The house feels so empty. The Farmer and I will be rattling around for the next few days. Doors won't be opened, rooms will be left untouched whilst the atmosphere still emits voices and energy from long ago. But between now and Friday afternoon, I will hear my child's voice, the monotonous sound that sings through the walls and dances into my heart. I waved her off this morning as she sat on the school bus with her friends, longing for the adventure and companionship of her peers. She's gone on a residential to an adventure center, a playground where the fun never stops and lights never diminish. The excitement in her tone was at a deafening pitch, one with such jubilation I had to calm her so that she could at least fill her belly with nourishment. The activities available mean little compared to the thought of sharing a room with three other girls, and the chit chat she envisages taking place. "We can talk about girlie stuff," she said, "and about who we fancy." I reminisced to my own childhood, it too was filled with girlie chit chat though with an old head on young shoulders. Amy's young mind makes her vulnerable but it will never stop her from being normal.
I took her to school, a little treat, more for me than her. I wanted to wave as my malteser-eyed beauty was swept away to a place where I would only be a memory. I managed to sneak an 'I love you' in, just before she got onto the bus. I whispered it. She turned to me and almost said the same before she noticed a teacher close by. Uncool for a twelve year old, but I got the incredible smile that never fails to light up her face, and mine. She hovered for a while, not sure to whom her loyalty lay. A decision she needed to make of whether to board the bus and be with her friends or stand with me, the one who loves her more than anything in the world. I took her bag and told her to go and join her friends, they were waiting for her. I watched as she sat down in her seat, then again as she turned to smile at her friend in the seat behind. Her head kept turning, to me, to them. She still wasn't sure. I knew that she would have an amazing time, and she settled into the seat, fastening her safety belt before turning to look at me through the window once more, a certain pride overwhelming the fact that her decision had been made.
As the bus roared into action and the doors closed, I stood beside the headteacher, a man with a beautiful mind. He smiled at his pupils, willing them to have a good time. "She'll be fine," he said, his eyes fixed on the smiling faces that now greeted us. I nodded. "I'll see you on Friday," I said. How could I ever live without that child? She reminds me every day how rich and complete my life really is.