Yesterday was a good day.
I drove my daughter, Taylor, back to her student house to empty it of the last of her belongings and give it a good clean before handing the keys back. The journey was easy, her things fitted effortlessly into the car and the cleaning satisfied an urge in me that surfaces from time to time to restore pristine cleanliness to where once was clutter and dirt.
The University uses a credit system whereby students have a card that can be topped up with money and spent in food establishments on campus. Taylor had a few pounds left on her card so she bought a lunch for us both that had become something of a tradition for her on Thursdays when lectures had kept her on campus all day. A freshly baked baguette generously filled with brie and salad eaten in the glorious sunshine on the central piazza was a perfect reward for all the scrubbing and vacuuming.
Our final job before heading back home was to collect Taylor's results.
We all knew that a mathematics degree at a prestigious university was never going to be easy and having now experienced it, Taylor would be the first to concur. She found it extremely challenging for all sorts of reasons beyond the simply academic ones, yet she persevered. Her boyfriend did everything he could to support her (including sending her a very prickly cactus that outgrew the box it had been delivered in thus causing a few concerns about how to transport it home!) Big sister Liberty made sure she had colourful post-its and notebooks to help with revision. I did my best to encourage her without putting her under any pressure to live up to my perceived expectations. We all did what we could and so did she... but would it be enough.
Taylor's first and second year results coupled with how well (or otherwise!) the final exams had gone meant that a first class degree was not going to happen. The dream was to scrape a 2.1 but a 2.2 was a more likely outcome. A 2.2 could still open doors, just not as effectively as a 2.1. Of course, the worry was that after all her trying, all her enormous effort... she wouldn't get a 2.2. I would need all of my consolation techniques ready to deal with that particular outcome.
We walked to the maths building. We were moments away from knowing. I grabbed a coffee and waited outside as she and her friends went in to face the truth. Students were emerging from the building, mobile phones to their ears, sharing their news with anxious parents. There was jubilation. There were tears. I waited.
Taylor is a petite little thing. She was wearing dark clothing. As she emerged from the gloomy interior of the building into the bright sunlight, I saw her smile before I actually saw her. A huge, beaming smile.
A huge beaming smile followed by a thumbs up as she waved her piece of paper at me... the piece of paper with an unfathomable jumble of percentages AND the magic number... the number we had dared to hope for.
We drove home letting the good news sink in and sharing it with friends and family by the magic of text and facebook.
We celebrated with a rather unusual meal created by cooking all the partially defrosted frozen food that had been left in Taylor's uni freezer. Nobody cared how odd the meal was because Liberty arrived with a bottle of bubbly. As I toasted my daughter and sipped my drink, I could rejoice that the stress of 'not knowing' had been replaced with the joy of a fantastic result. I may have it all to go through again with the A level results, but today was most definitely a good day.