Never have I been more proud of The Teenager than I am today.
He got his exam results and has secured his place at University.
When MS first raised its ugly head, he had just started out on his high school journey. When I think back to what he had to endure, I could cry.
He witnessed my first proper relapse in all its frightening, bewildering intensity. He saw me lying on the sofa, hour after hour, unable to carry out the most basic tasks. He asked around his friends for lifts to rugby, to football. My friend went in my place to Parent’s Evening.
He knew about the vicious bullying I was experiencing in work, culminating in my dismissal for MS. He heard about the legal proceedings, in amongst worsening relapses. And all the while he was trying to forge his own identity as a Teenager. A hefty burden at the best of times.
It’s always been just me and him, since he was a baby, and I’ve always tried to be independent, fearless and positive. MS changed all that. We both took a huge dip. It knocked us sideways. It took a while (years), but we got through it and we came out stronger.
Regular readers will know him really well – you’ll have heard about our fair share of ups and downs, run-ins and tantrums. I hope you’ve seen though, as I have, how he has grown in to quite an incredible young adult.
I know most parents boast, but if there’s ever a blog post for me to do that, it’s this one. He’s a totally amazing individual, with a real sense of who he is. He’s considerate yet determined. All fears I had that he would internalise the emotions he was experiencing with the MS have been laid to rest. I can only watch in wonder at how he goes out and grabs the world with both hands.
We had many quick text and phone chats this morning about his impending move to Bristol (according to The Teenager, ‘far enough away to be an adult, close enough to be handy’). I’ve been issued strict instructions for Drop-Off Day:
‘Mum, right, you can take me there with all my stuff and help sort my room out. You’ll make it nice?’
‘Of course, dear.’
‘Then I’ll have to say goodbye. You won’t cry, will you?’
‘If I do, I’ll do it in the car, don’t worry’.
‘Good. ‘Cause then I have to go to the kitchen and meet everyone else’.
‘I know. Do you think you’ll need an egg timer?’
‘Muuuuuuuum?! I’ve got a list of stuff to get, like don’t worry’.
‘Ok. How many shower gels do you reckon you’ll need?’
Today is beautiful – we made it. He made it. And in a way, The Teenager had a far bigger mountain to climb than me. I’d lived my life before MS came. He had it flung at him far too young. But he took it, dealt with it and succeeded despite it.