The Best Laid Plans

‘If I told my dad to turn the volume up on the radio the way Lulu just told you to, my dad would have turned it off instead and taken my phone off me.’

So said Amalie as we headed toward Oakwood Theme Park. We’d been planning the trip for weeks. I was driving Jack’s car. The girls in the car, Lu’s bestie, Amalie and the girl’s cousin Sam.

‘Really?’ I asked. 

Amalie snorted. ‘Yep.’

‘I only told you to turn it up,’ Lulu chimed in happily from the back seat. 

I shrugged and processed this information. Ok, I had gotten no please or thank you from Lu I guess, but was that really a rude thing to do? Was Amalie’s dad justified in his response? I get lost with this stuff – what is rude and what isn’t when it comes to teenagers.

Still. ‘I suppose if it was Lulu’s dad, they’d be brawling in the bushes.’

Lulu gave a resolute nod. ‘Me and Dad would be rolling around with our hands around each other’s throats.’

I’ve been thinking about this recently – that a lot of figuring out dynamics of relationships is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Thinking how they’d feel. 

So imagine waiting for Jack to wake up to tell him that Lulu doesn’t want to go on Quest. Well, not for our planned duration of two years.

Midnight the night before – I discovered mostly by accident that Jack hadn’t told Lu our full plan. Not the idea of a second season on Quest anyhow. Ok, nothing’s set in stone, but there is an overall plan at the moment to have two more seasons on Quest. And part of the reason of this plan is because of Lu. If she starts her GCSEs with InterHigh, we figure she should do the two full years using one curriculum. She’s worked so hard from Year 7, mostly independently, we don’t want to compromise her GCSE exams by moving schools.

Turns out that compromise was the last thing Lulu was thinking of. Duh. There was our Lulu smacking her head against her bunk bed at midnight. Rapping her knuckles across the wooden slats. Telling me that suicide would be preferable over two years away from our home in Wales. Yep, no one said that travelling with teenagers was easy. Come to think of it, no one said you should travel with teenagers. Usually it’s the opposite. 

At this point I have to say hey to my friend Silke. I wonder where you are right now – sailing the Pacific seas. Silke said to me a while ago from reading these blogs, she thinks we’re on a different quest with Lulu now. Not a Quest quest. I responded that I didn’t know what would happen with going sailing again but  I would update her – by writing about it! So, here goes. 

Like Silke has observed, Lu’s settled into her life now. She has a boyfriend at school. She’s close to her old best friend again. She even likes her inadequately performing, mainstream secondary school. Why on Earth would this fourteen-year old girl want to leave it? 

Quest. The Caribbean. I’ll set the scene. Tropical heat. Difficult to pin down with the constant, cooling trade winds from the Atlantic. A beautiful necklace of curving islands. Turquoise bath water surrounding each island. Everywhere beautiful smiles on stern faces. Nothing charms like the Caribbean can. 

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