Tuesday, 5 February 2013

My baby leaves home

“Are you ready love; have you got all your stuff?” I asked from the foot of the stairs.

A beautiful young woman, my 18-year-old daughter Becca, bounded down the steps, a small suitcase in one hand and a black plastic bag full of soft toys and books in the other. “Yes dad, but let me say goodbye to mum.”

I took her luggage and placed it in the boot of my car. When I returned to the hallway Mrs Jones had Becca in a bear-hug, both tearful, grasping at each other.

“Look after yourself sweetie,” blubbered my wife, surfacing from the embrace and holding Becca at arm’s length, as if to glimpse her for one last time.

“I will mum” said my tearful daughter.

“What are you two like?” I said, “Anyone would think she’s emigrating to Australia, rather than nipping down the M62 to Liverpool University! Get a grip; she’ll be home in a couple of weeks.”

During the one-hour drive few words were spoken. Despite my efforts not to, every few minutes I glanced to my left at Becca, in the passenger seat, listening to her iPod. I smiled, smug in the knowledge that the cute, compassionate lady at my side was mine. As I pondered how a flawed, hairy fellow like me could have reared such perfection, a warm tingle caressed my neck and shoulders, causing me to sit taller in the driving seat.

When we arrived at the university accommodation, I carried her bags to her room. Once inside, I tried to make myself useful; straightening the duvet, wiping the sink and picking imaginary specs off the carpet. I sensed eyes on me and I turned to see Becca grinning at my delaying tactics.

“Just go dad; mum will be wondering where you are.”

I opened my arms wide and Becca walked into them. I held on to her like a drowning man clinging to flotsam. I put my hands on either side of her head, tilted it forward and snorted her crown. Ah a musty scent to kindle so many memories: lifting a new-born bundle from the midwife’s arms; the infant in a pink baby-grow lying asleep, warm and clammy, across my chest; and the distressed toddler who, forgetting she had taken off her inflatable wings, had plunged into the deep end of a Spanish swimming pool and was telling me, while water dripped off her nose, “I wen tunder daddy, I wen tunder.”

And now I had to abandon her to fend for herself in a big city. I noticed my pollen allergy was flaring so I kissed her cheek, turned and carried on walking to my car without looking back. 

I am participating in the Dude Write Starting Lineup this week where you can find some excellent posts by bloggers who happen to be dudes: http://dudewrite.blogspot.com)