"Mummy, I want an iPhone."
That was a year ago. My daughter's basic, "Going to Big School" phone had died, and needed to be replaced with something with something more sophisticated. An iPhone, however, was not in the budget.
So began the negotiations.
She is a good negotiator, my daughter. She found a reputable site selling reconditioned iPhones and we agreed we would contribute our original budget and she would make up the difference from her allowance.
So, she got her iPhone – which yesterday, she dropped into the harbour - into three meters of muddy salt water. There was no hope of recovery.
She is probably lucky that this is the worst thing that has happened to her in fourteen years, but that was no comfort; she was devastated. Not just at the loss of her phone – but at her own carelessness in so losing it. She had just forgotten it was in her pocket when she leapt onto the jetty. She was incensed with herself; so much so there was no point in lecturing her on the importance of caring for her possessions: she was far too busy delivering the lecture herself, and with far more invective that ever I could possibly have managed.
But what has come from this disaster has been wonderful. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and the "village" where we stay in the Summer has rallied round. As her mother I could not break through her bitter self-reproaches, but a family friend a few doors down was able to calm her with wisdom and common sense. Her godfather called to offer support and financial assistance. A couple of "early birthday presents" were offered, and an almost stranger offered a contribution. Her father comforted her with the thought that she has joined an exclusive club, as both he and an honorary uncle have both lost phones to the sea.
I was really proud of her. She was racing with the cadets yesterday morning, immediately after this loss. She and her crew got a terrible start and almost immediately fell foul of the wind and tide, going aground. Despite this, she was determined to enjoy herself and spent the rest of the race singing songs and sailing as well as she could – eventually coming in 15th of 19. I would have proud even if she had been last – as she sailed to the best of her ability and she had fun.
We all face disasters in life. If we are lucky, they are disasters of material loss only. Too often they are human losses – on Sunday the road to our community was closed because two young men had died in a car crash. That puts the loss of a phone into perspective.
Courage in facing loss is comparative. Real courage, whatever the loss, is accepting that loss, accepting comfort and assistance and singing songs into the wind as you trim your sails and sail as well as you can.
A Moodscope member.