I am stocking the larder with tinned food and making sure we have enough bottled water and chocolate hob nobs to see us through the summer. And before you ask, no, I am not a gun toting, beard wearing, soup hoarding, prepper. This is something I do every year. I hide from all other parents, grandparents and godparents during the silly season or as some call it, 'exam results time.'
My first came yesterday and frankly, caught me off guard. As I rummaged in my basket, trying to plonk my items on the conveyor belt as fast as Robochekout lady could scan them. The woman behind me with the smug grin and a celebratory bottle of Blue Nun in her hand, started a conversation, 'Oh I'm glad that you've gone first, it gives me a chance to try and remember the item I forgot.' I smiled, politely, nodded and replied, 'Oh I always do that, think it's my age!' I don't believe the 'g' of 'age' was past my lips when she drew breath, 'talking of firsts, my son just got his results, his degree, a first!' she then beamed like I'd presented her with a runner up sash at the Miss Clever Boy Breeder Pageant. 'Congratulations!' I offered as though it was she that had toiled over text books through the fug of a hangover and lived off Pot Noodles for three years. She then, as I knew she would, proceeded to tell me of her son's plans for world domination starting with a gap year where he will travel to Australia and Thailand. Good for him.
Last year, I think my favourite mother-wanting-to-share-news was to be found in Curry's, I wandered the aisle looking for batteries and spied the lady, hovering, patiently by the wide screen TV's. She caught my eye we exchanged smiles and bang! She practically shouted at me, whilst pointing at the screen, 'Oh BBC!' I gave a small nod. She wasn't done. 'Reminds me of my son's A level results, which he has just received, CCB - he's off to Bognor Regis University to study Visual and Performing arts. After a gap year of course, when he will travel to Australia and Thailand.' She too looked like she wanted a sash. Good for him.
There is only one type of parent worse than the aforementioned and that is the parents of the clever kids who go to the same school as yours. The one's who know your child has lagged thirty one places behind their child in a class of thirty two for their entire academic life, and who grin as they tell you of Jemima's desire to study the law and discover a cure for cancer while feeding the world's poor, after a gap year of course, where she will travel to, oh what the heck, you know where she's travelling to. Good for her.
I tend to stutter and blush as I bow in deference to their superior achievement that of being able to pop out children who want to learn and don't spend the entire lesson, trying to construct the Bat Mobile out of paperclips. I squirm while recalling the earlier screaming match with my son, suggesting he gets his Primark chino's up Greggs for an application form, instead of going to Newquay with 'Joe the stoner' for a fortnight to stay in his aunties caravan.
Okay, I admit, I'm jealous. Not that I would swap either of my kids for the world, but oh just for once to be able to be the type of parent that can boast about the shelf they have had erected in the study, on which to display their offspring's many trophies, cups and medals, celebrating everything from their verse speaking prowess to athleticism. What do I have? A certificate on the fridge that came from a Pokémon tournament my son attended when he was six. It's written in Japanese and says that he was a 'participant' but if any non-Japanese speakers come into the kitchen, I translate it as 'Pokémon Master.' If that fails to impress, I casually reach for the Bat Mobile and stand grinning, as if to say, where's my sash?