As it's International Women's Day it seems rather apt for me to talk about one of my biggest achievements in life - my eldest daughter. Mothers inspire daughters and daughters inspire mothers, a subject, as you know by now, very close to my heart and the reason why I took to writing my blog. To cherish and continue my own Mother's legacy. Which leads me nicely to my own role as a mother. Lydia turned 13 at the weekend. HOW did that happen? In the blink of an eye, it feels, she has gone from this gorgeous, all consuming, swaddled, bundle of joy to a TEENAGER. The same height as me, a bigger shoe size than me and on the cusp of becoming a young adult, but still a smiley, gorgeous bundle of joy - just in a different way now.
Whilst turning 13 is not given quite the same significance as say an 18th or 21st Birthday, I do feel that this is quite a monumental birthday to be celebrated. Just as I did for my 13th Birthday, Lydia had her ears pierced and we gave her, her first set of jewellery. She and I are in love with this gorgeous silver necklace and matching stud earrings from Kit Heath from their Girls "My First Diamond" collection.
Looking back on the last thirteen years, I have to say with Lydi I feel I've had a fairly easy ride and we've made our way together along our own Mother and Daughter path without too many hiccups, but then I had an excellent teacher. "Just go with the flow" was Mummy's motto and it's held me in good stead from day one. Going solo these two last years has probably been my biggest challenge and I've often found myself thinking "Oh God, what would Mummy do?" Especially when it came to things like getting Lydi her first bra. Not really something I would chat to my dad about! However, we've found our way and will continue to do so in the coming years.
I don't particularly relish my teenage years. I was an ugly duckling, the one who got ridiculed, the one who got left out leaving me with little self esteem and confidence. I see so much more confidence in Lydi and she has a steadfast core group of girlfriends, just the loveliest girls who are all so supportive of one another and still want to be in each other's company. They've grown together, for the most part, from pre-school to infant school; from infant school to junior school; from junior school to secondary school and I know they will continue to do so. They have a such special bond which we, their mothers, have nurtured over the years to help them flourish. I know I am not alone when I say it is an absolute joy to see.
Having had them all to stay for a birthday sleepover I listened to the girls from the kitchen over breakfast. Their banter just as animated as it was five, six years ago only different. Talk of Lego Friends and Nintendo DS games has now been replaced by chats about the latest Vlogger on YouTube and what they were going to buy on their shopping trip into town later that day.
And whilst my heartstrings may pull at the years gone by, I love the now. I love that I not only have a daughter, but a friend. Someone who I love to spend time with. Someone who's opinion I can ask. Someone to give me a hug and tell me everything will be ok. And vice versa.
So how will I be helping Lydi through this next chapter? What words of advice will I be sharing with her? Well like me - like Mummy - my daughter knows her own mind. She knows what she likes and she knows what she doesn't. She knows what's right and, like me, gets anxious if something is wrong. In these peer-pressured filled days that'll be no bad thing in my book and top of my list I would always want her to be herself. Always. In addition to that I think her Birthday card from us covers everything I could wish for her in her teenage years.