It didn’t strike me until about 9 last night, when I was thinking through what I needed to do for this morning, that my youngest son’s school trip to London today involved a mosque. Hmm. Between people thinking it’s acceptable to murder someone in the name of religion, and people who think it makes sense to express our outrage at that by hurting more people, I really didn’t want him anywhere near a mosque, today of all days.
We hoped it would be obvious to the school that the visit could not go ahead, but there was nothing on the website, and no email. So we decided that we would withdraw him from the trip if necessary, and to that end I went into the school this morning to ask "“Is the school still taking Year X to a mosque today?"
To which the answer, luckily, was "No. They’re still going to < the other planned venue > but not the mosque." And another woman in the office called out "Don’t worry, they’re not going anywhere near the mosque." So that’s all right then. It occurred to me that in all the uncertainty I hadn’t made any arrangements with him about picking him up, but I got home to find an email timed 8:05 stating that they wouldn’t be going to the mosque and that this might impact on their return time. So any arrangements would have been superceded anyway.
Middle son has a GCSE exam today, in a subject he doesn’t feel at all confident about. Obviously, therefore, it’s not one he’s doing at ‘A’ level, but even so he does need to clock up a certain number of ‘B’ grades to get into Sixth Form. With everything else that’s going on, it was quite a conscious effort to remind myself and everyone else that this is an important day for him and that we needed some calm and quiet for him to get himself ready for his exam.
But in some ways it’s the eldest who has the most momentous day - it’s his official Leaver’s Day, with a breakfast, an Assembly and a lunch, with - I'm guessing - some shirt-signing in there somewhere. His study leave starts tomorrow with two exams.
He’d already had his last-ever school lessons yesterday, which seem as far as I can see to have consisted of the teachers handing out badges and sweets and announcing their retirement. At this point I’m not at all sure who’s going to be left to teach my middle son when he joins the Sixth Form in September. The tardy teenager was dropped off at school yesterday a good fifty minutes after he was supposed to have been there, but my main thought as I put the handbrake on was "I’ll never have to do this again!" Obviously there will be lifts for exams, lifts when the trains aren’t running, lifts for this, that and the other special occasion, but hopefully that was the last "I just can’t get out of bed" lift. And I know kids are programmed to look ahead rather than think about what they're leaving behind, but I did notice he chose to wear his school tie for the occasion, for the first time since he went into Sixth Form and had to wear a suit instead of school uniform. Bless.
Today he didn’t have to be in until ten, so he was given the choice of joining us for an early lift - early enough to get the youngest in for his coach at 8:30, superceded by early enough to get me talking to the office at 8:15 - or catching a train just after nine, given that I wouldn’t be back from school in time to shout at him. He chose the lift.