Image from GoogleAbout 30 years ago I decided to join a group of other mothers for a game of badminton at the local sports centre which had a creche in which we would be able to leave our babies all about 8 or 9 months old at the time. After our game we retrieved our children and mine was distraught and wouldn't let me out of her sight - I couldn't even go to the toilet without her crawling after me! So I told the other mums that I wouldn't be going next time as it was obvious to me that my first priority was to be with my child. "Oh but you must leave her in the creche" said one of them "If you don't she will be tied to your apron strings for ever". "Well so be it", I thought and for once I had the courage of my convictions even though when they were handing out maternal qualities I must have been looking the other way as I usually felt totally at sea and never had a clue what I was "supposed" to be doing, but this I did know if my daughter needed me near then that was where I would be.
Now 30 years later I am looking forward to seeing that child again after almost 2 years as my wanderer returns. I am so proud of her independent spirit and remember the day 23 months ago when we waved her off on her journey to the other side of the world alone. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done to encourage her to go when at the last minute she suffered from cold feet. "You will always regret not giving it a go" said I whilst inside I was thinking "Stay here with Mummy"!!! She has worked in hotels and bars in different places in Australia and even done some work on a cattle station where she looked after 3 children under 5 (she has never had the slightest interest in babies or small children - wonder where she got that from?!) . She spent a couple of months traveling in South America with some girl she met on her travels, Christmas and the New Year in Thailand with another crowd of friends made along the way, traveled to Sumatra and from there to Malaysia on her own, she has had to be resourceful, independent, courageous and to use her own initiative all qualities which I hope will add to her CV rather than looking as if she has been bumming about doing nothing. She will surely have a memory filled with different experiences both good and bad, a whole host of new friends made along the way and when she is old and sitting in her rocking chair I hope she will look back on these months and be glad she went.
I can't wait to see how she has changed - for such a once in a lifetime experience must surely have taught her many lessons. Her flight arrives at Gatwick tomorrow evening - Sod's Law of course that she's picked the coldest spell in ages for her return - she tells me she was able to swap some of her summer things with another girl who had winter clothes ready for a trip to China but whose plans had gone awry. She was off to buy something warmer than flip flops for her feet last I heard! Now all I can do is pray that the forecast snow doesn't arrive before she gets here as she is hiring a car from the airport and driving here alone - she wouldn't let us go and meet her.
Apron strings eh? I doubt you could find a more independent young woman even though I opted out of the badminton games!!