Happy travels

So today feels like a momentus one as I’ve just waved Julia (aged 13) off at Heathrow airport. She is flying solo for the first time – off to see her Uncle John and Aunt Berenice in Toulouse, France.

I’m so proud of my (no longer so) little girl. In so many ways I feel like I’m jogging besides her express train, trying to keep up. She is maturing fast and it’s important for me to honour that whilst at the same time making sure she has everything she needs to be safe and informed.

I love this installation I just spotted in Heathrow’s terminal 5 – a timely reminder of what Julia is doing and the whole new vistas opening up for all our family.

A whole new ball-game

On Saturday my daughter becomes a teenager and today, as if in anticipation of that great event, we had to have our first ever serious heart-to-heart.

It’s a humbling thing watching your children grow and blossom into their own people, and not without its own sadness too. Once upon a time this young lady was my “little girl”, so cute, so delightful and, I hate to say it, but… so amenable. Gone are the days when she will take me at my word and obey without too much of a fuss!

It turns out Julia has had her own idea about how things should go with her life for a few weeks now and that’s led to the need for our heart-to-heart today. Julia is making a break for her independance and although my first instinct was to mete out punishment for her misdemeanours I’m glad to say I checked myself and decided to get advice from my oldest sister who’s been here before. Good move. Thanks Caroline!

With Caroline’s help I saw that I had created the situation somewhat by holding on too tightly to Julia – so much so that she resorted to cloak-and-dagger behaviour under the assumption that I wouldn’t listen to her needs. Hmmm. I talked to Julia about this, this afternoon and it went very well. She has accepted (even welcomed) the consequences of her actions (pocket money taken away etc.) but I have also promised her that I will make myself more available to listen in future so that she doesn’t feel she has to go behind my back.

Gosh, that was scary there for a minute! I realised that I’d found myself in a different room in Julia’s castle and I wasn’t prepared for the change of scene at all. Teenage-hood. A whole different game! I welcome it, but I’m clear I’ve got a lot to learn and I really couldn’t have a better teacher than my wonderful daughter, Julia.