Some Leaving Cert Perspective

Although it is many moons ago, Mammy remembers getting her Leaving Cert Results.

Mammy was certain that the contents of the little brown envelope were going to change her life. Had Mammy’s life REALLY depended on the contents of that little brown envelope, quite frankly, I’d be living an utterly dreadful, mediocre and half-arsed attempt at one. 😂

Because the results printed on my little scrap of yellow paper were quite awful, if I’m very honest. The only mark I remember (or tell anyone about!) was my A1 in Honours English. Go figure.

As for the rest of them? I’d say the examiners only passed me so that they wouldn’t have to read my verbal diahorrea again the following year. 😂I’m not exaggerating either.

But the other grades didn’t matter. The A in English was all that mattered to me, both then AND today. Yes, I got into college, but not until I had spent a week back in the brown uniform 😣😣 convincing myself that I needed to repeat. It wasn’t until the second round offers and a trip to meet (attack😛) the Dean of the English Department in Coleraine, that I finally got my place on the degree course. (I might have only been 17, but I was a stroppy one!😂)

English was all I loved. It was all that I wanted to study and, as the little brown envelope told me, it was apparently all that I was good at… All that I was good at THEN.

At 17. Turns out, I’m good at a whole load of things. I just didn’t get to take exams in singing, dancing, shopping or eating.

The Big LC recognised my ability to understand Shakespeare and write stories off the top of my head, but it didn’t (and couldn’t) know how strong I was at things like organisation, being a friend, laughing or pulling pints. So I was crap at French. Biology for me ended after the section on photosynthesis. But although my maths grade was dismal, I challenge you to find ANYONE who can work out a % as quickly as me when I see the word “SALE”. 😂😂

So there. Now, almost 20 years on, I’m a teacher and of COURSE I value the Leaving Cert. I love teaching the course and I try my best to encourage my Babbies to give it their best shot. But I also know that they are teenagers. That they have a LOT going on. That some of them have things going on in their lives that are a WHOLE lot more important that exams. 😢 That whole some of them will give it their ALL for 2 years, on the day of the exam, it might just not happen. And sometimes, that at 18, they’re just not quite ready for the ridiculous pressure of the state exam.

For a whole load of reasons, Wednesday is a huge day for our young adults. But that little brown envelope is only that. An envelope. Despite what it is inflated to be, it is NOT the most important piece of paper in the world. Yes, the letters and numbers inside it will have an immediate effect. Yes, some doors will open and yes, some doors will close, but what is written on the page does not define them.

The Leaving Cert does NOT know our children. It doesn’t see the kindness. It doesn’t measure their ability to change things. It can’t recognise their skills as motivators, or thinkers, or makers, or doers. It does not define them, nor should it. And as parents, yes, some of us might be disappointed tomorrow. But mostly we should be proud, because regardless of what is on that page, they are OUR children and they have done their best and we must remind them that they CAN do whatever they want. Because WE know what they can be.

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There are ALWAYS options and sometimes, the path that they are so determined to be the ONLY one for them right now, was never the right one for them…it usually takes a few years for them to realise that however. But they will. 💕

So tonight, tell them how brilliant they are. And leave them under NO illusion that no matter what words and letters are on that piece of paper, that you are and will always be proud of them and that you will help them to get to where they want to go, may it be straight through the college door or in a longer, roundabout way. But all roads lead ahead. And before they know it, they won’t even remember what was printed on the page!

It might be almost 20 years since I opened my little brown envelope and had my heart broken in a million pieces, but trust me, everything happens for a reason. 😇 Tonight, I send love to all of the young people (especially my own Babbies😘😘) and to all you exam parents whose minions face the brown envelope this Wednesday.

And remember, that little brown envelope does NOT hold the key to their future. They hold that key already.

It’s right inside them.

And no piece of paper can change that.

Mammy  XXX

 

 

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I am Some Old Friends, Some New Mum

It’s International Friendship Day.
 
Many of us have probably found over the years, that our friends change. The friends we had at school, who we could NEVER imagine our lives without, change.
 
The friendships we form at Uni or work, tend to last a bit longer.
 
The hardest thing to learn about friendship is that no matter what age you are, friendships can and do change. And sometimes, they can and do end.
 
And there is no age limit on this.
 
Life gets busy.
Life gets stressful.
Priorities change.
 
Children coming along can be the biggest factor in the beginning of the end of some friendships.
 
And in the same sense, it can be the beginning of new friendships and relationships.
 
Last week I went on a blind date.
Yup. You read right.
 
I put on my heels and some muckup and I got my Him to drop me to the pub. And I hadn’t a clue who was going to turn up.
 
See the Mums in Mini-Me’s class have a wattsapp group and I had jokingly suggested a Mammy camp during a conversation about the camps the kids were all going to over the summer. We chose a random date and by the time it came around, only 1 or 2 could still make it.
 
“Shall we cancel?”
Tempting… but I was getting a Friday night out and I was going come hell or high water, even if it meant sitting on my own for a few hours.
 
