Oh to be Thirteen Again

It’s been a strange day. I got up early, and after having a shower and getting dressed, noodled around with this and that around the house – putting things away, emptying the dishwasher, putting a load in the washing machine – the usual morning chores.

While folding clothes in the lounge, Miss 13 appeared in the doorway in her pajamas.

“Can I go to a sleep-over at my friend’s house tonight?”

“And how are you going to get there?”

“I can go on my own ?”

The friend in question was live in a video chat on the phone in my daughter’s hand, and she lives about ten miles away – the other side of a nearby town. Miss 13 has never made the journey on her own before.

“I’m busy doing this at the moment.”

This is of course the classic “avoid the question” tactic, but Miss 13 was not about to be defeated. I heard her feet stomping up the stairs towards my other half, who hadn’t got up yet. Ten minutes later – while sitting in the study with a coffee, squinting at emails that had arrived overnight, my other half arrived in the doorway in her pajamas.

“What do you think?”

“I don’t know”

The fact that I was being asked the question meant that “we” were not comfortable with her traveling on her own. Of course I say “we”, but we know how that works – where your other half suggests a problem to you, and you know damn well you just lost your Saturday morning. Not that I was doing anything of course – but still.

Half an hour later I found myself sitting next to Miss 13 on the bus, wondering how these things happen to me. We arrived in town a little early, so busied ourselves with a look around a nearby bookshop while waiting for her friend to arrive. After being asked what the time was for the fiftieth time in five minutes, I caved.

“Come on then – lets go find your friend.”

They had arranged to meet at the bus station. As we turned the final corner towards the station, five minutes early, Miss 13 broke into a run – and a girl wearing a white winter coat in the distance also broke into a run. I couldn’t help smiling, and called home to announce the safe transit of our daughter into the care of her friend and her family.

Oh to be 13 again, and have no more worries in the world than being allowed to spend time with your friends.

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