We are celebrating in our household today as my daughter reaches the grand age of thirteen. She’s been ‘nearly a teenager’ for so long now that it feels like a momentous occasion.
The day has induced a wave of nostalgia as we remember the little girl who used to prance about the garden collecting feathers, snail shells and pretty stones in her long dresses and wellington boots. It’s funny how things change as the years pass. We no longer put a paddling pool out in summer; the slide disappeared years ago. My day doesn’t end with clearing the floor of toys.
As a youngster she was constantly collecting something or other to view under her microscope, or conducting an experiment like mixing the toothpaste with the deodorant to see what happens. I’ll never forget the day she turned the shower head upside down so that it bounced off the ceiling like rain. The bathroom took weeks to dry out! Nowadays, she channels these experiments through her cooking and produces a plethora of culinary delights for us all to share.
It seems to me that a child’s life is full of phases which they pass through as they grow and gain independence. For some years we have not been called upon to help her with her homework, not required to help her dress or make her drinks. But she and I still read together in the evenings (novels these days instead of picture books) and she has weekly ‘cook-off’ competitions with her dad. Her current phase is for lighting scented candles – in the evenings my house twinkles like a church during Christingle and smells like the perfume counter at John Lewis.
As you know I don’t share pictures of my family online for personal reasons, so maybe I should describe her to you. She is tall and slim with the physique of a swimmer and eyelashes so long they curl back on themselves. In recent months she has become more conscious about her appearance and her long tousled flame of red hair, that has benefited from wilful neglect for so many years, is now straightened on a daily basis and coiffed into a variety of styles. Yet even though she is almost as tall as me and her manners and habits have matured, the house is still full of the same infectious chuckles that we enjoyed for so many years. Long may this continue.
Today, I dedicate this post to Ella – my girl. I couldn’t be more proud.