This post was written for Gratitude Friday, but the handfasting celebrations of my fabby friend and a shopping day out with Tech Guy, have postponed it – so in the spirit of the kindness I have promised myself, I present it to you now – a day late, but no less sincere!
Written on Thursday 21st June 2012
It’s 2.00am and I’m struggling to sleep. I had a phone call from Awesome Daughter Number 1 earlier this evening. She was distraught and 120 miles away. Feeling like her life’s dream is being taken away from her. From the first day she walked into primary school at the age of 4½ she has wanted to be a teacher. Her whole school life was dedicated to gaining the qualifications she needed to fulfil this dream. She qualified with flying colours and embarked on her career.
Teaching in Scotland is currently a precarious profession. There are 300 applicants for every job that comes up in Edinburgh where she qualified, but undaunted she has taken temporary posts to gain as much experience as she can. She has worked extra hours and has undertaken extra-curricular activities and yet five years after graduating she still does not have a permanent teaching post. This past year she has had a long term, temporary position at a school she likes. She loves the children and has made friends with the staff. She missed out on a permanent job last year, but thought that this year – with her experience and dedication – her time would come. But no, the jobs were given to less experienced and less dedicated teachers. And so, this evening she was on the phone breaking her heart, doubting her abilities and asking if this was the Universe telling her that she was on the wrong path. Questioning how many rejections must she take before she accepts that it’s not her interview technique, or the interviewer that’s the problem, it’s her. Not being able to follow her dream is making her ill – enough for her to consider giving it all up.
My beautiful, talented daughter feeling like there is something wrong with her – and I can do nothing to help. I can listen to her sobbing but I can’t take away her pain. So here I am. Not sleeping, feeling powerless.
The TV is on, showing a programme about Great Ormond Street Hospital – a children’s hospital in London where they embark on experimental surgery and treatments. I’m hearing about a young girl whose trachea is so narrow that she can barely breathe and babies whose rib cages are not growing so their lungs are compressed. Without surgery these children will die. With surgery they may die anyway. Their parents are having to make decisions – not about whether their children will die, but about when.
These parents are worrying about their young children. I am worrying about my adult daughter. Yesterday I was worrying about being short of money and today I am reminded of what is truly important. I am grateful for my daughters, their health and the opportunity to be there for them in whatever capacity I can be.