Wednesday 30 May 2012

Big blazer, but a blazing success all in all...

Today was Leavers' Day - when the Upper Sixth Form leave school to start exams - and Ben managed everything OK, I am delighted to say. Photographs, buffet lunch, headmaster's speech and so on... he stayed the course.

Traditionally the Upper Sixth put on their old school uniforms on this day, and Ben was no exception. The difference is, I guess, that while many of the others have bulked out making their shirts and blazers look like the Incredible Hulk's clothes, Ben has not.

In fact in his uniform he could easily have been mistaken for a 4th or 5th former.

Like so many teenagers that have been through anorexia, Ben looks very young for his age. And because he's still at a sub-optimal weight (in my opinion), he's also very slight.

I remember buying that blazer back in the 3rd form as Ben started to bulk out into a strapping teenager, thanks to rugby and a love of food. I deliberately chose a slightly bigger size with "room to grow", because I'd heard how much teenage boys grow at this stage and no way did I want to spend £80 or so on another blazer before he reached the 6th form.

Initially the blazer was pretty huge, and Ben hated it.

"Never mind", I'd say, "You'll grow into it - and I can't afford to buy another blazer".

And the trouble was that - despite initial weight, height and muscle gain as his rugby and other sporting activities went from strength to strength - the anorexia kicked in at the end of the 4th form. So instead of growing into his blazer, he did the reverse.

By November 2009 it swamped him.

Along with this, his school jumper, trousers and shirts seemed to get bigger as he got smaller. So I had to buy smaller clothes to avoid him looking ridiculous. But I never bought a new blazer, no matter how massive it looked. Not at £80+ a shot.

I was kind of hoping that, two years since he last wore that blazer, it would fit better. Miraculously he'd have filled out and it would hang perfectly.

But it didn't. In fact it didn't look much different to how it looked last time he wore it.But, then, it always was a huge blazer...

The only difference was that the boy inside looked much healthier, with a happier expression on his face.

But it was definitely still a boy's face and distinctly different from the other sixth formers whose blazers were bursting at the seams with the sleeves half way up their arms.

But, hey, let's celebrate the fact that he went into school today, and yesterday too. And he ate with the others in the leavers' buffet and took part in the photographs.

That in itself is progress.

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