Archive for June, 2010

Nest

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

My boys are up in Birmingham for the weekend. They’re 22 and 19 now and the eldest has lived in his own place for 2 years. The youngest went to live with their Dad when I moved here. Half way through his A levels at the time, it was the only sensible choice and as it turns out it’s been very good for him.

I met and married my partner, who had a business in Birmingham. Our wedding was a day filled with fun and love and went on to prompt a life altering decision to move from my beloved home.

Our Wedding Balloons

At the time of leaving Wales it didn’t seem like a sensible choice, on my part at least it felt like child abandonment. My boy had just turned 17 and was very young in his ways and close to me. I desperately wanted him to come with us but his education meant we just could not move him without putting him at a disadvantage. I made noises about him joining us after a year but in my heart of hearts I knew he would grow away from me.  He didn’t join us and he’s spent most of the last year ignoring me. He clearly still loves me but he’s making his space between us as  he moves into the next part of his life. He doesn’t respond to calls, never keeps promises to telephone regularly and frequently gets grumpy with me if I say anything vaguely motherly.

I remember his brother did something similar at around the age of 15.  Boys, it seems, feel the need to separate themselves from their parents in order that they can act as individuals. My eldest daughter on the other hand is happy to grow up in my company.

It's a Boy! and another boy, and a girl...and another girl...

I say again because when they were little I looked like a young mum, a very young mum having my first child before the age of 20.   Then as my children grew older I seemed to find my style and be an independent person. I had a busy life both as a parent and a musician. Those who knew me as the latter didn’t register that I was the former. I remember when my eldest son was 17 I took him to the pub to play snooker. A local chap who knew me socially laughed and called me a cradle snatcher. He was reddened by the realisation that I was out with my own child.

When people ask me about my children I say I have four and only two live with me. The amount of times I’ve seen a flash of judgment in response is quite striking. ‘Why doesn’t she have all her children living with her?’ ‘Didn’t her ex think she was fit to have the others?’ – I can see the thoughts flashing. I used to justify myself: My boys have left home. Now, I look in the mirror and see the start of crinkles in the corner of my eye, the spread of life across my hips and know that not only do I not need to justify myself to others but I have begun to look like the mother of my children again. Years ago I wondered how I’d handle this process but now it’s here I’m fine with it. I look at my stunning daughter with her burgeoning womanhood and I don’t feel jealous that I’ve lost my tiny waist or pert boobs, I just feel outrageously proud that I made such a beautiful young woman. I look at all my children and feel so glad that I am their mum.

June 6th 2010 I am 42 years old. I am glad that is my age because I have achieved so much already but still have so much to look forward to, watching my children make their place in the world. I am fortunate to have a fourth, much younger daughter, who at five is a reminder to me that I’m still quite young myself. Being the amazing little person she is gives me living proof, like my older children, that I can do great things. Today my boys arrived from Wales. Out my son’s rusty car came a tacky foil balloon. It says ‘Happy Birthday to the World’s Best Mum’. It’s the most beautiful balloon I’ve ever seen.

It's My Birthday