It’s finally happened. On Friday I graduated. A diploma of higher education that I began in 2012 before I got married. Then in 2014 after having a baby, I decided to continue on into a degree. Has now finally culminated in a Batchelor of Science in Veterinary Nursing with advanced standing.
Being a technically ‘mature’ student, I graduated with my family alongside me. Now I’m happy that my little piggies got to witness this milestone in my life. In my mind it was important that they were there to witness their mother graduate. To see the rewards and fruits of labour that hard work allows you to earn. The reality of this was very very different.
It began on a Thursday night, I had booked us all a Premier Inn for the duration of our stay. Premier Inns although not a five star retreat have the advantage of being reasonably priced, and that no matter where you go, this hotel chain has clean if not simple rooms, hot showers and a breakfast in the Brewers Fayre next door. My plan was that we would drive up the three hour journey the night before graduating. That way we would all be rested in the morning and have somewhere to get ready.
Now we made the journey just fine. Both of my little pigs slept during the drive northwards. My eldest went from the car to the hotel bed just fine and by some miracle slept through her sisters complaints later. My youngest little pigs transfer from the car to the hotel did not go so well. Three hours sleep in her mind was more than enough of a catnap to now mean that she didn’t need to go back to sleep.
Four hours later, one monumental tantrum (I am so sorry to the people above and next-door to us) but at two in the morning sleep reclaimed this stubborn little piggy. Six o’clock arrived, and up my hubby and I got up not so rested and refreshed. The little pigs had the cheek to be sound asleep still, my youngest little pigs face bearing an angelic expression in her slumber. I let them sleep as long as possible taking the time to have everyones outfits ready. We left on time, everyone dressed, breakfasted and looking very smart. I began to feel more positive about the day.
We arrive at Harper Adams University. A modern university (but old college) that seems to be making waves in the academic world, winning awards after awards for its academic contributions and achievements. The little pigs almost sensing the day ahead of them begin their whining and whingeing immediately. I almost begin to feel sorry for my husband as I grasped their mood and therefore what the day would bring……not so sorry that I don’t abandon them all to get on with it while I went to collect my cap and gown.
My eldest little pig’s look of astonishment at mummy’s strange get up made me smile. My youngest was too concerned with her protests at captivity in a pram to notice mummy wearing something different. We attempted a quick snap before I had to take my seat with the other graduands, while my family took theirs with the rest of the guests.
After an hour the graduation ceremony closed, despite my straining ears to listen I had heard nothing more than the occasional babble. I was relieved that I had neither heard or watched one or both of my screaming little pigs, removed from the marquee. I even got to shake hands with Cat the Vet. A well known blogger in the veterinary world who was the University’s guest of honour presenting our degrees. I had now gone from a graduand to a graduate.
I finally reunited with my family. To find my husband with the beginnings of a manic glint in his eye. His tie had been clearly retied, his shirt untucked and the very distinct shine of bogey wipings on his suit. Both the little pigs had upped their whinging and whining levels to new heights and clearly being made to sit relatively still and quiet, had taken its toll on everybody. I recognised this glint in my husbands eye. I’ve seen it before in the mirror and in other parents eyes. It was the look of somebody who has had minimal sleep and their kids have pushed them to the end of their tether.
My youngest was minus her shoes and socks as usual, she is after all part feral and her miniature pigtails were on the way out. My eldest although still dressed kept feeling the need to try and pull her skirt over her head.
Realising that I was reaching my time limit with everybody involved. I suggested that I collect my certificate, get a quick photo snapped and we head back to the hotel. Hoping in my mind that both of the little pigs might nap. Certificate collected and the little pigs still a volatile mix of tired and bored, I headed for what I hoped would be a nice family portrait to capture my achievement with my loved ones. I had barely entered the tent, before making a swift exit amid wailing and shouting.
Coming to the conclusion that it was futile to pay £57 for a photo that everybody is crying in (not just the kids). I settled for a DIY snap of all of us, that didn’t work so we ended up accosting a passer by. We managed to get a semi-respectable snap of all of us before my eldest’s skirt was again ended up over her head. My husband’s shirt was kicked again untucked my youngest’s most recent tantrum, but we are all there smiling and stood there for the snapshot of the day.
We made it and although they might not appreciate it now. I’m hoping when they’re older they will see this and it can show them what hard work can achieve, even if its not through the conventional route. Back at the hotel, it was clear that nobody was napping. As I was becoming more certain by the minute that if we stayed in these little four walls a parent was going to well and truly lose their…………. That is how we all ended up in soft play.
I went from a gown and cap in a nice dress and heels, bogey smears free (can’t say the same for my husband). To jeans and t-shirt chasing my little pigs round a soft play unit for three hours plus. But it worked, it brought back the day and the rest of the weekend was spent visiting family and friends. My favourite past time.
So that is it for now.
Speak to you soon.
Wishing you well.
Stay At Home Piggy BSc
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