It is my eldest daughter A’s twenty-ninth birthday today. I am finding it very difficult to believe that she is twenty-nine already. Like most parents, I remember the highs and lows of her life so clearly that they seem like yesterday. I remember her at the age of four at the beach with me and my ex-husband and his mum – Nan. Nan was with A and they were standing at the water’s edge looking out to sea. Nan was pointing things out to A and remarking on the size of the sea. ‘I wonder what is beyond the horizon?’ asked Nan. ‘I wonder where we’d find ourselves if we sailed over there?’ ‘Belgium’ said A. And she was right. One of the few times that A was aware of her surroundings and not off in a dream.
She has always wanted to be a writer and I truly hope she will get her stories published some day. She worked hard at school despite being very unhappy – both my daughters were victims of bullying. She got her GCSEs and A levels and even stayed on for a third year in the 6th form to get extra qualifications. She went to Royal Holloway, London University and got a BA and then an MA in English. She attended a RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) summer school after getting her BA and did very well. She had hoped to go to Drama School but became disillusioned by the attitude of the auditioners. She was told by one school that they wouldn’t be taking her as they already had someone who looked a bit like her!
She then decided she would be a librarian, worked for a year in a couple of school libraries to get work experience and then went back to university, Sheffield this time, and got another MA. She was asked to do some research for the university and was given a full grant to do a three year PhD. She is trying to finish writing it up and is looking for work now as the grant has run out. She has a part-time job in the university library filling shelves but she is not needed now until the autumn. She wants to stay in Sheffield as she loves it there but she also needs a job and some money.
She has managed all this despite being bi-polar; and there have been times when her life has been almost too awful to bear. She found it very difficult getting the correct diagnosis and was treated extremely poorly by some members of the medical profession who should have known better.
I am so proud of my dear, generous, kind, clever and beautiful daughter.