Remember how it was on your child's first day at 'big school'? A small child in an over-large, brand new school uniform. New shoes shiny and unscuffed. Sports bag with crisp folded sports kit, sports shoes without a micro-gram of mud. En route to a kind of Utopia High School where everyone is friendly and bright, excelling at sport and great at music. And in this Utopian setting your child would thrive on every level. It may only be Day One but in your imagination he's already Head Boy - a handsome, strapping 18 year old admired and respected by staff and pupils alike, a star of the rugby team and an ace at cricket. He'll emerge with a string of A star qualifications, be snapped up by the best universities and come out with a brilliant degree before embarking on a fabulous career and family life...
That was me, 7 years ago, dreaming as the school bus carried Ben to school for his first day.
Thankfully he had 4 good years at school before the one outcome I could never have dreamed of stole 2 whole years out of my son's school life.
This time last year I wasn't dreaming; I was full of dread and apprehension as he attempted to return to school after a nightmarish year where we ended up removing him from school completely. And although the 2010-11 year wasn't as bad, he still ended up being absent for much of the academic year as his anxiety reached new heights.
So what will happen tomorrow as Ben begins his last ever year at school?
I honestly don't know.
Thankfully, though, I'm not feeling dread or apprehension this time round because I know we can cope with the outcome, whatever it is.
And if I'm dreaming of anything, it isn't that Ben will excel academically or on the sports field; it's purely and simply that his last year at school will be OK - and that he'll re-integrate successfully with his friends and become happy and well.
Who gives a damn about qualifications, taking the lead in the school play or wearing a Head Boy's badge? In my mind, by facing his anorexia head on and refusing to give in to it, he has already achieved something far, far superior to anything he could have achieved at school. Exams can always be re-sat. University can be entered as a mature student - or not at all, if that's his wish. Instead, let's focus on the things that REALLY matter this year like full recovery in every area of his life.