For The Last Time….

The TeenagerMany moons ago when I held my colicky, screaming baby in my arms, a visitor smiled indulgently at me, took another sip of their tea and said, ‘Ahhh, make the most of it, they grow up so fast.’

I glared at them through glazed and dull eyes. Oh really. Infinity stretched ahead of me, filled with nappies, screaming, cabbage leaves (don’t ask) and snatched sleep.

Fourteen years down the line, I now know what they mean. The years whizzed by. I visited a five-day old baby last week and was just about to say, ‘Ahh, make the most of it….’ but I held my tongue. Instead, I stared in awe at the tiny bundle, stunned that The Teenager had once been that size.

I remember all the firsts. The first step (far, far too soon), the first word (‘food’), the first day at nursery, at primary, at secondary. The first time he stayed over at a friend’s house. The first time he made a lego kit by himself.

The sadness is, I never knew when the endings would be. The last time he held my hand crossing the road, or the last time he wanted a colouring-in book. We don’t know until time passes and we realise they took place some time ago.

Excuse me for being a touch maudlin. I guess I’m just a bit angry that a lot of  ‘last times’ took place during the turmoil of the MS diagnosis. Whether I liked it or not, The Teenager had to come to terms with a parent who has a long-term illness and with his dad living 140 miles away.

Don’t get me wrong, I never put an unacceptable responsibility on too-young shoulders. I strove to maintain our normal routine, even when it was beyond-exhausting. But inevitably life changed, and so suddenly. Gone was the parent with boundless energy, who would go on long day trips, packing the car up and heading off. Gone was the spontaneity, the feeling that yeah, we can do that, why not?

Instead, life was filled with, ‘not now’, ‘maybe tomorrow’. I’ve never lost sight of him though. He is central in everything I do, hence the Campath treatment. Who cares about the potential side effects when it can keep me on my feet?

Perhaps instead of thinking remorsefully about the ‘last times’, I should concentrate on the new experiences The Teenager has. The new ‘firsts’. First razor, first girlfriend, first rain-sodden festival he goes to. Hang on, did I just say first girlfriend? Hmmm…..

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6 thoughts on “For The Last Time….

  1. stargzrblog says:

    oh, heck … must be a little dust lodged in both of my eyes … (what a brief but powerfully touching post).

  2. What a lovely post!

    Re: first girlfriend; I guess he’s approaching that age… You can act totally embarrassing (i.e., just by doing normal things: it always seemed embarrassing when my parents, you know, simply TALKED to my friends). That might help discourage him from bringing girlfriends around!

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Yup, I know that feeling! I try to engage his friends in conversation and am met with a blank face. Only time they say anything is when I give them food, and even then it’s only grunts 🙁

  3. christie says:

    I’m a little late to the party, but that was beautifully written!

    Thanks for sharing your life with those of us going through similar struggles.

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