I have a word, but I don't know how to spell it! It's quite a primal sounding word, that suggests horror and fear and heartbreak. It's something like ... uuuugggh. And it describes the feeling that I felt half an hour ago when I left Thomas at the college round the corner from our house. Thomas is only 6, and really a little young to be going to college (though I'm sure he's brighter than a lot of students that I've seen milling around there!) - I've packed him off to the half-term sports club. He looked up at me at one point with tears in his eyes and a wobble on his chin, and said in a tiny whisper 'I don't want to stay here.' Uuuuuuugggh! It was all I could do to stop myself from whisking him out of there and bringing him home for some toast and hot chocolate and some DVDs and cuddles on the couch!! But I steeled myself, and told him, in a very kindly way, that he would be fine, that he would have fun, that he would regret it if he didn't at least give it a try. And all these things are true, of course. So he stayed, and he looked happy and gave me a thumbs up as I was leaving. He's a confident little lad, and I know he will do much better than I ever did in those situations. When I was about 9, I was taken, with my flute, to play in an orchestra for a day - it was like a little musical workshop I suppose, with children from all over the district. I was nervous as hell, and when the opportunity arose about ten minutes into the morning session, I bolted through the open door and almost made it right out of the building. My own music teacher was there however, and stopped me and brought me back inside. I spent the whole day fudging my way through pieces of music that were far too advanced for me, and was thoroughly miserable. But I regret my attitude enormously - I wish I could have had more gumption, and could have just got on with it and learnt something that day. Well, I did learn that being shy is a right pain in the backside - but I didn't get over it for another thirteen years or so! I have now been unshy for ten years :D Thomas is not at all like me, and he can do anything he wants to do.
Here is Thomas. He's ace. He's brave enough to go to school with pink hair on Breast Cancer Awareness Mufti Day!!! He's brave enough to go to school with a High School Musical lunchbox. Yeah, he gets laughed at for some of the things he does, but he's never discouraged, he dances to his own beat and doesn't care what anyone else thinks. How cool is that?! I'm so proud of him, every day.
Off to do a bit of writing while the house is empty :)