Well, we got through day one of the HSC. Note my use of the term “we”. I’m not invested in this at all.
My son started his HSC this week and it’s been a rollicking ride to this point. A few years ago I remember talking to a woman about her daughter who was weeks away from doing her HSC. “How is she going?” I asked, my own future experience looming large as I sought clues on how to navigate it. “I don’t even care how she does anymore, I just want it to be over,” she replied with a mix of anguish, impatience and exhaustion.
I thought this was a little melodramatic, frankly. I was perplexed about why the HSC would have taken a toll on her as a parent and I didn’t get why she was feeling so overwhelmed.
Now I understand everything. The exhaustion, the anguish, the anxiety, the stress, the overwhelm. The eagerness for it to Just Be Over. I’m there and I’m living it and it’s all about me.
Wait, it’s not. It’s about my son. I know that. Mostly. But it’s been a special challenge trying to work out what my role is during this whole process. And my God, is it a process.
The hardest part about being a writer who is also the mother of a teenager is that you are forbidden to write about any of it. So I’m not going to say much about my son’s HSC experience except that he’s studied really hard for a really long time and I haven’t had to nag him at all. Truth.
But I’ve been surprised at how all-encompassing it’s been for me as his mother.
I don’t recall my parents being even remotely involved in my HSC back in 1989. If pressed, I doubt they could have told you what subjects I was doing. This wasn’t unusual though. School used to be something kids did and parents weren’t involved in.
Mia Freedman and other media personalities have joined ReachOut.com to show that there is a life after Year 12. Watch the video below. Post continues after video.
Times have changed and I have mixed feelings about this. In some ways, I love that parents are much more integrated into school life than they used to be. Other times, I will bitch loudly about the expectation I attend every open day, music recital, choir performance, Easter hat parade, Christmas concert, sports day and excursion, all of which are during work hours and with three kids at different schools, can sometimes run into dozens of days a year.
As I’ve written previously though, I’ve really appreciated the inclusion of parents in many of the rituals of my son’s final year of school. It’s been an unexpectedly emotional experience. Equally unexpected has been working out how to best support him through the HSC. Here’s what I’ve learned so far – DISCLAIMER: this applies only to teenage boys. I have NO IDEA what it’s like to mother a teenage girl through her final exams but I suspect it’s terrifying so please can someone write about it so I can make notes for when my own daughter leaves school.