My daughter set off this morning, along with 49,999 other students to begin the great Irish rite of passage called the Leaving Certificate. These are 3-hour state exams in 8 subjects, following 2 half-hour oral exams in her two languages (Irish and French) and 2 major practicals in geography and art - she made an amazing rod puppet that was really two puppets. Findabhair has been preparing for this for an entire year, working hard, studying hard, and spending long hours in the library. Having gone through the Canadian system, I really have no concept of this barbaric and objectionable approach to education - yes, you can see how I feel about it; is it not difficult enough to be a teenager in this modern world? - but her Dad tells her that the nightmares end at around 35 years of age. She ordered a special breakfast this morning (like the condemned) - a bowl of strawberries and blueberries followed by fried tomatoes and mushrooms with toast and strong tea. As coach and mother, these are the various ways I have encouraged and supported her in the final days of this year-long ordeal:
1) hair tint
2) full body massage by the amazing Sherron
3) Rhodiola (a root extract given to soldiers on the Russian front and London medical interns)
4) Rescue Remedy
5) good luck card with 50 euro (she also received cards from grandmothers, father, and godfather)
6) exemption from all housework.
7) chocolate brownies.
It begins with one exam this morning in English. I'd say she is well able for it as, only half awake, she corrected my use of the word panacea. "Don't you mean placebo, mum?" That's my girl.
Go n'eirí an t'adh leat, a stór!