Ella- fourteen and then some...

March 17, 2024

Enter centre stage- Eloise. Louder than life, arms outstretched and gesticulating wildly in every direction to emphasise the story. Which there always is. A story. ‘Because basically, yeah, you won’t believe what happened’…

Something so small and minute and yet it rolls, balloons, spins, into some embellished story that by the time you’ve told it, we don’t actually understand what it is you were talking about in the first place. But that sums you up to a “T”, making everything larger than life, because that’s who you are. You draw the eye; you make the mundane exciting. You are, as you pragmatically put it, ‘NOT vanilla, but ALL the flavours.’

Marching your way through cadets, ironing your uniform perfectly and polishing your boots until your beady eyes can sparkle back at you, it seems in a way a contradiction to who you are, to be taking orders and standing in line so still. But I think this is you harnessing your inner power, and also you working out how to get to the top. Already on the major’s radar of the entire battalion, with that sparkle in your eye, I’ve been told a few times that they are ‘keeping a watch out for you’ with a fond smile as you have been known on occasion to dictate your own orders to the lesser stature cadets, or suggest alternative ways of carrying out an order. This does indeed appear to be a theme with you, with higher authorities knowing who you are, you are certainly not a wallflower. You volunteered selling poppies and got a mention for your talent of upselling everything and anything to raise extra funds, bringing the total to over £3,000 in one day. Fearless and bold in asking for donations, with your cheeky smile that’s irresistible to say no to. And you are so hard to say no to, so persuasive with your charm; that’s why dad calls me the worlds biggest marshmallow. Not because I have eaten too many, but because I am such a softie when it comes to you and your requests that I just find it super hard to say no. How can I when you turn to me with those pleading large blues and give me a rare cuddle? I can’t say no. And you know it. It's one of your superpowers, teamed with my biggest weakness, you could probably get away with anything.

I had to drop your consent form at school for your vaccinations, the form that you had hidden from me for weeks until I had an email from school. And then ‘whoopsie forgot’ to take it in on the day it was due. At reception as I handed it over the receptionist saw your name on the form and her face lit up, ‘I know Eloise well’ she said with a sparkle in her smile. I wasn't sure if that was a positive or not, especially when you tell me how booooring school is and how you cannot WAIT to get out of there and 'seriously mum I don't get why I have to go, can I just leave and do something else instead? Ugh I am seriously going to leave there's just NO POINT me being there...'

Electric in every sense. Full of energy, making the room buzz, making the house shake with your noise, squeals, laugh, shrieks, and banging as you throw yourself around and bumble off things onto the floor. Electric-tempered, with your quick anger, your feisty resistance, the hair flick, the lightning-fast retort, the anti-touch withdrawal. It keeps everyone on their toes. Since you were little this electricity has been called ‘passion’, ‘strong-willed’, ‘determined’. A trait that has certainly made the start of these teen years a difficult one to navigate, both for us and for you. It's an arduous journey and one I find increasingly hard. Those rare snippets in time when I get a cuddle and a chat are those that I cling to fiercely. The door slamming in my face, not so much. I know these up and down waves will pass with time and settle. I often find myself knocking on the door, opening it, seeing a sea of clothes and very little of the floor, and think I’ll just close that door. At first, I found the mess hard to deal with, especially when you were once so neat and pristine. I’d find myself compelled to tidy up or at least make the bed, but then I read something one day which really hit me hard. I’d rather open this door and be greeted by a sea of mess, then to open the door and find it empty. I find myself thinking that my time with you at home is getting shorter and shorter, and speeding up at an alarming rate, and I’ll hold on to those huffs and puffs, those, ‘Mum you have NO idea’, the messy room, the door slamming, the tantrums. Because one day I know my whirlwind of a daughter will be creating a hurricane somewhere else, and I will be heartbroken when that day arrives.

But for now, I embrace all of you, you fill my life so much and I know your life will be big, grand, flamboyant, wherever that may be (I hope not too far but you’ve already told me it’s between California or Portugal- because the latter is ‘tax free mum’).

Keep being amazing.