A girl is born with all of her eggs already formed in her ovaries. It’s a powerful symbol of the fact that as you parent your child, you are also parenting their future children.
This is me, aged five. I love this photo because it carries many truths in it: A snapshot that somehow sucked up the mood, themes and feeling of an entire chapter. My Dad’s thumb, the tecnicolour vividness, the seaside holiday, the effort of my parents to make special memories for us with their limited resources [they succeeded], my serious and slightly solitary nature–always fiercely-oddly costumed. Apparently when we used to go to the beach I would immediately strip off, don my white Mickey Mouse sunglasses and red wellington boots and walk off alone to see the sights (except, it sounds like I was the sights!). My poor dad would have to track and follow me for many breakwaters with his binoculars.
At that age there were a lot of things that I insisted on. Little particular peculiarities like having to run out of the bathroom before the loo finished flushing or having to have EXACTLY the same portions as my bestbest friend and cousin, Alice. I don’t suppose it’s that unusual to have such foibles at that age but I do remember just how passionate I was about them.
I am so grateful to my parents and aunties and uncles who all sweetly accommodated the things that I insisted on because it wasn’t naughtiness, it was just part of my character. Now my sweet, tender Bang is five and he is complex and ritualistic and very insistent about certain things. And I am exercising that gift of patience just as I was shown it, time and time and time again. It helps that I understand entirely.