You made it. Eighteen today.
There has been a hashtag doing the rounds of Twitter in the last few days #ThingsThatLeaveBritainReeling.
You being eighteen is one of them for me. I just can’t really wrap my head round it to be honest. I genuinely don’t know how to feel about it. I mean, it’s your birthday and that’s excellent and wonderful and cause for much cake and joy, and cake and joy will definitely be on the menu today. Along with curry.
But also, you are grown up now. Like properly grown up. You get to go to the pub and get blind drunk on gin and tonic with nothing to fear except my wrath if you throw up into someone’s hat and leave it in my house. You get to leave school in six weeks, forever. You get to vote. In two days actually.
You are officially done with being a child. And I feel sad about that, even though I know it’s stupid, because no matter how old or wrinkly you get, how much facial hair you adopt, how many chins you grow, you will always and forever be my child and my creaky, arthritic knees are always ready to be sat on, and my arms will always be open for a hug, even if you squash me to jam, because I will be even older and wrinklier. And my moustaches will sweep the floor.
And you are still as daft as a brush, and still as loving and lovely, and all the things that were wonderful about you when you were teeny weeny like a newborn chick are all the same now, but with added lovely bits of grown up Tillyness. You just grow that little bit lovelier every year to be honest.
But, with two jobs and university looming, and boyfriends and travelling and working abroad in the summer, I am so aware of time with you slipping through my fingers, and I think that’s what is making me a little sad today, mixed in with all the happiness. I know it’s selfish, and even though I feel like what I would most like to do now is lock all the doors and make you stay forever, I know it can’t be, and it would be horrible if it were to be.
Because at the same time as keeping you all to myself, because only I really know how lucky I am to have you, I absolutely want all the adventure for you and the freedom, and all the beautiful future I see you mapping out for yourself, because you deserve it in spades. I want absolutely everything and all the stuff for you, just as I always have, because you are my baby and I love you so much.
So be free my lovely girl. Be grown up in the way only you know how to be. Be adventurous. Be bold. Be brave. Be everything that is wonderful and true.
And know that you will always be my girl and the door will always be open, just like my arms and my heart.