SW’s school held a harvest-themed assembly in the local church this morning. SW, herself, had a line to read, which she managed loudly and clearly. A proud moment.
Towards the end of proceedings we got to sing Happy Birthday to a young lad who will be marking his tenth year, over the weekend. Watching him make his way up the aisle got me thinking about the thrill of reaching double figures, the tantalising prospect of being taken more seriously. After all, with a decade of life experience under your belt, you must have learnt something. Something the rest of the world would give you credit for.
Then I reflected on my younger self, spending hours unconsciously flicking through the unwritten pages that stood between 10 and grown up. All the things I believed I could be lay far beyond childhood. The teasing promises, the sweet scent of opportunity, the place where my mumbled prayers arrived incoherently on a light breeze of hope, unfurling and landing neatly at the feet of a god who had lost his voice.
I celebrated my tenth birthday in difficult and confusing circumstances, but the presents I received that year helped to lift the late November gloom. And to mark the point from where my life would change beyond all measure, some football socks (red and white), my first leather football, and a book, ‘A Pageant of History’, which I still have. The title on the spine, embossed in gold, and a neatly inscribed dedication inside the cover, Happy Birthday, lots of love from Mummy xxxx.