So it’s that time of year again, when I dedicate a post to my beautiful daughter on her birthday. She is going to be 22 years old tomorrow (in the UK) but already celebrating her birthday in Sri Lanka, as they are a few hours ahead. This is the first time we haven’t been together for her birthday and I’m really missing her, but we will save our celebrations until she’s back in the UK at the end of the month.

She managed to get out of Bali without provoking an angry volcano, which was lucky for her, but I feel desperately sorry for all the locals who are still not allowed home and are basically living in a number of refugee camps. The alert level has dropped from a 4 to a 3, but it’s still likely to erupt at any time and so they simply cannot step beyond the evacuation zone . She and her friend spent some time at the camp helping out and working mostly with the children. She texted me at one point to say “we are going to go back to the refugee camp in the next few days – do you mind if I leave a lot of my clothes behind as they need them more than I do”. “Why would I mind?” I replied. “Because they’re mostly all yours” she said.

She’s had an incredible time in Bali working under difficult conditions in a psychiatric hospital and a special needs unit for children. I can’t wait to hear all about it on her return and it will be interesting to see if her experience will affect her choices of future career.

I love some of the photos she sent. She had such a lovely time with her homestay mother who cried when they left (unlike me). I know she’s a grown-up now, but I think, when she’s back I’d like to drop her adopted mother a letter to thank her for looking after my daughter so well:-

On one of their last days they did a sunrise climb to the top of the mountain to see Mount Agung the angry volcano in the distance and take photos on top of the world:-

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil:-

She and her friend flew to Sri Lanka yesterday and I have booked them into a lovely hotel as a birthday treat. Nothing better than a lovely space and hot water when you’ve been staying in dodgy hostels. She Facetimed me – beaming her little head off, with excitement at the luxury. Sri Lankan hotels are not very expensive and it’s off season, so it was well worth the investment just to listen to her squeaking about towelling slippers and beautiful views. I chose a hotel on Mirissa Beach because she’s booked whale watching for her birthday and they set off near there, she’s sent me these photos so far of the hotel:-

To this photo she added: “even the ashtrays are nice!”

When I started my blog, my daughter was twelve. We have come a long way since then and been through a huge amount. But what I wrote on her thirteenth birthday still holds true today and I couldn’t wish for a better relationship with her. Not only do we get on massively well, we are able to talk about anything and everything and whilst we argue, things get sorted quickly and we move on. I’m quite sure that our closeness is very much to do with my being a single parent. If I had a partner, I would not have spent so much time with her – so every cloud…and all that:-

“Thirteen years ago today I met my beautiful, tall, skinny, funny, confident daughter. She arrived two weeks early and emerged into the world calmly and relatively painlessly, compared to my two boys who fought for days to stay within my body (or perhaps it was my body that refused to let them go). When we met I was astounded. She was so perfect. My heart enlarged a little bit more and as with all my children my heart has subsequently felt as if it spends more time on the outside of my body than on the inside.

She is an almost daily reminder of my youth. She steals my mascara, my Ugg boots, my clothes. She infuriates me sometimes because we are so similar, but there is nothing I wouldn’t do for her (apart from pick her up from her disco on Saturday night) and I love her more than she will ever know.

Happy birthday my gorgeous pea in the pod girl. I wouldn’t change you for the world and I am hugely proud of the person you have become.

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