A was singing at her old school's Christmas Market with the choir yesterday, very enjoyable to watch and listen to. She then disappeared with a gang of mates while I caught up with a couple of people and did some shopping. After a couple of hours I was ready to go, but A wasn't! Luckily another parent offered to bring her home later on, so I left her there.
She had a great time, as far as I can tell the group (about six or seven of them - girls and boys - all 11/12ish) did their own thing, including going off to the local shops, while the parents were involved in running stalls etc. This kind of thing is happening more and more often, and to me it feels positive, if a bit weird. She really is growing up.
Today she has gone off to the cinema with a couple of the friends she was with yesterday (with their parent - apart from anything else the nearest cinema is 15 miles away).
I have to say I am really enjoying seeing her burgeoning independence, and the self confidence that clearly follows. We seem to have entered into a new phase of this, which I think is partly a result of all the new group activities she is involved in. The latest of these - the creative writing group - is fantastic, and I'm sure will do wonders for her confidence.