May 23rd is one of my ‘heightened sensitivity’ days as it is the day before our son’s birthday. He was born in 1995 and will be 19 at 9.25 tomorrow morning.
As he is an only child, there is a real sense in which I see my life as being divided between the time before and the time since his arrival. As I was having an elective C-Section, I was in hospital this night 19 years ago and tossed and turned all night as if mirroring the transition that was unfolding.
I was looking through my photographic archives to find the photograph that I most associate with May 23rd and it has to be this one of the Rhododendron at the bottom of our garden that unfailingly comes into bloom in the run up to the birthday.
It served as the backdrop for his birthday parties when he was small; survived all the footballs and sliotars that he and his friends ‘accidently’ lashed against it; was among the first things that he ever photographed; and always reminds me to be intensely grateful for the precious, precious gift that transformed my life forever and who remarkably now stands at 6ft 3in!
How time flies! But, how well one remembers the significant crossings.
‘Parenting’ is one of those words that I find very difficult to use because it seems to have a firm grip on something that I haven’t gotten a hold of yet even though our only ‘child’ has now reached the grand old age of 18.
I sometimes wonder if people get the hang of it after they’ve had three or four kids but then you hear the stuff about Oh they rear themselves! which sounds a bit dodgy too.
Anyway, today was a day on which I felt good about ‘motherhood.’ We ended up out at the beach in Garrarus. The sea was wilder than wild and bluer than blue. Full tide, huge waves and the pair of us with our shared history running along, getting so soaked that eventually it didn’t matter any more.
We laughed together, stared in awe at the sea together, waded into the waves together, pointed at the host of gulls together and hopefully wrote another line or two of that shared history of ours together …..