Growing Up

Not a weekly ‘do something new’ one today, but a thoughtful post about growing up.

On Sunday my eldest goes away for a week, out of the country. On Wednesday she turns 13.

She’s worried about going – the journey and the being away from home for so long – but underneath all that she’s excited and I know she’ll love the opportunities she’s about to be part of. I’m going to struggle with this way more than she will.

When we agreed and booked it over a year ago this ‘birthday while away from home’ thing seemed fine. I’d put a few cards and presents in her luggage and we will Facetime on the day. The opportunity to see the world and do new things far outweighing anything else.

Now it’s nearly here I’m finding it tough. I’m sad that I won’t be able to hug her and kiss her beautiful face when she turns into a teenager. Fortunately with T there’s no need to be concerned in a ‘Kevin and Perry’ sort of way – she’ll come back just as she left and tell us all about everything – but it feels like a big moment for us to miss.

It makes you think, the idea of our babies becoming teenagers.  I know she is growing up is changing all the time and is destined to change way more in the coming months and years. I get that she won’t be the child who chooses to spend time with her family over most things for ever, but I hold on to the fact that she talks to me – tells me what’s going on in her life, and asks me questions about growing up. Hopefully that will mean she’ll carry on talking to me to some extent – I’ll be here when she wants to.

I know you aren’t supposed to do this on social media, but I’m taking a moment to be allowed to be publicly proud of who she is right now. She’s amazing right this minute and we’ll be there as she becomes the amazing person she’s going to be.

For now I will go to work on Wednesday, sing Happy Birthday over the phone and have a little cry when we hang up. She will throw herself into every activity on offer (just like every day) and be treated to cards and cake by the children and adults going with her.

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13 years we’ve been learning this parenting lark. It seems like a long time, but of course it isn’t – we’ve a lifetime to go of getting stuff wrong and occasionally right. But you do need to stop and reflect sometimes. We always stand in the garden in April listening to the woodpecker, remembering how we felt just before she arrived. On Wednesday I’ll remember her appearance in the world for a moment, send her love from afar and squeeze her sister double the usual amount. On the following Sunday she’ll be home.

 

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