I spent last week doing something I thought I’d never do again. I was in a college, surrounded by students and working away building a model, with my daughter, my brother and her friends, for an architecture degree finals. In the background, the sound of Bob Marley and Eric Clapton serenaded me like old friends.
I now realise why, as a student, I never really noticed how “bad” things were in the 1980’s. Students don’t listen to the news or watch TV or concern themselves with ‘current affairs’. They work, listen to music, chat to each other and focus on the next thing they have to do. Looking back, that was exactly how I was in college too and I’m guessing all of my contemporaries were pretty much the same.
There was a calmness about the whole experience, even though I had literally dropped my life and all its pressing and urgent tasks. And naturally a small amount of drama arose whenever construction work didn’t always go according to plan, which was quite often. The college is in a small town which still has some quaint features – the most remarkable of which is the lack of credit card facilities in most restaurants and even at the hotel we were staying in. This is 21st century Switzerland with a 1970’s twist.
I’m so glad I did abandon my life to help her through this stage of hers – and as I type, Barry is with her celebrating her final critique earlier today, which went very well. I’ll never know if it was all the 2mm fences or the 350mm trees I glued in last week that made her models stand out – but I’d like to think that all that work with tweezers, rulers and craft knives helped.
All we can do for our children sometimes is stand and watch – other times we can roll up the sleeves and help. And as it turns out, it’s quite possible that I have changed my life more than I changed hers.