Growing Up

After arriving home from work a little early with a streaming cold, making myself a cup of tea, and slumping down on the couch in the living room, our youngest daughter appeared, resplendent in glittery black tights, a sequined skort, a nerdy t-shirt, a black blazer, and her hair tied up in braids. She never has her hair tied up. She’s always been the surfer dude.

She stopped, and looked straight at me. Ok. I should be noticing something. What am I not noticing? It rapidly transpired that she was wearing the faintest trace of eyeliner, mascara, and lip-gloss – expertly applied by Mum.

That’s when I remembered.”Are you off to the school disco then ?”She nodded. Apparently she was scared to move her mouth, because something might happen to the lip gloss. Moments later my other half appeared, and I somehow agreed to put my coat and shoes back on, and walk up to the school with her.

As we walked along the street from our house, she held my hand, looked up at me, and said “Do I look like a grown up girl Dad?””Yes, yes you do.”We talked about all sorts of things on the ten minute walk to school – what music they might have at the Disco, who would be there, and how surprised the teachers/chaperons might be to see her looking so different.

As we approached the school, we came upon other parents dropping their children off, or walking with them to the gates as we were. Then the strangest thing happened… she let go of my hand.

It sounds silly, but that tiny act seemed huge for a few seconds. Like the hands of some invisible clock ticked forwards, and relegated the way we were to the past.

I bumped into another parent on the way home, and mentioned what had happened. She laughed – “you did well to make it to 10 years old!”… 

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