It’s often overused this phrase, frequently under inappropriate circumstances, but today it is totally right, the most befitting sentiment. For today our youngest child had his first day at sixth form college.
He’s elected to go to a new place, one where he can begin his chosen career. He wants to be an actor. That’s a ridiculous thing to say because he hasn’t chosen to be an actor, he just IS one. He’s had comic timing down to an art form since he was a foetus – truly, I mean who wouldn’t take their hat off to a small human who bounced into a family with two teenage sisters without blinking an eye? He’s always been the centre of attention so that box was ticked from day one as well.
If it’s at all possible, Toby could make a drama out of a piece of wet lettuce – and believe me when I tell you he’s done it all.
His was a mammoth thirty four hour labour, ending in an emergency C-section and costing an arm and a leg at the Matilda Hotel as the maternity hospital on Victoria Peak is known locally.
He almost lost a toe when a thread in his onesie nearly cut the circulation off at two weeks of age.
His febrile convulsions as a toddler caused unprecedented maniacal alarm the day before our first scheduled trip to the UK from Hong Kong. Other kids get ear infections and they cry a bit; Toby’s temperature spiked so fast, Usain Bolt couldn’t have caught up with it. And he kept repeating this act, just to keep us all on our toes.
He fell over in the playground at the age of two and sliced his head on a post so that he looked like he’d been acting in a slasher movie – copious amounts of blood everywhere was incredibly alarming for all to see. That one was six stitches.
Plus, he could not be kept off a hockey or rugby pitch from the earliest age… when he decided to follow in my footsteps and become a hockey goalie, we heaved a sigh of relief because at least this meant there was a layer of padding and a substantial, hard helmet between him and …. well, everything else in fact!. He’s been on first name terms with every local hospital since he first took a breath and I cannot tell you how many times I’ve thought he was just not going to make it to his next birthday, so accident prone was he as a small child.
Other people have appendicitis. Not Toby. Last April he became deathly ill and after two days of agony we carted him off to the hospital where they eventually operated on him, still unsure at the start of the operation whether or not it was appendicitis. It was in fact peritonitis as his appendix had blown itself to smithereens. Which is horrible enough under normal circumstances, but Toby had yet another trick up his sleeve – a game of hide and seek with internal organs is generally not the best of ideas. His appendix scar isn’t like everyone else’s – tucked neatly just off the left hip, about two inches in length, but lies instead from belly button to pubic bone as that was where the amazing consultant managed to finally locate the remains of his appendix.
He wasn’t quite done with the medical dramas – just before embarking on important mock exams earlier this year he managed to wrench his ankle ligaments so badly (playing hockey of course) that he couldn’t get to school for six more weeks – that he passed his exams in June is more miracle than one family has any right to even hope for, so his crop of nine good GCSE’s is testament to his intelligence and (to quote Professor McGonagall) ‘sheer dumb luck!’
So, launching into his sixth form experience, studying acting and film studies at York College is entirely the right thing for him to pursue. He’s had sixteen and a half years of training for it. I couldn’t be more sure of it, or proud of him. Go Toby!