It’s cherry blossom time here in England and we’re now at that point where the new leaves are just coming in and pushing the delicate pink flowers away.
Every tree I see at that fragile stage makes me think of my daughter. At ten and three quarters, going up to big school in September, she’s at exactly that stage. The blossom is about to fall.
It’s almost unbearable.
Of course this is the poignancy at the very heart of parenthood. Every little shedding of another petal of innocence is a tiny heartbreak – but I’ve also discovered that the next stage it leads to is a new joy.
Much as I adored playing funny games with my daughter’s chubby little feet under the table at meal times, I now adore having a laugh with her and talking about all kinds of stuff, from music to school work and what’s in the news.
But I’m not delusional. I do know that the next change is the big one. The eye rolling has already begun. She’s told me ‘you know NOTHING about style’. She hates it when I dance (and I dance all the time…what else are you supposed to do while cooking dinner?). I’m not allowed to sing along to a favourite tune, if she’s singing to it, because – obviously – I’m crap.
And I have to patrol the front door with eye make up remover before she leaves the house.
So far, I find it funny – mostly – but I’m sure I won’t when it kicks up the next few notches. But rather than worrying about that in advance (although I have read How To Talk So Teens Will Listen and Listen So Teens Will Talk, in preparation), I’m relishing this last precious time of childhood, while she stills shower me and her dad daily with her unconditional cuddly love.
Just as the Japanese have picnics under the blossoming cherry trees, I’m celebrating my little girl, now still just in glorious childish bloom, made all the more precious by its inevitable departure.