It seems that we have been celebrating the end of the school year for a while. As the boys are in 6th class, there’s a lot going on. We had their confirmation on June 9. I wasn’t able to move my neck but otherwise it all went well. My sister was able to join us from Cork and Mr. Waffle’s parents came and we went to Milano’s afterwards which is Daniel and Michael’s favourite restaurant in the world. Their aunt and uncle gave them mobile phones for the occasion and they were ecstatic.
They also cleaned up on the cash front from indulgent relatives. The spiritual aspect was satisfactory also although no Irish speaking bishop was found and the priest who kindly performed the ceremony didn’t believe in rushing matters. I went up with Daniel as his sponsor and he took Patrick as his confirmation name. “Lovely,” I thought. As I stood there waiting to go up to the bishop, I reaslised that I had no idea what name Michael had taken. I had been pushing Edward but took my eye off the ball. “What did you take?” I asked anxiously afterwards. “Jack,” he said smugly. “There is no St. Jack,” I said. I suppose it’s a variation of John. My sister who was his sponsor was surprised also. He keeps us on our toes.
As part of their ongoing leaving primary school extravaganza, they had an overnight trip with their class in Wicklow. I was a little concerned about that, but I needn’t have been, they had a wonderful time. Packing was a challenge though.
Then they went to the National Acquatic Centre for the day.
They had the feis as well where both of them sang songs in Irish; I was very proud of them – it’s hard to get up and sing in front of a crowd.
And the other day they brought home their final primary school reports where their wonderful teacher had written some really lovely things about them both.
Today was primary school graduation (insert reactionary comment re when I was young you only graduated from college etc.). There was a nice ceremony at which both boys spoke and Daniel also sang. Then all of the children went en masse to the cinema and a couple of parents shepherded them there including me. I am a shadow of my former self. I’m sad to be ending my association with the school; it was such a nice, happy place for my children.
Meanwhile, herself finished school at the end of June and has spent every waking minute since with her extended group of friends. She is so autonomous now. A bunch of them went to the beach; to town; to the cinema; they walk around the park; they go to each other’s houses; she loves Penney’s (Primark to those from outside the jurisdiction) and spends many happy hours there. When she went to the beach, I forgot to remind her not to drown. It turns out she was on top of that piece of advice. She feels very grown-up and sophisticated – much more so than I was at the same age. I am admiring and it is lovely to see her enjoying herself.
She did very well in the school awards but this information had to be dragged from her. Her school report was excellent except for science. Sadly, science teaching this year has been a struggle with the teacher taking several months off. This story is a fascinating one and involves ultimate cage fighting. Do you think I am making this up? Anyhow, I think it is understandable that the students did not excel as finding a replacement mid-year was quite the challenge. New science teacher next year, anyhow. You will be pleased to hear that she did well in her mathematics examination, well you would be, if you had been involved in the frantic hunt for missing log tables the night before involving, inter alia, approaching the neighbour’s children. As she said to me, “You say summer examinations are really only a point in time assessment, it’s much more important how you developed throughout the year; don’t make me sit this examination, stay true to your principles.” Happily the log tables turned up before my principles had to be put to the test. On Sunday she went off for a three week residential camp. She hugged us goodbye as she propelled us out the door; she seemed so capable and independent. It is strange to be at home without her. This year seems to have flown. I remember 14 being hard, but I think she’s doing alright.