Sunday, 18 November 2012

My daughter is my beard


My daughter makes a great beard. She really does.

I’m not talking actual facial hair, you understand. I don’t use her as a kind of lively facial toupĂ©e. That would be eccentric, to say the least. I mean she’s my beard. My mask. My disguise. My cover.

I'll explain.

Like many people I dislike small talk. I have a tendency to panic and blurt out something inappropriate or confused. Something such as: “Oh, I went to Devon once.” (Yes, it SOUNDS normal NOW, but at the time we were discussing the work of MAYA ANGELOU.) Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a total pariah – most of the time I pull it off. But, dear God, the effort.

Anyway, nowadays I have my beard, I mean daughter, to conceal my mortification. She soaks up attention with her wild charm so others barely notice if I jabber madly.

Some great sage (possibly Nigella Lawson, actually) once described how motherhood means a woman ceases to be the picture – her children take on that role – and instead becomes the frame. Well, that suits me just perfectly.

I like that my daughter enjoys the spotlight while I can skulk in the wings, toasting her successes with a glass of Prosecco. “Bottoms up, darling.  Yes, Mummy’s here.” *slurps*

But it’s not only about the gaze of others. My own clear focus on my daughter since her birth is a damned relief, having looked after only myself for so long. And MUCH more entertaining too.

Friends without children have achieved this state of semi-selflessness in breathtakingly brilliant ways. But I was always a bit crap at it. Ends up all I needed was a big shove from my beard, my disguise, my cover, my girl.


  1. Reading this made me happy. For reasons that might be obvious.

    Brill writing, Zoe.

    1. Aw thanks, Pritpal! Yours is a very fine example, no question. My beard is possibly slightly more unruly!