Today sees me feeling both thankful and sad at the same time, over the same thing. I am always thankful that I chose to remove DD2 from school for her final year as the bullying she was being subjected to had gotten to a stage where she was being physically hurt on a regular basis and the school refused to take appropriate action. I remain thankful that I decided against sending DS to secondary school for the same reasons I removed DD2 - I had lost all faith in the school system.
I have just been looking at my friend's daughter's pictures from her last day of school (they only go in for exams now in year 11) and her prom night and it saddens me that DD2 never got that experience. I have seen a few pics over the last few years of prom night and last day of school and to be fair the majority of those happy souls are the popular kids.
I don't want to sound like I am kid bashing here, but mostly these experiences are savoured by the skinny girls, the ones who love the hair, make-up and fashion. Those girls who are so pretty and popular that bullies just seem to pass them by. In fact a huge chunk of this group are bullies - some things never change. When I was at school this was the case, when DD1 was in school (and she went all the way from reception class to sixth form) this was the case, DD2 never fit in as she wears glasses, isn't skinny and has dyspraxia and it still goes on like that now.
DD2 never felt like she missed out on the whole prom, last day thing as she was so traumatised by those girls and boys in her year group that all she wanted to do was move on from them. But that makes me feel a little sad that something we now class as a rite of passage was never experienced by my daughter because she had to be removed from school for her own safety.
I then begin to hear tales of a small fortune being spent on prom dresses and accessories and shoes and make-up and hair dos, not to mention the demand for a new outfit - and shoes and accessories and hair and make-up - for the last day of school and I feel thankful that I haven't had this pressure. DD1's year group were the first to do the whole not wearing uniform on the last day at the school she attended, so they were told to wear something smart. In five years it seems to have gone from wearing something smart to a no expense spared in the outfit stakes.
DD1 didn't want to go to her prom, she said all of the "plastics" were being ridiculous over it and that was putting her off. A plastic is a girl so obsessed with hair, make-up, her appearance, that her whole life revolves around it.
So I have never been a stressed out mother doing the hair-tearing over prom night. I have never felt the need to buy my kids anything so expensive that it takes me months to pay back the money I would have had to borrow. Smartly dressed doesn't mean a fortune on new clothes and everything that goes with that.
Yep, I am most definitely thankful today that I am not going through that kind of pressure.