As my daughter starts secondary school, these are the eight Mumfacts ™ I want her to know.
First Mumfact ™, you are loved. This probably isn’t a huge surprise but it’s very important that you always remember this. This love is a bit like the biscuit base in a Double Decker (and you know how much I love a Double Decker). You think you can manage with just the nougaty, chocolate part but then you realise that the biscuit holds it all together. Without that you are just a gooey mess in a world without biscuits.
Terrifying, isn’t it?
Plus, the people who love you will always give you biscuits – I refer you to your grandmothers, parents (although I know Dad can be a little protective of the Jaffa Cakes), aunties, uncles and even your brother when he’s in the mood to share.
Second Mumfact ™, you are beautiful – inside and out. I catch a glimpse of you now, still my little girl and see the lovely young woman that you will one day become. Don’t be scared of that woman – she’s going to be a great friend of yours and many other lucky people. I can’t wait to get to know her in the years ahead.
Third Mumfact ™, you are braver than you realise. I watched you while we were on holiday, spending nearly every second in the sea, boldly facing the waves with your own brand of cool, shunning goggles in favour of shades, getting knocked down and then back up again, laughing and smiling all the while.
You’re good at this thing called life. You’re ready to face all the new challenges and adventures and have a ball while you’re doing it. You just have to go for it, my love.
Fourth Mumfact ™, you have a voice and it deserves to be heard. Don’t be afraid to speak up. You have interesting things to say and people will respond if you voice them. There will always be louder voices but not necessarily more interesting ones. Take courage and trust me, going to a new school with brand new people is the time to share your brilliant ideas with the world. Believe me, I wasn’t always a gobby cow – I was like you in lots of ways and I had to find my voice. Then I found it and after a while I had to tone it down a bit (ask Dad). Now, I enjoy ranting at the TV and radio and it’s probably a blessing that I work alone. You are bright, clever, funny and full of brilliance – time to share this with the world, my sweet.
Fifth Mumfact ™ – this is the moment to find your thing. Whether it’s singing, cricket or stilt-walking, find the thing you love to do and do it all the time. Try everything you fancy (or maybe never thought you fancied) that comes your way in the quest to find this thing. Don’t avoid something because other people aren’t doing it. Be brave and give it a try. You never know where these things might lead or what amazing people you may meet along the way.
Sixth Mumfact ™ (and one I wish I could change), people aren’t always kind. Friendships ebb and flow. Don’t worry about this (see ‘you are loved’ for reassurance) but do talk to us about it. We’re on your side and you must never feel silly or wrong if these things upset you. Again, I wasn’t always this lippy and I have pretty much experienced every bitchy girl scenario going. I’ve got your back. So has Dad. And everyone else who loves you for that matter.
Seventh Mumfact ™, don’t live your life through social media. Also don’t think that the people who are on social media are having a better time than you. They’re not. They’re just telling you about the best bits of their life. Think of it as a party – it’s nice to go to a party sometimes but if you ate jelly and ice-cream 24/7, you would be sick. Also, don’t post anything you wouldn’t be prepared to share with Grandma.
Eighth Mumfact ™, watching lots of comedies as you go through secondary school will improve your teenage life no end. I have made a lot of friends through a shared love of comedy and I reckon that finding people to laugh with is the secret of a happy teenage life. The older you get, the less you laugh so make sure that in the words of Victoria Wood, ‘you laugh until chips come down your nose’ while you’re young. ‘Two Soups’ in particular will set you up for life.
And that’s pretty much it, lovely girl except to say that I am ridiculously proud of you. I know that this next step is a big one and you may be a little bit nervous or even scared. That’s okay – it won’t last because pretty soon you’ll be on your way, working hard, trying new things and having all the fun.
And all the while, I will be here, watching in awe, helping smooth any bumps in the road and most of all cheering you every fantastic step of the way.