Exams over, and I have decided it is far more stressful to be the parent of a child sitting exams, than the candidate, especially when said offspring have thankfully inherited the completely laid back attitude to life their father the happy farmer has. This year my stress levels doubled as I had two teenagers putting me through my paces with their exams. I appeared to be the only one who suffered from exam stress in this house, which is a good thing, except when one teenager gets exam times totally wrong and is on the bus instead of in the actual exam. Lots of motherly flapping and the issue was soon sorted and said child was thankfully unfazed and sat the exam quite confidently, unlike mother who was a quivering heap of jelly on the floor at home. Other teenager then announces they have just realised they copied their candidate number down incorrectly on all exam papers and only realised their mistake when they could not log into their details on SQA website…more jelly wobbles and panicking, until I am reassured this is not going to affect the paper or mark. So finally the exams are over and I can pack my bag of nerves away for another year having endured lots of teasing from my laid back eldest two, who really could not work out what all of my fussing was about.
The laid back attitude continues when eldest daughter drops into the conversation as an aside remark that she has won the school’s award for Gaelic this session and will be presented with a £50.00 book token at the forthcoming awards ceremony. Truly proud mum is immediately texting nearest and dearest to spread the happy news, while eldest daughter is completely unfazed. It is a real asset that when success knocks at her door, she takes it in her stride. Her real sense of pleasure and success is not awarded by other people or how others perceive her; it comes from deep within, from a journey through her own talents and ability.
Eldest was only 7 when she decided she wanted to learn more Gaelic, having been immersed in the Gaelic culture by her Seanmhair and Seanair ( the happy farmer’s parents) who conversed in their mother tongue to my youngsters. For years she sat in the evenings with a local Gaelic tutor learning to converse in a language which inspired her. This year, not having studied Gaelic at school for a number of years, she opted to study Gaelic and sat her Higher Gaelic exam. In April I was invited to a conference at the local Gaelic college where there were children from across the island showcasing their Gaelic studies, youngsters of all ages, singing, performing and giving speeches in Gaelic. I watched with huge pride as my eldest daughter took to the stage with her peers, in front of the large assembled crowd, and gave a fluent presentation in Gaelic. It is quite something to see your own child converse comfortably in a language you know only a few garbled phrases in, and for me it was especially poignant as both her Seanair and Seanmhair have now passed on, but their mother tongue is living on through the future generations. They would have been so proud to see their granddaughter take to the platform, to know that their Gaelic heritage is being nurtured, preserved and is passing on to the younger generations. A language that is so vitally important, because locked up in the language is the humour, dialect, idioms and culture of generations of islanders, it is a language that for many years was persecuted, has struggled at times to survive and in recent years it has strengthened, and is today embedded in the present and the future of the island. My daughter now holds the key to her own island roots and heritage and for that I incredibly grateful and extremely proud.
Gle math agus slainte! (Well done and good luck).
Until next time…