My Daughter graduates from Durham University soon and convention tells me I should be looking forward to celebrating with her, but I’m not feeling it, if anything I feel a little awkward about the whole graduation deal. It’s not that I’m not proud of her achievement, I certainly am.
My Daughter has always been bright, she sailed through school and it was clear for an early age she could go on to achieve anything she wanted academically. She made her choice, went for it, and is now about to receive her well deserved reward.
In contrast my sons are dyslexic and struggled through school, their confidence knocked at every turn as their peers left them behind. I still recall the feelings of pride and relief when one in particular picked up a book and read for pleasure for the first time, long after his classmates. This achievement went almost unnoticed by the rest of the world. There were no certificates, presentations, parties, caps or gowns. But to me this was just as great as any degree my Daughter may have earned.
I don’t want to belittle my daughters’ success. I’m as proud of her now as I was of my son when he learnt to read. Each has had to overcome difficulties on their respective journeys and my Daughter hasn’t had an easy time. She’s done very well to achieve this goal. I just find it hard to embrace the celebration because it feels so unfair that my sons’ achievements were not celebrated or recognised in the same way.
Come the allotted day we shall take our seats in Durham Cathedral and my chest will swell with pride as she steps up and receives her degree. Her brother will be there too, sat on his own somewhere behind us because only the parents get to sit up front. But I’ll be thinking of him too, and my chest will swell still further.