It is a strange feeling. Really, nothing has changed since the day before, but everything has changed. One of my two children (daughters both) has turned 18. As she is not the good-time, drinking, partying kind, there is no big bash to mark the occasion and she seems to think that 18 is not as important as turning 17 which allowed her to take up driving.
I am looking at someone who is now, legally, an adult. She no longer has to take notice of me. She could leave home and go anywhere and I would have no say in the matter. This is not going to happen though. If anything, we actually have to reassure her that we are still here for her. When I was 18, I was pretty keen to get away from my parents. I notice many surveys that declare this is not longer the case, and the cost of getting your own home is so high these days, we should not expect our children to leave home for a long time.
My daughter is such a keen driver, we started the day with her having a rally experience is an RS10 Ford Focus on a local airfield with http://www.rallyschool.co.uk – I was pretty sure she would like it, but she wanted to do only a taster session as she was not so certain. First turn at the wheel was pretty reserved and she could not overcome her relatively recent training to do a handbrake turn. On the second turn, she had overcome such reserve and was doing hand-brake turns with the best of them. Not something I have ever indulged in and somewhat disconcerting to watch. She was amongst a group of 12, all the rest were men. Ages varied. The younger lads were roundly condemned for expressing an interest in being a bit wild. The focus was clearly on improved car control and safety. The guy that gave the safety briefing told them that my daughter would probably do the best of the day because she was listening [I guess he was pointing out that many blokes think they already know how to do it]. At the end of the session, she was scored 3rd out of the 12. Shame I was feeling off colour.
We did a quick detour to pick up her sister from her latest overnight stay at a friends, where she had returned in the early hours following a night-club sortie to celebrate a friend’s 18th – unlike her older sister, my youngest does like to party (although she can take or leave the boose).
My now 18 year older daughter likes her food. She is slim and very healthy but has an incredible appetite and can eat large meals with ease. She does not approve of fast food though. The way to her heart proved to be a traditional Sunday-roast (beef, and yorkshire puddings being key elements). Shame I was still off colour, but no one noticed.
She received more texts than usual during the day from birthday well wishers. She did not hear at first from a not-quite-a-boyfriend-but-close friend. I think they suffer mutually with near terminal shyness and he is too young and inexperienced to understand that, despite apparent tom-boyishness and disdain for the trappings of many modern young women, my daughter is still a female and is beyond the ken of man (saying the opposite of what she means when emotions are involved being but one example). He had got he message that she was not interested in him attending a meal that evening with family and a couple of friends to celebrate her birthday. I was able to correct his impression and he did turn up at an evening meal (and then got mostly ignored by my daughter despite being sat next to her – odd).
It is a challenge to find places to eat. I mentioned that she, like her sister, are not fans of fast food (so MacDonalds was out) and an allergy to both cheese and garlic also greatly limits options. Fortunately, there is an Indian (well, maybe Bangladeshi) restaurant near us that has a very good chef who cooks everything from fresh and knows what ingredients he has used even for bases he has made up earlier in the day. We persuaded a couple of my daughter’s friends who were keen to take her out for a meal but not so keen on fine-dining to go for this restaurant rather than there usual.
My daughter took the rather odd option of driving us to the venue so that we could drink to celebrate her birthday for her, given that she is tea-total (actually, she doesn’t drink tea or any other caffeine drinks either, the only hot drink she has taken to – after years of searching – is Bovril). The food was great but I was not feeling at all well. We ended up brining some of the food home – it is all fresh so fine to refrigerate overnight and heat up the following day. As it happened, I only had a couple of drinks (I did mention I was not feeling too well).
I was supposed to head off to Swansea for my week’s work this morning. I made a great attempt after a relatively poor night’s sleep to get up and head off in the early hours, but this proved to be a bad idea. I could hardly breathe this morning so had to return home and to my bed rather than drive south for three or four hours. Only now am I starting to feel a bit better. Hope I continue to improve. At least I did not spoil the birthday.