Parenting is difficult, isn’t it? You become responsible for an actual juvenile human and have the privilege of guiding them towards adulthood. This is a protracted experience for all involved, and while there are some painful points along the way I have experienced more joy in these last ten years than I ever hoped for.
Ten years! It’s hard to imagine that only ten years ago we had a (slightly hefty) beautiful baby. In that time we’ve watched her grow from the curious, mostly quiet little girl into something more fierce. Still curious, still loving, still full of empathy but with an emerging, confident personality and a sense of humour that is often silly but always funny. Her sense of justice is a wonder – fairness is a core part of her.
She’s started talking about boys with her best friend in the back of the car while I pretend not to be listening. Girls too. There’s a lot of giggling and whispering about stuff I really don’t need to be hearing.
She’s approaching her teens rapidly but still believes in fairies and Santa Claus. We don’t quite know how long this is going to last, but her imagination runs riot at this time of year and it seems unkind to interrupt her. I’ve signed her up for some letters from the North Pole by the International Elf Service – they are wonderful! The sheer excitement and joy we see when she finds a letter from the Elves is just fantastic. How could I tell her the truth?
She is growing up fast and there’s no stopping her. A part of me misses the little girl who wanted cuddles all the time, with her curly hair and cute, mispronounced words. Those were simpler times. Now we have someone with opinions and occasional, unpredictable moods. Still loving, curious and funny – just differently presented and far more complicated.
Some of the time we are not so sure what to do, but we do know that we love her even more now that time has moved on. She is wonderful, and a pain in the arse. More the former than the latter. We are yet to see the full consequences of the onset of puberty: this terrifies me. We will be fine, but I expect some shouting and slamming of doors.
Ruby: do grow up but allow me the fantasy of this song. In my mind you will always be that little girl that loved her cuddles. We still love our cuddles and you will always be able to snuggle in with me on the sofa, whenever you want. Always be that little girl sometimes, wherever your growing up takes you.
I love you
This post inspired by this song released by Shaun Dooley and the Grimethorpe Colliery Band. It’s for Children in Need and is a cover of a Taylor Swift song. Buy it