Posts Tagged ‘children’

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

Love is…

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

My fifteen year old daughter is, so far, blissfully unaware of my blog and my Twitter.  I say ‘so far’ because no doubt she will eventually find them and egotistically search them for any mention of her good self.  I wouldn’t like to disappoint her.

A few months ago she confessed to me that she quite liked a boy she’d met at her church group’s camp holiday last year. I was determined not to be as much of an arsehole as my dear father was and showed her genuine interest without any hint of motherly possessiveness. Now, my dear dear father wasn’t quite so easy going. My first boyfriend, at the age of 15 was a local bounder called Paul. Paul was a few years older than me, which to me meant very little but to my father it meant war. The first time Paul came to our house to take me out I came into the hallway just in time to see my dad open the door and say ‘Fuck Off!!’ before slamming it in the poor lad’s face. Parental love is a funny thing.

Anyway, so she tells me about this boy and, after bigging him up quite a bit, she slips in the fact that he’s 18. I yelped internally and later figured out a way to tell Beardieboy, who is not strictly her dad but, in the absence of her dad , does a pretty good job of standing in for a paternal grinch.

Beardieboy: Fuck Off!

Me: I’m sure he’ll be lovely

Beardieboy: la, la,la I’m not listening, la, la, la

Me: Pack it in…

Beardieboy: Invite him round to dinner, I’ll sort him out

Perishing the thought I did just that and to both our surprise he seemed like a perfectly nice boy. Very young for his age, very sweet. Beardieboy was calmed. My father, on the other hand, called me a bad mother, declared the boy a predator and told me to put my child on the pill. I smiled sweetly, went in my mother’s kitchen and muttered something about getting stuffed.

Now, they only see each other once a week and when they do it’s shopping, cinema, bowling or in our house or his parent’s house, with adults around. So I had been feeling quite comfortable with things. Then, a few weeks ago, I walked in to find them, erm, getting a bit heated. I swallowed. I made dinner and we sat at the table. He volunteered it was his birthday the next week.  I suddenly realised my little baby was dating an actual man. He may be a bit gawkish and geeky, he’s certainly not as wordly wise as my own 19 year old son, but he IS 19.

The beautiful au pair thinks all of this is hilarious, and in a very direct german way, wants to know if I’m worried he’ll have sex with my daughter. I reply by saying that, if she likes, we can talk about her parents having sex. She bursts out laughing and wanders off like I’m the funniest square she’s met in a long time.  So, you’re language skills have improved to the point of sarcasm…hmmm?

Last week, I was in the kitchen (I seem to do that a lot) when the sweethearts came in for a drink. My daughter’s face was covered in bright red blotches from excessive snogging. – remember that! I joked that I hoped she wasn’t allergic to him (I say joked, because I secretly wished that she was allergic to him. More than that, I wanted her to find him boring). I carried on being jovial, saying they’d have to keep their distance if it was an allergy.  I said it’d make having a relationship difficult. Imagine…

Mimicking someone shouting from a distance, I half shouted across the room to him: Heyyy, I really like you

He, caught up in the moment, yelled back: Heeeyyyyyy, I love you too.

I audibly choked and suddenly decided to put the kettle on.  The au pair, who’d been idling by the fruit bowl, suddenly picked up an apple and rammed it in her gob in a bid to stop herself from laughing.  A small amount of embarassed murmering took place and the blotchy couple left, sans drinks. The au pair crumpled with laughter. I just glared at her.

Me: Did you hear that? Did you hear that?

Beautiful au pair: I will help you interrupt them every 15 minutes, we can take it in turns.

Me: Ok.