Other Mothers
By Laurence Cawley
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Julie, babysitter


From the age of five, Julie became a key figure in my life.

Part babysitter, part child-minder, but mainly a friend with whom I could say anything. 

Often she would collect me from school, walking me home past a long line of garages safely home. 

“We just got on so well,” she says. “We played games, we read together, we had indoor picnics.”

Looking back, this close bond between a young boy and a 17-year-old girl was unusual. 

What I learned recently, from Julie, was that our pairing was partly the result of a plot by her Mum and my Dad. I was struggling without a mum and Julie with an eating disorder.

“Yes, I guess I was your therapy, Lol, and you were mine,” she says.