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I had a horrible dream the other night. I dreamt I went to pick up my daughter from a party, which was at her friend’s house. I walked into the house and it was quite obvious that she was on something. “What have you taken?” I shouted at her. She cried and mumbled and was totally incoherent.

I asked her what had she been doing and she pointed to someone behind me. I turned to see a six-foot, drink fuelled teenage boy with a look on his face that said “what are you gonna do about it?”

He became aggressive, shouting at me to get out, that she didn’t want me there. I shoved him out of the way, grabbed my daughter and we left.

She is 13 years old. She is growing up too fast. She is my little girl in a woman’s body. I want to protect her from all the vile things that this world contains but I can’t. I don’t want her to see adult things but I can’t stop it. I want her to have a certain amount of freedom but I’m scared that she will want more. All these worries are inevitable though. She is growing up. I can’t stop that.

I see her now, applying makeup and straightening the life out of her hair in a bid to look older. I tell her she doesn’t need to, but I just get an exasperated “Mum!”

hair straightening

I can also look at her and see her dressed up in fairy wings, a tooth missing on her front row, arranging her teddies on the carpet ready for a picnic. It is this little girl that I see when she is trying on clothes that are too old for her. It is this little girl I want to protect.

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It is almost a certainty that she will end up in situations where drink and drugs are, where teenage boys will try to get their way with her and I just pray that she is sensible. All I can do is steer her in the right direction and hope she makes the right decisions. This is my hope. It is also my biggest fear.

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