Tonight while I am tucked up in bed and fast asleep, the Eldest of the Darling Daughters will be pounding the pavements of the Big City. She will be wearing daughter Eleanor’s walking boots and a purple shirt with
Glow InThe Dark bobbles on it. I am very proud of her.
Not because she can fit into Eleanor’s boots, or for her sense of style – but because tonight
she is walking a marathon in aid of Cancer Research, one of 16,000 people taking part in this year’s Shine Walk with its motto: “Let’s walk all over cancer.” And so say all of us.
I phoned her this morning to check that she was all prepared. It doesn’t leave you, does it, that mothering instinct which, even when they are all grown up and with children of their own, still has you checking up on
them. Right up to the day before she died, my own dear Mum (see Dolly’s Blog for a taster of what she was like) was enquiring whether I was wearing a “nice, warm vest” (I wasn’t) and that I had a clean hanky in my pocket (would tissues
do? I asked.)
“Are you well?” she always asked me, “Are you busy?” And always the unspoken, underlying question: “Are you happy?”
It’s all a mother ever wants for her children.
The Eldest of the Darling Daughters appears to be extremely well-prepared. She has been wearing Eleanor’s
boots to work for the last fortnight, along with extra long trousers to disguise her slightly unusual footwear. She reports that they are super comfortable and she has only been caught out once by a colleague eyeing her feet and asking if she was going hiking.
She has also been thinking back to her Guiding days which was the last time she engaged in any what you might call Heavy Duty Walking. She seems to remember that pacing yourself
at a steady three miles an hour was about right – though those Guiding days were, to be fair, rather a long time ago. I am ridiculously pleased that a learning experience from her youth is now paying dividends.
More useful, anyway, than learning how to use a red telephone box in the days when you used to have to know when to push Button A and its partner, Button B. I remember her proudly ringing home
from a telephone box during one Brownie meeting. “Where is the telephone box you are phoning from?” I asked her. After all, this was a test, wasn’t it? “Nobody else’s mother asks difficult questions,” she grumbled down the
phone at me. Interestingly, when I related this story to her girls, many years later, they both nodded emphatically and said she would do exactly the same to them if in my position....
A friend who has completed the Shine Walk in the past has told the Darling Daughter that the atmosphere on the walk is very special. She also had an extremely important piece of advice to pass on when my daughter told her that she
and her walking companion had so much to catch up with each on that they would doubtless chat their way through the whole 26 miles and a bit. They should make sure, she advised, that they changed sides every so often, so that they wouldn’t strain one
side of their necks as they turned their heads to listen to each other. Now who’d have thought of that!
My daughter’s friend is One of the Brave, a
cancer survivor, walking to raise money for research that may, one day, prevent other young women going through the same dread turmoil of a cancer diagnosis. My daughter is proud and pleased to be walking along with her.
Sixteen thousand people will be walking all over cancer tonight. They will see the sights of London in the moonlight. They will feel tired and footsore, but almost certainly be buoyed up by the
companionship, the excitement and the sense of purpose. Good luck to all of them.
Especially to My Shining Girl.