My blog is a little late for my personal schedule this week. I’ve been thinking about what to write as have a long term project in mind which I want to chat about but I’m still working it out so have been thinking about whether or not to mention it here, and if so, how to go about it. I think you may have to wait for that one…watch this space.
Instead I am going to chat about my amazing Son No. 1 who turned 11 yesterday and the discussion we had this evening. Son No 1 can sometimes be a tricky character. He’s fairly intolerant, hates having his photo taken as you can see, and sometimes as many of us do, loses his temper for reasons that are hard to understand. He’s very bright indeed, loving but not so keen on showing it and has been through some pretty difficult stuff throughout his life. He’s amazingly perceptive. I mean really, really. And always has been. Even when he was two he would say things about the world, about me, about other people that astounded me. Things that even so-called grown ups wouldn’t always see.
We don’t always get on though. A few years ago I accepted that that was just how it is between us. He gets very angry with me: wants my attention NOW; is sometimes extremely jealous of the other children; is extraordinarily messy, stubborn and belligerent. And refuses point blank to do his homework often coming up with all sorts of reasons that I find difficult to argue with because a) I believe his nonsense, b) I agree with him c) he simply lies and tells me he has done it. Sneaky!
But tonight as we sat eating supper he just blew my mind away. He started talking about the child I lost before I got pregnant with him, and which sadly miscarried at 16 weeks. He said he often thinks about this older sibling he might have had, the one that never materialized. I started to explain that had that child been born I would never had had him, as I would have been too busy to create any more children just at that point. Oh, he replied, and asked me to tell him more.
I started to tell him about the baby, a little girl, and the strange thing is I started to cry. I say strange because I thought about that miscarriage only recently and thought at the time, “I think I’m over that now”, and yet here I was crying again about something that happened over 12 years ago. He asked me if I had to give birth to the baby and I explained how I’d had an operation to remove the baby because it was still early and small enough. I was also lucky enough to have had private insurance at the time, which meant that all sorts of test were done. And the results had shown that the little girl had twice as many chromosomes as she should have had, which means that had the pregnancy progressed to full term, the little child would have died within days. And that would have been a great deal more traumatic than the miscarriage, which was painful enough as it was.
Son No 1 asked me why I was crying and I said because no matter how much time passes sometimes things still get to you. I reiterated that things had worked out OK in the end because I love having him as a son.
Shortly afterwards he noticed me weeping again, and asked why. Poor guy – what happened to his mother tonight? I told him that talking about the miscarriage had reminded me of a lady called Michelle who had been a wonderful Shiatsu therapist. She treated me on and off for 10 years and the first time I saw her was when I was just pregnant with that failed first baby. She knew just by looking at my tongue I was pregnant, I told Son No 1. I didn’t even know! Really, he said, you mean like a clairvoyant but one that actually tells the truth? Yes, I said, something like that. She had also explained to me, after I lost the baby, that in Chinese medicine they believe a miscarriage is the body’s way of preparing itself for a pregnancy that will stick. I don’t know if that is true but it helped me at the time.
I’m really sad to say that Michele, the lady who treated me, died of cancer after a very short illness three years ago. She had recently moved to Hastings when she contracted her illness and it’s dreadful to think about how she had been really enjoying her new life by the seaside. I explained to Son No 1 that I was crying again because I missed Michelle who, even though she wasn’t a friend as such, rather someone whom I had consulted periodically over a decade, had been a person who nevertheless meant something to me.
Son No 1 listened to all of this with such maturity, and the reason he blew my mind away was because he didn’t shy away from any of it, was interested, asked the right questions, let me be sad and then found a way to make me laugh – I don’t remember how, to be honest, but I do remember the feeling of happiness I felt with him and the other children as we laughed out loud about something or other.
I don’t think you should spend all your time crying in front of your children but I also think it doesn’t hurt for them to see real stuff now and again. And Son No 1 is growing up into a pretty decent person, so I guess he’s coping with his slightly neurotic, flakey but reasonably good-enough mother.
Shortly after this moment, he was, though, a little embarrassed but terribly understanding when I swore at the very top of my absolutely furious voice, “Fuck off, bitch!!” at this horribly aggressive and impatient male driver in a red Jaguar who kept beeping at me when he could see damn well I was dealing with a bit of a child related emergency in the car. “Mum, that poor man, does he really need to be sworn at like that!!” “Too fucking right, I said.” “Oh, OK, then” he said as he tried to hide in the foot well.
Have a great week!
(c)Sarah-Jane Field 2015