Thankfully, two other Mums arrived, equally as anxious and unnerved at this new experience. We introduced ourselves, ordered drinks and sat for 4 hours chatting and sharing and drinking and laughing.
 
I highly recommend it. There’s something liberating about spending time with new people, with no motive and no expectations, other than to be nice and have company for an evening.
 
I’m looking forward to the next one where hopefully a few more of the Mums can come too. And there is always room for new friends. You never know who is out there waiting to be a fablis part of your life…
 
But aside from this, I have to admit that I have a wonderful Mamma Tribe.
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I have my Knickers; my fellow supper of Sea-wind, sharer of everything, Big sister and secret-keeper of all. We’ve been through more than any pair of friends I know, and we’re not done yet.
 
I have my LQ; my longest friend all the way from Uni, with whom I click right into place even when we’ve gone months without seeing each other. (She’s moving home from the UK tomorrow. Our children will grow up together and we shall grow wrinkly together!)
 
I have my Rainbow; My partner in many crimes who keeps me sane and grounded and yet agrees to fly with me everytime a crazy notion takes me soaring. She’s the Wendy to my Tinkerbell, holding my hand through the clouds and the stars. (And she loves gin as much as I do…)
 
I have my Lady V; who makes me smile and understands everything. So kind, so beautiful, so stylish and so funny. No masks or facades required around this Dolly.
 
And then there is my Jo: my beautiful gal whose optimism and kindness is like no one I’ve ever known. A bold rascal but always a lady, there’s so much more to this little lioness than meets the eye.
 
I’m lucky. Of course I am.
 
And even through the changes that having kids and husbands and dogs and, you know, life bring, I always know that one of these crazy bitches will be on the other end of the phone. And right on my doorstep if I need them.
 
Of course I’ve lost friends. I’ve had friends from whom I’ve drifted. I’ve had friendships which I’ve ended. I’ve had friends cut me out.
 
And while each of these makes me sad sometimes, there are a few that in hindsight, were not as fablis as I once thought. Some were draining. Some were exhausting. Some were unhealthy. Some were nothing short of septic, but hindsight is 20;20 isn’t it?
 
And I’m sure that while I am certainly better off without them, they are probably better off without me too. I’m far from perfect. Who is?
 
So today, on ANOTHER International Day of… send your Buddies a message, or tag them below, or pour a cuppa/glass and dial.
 
Because friends are the family we chose for ourselves aren’t they? And if tomorrow is “International Day of the Crazy Wine drinking cackling sarcastic Wagon-full-of-hugs”, will you be tagging the same gals? Because that’s how you know true pals.

I am Sobbing at Mamma Mia Mum

Mammy is an emotional wreck this morning…
I’m talking a blubbering, snottering, breath-catching, eye-brimming slobberpot.
 
Why?
 
Because snippets of the final scenes of Mamma Mia 2 keep popping into my head. I can’t look at the feral ones without seeing their whole lives, and mine, flit in front of me. Never have I been so fecking aware of my own mortality…
 
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Am I being over dramatic?
 
Well of course, probably…maybe.
 
But I challenge you to find a more real and emotional and poignant and absolutely fucking HEARTBREAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL portrayal of Motherhood than the final 10 minutes of this fricken movie. If you can find it, let me know, so I NEVER put myself through it.
 
Now, the movie is great. A bit weird to begin and not quite as electric and magical as the first one if I’m honest. The choreography and dance scenes were a bit disappointing, but the acting and the sentiment and the one-liners are fablis. The “younger” characters are so well cast that I’m not sure it’s beyond plausible that they were grown from the DNA of the “older” cast in a lab somewhere… shockingly believable.
 
And of course the music is class.
 
But it’s the cheese and glitter and escapist nonsense that you expect and love. And you will thoroughly enjoy it.
 
And if the ending doesn’t make you:
a) broody,
b) Bawl like a toddler whose just been handed the wrong spoon,
c) question your own life and mortality and
d) want to choke your own Mammy with an eternal hug, then you are either emotionally fooktarded or you are already dead.
 
Because this would make concrete weep.
 
It’s incredible.
It’s like the Directorial team had “Let’s break them all! Even the tough bitches” as their only objective!
But seriously, it’s so well directed and so well acted and the final song is just STUNNING.
 
Yes, I shall go back to see it again.
 
Last night I cried like a baby.
This morning, my eyes are still leaking a little.
I can’t look at the girls without wanting to squeeze this little shitsters. I’ve been told to “Stop squashing meeeeee!” three times already…
 
The broodiness however lasted a whole 3.8 seconds and has thankfully passed! Close call. Don’t tell Him.
 
Have you seen it yet?
What did you think?

I am Sexy Cows Mum

My neighbours are cows. Fooking cows. 🐄🐂🐮

Last night they kept us awake from 4am with their shenanigans.

You see, having been separated for quite a while, the cows 🐄and the Bulls🐃 were reunited yesterday evening.

