To my baby… he’s 26 today! Three boys in their thirties and Jack still in his twenties. Funny how it doesn’t matter how old they are, the youngest is still always the baby! The four boys and I have a family Whatsapp group. It’s become something of a tradition for me to post a few pictures of the birthday person. Going through the pictures last night to choose some, I had an overwhelming feeling of love for my boys. The sort of feeling that affects your heart. Mind you, although my love remained constant, my precious little bundles of joy didn’t go from newborns to adults overnight. There were many years in between when all I can say is… it’s just as well I did love them. I think Jack came out of the womb on a mission to test me to the max.
By the time he’d reached the age of four he’d already had ingenious ideas about how to stress me out. As a toddler he had an obsession with all things electrical. His very favourite was the iron. A kiddie’s pretend iron didn’t cut the mustard. In spite of my best efforts to keep it from him, I couldn’t. He would climb up the cupboard shelves and take the iron down. He’d plug it in and then sit and admire it. One day while I was ironing, his hand touched it and it hurt. I thought that would be end of his love for the iron. Not at all, his love and admiration for it only increased!
I remember when he was three he asked if Santa could bring him a washing machine for his bedroom?! In Germany we had a door from the living room out onto the patio. German houses have outdoor electric sockets. (Something I wish British houses had!) Jack had a habit of waiting till I was in the kitchen, then he would take the vacuum cleaner out of the cupboard into the garden and vacuum the grass. By the time he was three he was physically strong enough to drag the lawnmower from the cellar up to the garden. Then he graduated to being able to use the edge trimmer. I found that scary to use and I was an adult. It held no fear for him. So much for the child safety feature.
Just to keep us on our toes, Jack found other outlets for his mischievousness. Like the time I was hanging pictures and used the hammer to put up picture pins. Jack wanted to do it so I gave him a pin and the hammer and pointed to a part of the wall he could use. The next second I heard an almighty smash and turned round to see that he’d decided instead to try the hammer out on the glass front door. Another day he turned his attention to the downstairs toilet and managed to smash the toilet bowl. Then there was the day Jack and I were in the house on our own and I decided to go out onto my bedroom balcony to clean the windows. Jack thought it would be amusing to lock me out. After a little “ha ha okay darling let mummy in now” didn’t work, bribery didn’t work, and threatening him with death didn’t work either, I started to think that it might be a long afternoon out on that balcony. But then fortunately a neighbour came along and went to the front door and coaxed Jack to get a stool and climb up and open the door to let her in so that she could rescue me! And not forgetting the time Jack’s dad started the car and then went to put something into the boot. Jack quick as lightening put the car into drive and the thing started moving towards some garages. My ex husband probably never moved so fast in his life! Jack’s repertoire of naughtiness continued for several more years. Then he grew into the kind of child that every mum dreams of… not perfect, but intelligent, calm, and very thoughtful. We both survived his childhood… but at times it was a close shave.
Bruce suggested that I join a gym, but because I wanted to do the None to Run 12 week running programme, I thought I would wait until I had completed that. But then this morning it occurred to me that I can do it… at the gym! I’ve never been on a tread-mill in my life, but there’s a first time for everything. I found a gym quite local to me. Reading about it, it sounds ideal. It doesn’t have a pool, but I can overlook that. I think I’ll go and check it out the week after next.
Looking at pictures of Jack prompted me to go through an album I made of my life from birth till now. It’s very bitter-sweet looking at it. Seeing pictures of me with my parents, knowing now that in some of them, my father at that time was being unfaithful to my mum. Dad was never vilified. Mum held no bitterness towards him. She was the strong one who ended the marriage when her best efforts to save it failed and she realised he wasn’t prepared to change his ways. She always maintained her dignity. Dad though was the light of her life and that never changed until the day she died. Dad passed away three years before her and I remember her saying to me; “I felt safer knowing he was in the world”. Some love never dies. Even after my divorce, I couldn’t imagine not loving my ex husband. Now I find myself feeling nothing for him. I certainly don’t hate him, but all feelings of love are gone.
I was thirty two years when mum died. I was living in Germany, and my life was kept busy with four young children. I never got the chance to sit and talk with her and share with her all the pain and heartache she must have gone through in her marriage. And for some unknown reason, I chose not to tell her about my own marital problems. She went to her grave without knowing that I too had married someone who wasn’t faithful. My mum loved me with every fibre of her being… why did I keep something like that a secret from her? I have no idea. But I wish now I hadn’t. Although if I had told her, maybe my life would have taken a different path and I wouldn’t have met Abrar. And anything bad that I’ve been through has been worth it to get me to this point in my life.