Every morning, while I am eating my Special K, I fire up my computer. I simply can’t get on with the rest of the morning until I have checked (i) how many of you lovely people have been reading the Daily Blog, (ii)
to see if anyone important is emailing me, and (iii) to catch up on what’s going on via Facebook.
Today the very first thing I saw was this photograph
of Eleanor, the fourth-born of my Extraordinary Eight grandchildren, celebrating her birthday while on holiday in Sunny Spain. Thank you to sister Katie for posting it so quickly – it made my day!
As you see, the Birthday Girl is pictured underneath a seriously important looking Birthday Banner. Her ever resourceful mum, the Eldest of the Darling Daughters, had smuggled it out in the family’s holiday luggage all
ready to pin up in their holiday home. What’s more this year Eleanor has an extra special banner to mark her Big Day. Usually the banners read: “Samuel is six”, “Morgan is one”, “James is four”. When the Birthday
Person reaches their teens, I change to “Katie is 16”, “Jack is 15”, “Hazel is 14”. It’s easier on the letters and you can fit the resultant banners on most walls. But there’s one birthday where I refuse to be
daunted by the length of the banner – the birthday when the grandchild in question becomes a teenager. So Eleanor’s Birthday Banner, in all its recycled glory, reads “Eleanor Teenager.” It is fortunate indeed that the family’s
holiday home had a wall huge enough to handle my longest ever Birthday Banner.
The sharp eyed among you will have noted that this salutation required no fewer
than FIVE letter Es. I had to use up every single “E” in my Birthday Banner File which meant that today, as I started work on “Samuel is Seven” ready for the next birthday, coming up fast in early August, I had no option but to
cut our three new “Es”. The fact that I even mention this suggests that I must be getting lazy in my old age...
So what will it mean to my lovely Eleanor, being
a teenager? Her mum says she may let her loose on Facebook now she has reached the magic number 13. Excellent – now we will be able to message each other on FB as well as on Skype. Teenagers, of course, are expected to be moody and stroppy – but
I can’t see my Eleanor being either of these. She has always been thoughtful, caring, hard-working, funny. She always will be.
For ever so many
years Mr B and I had the fun of looking after her (and sister Katie) for a few days twice a year during the Christmas and summer school holidays. They were the Very Best of Times. The build-up to Christmas just isn’t the same these days. Mr B won't
let me take him to see Father Christmas and I have to decorate the Christmas tree all on my own.
Thinking about the Birthday Girl today, I remembered the poem I wrote about her, the very
first time she came to stay. I hope she will forgive me (teenager that she is) for sharing it with the readers of the Daily Blog. It’s not exactly great literature but it brings a special time right back into the forefront of my mind. It's called
“I’m wild awake!”
Eleanor at the bedroom door,
Dark curls, sleep-startled,
Frame her face
In a clamour of crazy question marks.
“Let’s paint!” “Let’s do baking!”
“Let’s feed the ee-gulls!”
“Let’s play families –
You can be my sister, Nanna...”
(So, in a single bound, we vault the
“Let’s pretend we’re – dogs!”
December days, dull, damp and dreary –
But not for us.
Because Eleanor has come to stay
And she’s “wild awake”!
Happy Birthday, my sweet Eleanor. Teenager