Tag Archives: baby

The Teenager Turns 18 (At Last …)

18On August 11th 1999, there was a total solar eclipse.

It’s seared into my memory as I was heading for my final scan, heavily pregnant.

I was standing outside Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in London, mesmerised by the encroaching darkness.

And then, it was light. The sun shone through and everyone blinked at each other, as if to say, ‘did that just happen?’  It was eerie and exhilarating at the same time.

Ten days later, I gave birth. I’d like to say I breathed along to whale music and had my back massaged with essential oils. However, it was perhaps a portent of things to come when the baby refused to budge – they burst the waters, they used an epidural, they pleaded, they prodded around, they used forceps, then finally Ventouse. I was surrounded by medical students. And my baby was born a Cone-Head.

In the post-birth ward later that day, battered and bruised by the whole experience, he wailed the loudest, keeping every single other baby awake. I put his first nappy on backwards. He lay in his Perspex box, peering at me. I fell in love, Cone-Head and all. He was adorable.

And tomorrow he turns 18. A legal adult, ready to leave home in three weeks.

He’s always felt the injustice of being by far the youngest in his school year, so tomorrow cannot come quick enough for him. As a parent, I think it’s no bad thing. It can be hard to be the first at everything. His so-called disadvantage has given him a little breathing space.

Anyway, looking back over the last 18 years, my first thought is, ‘Blimey, I’m old, about to become an empty-nester and probably middle-aged’. The Teenager asked me the other day if I would be ok living on my own, when he goes to University:

‘Oh, absolutely. I’m going to join a yoga class, perhaps pottery and maybe go on one of those little coach trips to the seaside. I’ll be fine.’

Is The Teenager ready to be an adult? Am I ready to don a waterproof jacket and take a coach and flask of tea to Weston-Super-Mare?

I think this will be a whole new adventure, for both of us.

But for now, especially for you guys who have followed us from the beginning of this blog, way back in October 2012, The Teenager will officially be an adult in just over 8 hours. The Teenager has a countdown going and I’m reminded every half hour or so …

Tagged , , ,

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…..

Tagged , , , , ,