First Day – Again

Miami, Florida. That worked out well. We landed safely. Yay! In a couple of hours the plane would be doing the same journey in reverse. Well, not exactly in reverse. You know what I mean. 

As soon as we landed, we took out our phones. Scrolled through as we walked to passport control. Lu went up ahead. 

‘Lu, wait for us!’

She turned around. Tears were streaming down her face. 

‘What’s wrong?’ 

‘People sent me a video of Jamie flirting with another girl.’

The drama – it’s never-ending. We’d had nine hours respite. Could I go in the plane again? I wouldn’t mind watching that disaster movie one more time. ‘What? With who?’

Lulu rolled her eyes. ‘I don’t want to talk about it right now.’

We stood in line for passport control. My mum was already on Messenger giving her advice. ‘Don’t worry,’ the phone beeped. ‘I’m sure he’s just behaving as any other normal 14-year old would. You can’t expect him not to speak to other girls.’

The queue inched forwards. Just before it was our turn, I turned to Lulu. ‘What actually happened in the video?’

Deep breath and she told me. Five seconds of laughing. Bit of horseplay.

‘Doesn’t sound so bad, no?’

Lulu pushed her glasses back. ‘I know. And it isn’t I guess. It’s just all these people sent it to me. I think that’s what upset me most.’

Nothing like social media to magnify stuff. Drama. And even though we’e sailing off and departing the ‘grid’, there’s no going back with it. There just isn’t. And I want a daughter who is happy and healthy. Equally, I can’t be ultra-prescriptive. Lulu has to feel things for herself. It’s just easier on land and at home to give her this space. 

I’m almost sure too that teenage brains are wired in a specifically different way to other life stages. Spend any time with them and it’s impossible to ignore. Teenagers are for connection. For friendship. For independence preparation. It’s almost uncanny. And right now we have a close up view of it.

Our turn. We approached the desk, passports in hand. ‘Everything ok?’ The customs officer asked us.

We all nodded quickly. ‘Oh yeah,’ I said. ‘He was just flirting a little bit. You can’t expect him not to talk to other girls, right?’

The customs officer gave me a look. I wish. 

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