Reilly turned 11 today. He is just the sweetest boy I know. Jack is the great achiever but Reilly is the one with the heart of gold. He is a very easy, undemanding child with a very gentle nature.
We started the morning slightly earlier than usual so that he could open his presents before school. We had ordered his present online weeks ago from www.gonedigging.co.uk. It was a history of Manchester United compiled from newspaper articles over the course of the club's existence from inception to present day. Hardbound in a leather-look cover with his name embossed on the front & a personalised inscription inside (we e mailed that to them).
We were slightly concerned last week that it had not arrived so Shane tracked it, only to discover it had been sent to Australia!!! After much ado the company remade the book for him & agreed to courier it to us. It arrived yesterday, needless to say, to our great relief! I went out yesterday with Jack (I needed his knowledge) & bought Reilly a few little extras "from his siblings" so he was very happy with his gift & all his tidbits. Chelsea, Cami, Reilly & myself went out for "lunch" today after school (3p.m) as soon as I collected them, then came home to get the homework done. As soon as Shane arrived home from work at 6p.m. we had to head out again to Jack's school for their Performing Arts Competition, in which Jack was taking part.
It feels like the term has only really just started (they've been back about a month) & Jack is at a new school (High School) with none of his friends from Junior School, because we chose to send him to a school out of our area, without any of his peers (long reason for that). It has been a whole new ball-game for Jack at a massive school, steeped in over a century of tradition, with very strict rules, where he is back at the bottom of the pile again as a Junior. Not only is he excelling in the cricket & tennis teams, but he is doing wonderfully well academically & socially too. He has made firm friends almost instantaneously & taken to High School like a duck to water.
To say that I was concerned about how he would fare this year would be an understatement. I was beside myself with worry as to how I may permanently damage him by prizing him away from his peers yet again, as we had done the same thing 3 years ago when we moved here, & it took him at least a year to recover. My fears were totally unfounded & we now know that we definitely made the right decision in our choice of school for him, as he is flourishing. Without any prompting from us at all Jack entered himself (one out of three grade 8s participated out of 189 boys in the grade) into the Performing Arts Competition. He decided he would be singing a solo, downloaded his song of choice onto a disk (God Bless the Broken Road) rehearsed at school & performed tonight to a hall packed full of people.
I had no idea about the calibre of the boys performing tonight & was blown away by the talent, commitment to obvious rehearsal, creative genius (a lot of the boys wrote their own pieces) & sheer guts involved. I was absolutely awe-struck tonight. Seriously impressed & entertained. I just loved my evening. When Jack took to the stage he was the smallest boy there, in age & stature, & his voice the only one not yet broken. His voice was weak by comparison to the older boys, who had deep voices & have had voice training lessons, but, standing there in the spotlight, my little boy was so brave that I just wanted to cry. He has the voice of an angel & was selected to join the Drakensberg Boys Choir School here, which is a very prestigious honour, as their choir is world-reknowned. We turned them down because he would have had to board & they focus mainly on their singing & not on sport, which is Jack's true passion.
Tonight I was overwhelmed with pride for Jack, who left home today at 6.45, went straight from school to cricket, showered at school afterwards & went straight to rehearsal then on to the show, & arrived back home tonight at 10p.m. All that at 13. I couldn't have stood in front of all those people & sung my little heart out (complete with actions mind you!!!). There was a bunch of girls behind us who all looked about 16, that were saying how cute he was & I just wanted to turn around & say "that's my boy..." This is probably all sounding really sickly, but it was a major moment in my life & one I will never forget.
We let the kids stay up until we got home (because it was Reilly's birthday) & there was a football match he really wanted to watch. It's been a very long day for us all but a truly satisfying one. I've been tagged by Shayne so hopefully I'll have some time tomorrow to play along.
Goodnight all ;-)