Thursday, 24 February 2011

Highs And Lows

Isn’t it funny how you can feel so proud one moment and then desperately disappointed the next ?

My daughter is my pride and joy.

She is very like me in that she uses her charm and wit to get by rather than any great intellect. She’s very easy to get along with and is popular amongst her friends. She likes to party and she is fun to be with but unlike me, she is NOT a flirt.

I marvel at how she just converses with the opposite sex without all the flicking of hair and ridiculous pouting that I habitually resort to, even at this stage of my life. She doesn’t need the approval or admiration of men to validate her existence.

Over the years, she has mocked me when I have warned her not to let men have any power over her and to always stay in control . She calls me a man-hater and laughs when tell her I don’t want to see her hurt or heartbroken

She never really had a serious boyfriend. She was sort of seeing the vicar’s son – a painfully shy boy called Huw. He brought out the worst in me as I would often burst in on them in the sitting room and watch him spring away from her as he then went beetroot red. I couldn’t help it – it amused me greatly! Almost as much as walking round the house singing “the only one who could ever move me, was the son of a preacher man” at the top of my voice. She told me I was cruel …..but very funny, and that she knew full well I was just trying to stop her getting too involved.

Since September though, she has been seeing Freddie. He was in the year above her at school and now he’s in his second year at university in London – studying maths. They were always great friends and then it suddenly became something more.

And this time it’s different.

They have become very close, very quickly. He is lovely – everything you could wish for in a boyfriend for your precious daughter. He’s tall, good-looking, kind, clever, affectionate, supportive, caring and he’s always very polite to us. To be honest, I’m a bit in awe of him and I don’t want to ruin what could be something very special and important in her life …..but I do worry for her.

She told me once they started sleeping together, which was only three months into their relationship. I’m pleased she felt close enough to let me know but it did upset me and I was very emotional at the time. I would have hoped that she could have waited longer, though she said that they didn’t need to as they already knew each other so well as friends. She insists he didn’t push her into anything she didn’t want to do.

I know I have no right to be so disapproving, especially given my own past. And I am genuinely pleased that she feels she can talk to me about it, but deep down I don’t really want to know. I almost feel I have let her down by being so accepting about it. Perhaps I should have shouted at her for letting him have his way so quickly but then she does seem to be genuinely fond of him and so perhaps it was a natural step in their relationship.

The thing is, yesterday she came into my room and lay on my bed and said she was having a crisis. She told me that the previous night when she stayed over with him, the condom they were using split……and that she had just taken the morning after pill.

This is my daughter. The baby I held in my arms. My beautiful toddler with the mass of curls. The talented girl who brought the house down just a couple of weeks ago with her own show. Telling me, almost casually, that she had just taken the morning after pill

I tried to stay calm telling her that pill is not just another method of contraception and that she had to be careful and not take risks with her future in such a way and she just kissed me and told me to be calm and that everything would be alright.

I have gone from an amazing high to an incredible low in what seems the shortest space of time and now, I cant stop crying.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Best Ever Present

It was my birthday last week.

When I was young, I used to love it. The cards, the presents, the attention …..

Nowadays, not so much !! Birthdays represent another year gone. Another year possibly wasted. Further proof that I am no longer young. Increased pressure to admit that I am NOT actually forty. In fact, I’m nearer ! No ! Birthdays now, mean increased angst and mental torture …..

However, this year, I was positively counting the days to my special day because it was also the premiere of my daughter’s musical.

It had been on the calendar for a couple of months and so I thought it was the ideal opportunity for a party afterwards as an added incentive to get friends and family to turn up and support her. As it was, I needn’t have worried, as all three shows were a sell-out with people queuing outside for tickets and some even turned away.

And the show was amazing!

Eleven songs, all written in the last few months, one even in the fortnight running up to the show when she realised the second act just needed something. I can’t begin to tell you how much she has impressed me. The whole thing was fabulous.

During one number, I found myself crying - not just because the song was very moving but because I couldn’t stop thinking that my daughter, my little girl, had written it. Written the whole show. It was her vision on that stage. And she’s only 18!

And the kids were brilliant. They performed it so well - sang so beautifully and spoke so clearly. They did her proud.

And any thoughts I may have had that perhaps I only thought it was good because my daughter wrote it were completely blown away when the audience erupted into cheers and wild applause at the end. They were standing and clapping for the final encore and then there were sustained shouts for “author, author”.

She didn’t come forward at first and then, her beautiful blushing face peeped through the curtains to further cheers until she was pushed out on stage. At that point, I thought I would actually burst with pride.

And then, she started speaking. She thanked the cast, musicians and crew for a wonderful performance. She thanked the audience for a fantastic reception that she could never have dreamed of. She talked of how she had been sick with nerves before the show, even though she is so used to singing and performing. That this time, she felt she had put herself out there in a way she never had before. And then, in what seemed like pin-drop silence, she thanked ……me. She told the audience that I had encouraged her love of music since was a little girl, and that she loved me, and hoped that she had made me proud, because she wanted to dedicate her musical to me as my birthday present.

And suddenly, everyone was cheering and whooping again and I was part blubbing into Ewan’s shoulder and part laughing and blowing her kisses. And all the time, she looked just like an angel on that stage. MY darling, precious angel.

We partied long and hard afterwards and even though I can’t remember how it all ended, I know that it’s up there as one of the best birthdays EVER !!