At the risk of treading on the toes of fellow columnist Ben Keenan, who each week writes eloquently on this site about his pride at being a new dad and the progress of his young son, I too was a very proud (not so new) parent this week.
We’re in the nervous period between finishing GCSEs and getting the results at the moment, though Kit seems a lot less worried than his Mum and Dad – he knows what he needs to get, thinks he’s done enough and is looking forward to starting A-level studies in September. Like his sisters before him, he’s very relaxed about exams. Is it a generation thing – I was very nervous and worried about my O-level results?
But on Monday we enjoyed a nice diversion at his school’s annual prize-giving evening.
There was a bit of grumbling about having to don uniform for one final time and Mum was a little worried that the school trousers she’d nursed through the last few weeks of term would hold out, but we were all pleased that Kit’s efforts had been recognised with a prize.
More than a hundred children were called out to receive certificates and each one was given a warm round of applause by parents and well-wishers. But few of those present were aware that probably the most outstanding achievement of the evening was being played out at the back of the hall.
As delighted as we were with Kit’s award, this evening we were equally proud of his disabled twin brother, Rory.
On previous occasions such as this we’ve felt Rory, who is learning disabled, would not be able to sit still and cope with an hour of music, clapping and speeches, but this time we risked it – and he was a star. I can’t say he enjoyed every moment, but he behaved impeccably and was a real credit.
Events like these are always bitter-sweet for us – seeing one son thrive and develop while his twin struggles with most everyday tasks is very difficult. In a fairer world, both boys would have been collecting prizes, waiting for exam results and preparing for new challenges. But this week, no-one could possibly have been prouder than we were of both boys’ achievements, It’s a shame that only one got a certificate.