Bella turned twelve this week. This birthday felt different to others - more relaxed, less stressful. She was still excited for weeks beforehand, counting down the days, but there was no party with friends this year, no balloons or party bags. Instead, we had a small family get together at the weekend which was just lovely, very easy going, and her cake this year was the easiest one I've made yet: a stack of peppermint Oreo brownies piled onto a cake stand and decorated with candles and a little banner I bought last year. (Sadly we won't be using it again as it got a bit too close to the candles....)
On her birthday, she chose to go shopping after school and spend some of her birthday money. Her purchases were researched beforehand, planned and considered; a sweet little silver ring (so grown up!) and a new jacket. Then we went to eat at Five Guys, her choice, and had burgers and shakes. It was all really nice and very definitely Not Stressful. Gifts included books, some new bedding for her room, clothes, a new school bag, craft and art supplies. Toys are not featuring much any more, but that's ok. She just leads the way, this child, forging her own path ahead. We are a bit blown away by how well she's doing in secondary school, by what she has the potential to achieve. Right now, she, Angus and John are at a science lecture at her school, at her request. She got a special merit badge for achievements in English, has just joined gym club and wants to join politics clubs but it clashes with swimming lessons. I don't know where she got her independence, motivation and work ethic from but I am extremely proud of her, if at times my head spins at the busyness of it all
Thank you so much for your nice comments and words of support. Things are looking up: the washing machine and roof are both sorted, and the boiler is nearly there. We are just waiting for a part. I feel a bit like we're clinging on till the end of the week here, I don't know about you. A combination of tiredness and a lingering sore throat/cold that won't amount to anything or go away is sapping my energy, but there are still presents to be made and wrapped. I've just written a huge shopping list and am about to order all my food for the Christmas week. I wonder what I will forget?