, I developed insomnia, which night after night renders me unable to get to sleep much before 2am. It all started this time 16 years ago. Then I was 38 weeks pregnant with daughter no.1, it was an incredibly hot and humid July/August and I had swollen feet and ankles that my wonderful mum would massage with a peppermint massage cream twice a day to ease the pain. In one more week, my pregnancy was over, as she arrived 8 days before her due date, but the sleepless nights and insomnia has remained ever present.
She's still my baby, but I look at her now and see a young woman. A young woman who goes through the same angst I suspect we all did at 16 - whether I fit in with the crowd, whether this boy/this girl* likes me as much as I like him/her* (delete as appropriate), whether the clothes I have on today are going to be out of fashion this time next week and most importantly, how did I do in my exams. As of today, daughter no.1 has 20 days to wait until her first experience of that nervewracking moment when you get your exam results and you finally discover whether it was really all worth it or not. When I was waiting for my O Level results many moons ago, I was an old hat at it, having taken one a year early - Religious Ed, possibly my easiest subject. But I remember standing in the school hall, waiting for our RE teacher to call my name and feeling slightly sick, not at the actual result, but at the fact that I was third on the list thanks to my beginning with C maiden name. And that my RE teacher was expecting a high grade from me, thanks to my Irish Catholic heritage. Upon hearing my name being called out and receiving my result slip (no envelope - so the old devil knew what result we had achieved before we did), he informed me that he had "expected nothing less" than the grade I ended up with, an A. Needless to say my Irish Catholic parents were thrilled, all those years of going to church/confession/catechism/catholic primary and secondary schools had paid off - I suspect if I had failed everything else they would not have minded that much, at least I knew my stuff religiously, so to speak.
I digress, back to my almost 16 year old daughter no.1. Since she was 14 she has known what she wants to do with her life, she wants to go into architecture like her father. To that end she has chosen to do Maths, Physics and Graphic Design at A level. Nice easy subjects then....... but I have no anxieties about her doing these subjects as she as always shown an aptitude towards the more mathematical and scientific subjects. I did English Lit, Maths and Law at A level and did them dismally, but that was because the only subject I showed any interest in was English Lit and even then it was because I enjoyed a good argument with my teacher. The other two subjects were "because you can't do any others in the group". Maths A level may well have been a foreign language as most of the time I really didn't have a clue what was going on. Mr H confesses to having been "completely rubbish" at maths in school as well, so where daughter no.1 (and co-incidentally son no.1 is showing all the signs of being a mathematician as well) has got it from I'm not sure - I suspect it's from both her grandfathers as they're quite clever old fellas.
When I turned 16, my parents threw me a little party at home, a few friends and boys were invited, we all drank fizzy drinks, had some cake, listened to some music, people went home and that was that. Daughter no.1 is going out to dinner with some friends. Out to dinner when I was 16 consisted of going round your "aunty's" house for tea - and when I say "aunty" I mean your mum's best friend who wasn't related to you at all but you still called her aunty and her husband uncle.
If daughter no.1 was given the choice of going round to friends house for a dinner on her birthday, she would either look at us scornfully or laugh so hard she couldn't breath - I suspect she would probably do both.
Times have changed, but one thing remains the same 16 years on, I should be sleeping.
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