Thirty six years ago this evening, a little boy, weighing 7lb 14 oz, with lots of red hair was born, and I became a mother. No longer just a young 22 year old woman, wife, graduate, daughter, sister, friend, but a mother. And my whole life changed. My whole world changed.
One small bundle with powerful lungs upended all the theory and thoughts of sleep, and so the best part of my life began. Mind you, his father was in Norway on a ship. My parents contacted his head office and they sent a telex to the ship to let him know that he had a son and that all was well.
Does anyone remember things like a telex? (I changed the wording there, because what on earth is the plural of telex???)
Anyway. He few home 6 weeks later and spectacularly scored an own goal (as in his wife was less than impressed) when he shot straight past me, and had eyes only for the 6 week old boy with colic who was shouting loudly in his carrycot. Tap, tap of the toe.
It took a few days for forgiveness to win the day. By then, let me add, all signs of colic had evaporated, and there could not possibly have been a more contented happy little chap. His father took all the credit.
So, today that baby is 36 and is a father himself. Missy is keeping him on his toes, believe me. He is happy, has a wonderful wife, and work he enjoys, and I am so very proud of him. He has also made me a grandmother, in turn. Ah, how that wheel keeps turning round..............
But being a mother was and is an amazing thing.
The most amazing thing I have ever done, and my greatest achievement.
Those baby years, the toddler years,. the pre-school years, the big school years, the senior school years, the university years.................they flew by. That is, from my viewpoint today. At the time, some of them were ENDLESS and hello. Lord., please let my child be potty trained before he turns 21. Well, those were thoughts I had x3 children at some stage of all those training years, and will any of them ever learn to eat what is put in front of them??? Please??? I am quite sure you all identify totally. And then there were all those wonderful Wet Pup years (the nickname of his prep school) and the outstanding concerts each year. The costumes. The galas. The athletics, judo, tennis, venture club, a house full of small boys, and their Mums drinking tea as we waited for school to end every day. Living one road from school was genius, because all my friends avoided the traffic jam and came to my house, and we waited for the cherubs to return in their own time. Occasionally we had to send a search party because some games were just too much fun for them to think of coming home. Or homework.
Then there was the letter to the tooth mouse after a tooth fell out on the rugby pitch, complete with a map as to where the mouse could start looking. The memories. Crystal clear.
And he grew up, my boy.
I look at the man today, you know, and I see that little boy frown, or grin broadly, and I remember the laughter, and the scraped knees, and the batman costume. I remember standing on quaysides with him, waiting for Daddy's ship to dock. I remember years of travelling at sea with him, and his sister too in time. David came much later! I wonder if he remember beating the 2nd engineer at darts when he was only about 9 or 10? Or if he remember going to visit his Nanny in Devon? I can show him the photos, of course, and tell him the stories. Of castle cakes and ship cakes, and chocolate games and firework parties. Of breakfast on the beach with his friends and their parents, of treks up the mountain, and picnics in the forest. Of wetsuits and boogy boards, and skateboards and bikes.
He may have forgotten, I know. But I remember. I remember and cherish all those bright splashes of colour in the patchwork of my life. That tent, Andrew - do you remember Bain's Kloof and the tent which threatened to take off in the middle of the night and how I spent the entire night hammering the pegs back in???
Maybe not. I think you slept through it all.
That is what mothers are for. Hammering in tent pegs so her children don't get blown away. Gold star.
And a few other important reasons too. Mothers are there primarily to love. Love their babies forever and a day and beyond that even.
This mother loves her son, the baby, boy and man. And that will never ever stop.
Happy Birthday, Andrew.