Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Spreading wings

Adventures without one's parents

Tomorrow my daughter goes to Amsterdam with her boyfriend. They found a cheap flight and are going for a short break. It isn't her first visit to Amsterdam as my brother lived there for years, and we used to take regular trips to see him. We got so blasé about the city that we sometimes even spent long weekends there, not doing any touristy things at all.... just staying in his flat, eating, drinking, chatting, catching up, watching films etc.
Our daughter is well travelled, she made her first transatlantic trip at 9 weeks old. Since then she has travelled throughout Europe, a little bit of North Africa, the US and to Australia with us. Then... 3 years ago, she started going places with friends, and even.....alone. It started with a trip to Spain with a friend and her parents, then a city break to Rome, then a month travelling around Ireland, then 4 months in Australia.

I love the idea that she is discovering the world for herself now. I think that she is excited and delighted by beautiful old churches, castles, galleries and museums.....by fountains and statues and architecture and fabulous landscapes and mountains and lakes and oceans and botanical gardens, people watching, and sitting watching the world go by from pavement cafes.

When she lights candles in gorgeous churches, will she make sure she names the people, in her head at least, for whom they are being lit ?
Will she remember that she always used to demand ice cream as a reward for venturing into yet “ another church”. ?

Will she drag her boyfriend around the Van Gogh museum and tell him which paintings she loved the last time she was here, and which one her little cousin Michael stood in front of and copied into a sketch book ?
Will she try to find the tree in Vondel Park where she and her cousin spent hours climbing, before drinking excellent hot chocolate in one of the brilliant cafes in the park ?

Will she decide to go to Anne Frank Huis again....or will she remember how emotional it made her.... and give it a miss ?
A while ago, when Mark and I were in Venice, I remember saying how I wished she was with us, that she would love it. Mark said he thought Venice was one of those places you had to discover for yourself....and that she would have that pleasure to come some day.

 He was completely right........ as always.......

I’m glad we have been lucky enough to be able to give Jess a taste of other places, but I hope that she has amazing adventures discovering places for herself

Next trip Jess ????


  1. I'm sure that when our children travel to places that they have previously been to with their parents, they remember the same things but differently to us. Everything is seen through different eyes.

    I bet she would love Venice. I spent 5 days there on my own some years ago. Even though it was a cold and wet February, it was still magical.

  2. I agree, I think Venice in the rain and fog is amazing.... but I still hope the weather stays fine for her in Amsterdam ! Hope you're feeling better.

  3. Lucky Jess to have travelled so much and so far with you already. I think you can honestly say you have taught her how to fly. I hope I can do the same for my own. I think you can be very proud to see how far she can stretch her lovely wings.

  4. Thanks Annie.... it was Deanna Drake who told me I only had Jess on loan...and I have become more and more aware of that over the last year or so. So just make the most of those years when your' 3 are close by you all the time. It is over so quickly. That sounds sad, but it isn't, it's good,seeing her grown up and capable, and adventurous. Luckily she understands my control freakishness and lets me believe, from time to time, that I am still in charge.

    1. Fond memories of Deanna and her sayings - although I have always been slightly troubled by her telling me I was too much of a visionary for my own good!!

  5. Janice, it sounds like you've made a good job of DH and I think should be the aim of all parents - to produce a mature, balanced, independent adult, capable of living his or her life well. I hope your daughter has a fanatic time on her trip.

  6. Thanks Perpetua...its a really good sign...no phone calls, texts or facebook messages since she's been gone, and I'm coping.