It’s my son’s birthday, today. Right now, he’s a long way away. Too far to see on this, his birthday. He’s busy ‘out there’ following his dream. But today, I find myself vividly recalling the day he was born. My 2-year-old daughter and I were waiting at the bus stop on the The Green at Long Sutton for over half an hour as snow flurries whipped around us and I had an ante natal appointment that I was going to be late for – although the lovely people at Yeovil Maternity Unit would be kind and understanding, as they always were.
When the bus finally arrived it was empty and the driver, evidently keen to make up the time he’d lost earlier, drove around the twisting country roads so enthusiastically that I was forced to seat my daughter on my knee and wedge myself in the corner of the seat, to stop sliding around. The situation wasn’t helped by the contractions I kept having. Rebecca grumbled, ‘Mummy, your tummy is too hard and sticking into me!’
Looking back, I wonder why I didn’t ask the driver to go slower. Explain that I was in the early stages of labour. But I didn’t. Instead, I heaved the pushchair off the bus, strapped Rebecca into it and walked to the hospital. I hasten to add, before you think I’m some kind of superwoman (I’m not – I HATE physical pain and am a real wuss about it…) this wasn’t yet at the stage where I was panting like Thomas the Tank Engine as each contraction rolled through me in great clenching waves – this was more your small, griping niggle. However, I was absolutely FOCUSED on being Mummy. So unafraid and expectant. So unlike my normal self.
Have I been a good mother? Not for me to say. I hope they know I’m always there for them. And if I could go back now, after all these years, and give that Sarah one piece of advice? I always knew right down to my core that both my bright, beautiful children were remarkable. People often told me so, in front of them. And for some odd reason that makes no sense to me now, I would always backpedal – make some offhand remark, diminishing that praise with some stupid notion that somehow, it would make them too big-headed… I wish I hadn’t done it. They were remarkable talented children, both badly let down by an inadequate educational system that specialises in mediocrity. They are remarkable talented people and bringing them up was a series of mind-expanding, challenging, heart-wrenching and joyous experiences that I wouldn’t have missed for the world.