Monday, 10 October 2011
A few days..
A few important days, in which my mum got to know her grandchildren a bit better. Up until seven and a half years ago, we saw my parents fairly regularly either at their house or at our own. My dad - an electrician and 'handyman' to the roots of his being - came and did various jobs that needed doing and my mum loved to play with Mateo and Ruy - who were still very young - as well as chatting to me as we always did.
I remember one particular visit very clearly. It would be in very early June 2003 and we'd been moved into our new house for about three weeks. We planned on doing quite a bit of work to it, including adding a full-width conservatory on the back. Dad spent the afternoon pottering about fiddling with wires and identifying with FR where important connections were and needed to be.
I was wondering how to break the our news. News that had taken us by surprise - had left us in shock, to be honest - and which was taking some getting used to and which was repeating itself over and over in my head. After lunch, my mother referred to something that she'd told FR on the phone recently that she assumed he had shared with me. As our minds were otherwise occupied, he hadn't told me and my mum innocently remarked, 'Don't you two communicate?' - to which I replied, 'No but we fornicate and I'm pregnant again.'
This wasn't exactly how I had planned to tell my parents our good news but it's a phrase that has remained fixed in our brains over the years and one that will probably be passed on down the lines. To be honest, I was devastated and truly terrified to be pregnant again.
Please bear in mind that I was 44 years old and had assumed I was very lucky to have had two children rather late on in my life. We had just moved to a nice but not over-large house - just right for a family of four - and I'd just readjusted to my life back at work. We had two gorgeous boys and had no plans to increase our numbers. It sounds silly but honestly, neither of us really knew how this pregnancy had happened - and we definitely knew with the other two! Obviously, we hadn't ever before encountered a force like Romy - for it was indeed, our Romy that so determinedly shattered our safe and comfortable plans in those early days in our new house. I was so worried that I would have problems and the baby would have problems and I wasn't at all sure I could cope with three children and how could it have happened....And of course, within a very short space of time (well, about a week before she was due) all shock had turned to excitement and wonder and suddenly we were five.
Just a few short weeks after she was born, my parents went on holiday to Madeira, where my father suffered a severe stroke and since that day, we've only ever visited my parents in their home as for them, travelling to see us would have been too difficult. In fact, in all this time, whilst they have attempted holidays together (and had an increasingly complicated set of health problems each time) my mum hasn't had a proper break at all - not more than a few hours a week whilst my dad attends a day centre and it really was about time she thought about herself. Otherwise, we all know what might happen.
And the visit she made here was just the break she needed. And as well as giving her chance to recharge her batteries - no meals to cook, no-one to lift in and out of bed or a chair, no need to take anyone to the bathroom, no accidents to mop up or bedclothes to change - she had the chance to get to know her grandchildren. My mum is good talker. There's no doubt that she can talk - even more than me - but she's a good listener and was delighted to find that all three of our children also love to talk and love to listen.
It's been a few days for us all to enjoy each other's company; a few days to drink our coffee on the terrace together; a few days to sit and chat around the dinner table; a few days when the television stayed switched off; a few days when everyone told their favourite story; a few days to slow down and enjoy every minute.
So although it was only a few days, it was a few days of truly quality time that we will remember in the way we remember seeing something beautiful, like a sunset or the sea; something that stays etched in the memory forever.
You can't really ask for more.