Monthly Musing – February 2015 – Spreading wings

Big daughter is going to Peru next year. Next year! Only a few short weeks ago it was “in two years’ time”, but now it feels much closer – and it doesn’t seem like five minutes since big daughter was the same age and size as small daughter is now,
so how can she possibly be going to Peru for four weeks next year?!

Her trip is being organised through her college by World Challenge, an international company with over thirty years’ experience of sending teenagers abroad, and I’m much happier at the thought of waving her off at the airport knowing that she is part of a
group with a carefully planned itinerary and a backup plan in case of emergencies. She won’t be taking her phone with her though, so the only time we will hear from her will be if something goes wrong – no news is good news, apparently!

One of the focal points of her time away will be to work on a social project – possibly at a school or in a children’s home – and that makes us very proud as it’s the reason that big daughter wanted to go. She feels that it is important to make a difference in your life and in others’ lives wherever you can, and to have this desire to help at a young age is a wonderful thing.

I can remember being big daughter’s age and feeling that the world was mine for the taking. The potential to do anything that I wanted to do was just there. It’s a liberating time, that space between finishing your education and having to become part of the “real world” with jobs, commuting and all the other requirements of being a grown up. I’m torn between excitement for big daughter and her wonderful adventure, wishing that I could have had the opportunity to do something similar at her age, and being terrified that this is the beginning of our girl leaving the nest to start her own life. My Dad would say that your children never actually leave, they just have different needs (“Dad, can you help me build this shelf?” rather than “Dad, can you push me on the swing?”), but it’s still a huge step and not one that I am sure I am ready to take.

The only consolation is that big daughter’s trip isn’t until next year. Before then, we have a lot of work to do. The travel company encourages the students to pay for themselves, believing that something you have worked hard to achieve is more satisfying and better appreciated than something handed to you on a plate. She’s already started fundraising and is making good progress, and it’s been wonderful to watch the pride with which has she has been able to pay her instalments.

Later this month is her biggest fundraising event yet – a sponsored abseil at Manchester Velodrome. When I talk about her flying the nest, I’m not sure that abseiling 130 feet from the roof is quite what I had in mind!

PS  I’m hoping to help out with the fundraising later this year by turning my basic sock tutorial into a small book to sell on Amazon, the proceeds of which I’ll be donating to big daughter’s fund.  (I did wonder if the world needs another beginners’ sock-knitting book, but then decided that I’d never know the answer to that if I never wrote it!)  I’m planning a sock-a-long to go with it; the intention is to show as many people as possible that sock knitting isn’t scary!  What do you think?

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12 Responses

  1. Angel Jem says:

    I look at my nearly 17 year old son and think…. gulp… he can learn to drive this month. It only seems like a second that I had to push him along in his Little Tikes car!
    Well done to Big daughter for having such a Grand Plan and hope the fundraising goes well… does she have a just giving page to raise the funds as well?

    • Winwick Mum says:

      It's scary how fast they grow up, isn't it? Big daughter doesn't have a just giving page at the moment (the fees are quite expensive) but it might be something for her to look at again xx

  2. Unknown says:

    It only seems five minutes ago that my sons were at school and now the eldest will be 30 in March and the youngest is 27. Mind you, they still haven't flown the nest, they both moved out at one time but are now back again. I wish your daughter well with her fundraising and your book sounds a fantastic idea. I am about to order one of the small circulars that you use for your socks and have a go following your instructions. I do find magic loop fiddly. Jan xx

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Your cooking must be too good, Jan! 😉 Thanks for your kind comments, and do let me know how you get on with the small circular. Don't forget that you need to cast on with straights or you'll never manage to get the stitches onto the needle xx

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wow! Good for her! I'd have loved to do something like that! The sock pattern idea sounds a good plan too… You explain sock knitting in excellent terms.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      You wouldn't have seen me for dust if I could have gone at her age! Thanks for your vote of confidence on the sock idea, I really appreciate it xx

  4. Campfire says:

    What a wonderful experience for her. Also to be encouraged to pay for herself. Is she making anything to sell? I think your book sounds an excellent idea. You could also do the odd hour or two private tuition on the difficult part of sock knitting, like re-arranging the mini circulars etc and that money can go to the fund.

    I hopped it to Germany when I was 21 to work as Au Pair to the Generalmusikdirektor of the Vienna State Opera, who lived in Wiesbaden. I didn't really like it as I didn't seem to have anything to do and so travelled on the spur of the moment to South Germany to just south of Stuttgart to ask for a job at a hospital that I knew were taking girls on. It wasn't the done thing in my day! Good luck to your lovely girl.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Blimey, that was some adventure you had! And a brave thing to do in the times when it wasn't done! I think that the opportunity to travel is a wonderful thing; it broadens the mind, expands horizons and reminds you of how lucky you are to be able to see other places in the world.

      Thank you for your kind words, my lovely girl is working hard on her fundraising; she's not really got time for crafts alongside her homework and part-time job so other than making a few pieces of jewellery and some candy sleighs at Christmas for a college stall, she's relying on other activities such as her abseil and bag-packing at supermarkets. I'd never thought of doing sock tuition – perhaps it's something I should consider! xx

  5. Fiddly Fingers says:

    I know exactly where you're coming from, having children is never easy at whatever age. Our daughters have both left home but in the process we have gained two fantastic boys – their partners. So there is always a silver lining 🙂

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Oh my life … I hadn't even thought that far ahead! But yes, it's a lovely way to look at it and I hope that both my girls find fantastic partners too xx

  6. Gez Butterworth says:

    My heart goes out to you Christine, it's scary seeing your little girl off on a big adventure. It sounds a wonderful trip and she will hopefully enjoy every minute and come home with some wonderful memories and stories to share 🙂 I remember when my daughter went to study at Bejing university for 4 wks, she was only 16! We didn't have any contact due to restrictions. She went with a small group from her school. I remember blu tacking numbers to our kitchen clock so her younger brothers could see what time it was out in China!! What a wonderful Mum you are Christine giving your daughter the confidence and wings to fly. Gez xx

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Thank you so much for your lovely words, Gez! I think you were much braver than me letting your girl go at 16; I think I would have really struggled with that. The non-contact will be the hardest part for us too. I keep reminding myself that I grew up in a world without mobile phones and it was fine, but we're so used to constant contact these days! xx

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