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Growing Up

June 28, 2007

Right now my house seems stuffed with excitable, pre-pubescent girls, friends of my daughter. Actually, there’s only two extra but it sounds like a whole tribe. I’ve retreated to another room to chill.

The girls, all of them eleven years of age, finished their primary school education today and walked out the school gates as primary pupils for the last time and into a whole new stage of life and growing up. Oooo the trauma of youthful separations.

Boy’s and girls came stumbling into the light, from the school party thrown in their honour, tears streaming down their unlined faces. Briefly, they were transformed into children again as they welcomed the embrace of their parents, (only some of whom managed to maintain their composure), before recollecting themselves, shrugging off the circling arms, (which desperately wanted to hold them in the here and now, if truth be told) and rejoining the collective hysteria.

Now is not the time to tell her that life will be a succession of such partings, instead I’m left to ponder the puzzle of where my little girl went.

I’m reading Jon McGregor’s book ‘So Many Ways to Begin’ of which more at a later date. But at lunchtime I snatched a few pages which describe the growing and maturing of the central character’s daughter, Kate. The chapter ends with David leaving her to university for the first time and his return to an empty house, where he searches the emptiness to find his wife. Thankfully I’ve a few years before anything like that happens, but this is how McGregor captured the moment, and today, I know what he’s saying:

“..He found her in Kate’s room, sitting on the end of the bed, with a pile of clothes Kate had left behind on her lap. She was folding them into neat squares, picking off long stray hairs and bobbles of lint, stacking them into a pile on the floor beside her. She barely seemed to notice him coming into the room. He kissed her on the forehead, and she smiled softly up at him.

That didn’t take very long, did it? She said.

No, it was fine, he said, the traffic was clear all the way back to the ring road. She smiled again, holding up a long blonde hair and twisting it round her finger.

That’s not what I meant, she said…” (p320)


From → Reflection

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