On Sunday Scarlett was 13. So another period in our lives comes to an end and a new chapter begins. We no longer have children, we have teenagers. We celebrated Scarlett’s birthday for the whole weekend – on Saturday we had Birthday Brownies (now a Rum institution for all birthdays worthy of capital letters!) at the shop with candles and singing and a really good turn out of Rum residents. Scarlett was given some lovely, thoughtful gifts by Rum friends.
In the evening I managed to get a birthday shout out for her on the Liza Tarbuck radio show which we listen to every Saturday night. Despite the level of media coverage our family has had this year Scarlett was surprised and delighted to hear that on the radio, her face was a picture!
Yesterday, as is Goddard birthday tradition every meal and activity was chosen by the birthday person – for Scarlett this meant cinnamon rolls for breakfast, cheese, crackers, twiglets and pickled onions for lunch, steak pie and mashed potatoes for dinner. Playing with presents, staying in pjs all day and having a small glass of fizz with her dinner. Birthday cake was tiffin, another family birthday cake staple.
Scarlett had some fabulous presents – books, a cd player and loads of audio books from us, some Playmobile and some stick insects. From family and friends she had cards and gifts which had arrived over the last week or so and been stashed away. One of her favourite gifts was a picture from Davies – a series of pictures of herself in the style of various cartoonists and illustrators, it’s fantastic!
I spent some time looking at photos of Scarlett over the last 13 years to find some to share on the blog. We have thousands of images of her at every age but the majority fall into only a handful of categories: with animals (by far the largest number), holding a cuddly toy, in water – be it the sea, a river or just a puddle, with an ice cream or an alcoholic drink!, climbing up something or jumping off something, with family or friends, with messy hair and scruffy clothes, fiercely cuddling one of us. There are a couple of photos of her as a small girl with a stroppy, feisty look about her, there are tons more of her grinning with delight.
This photographic documentation of the life of Scarlett is very accurate. She was a delightful yet challenging small girl, filled with attitude and curiosity, always ready to do whatever she was told not to and to find as much fun as she could in doing so. On Scarlett’s first birthday we went to an Open Farm, on her fifth and seventh birthday the Sea Life Centre, for her sixth birthday she was a zookeeper for a day, a safari trip for her eighth birthday – animals have been her consuming and enduring passion whether stuffed toys, creepy crawlies, cute and cuddly, wet and wild or plain ugly and scary!
Scarlett remains a free spirit, unconcerned with trivial (to her!) details such as wearing a coat or brushing her hair. We are approaching her teens and transition from girl into woman in the same way as we went about baby into toddler into child – with love, laughter, mutual respect, a lot of learning along the way for all of us and a delight in seeing the world through Scarlett’s eyes. In the place of the wayward toddler stands a capable, responsible, thoughtful, compassionate young woman who we can rely on to calmly find ways to support and help us, while still needing the security of a cuddle after a bad dream or reassurance when she wobbles. Scarlett came along and taught us all that we still had far more to learn than we ever realised, exploding into our lives with passion, excitement and fireworks.