My sisters and I grew up in Australia without an extended family. Any traditions my parents upheld with their families were displaced by the 12 000 miles distance between their upbringing and the place they had ended up raising their children.
This kind of dislocation can have strange effects on people. We were quick to establish new traditions; as my Middle Sis has pointed out, for her, anything which happened twice became a 'tradition'. We cling to roots which are painfully superficial but which are the only ones we have.
So when I was awarded a scholarship to an independent 'ladies' college in 1973, I embraced the traditions with open arms. Whilst openly bemoaning the strict uniform, daily routines and annual rituals of the Valedictory Service and Speech Night, I secretly adored being part of something so 'old' and far reaching. It was like being part of something...big. A family maybe?
Middle Sis who attended for 7 years feels pretty much the same way I venture to suggest. She has gone so far as to meet with the new Principal in order to discuss starting a chapter of the Old Scholars' Association in Europe! Which brings me to the Old Scholars' Association. Every year they offer a scholarship to the daughter of an Old Scholar who must put together an application detailing her academic achievements, her extra curricula activities and her all around good character. It represents about a third reduction in fees (not as much as the one I won in 72 *sigh*) and it is the only way we can even begin to look at the Baby Angel attending my old school.
To be honest, it's me who wants her to attend. She has been on a tour and whilst quite impressed by the facilities, remains mildly concerned that the clientele will resemble something from Hogwarts or, more worryingly, 'Daisy Pulls It Off'. I keep reminding her that, after all, I went there. She is happy in her peer group at her current school and the fees are much more affordable, but I would love her to have the opportunity to be a part of a tradition, as the second generation, something my family could not do here in this far-off sunburnt country.
Two weeks ago, as the Victorian bushfires raged and I wrestled with my own demons, she wrote an application for the scholarship. We were late of course, I suspect I am her greatest liability in that regard, but we got it in with a reference from the Bestie and another dear family friend (also an Old Girl) then we sat back and waited.
Last week we got the call. She has been shortlisted.
And so, tomorrow morning at 10 am my beloved daughter will attend an interview with the Principal of the College. She wanted me to tell you all.
("I like the affirmations of all your bloggy mums," she said. See how important you all are? :-)
How do I feel?
I am shaking my head here.
On the one hand I am so proud of her. I think she is an exceptional young person, full of love and sensitivity, life, humour and amazing perception for one so young. On the other hand I know she is an inarticulate 13 year old whose every second word is 'like'...
("So then she's like 'duh-oh' and he's like 'gimme a break' and I'm like....")
I hate to be setting her up for failure. She is not a sophisticated kid. She is not calm and assured in company. She doubts herself. Hell, she doesn't even know herself yet and why should she?!
Yes, I would love for her to go to my old school, but equally I know she will find her own way. If she gets it I will be bursting with pride but then, I do that most of the time anyway.
In the end, whatever will be will be. The fact that we can't look at sending her there without a scholarship means that the decision is really out of our hands. I am sure the Lord will place her where she will do best.
Whatever happens I remain fiercely priveleged to have her.
After all, doesn't this look like a scholarship winner to you?