Keep Calm and Carry On!

IMG_7426 “Mum, can you just stop here and watch while I walk on my own?”

Gulp. I knew it was coming and I knew that phrase was just the start. I fight my instinct to squeeze her tight and smother her with kisses and not let her out of my sight and reply, ” Yeah sure, I’ll wait here until you are safely through the school gates”

I kiss the cheek she offers me and watch her walk down the road towards school. Gulp again.Big gulp.

My baby girl is growing up and starting to no longer need me….I know it’s inevitable and that she will become more and more independent as she grows older but sometimes it hits me when I least expect it and its hard to take.

She’d been talking in the car all the way to school about how when she gets into year 4 she should be able to walk from the top of the road and yr 5 probably all the way from Eleanor’s house….Eeek!

This term she has been studying World War 2. She comes home full to the brim with facts and stories and is so excited that today she gets to become an evacuee, she has packed a bag and will sleep at school over night! Of course for me this is an opportunity not to be missed and I have been chasing around the house trying to grab any remotely vintagey looking artifact I can find to turn her experience into one she will never forget. We dig out an old suitcase and try to pack it as authentically as possible. She looks utterly confused when I said I have packed her a snack and hand her a tin of spam….. ” Don’t worry your teachers will get it ” I say!

But as we are preparing her case and printing out luggage labels I can’t help but think just how awful that must really have been. To attach a label to your child and leave them at a train station to be whisked away from you. The turmoil of knowing that you are trying keeping them safe from the danger and trauma of war but at the same time handing them over to a complete stranger and having to say goodbye without knowing when you or if you will ever see them again. How must those mothers have struggled with the decision to send their children away.

What if this were real? What if I were really sending her away to the middle of nowhere with nobody she knows hoping and praying she gets placed with a family who will look after her and treat her well…and as I struggle with watching her walk a few yards away from me on her own to school I realise how lucky I am that I get to pick her up a few hours later and have her back with me. For now at least!

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4 thoughts on “Keep Calm and Carry On!

  1. Beautiful photos and story Abigail. I hope she had a great time being an evacuee. She certainly looked the part. She is so incredibly beautiful! My mum was sent away from London during the war, your photos helped me imagine what she must have looked like. I keep asking her to write her life story but I don’t think she’ll ever get around to it. I’d love to keep these stories going for future generations. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Abigail… sigh! I raced down the FB page, needing to work, wanting to browse… but not wanting to. Taking up precious time I don’t have. Then I came to your blog post. I need to escape FB… this is my way out. I’ll just read Abigail’s post and then I will be back Lightroom! Everything about your words and your work speaks to me and lifts me. Your images are so beautifully familiar… like listening to Cat Stevens ‘Morning Has Broken’. Surely they always existed. When I reached you first b&w of Tallulah I audibly gasped. Now I can return to my work, inspired and touched. A x

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