The Teenager Is Off To University!

awesomeNever 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.

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14 thoughts on “The Teenager Is Off To University!

  1. Annie says:

    Woop woop best news ever. So exciting. You have every right to be as proud as you are. Same boat over her for us except Katie has gone to get hair and make-up done for the impending night out. (Girls heh!)…. but it’s such an exciting time for them. I’m a tad envious but looking forward to occasional visits to Newcastle ? as you will to Bristol. Sincerest congratulations to you and himself xo

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Well done to you guys!!!
      Yep, I’m looking into stuff in Bristol I can combine with a visit. My friend’s daughter is also there, so hopefully we can have Mums Days Out 🙂

  2. Sian Roberts says:

    So proud of both of you and yes, you did make me cry!


  3. Val says:

    So pleased for both of you! What a milestone – so many positives for you this year xxx

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Definitely! It’s been good to have a positive year, despite the earlier relapse! Sooooo chuffed for The Teenager!

  4. Teresa McTernan says:

    Well, well done to you both…really great what you’ve achieved…Good job…I bet the best is yet to come for you both!!!

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Thank you!
      And I think you’re absolutely right – we’ve got this far, so the only way is up, even higher! 🙂

  5. Joan (Devon) says:

    Well done Barbara and well done to your son. Our children are much more resiliant than we give them credit for. I’m sure he was glad (if that’s the right word) that you didn’t try to hide anything from him about your MS so that he could take your relapses in his stride. Imagine what it would have been like for him if you’d successfully hidden your relapses and then he’d walk in when you were having a bad one. That would have been a shock for him and perhaps wouldn’t have trusted you in telling him the truth again.
    I’m sure he’s a remarkable young man and his coping with your MS has made him more tolerant and compassionate to other people who may have a similar condition. So, well done again to you on being honest with him.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Thanks Joan!
      That’s an interesting point you make about being honest – of course, he doesn’t know everything, but enough for him to take it in his stride and not to put his life on hold from fear or worry. He can see I’m still trucking on!

  6. Nanette says:

    So thrilled to hear the news of the teenager.You have every reason to be proud.You boys have amazing courage and determination.Please wish him welll and as you continue your studies and writing I wish you joy in your research .

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