Saturday, January 04, 2014


In ten minutes my first baby girl turns 14. And the strangest thing is that she feels younger in some ways now, than she did two birthdays ago... or maybe just lighter, breezier, more confident in herself. She doesn't need to hide behind the pretence she did then...

When she turned 12 she still had a relationship with her father. Or more strictly, he still had partial custody of her, despite their not actually having a relationship... At the time, unknown to me, her twice monthly weekends with him were a constant battle ground.

He was always the type of person who expected to be pacified by all those around him. Anyone who has lived with him knows that tiptoeing around him is the only way to have any semblance of peace. His mother knows it, I know it, Marcel knows it. The problem was that from the outset Charlotte was never a tiptoer. When she thought he was treating her unjustly, she took him on by telling him so, and the net result was many a weekend spent crying in her room after being screamed at. Worse still for her, she was denied access to her precious little sisters, who have taught her to be a happy child again.

The Charlotte who turned 12 two years ago was withdrawn and quiet and would never have been caught singing along to the soundtrack of Frozen, in a carefree manner, as I have found her doing almost every day since we took her to see it last week. Princess musicalswere not her thing back then. Of course, she's 'only singing it, and watching clips to make Amaia happy' -- (so I'm told!)

She is an absolute delight. She's patient and funny, nurturing and loving. I think, perhaps unlike someone whose life has always been easy and happy, she appreciates everything about her new life. She's such a family person, constantly baking with her babies, Amaia in particular. She's spent the holidays teaching Léon to play Minecraft, watching movies with Anna and disappearing for hours with Amaia just for some sister time. Even with Marcel, she doesn't have the normal grumpy teenage sibling relationship. I occasionally catch them deep in conversation, much like two much older friends. I am so proud of what my little girl had the courage to do in 2012 and how she alone created this family by standing up to the bullying and no longer allowing it to control her life or the life of her two siblings. My only regret is that none of this came out until after she had taken on the task of fixing it herself.

I now have a daughter called Buchanan whose Pumpa would have been so proud of her.


Unknown said...

Although I am not her Pumpa I am a great fan of Charlotte's. What a teenager!

Unknown said...

Although not her Pumpa I am a great fan of Charlotte's. What a teenager!

Phyl said...

Thanks Peter. You are her other grandfather, she's never had another.