today my daughter is returning from holiday, she has had a week in the sunshine, they have swam and danced and laughed a lot, no doubt she will be bronzed and healthy looking when we pick her up from the airport later. Another thing I am in not in doubt about is that she will be fed up to be back at home. I think this girl is destined to live her life in sunny climes, and to come home to a soggy wet June afternoon will not suit her at all.
Wondering, as you do when you are a Mum, just what will make her happy I am remembering how she was last year living in the sunshine, how she seemed much more of herself and how much the environment we live in affects us all. Hopefully she will find her happy place and live there, but in the meantime we will be dealing with homesick blues, at least until she settles back into the routine of everyday life.
At her age I was living in a student house with very little cares or worries. I was having fun living in the city and never thinking of tomorrow. I had just had my own adventure, hitching rides across Europe and seeing places and meeting people I could never have imagined. When I look back on those happy times I realise that that was probably the last time in my life I was free from worry or care. Soon after things began to change and within six years I had a family of my own and was dealing with poorly and dying parents. I can clearly feel the person I was back then, and wish I could have held onto the freedom a bit longer.
The house I shared was minutes away from the city centre where there were bands to see, boys to meet and dancing to be done. My housemates were funny clever people, all from very different backgrounds to me and we rubbed along well. We had a rota for chores and a communal shopping list, we laughed a lot back in the day. Money was scarce, we had none really, student grants were limited and none of us worked. Studying happened infrequently and mainly the days were full of adventure, taking washing to the bag wash, buying cheap bacon bits from Tesco and raiding the phone money box to buy beer. Simple stuff, parties and friends and absolutely no responsibility at all.
The memories from those days carried me through a lot of my adult life. They also informed my parenting. I understand the need to try new things, to live a bit dangerously and to make your own mistakes. I had to fight my parents for every bit of freedom I grabbed back when I was young. They believed in being responsible, in settling down and in being safe Things I never could imagine wanting to do.
The irony is that once they had gone, I became that safe, responsible person, who worked hard, brought up a family and who, every now and again, would remember the freedom of the past. It has taken almost forty years for the circle to move around, and although I still have worries and cares, of course I do, I have children and now a granddaughter to worry about, now I am starting to be free again.
I am not planning to recreate the past, for the past is gone, but I am hoping to get back the feelings. I hope that I will be able to spend time in the places that make me happy, with people that are fun and I will laugh a lot. You see it is still me, I am still here, I have been hiding under a cloak of responsibility for a long time, dealing with the real life of growing a family, that job is almost done, I am about to shake off the cloak and start to be me again, because really I haven’t changed at all.