There is an image from the past week that I just cannot shake. It's Marion Kelly kicking open that door when her dad had a really important Skype call. She kicks open that door and she marches in like an absolute boss. She OWNS that room and I love her for it. It is just brilliant.
I remember holding my daughter when she was minutes old and being really relieved the pregnancy part of this was finished. I looked down at her and she had these huge pink lips and the next thing I felt was that over-whelming rush of love and I've had it ever since. Fifteen years I've had it now and with each obstacle we overcome together, the love grows. I thought as soon as they were out of nappies it might get a little easier but mothering a teenager is exhausting. The highs and the lows + hormones + exams = trauma.
She will often come home and talk me through a tough day at school when "she said this" and "he said that" and with the glorious benefit of age, I see a little glimpse of me at that age - over-thinking, over-analysing and feeling everything way too intensely. It positions me perfectly to talk her off the ledge but I really feel for her. I want her to just march on through like Marion. When do we lose the care-free abandon of Marion?
The stress of the first day at school and new friends and arguments with friends - it all wears you down. My role to is build her up and make her feel good about herself, despite being bombarded with images of your Kylie Jenner's - multi-millionaires at 18 - pulling duck-faces and selling over-priced lip glosses. I used to go down Boots and pick up some god-awful pink, frosted shimmer gloss for a couple of quid and whack that on. She sends away to America for a $30 celebrity endorsed product.
The period conversation went well too. "So actually EVERY SINGLE MONTH mummy?"
Yes, baby. Every single month. It's also best not to wear white trousers a week before or after. Only Liz Hurley can get away with that and she's not real. I think she understands now why sometimes women can be a little grumpy at this time of the month. No bloody wonder with the stress of that hanging around. One of the toughest things about being a mother is that you can't take this crap away from them and do it yourself. I don't want any of my kids to feel the hurt of not being invited to a party all their friends are at, or falling over and grazing their knee and getting a wee bit of dirt in it that has to be washed out and it HURTS. I want to remove that but I can't. I didn't know I too would feel a physical ache when they are in pain but I do.
With her usual sensitivity and candour my daughter said: "I feel really bad that some women have to go through this every month and then can't have a baby at the end of it." I suppose I have to be pleased that her empathy is developing alongside her experiences.
My end goal is to get her marching like Marion.