“Moooooh! New Bulls, New Bulls!” the cows mooed at each other on the arrival of the Boyos. 🐃🐃🐃🐃🐃🐃🐃

“Moooooooh! Udders! Udders everywhere lads. Quick! Chests up and strut!” roared Billy Big Balls and his buddies.🐮🐮🐮

The cows immediately began to measure up the biggest boyo, while the bulls, each certain of their own alpha-moo-ness, 🐃strutted around like feckin Paycocks, shouldering each other out of the way, showing off their Bullsiness and trying to make the other Bulls look less Bullsy. 🐂

The Cows flicked their hair, 🐮chewed their cuds seductively and plumped their udders, some standing aloof, pretending not to be affected by the arrival of the testosterone, but watching every member of their tribe of fake BFFs with suspicion and jealousy.

When the human neighbours went to bed, all of the competitors were well behaved and seemed to have settled in to their new surroundings. But somewhere in the field, under the romantic half light of the stars, they found Viagara or Red Bull, and possibly some Benweed, which they mixed to form a drink like Yaga-Bullmers🍷, leading to an early morning Moo-fest. 🐄🐃🐄🐃🐄🐃🐄

Some time around 3.30am, their sir-loins could take no more and they gave in to temptation…

And by the sounds of things, every bull had a go on every cow and then they had a fecking singsong to celebrate their rumps being pumped. 🐃🐄

This morning, all were calm and knackered, possibly hungover from the mayhem of their party.

Tonight, they’re ready for another session and are already shoulder pumping and stomping.

It’s like they’ve never seen a Moomber of the opposite sex before. And with the heat on, the bets-ies are off.

It’s like an episode of Love Fecking Island here. They’re just not quite as orange. 😂😘

Cows next door? Never a bull moment…

I am Saying Bravo and Walking into the Light Mum

Why did Coronation Street’s storyline about Aidan’s suicide get such a reaction this week?

It’s not as if we don’t all know that young men are more likely to end their lives than women. In fact, “in men, suicide is more common in people who are 15-44 years of age, and particularly in men who are 15-24 years old. In women, suicide is more common between the ages of 45 and 74. Younger women between the ages of 15 and 24 are thought to have a low risk of suicide.” (HSE)

It’s not as if we don’t KNOW that suicide has been a huge issue for many many years.

It’s not as if we don’t know that depression can affect anyone.

So why was the interweb in uproar at the episodes?

On Twitter, there was a general consensus that the writers of Corrie were being “irresponsible” as they “Should have shown him asking for help.” Another asked, “Wouldn’t it be better if he got the help he needed and got better?”

These are only two of the comments that were directed at Corrie bosses. And while yes, these would certainly have had a more palatable result of saving Aidan and making us all blub a little less into our cuppas, they wouldn’t have been quite as effective in raising the biggest taboo surrounding mental health.

And that is, that the signs are NOT always obvious; that the sufferers are NOT always open about it and that there is NO way of predicting it.

Aidan has it all. He has a business, a family who loves him, rugged good looks and respect from his friends and neighbours. And yet, viewers saw him sitting in his local, among his family and closest friends, having just rekindled a possible relationship with the love of his life, staring into the distance in what I can only describe as one of the most breath-taking and harrowing moments I have ever watched on a soap.

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He is lost, lonely, drowning in a sea of people.

And not one person noticed.

Bravo to Corrie. Hats off to the writers for reminding us that we NEVER know what someone else is going through; for frightening us to consider for a second that maybe the strong men in our lives are struggling; for highlighting that suicide doesn’t come with symptoms. And congratulations to Shayne Ward for playing the part to perfection.

I got chills watching Monday night’s episode. Tonight’s broke my heart.

We’ve all been affected by it. For those of us left behind, the biggest questions are often “How did I not know?, “What did I not see?” “Why could I not have stopped it?” And what Coronation Street has done for us this week, is to remind us that sometimes, there is NO WAY we COULD know; no way we could see and no way we could have stopped it.

Suicide is a plague. And only by continuing to keep the conversations alive can we help to challenge it. We MUST talk about the things so long kept taboo. We MUST accept depression and all mental health issues as an active part of our society. We MUST teach our young people, that suicide does not have a face. It can lurk in the minds of anyone. And we must continue to call it out. To make conversations about the darkness normal. To make it real.

Coronation Street has restarted an important conversation. This weekend, all over the world, Pieta House are working towards keeping the conversation alive. On Saturday morning, I will join my family and friends and my community for Darkness into Light.

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On 12th of May, our light will spread across the world, in over 180 venues on 4 continents – DIL/PietaHouse

We shall walk into the light to raise money for the amazing work that they do. I shall remember my own losses, cry for the losses of those I didn’t know, nod at those whose grief never leaves and stand in solidarity with everyone who is fighting to keep the conversation alive.

Only by keeping the conversation alive, can we help to keep the light on for those in the Darkness.

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