This girl... This girl rocks my world.
Up until now my blog posts have mostly been about our road trip or the daily lives she and I lead either in the camper or the boat. Of course T has featured but not especially deeply. Tonight I want to write about me, her and the stationary journey we are on now.
We've been back in the UK about 14 months now, we've moved out of Eileen the Karmann and onto Midnight Blue the narrowboat. I didn't go back to an office job and T didn't go back to school.
We found our tribe in the local home ed community and we found a warm welcome amongst our floating neighbours and in the local village. Both of us relish, cherish and celebrate our friendships and connections. We are as likely to welcome the buddies we have made through travel onto the boat as they pass through as we are new local mates. Eileen is a rather unusual guest wing and T's small cabin frequently resounds with the giggles of a girly sleepover.
The simple pleasure of being a mile from my old family home, swinging by for a cup of tea or serving my mum and step-dad a G&T and a curry on the well deck of the boat. A short drive to visit my brother in his residential care home, having the opportunity to be there more frequently and contribute to the families association.
We survived our first winter as the Beast from The East kept us snow and ice-bound, thank god for our wood burning stove! We revelled in the long, hot summer days swimming at the local lido, watching the fields around us turn golden and taking Midnight Blue on day trips and Eileen on road trips with a few festivals thrown in.
T has enjoyed all manner of learning related activities. We have worked on creating a bit more structure, still child led and still very diverse but a bit more maths, English and Science. Still time for the home ed orchestra, drama and sports amongst tutor groups, art lessons, museum visits and weekly ice skating though!
It hasn't all been plain sailing, there's been health scares for both me and my brother and both winter and summer weather extremes brought challenges. It's daunting and exhausting starting from scratch in a new (old) place. Home ed isn't necessarily an easy option and it's hard balancing T's schedule and learning with the unavoidable need to generate an income.
Even so, we are incredibly blessed on so many levels to be living this life. We don't take what we have created for granted in any way I promise you that!
But.... There's always a perennial 'but' isn't there? To be honest, without a but I think this blog would be quite boring.
So, on with the musings I shall go...
Autum is upon us, quite suddenly actually. It felt like the summer was never going to end but all of a sudden it did and we were thrust back into the routine, the schedule and the time-table. Even home edders aren't exempt, we just don't have the added hell of shopping for school shoes!
I love Autumn, it is as much about beginnings as endings for me. I have thrown myself into the physical activity of fettling the boat for winter and thoroughly enjoyed it.
T has started a new music group, her teacher has entered her for another grade exam. New tutor groups have begun and new activities are being embraced including a youth action team in our local town.
A netball team try out was, however, the catalyst for this blog.
This active, but not particularly sporty, kid asked if she could play netball and so I dutifully made that happen.
As I stood in the school sports hall where her new squad trains, as I watched her tentatively but enthusiastically join her new team mates and told her coach that yes, she'd be 13 next month I felt something else rock my world just a little bit.
For every club or team or group my wonderful girl joins I feel a parent's pride and hope in her ability and for her success.
At the same time, even as I feel the loosening of the ties that bind she and I, there is a tiny tightening of the ties that bind us to a stationary life.
And the refrain of that particularly haunting, evocative ABBA song echoes in my mind - the two biggest defining features of my life are slipping through my fingers;
'Slipping through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute'