Monday, 23 June 2014


It's pretty widely accepted that the moment your babies arrive, you are left breathless..with relief, love and joy. But life with children is full of breath-taking moments.

There have been proud moments when my heart could burst; watching BigL walk out on the pitch at Twickenham as the mascot for England Women's rugby this year; being surprised to walk in and see LittleE as the emergency (!) Mary in the Nativity last year; and seeing MiddleS getting moved up to the next swimming category after we didn't even think she was bothered about learning to swim in the first place. And of course the precious days when they have all walked into their reception classes in September kitted out in perfect uniform.

And there are moments I may have forgotten, only to remember them when a photo zooms past on the digital photo frame, and catches my eye .

Three moments I needed to remember to breathe.

May 2014. As mentioned before MiddleS can sometimes not be bothered about things. Or so we are led to believe. Walking? Sat down for 13 months and then sauntered into the living room one day. Reading? Seemed to be struggling as wonderful nursery staff tried to challenge her in the run up to starting school, then skips through four reading levels in her Reception Year. This is just how she is. She'll do things when she's ready. Bike riding was not for her. Oh she may have wanted a sparkly pink bike with dolly basket to boot - but actually getting on it. Nope. No way. Nada. Until one surprisingly sunny Sunday, after watching her little sister attempting to ride without stabilisers, MiddleS takes it upon herself to try a bit of pedalling. She's a bit nervous at first so I quietly suggest trying the path rather than the grass. And off she goes...we give encouraging cheers as she wobbles in front of us, then we stand up to watch her successfully turn a small corner, followed by unbridled panic as she speeds downhill towards the local river, weaving in and out of smiling Sunday strollers. My screams of 'Use your brakes" were lost to MiddleS as she expertly rounded another corner and completed the cycling circuit beaming from ear to ear. 

And breathe, mama elsie, breathe.

France 2013. Nearing the end of a wonderful holiday with the extended family on both sides - Children 7 Parents 6 - we passed one of those bungee type things on the side of a beach, and BigL said she wanted to go. Before this story continues, let's settle a couple of things. I am a coward of the highest degree. And BigL isn't usually that far behind me. So we were a little surprised and pleased. Of course she could go. Then as I considered checking the owner's past history and credentials as he secured BigL to what looked like Houdiniesque harnesses, I was overcome with fear and self loathing that I was sending my first born to a horrible fate. What on earth was I doing? My basic French was surely not sufficient to communicate what I would do to him if anything untoward happened to this beauty I had nurtured for 8 years, and I would strike him down in great vengeance and furious anger...yes I was feeling like getting a little Sam L J on his sandy beach bungee ass. However once I was able to pry my fingers out of GeordieLad's arms, I looked up and saw the biggest smile across a French, coastal, evening sky accompanied by a thumbs up. She jumped, spun, and even allowed him to bounce her higher. 

And breathe, mama elsie, breathe.

Olympic summer 2012. To be honest, this tale still leaves me choked and with a tightness in my chest. I am pretty sure my heart stopped on this day. Full of Olympic spirit the 3G followed the torch around most of West London. Along with some family and good friends we eagerly awaited the arrival of Boris Becker and his golden flame. Ever prepared, each child had a wrist band with my phone number on it, and back then I was still able to dictate that the girls wore samey clothes in case they got separated from me in London crowds. You know, so I could inform helpful police offcers that said missing child looked like this one - points to one or two un-missing children - but bigger / smaller (delete as appropriate). You see I have all these things worked out. To cut a painful story short I lost LittleE. She was prancing around with her sisters one minute. And then she was gone the next. The family mantra of 'What do you do if you get lost? Stand still and shout Mummy very loudly had obviously been ignored.  So now there was a 40 something woman reduced to a sniffling wreck shouting across a United Nations sea of flags for FantasticoDad to find her baby. For then LittleE was only 3. As the crowds surged to see BB carrying the torch down towards us, I was convinced she was gone. Out of the park and into the depths of the city. Until after a few moments carefully disguised as hours, there was a woman's cry of 'There's a little girl crying here' which brought every emotion surging through me. Prodigal daughter was delivered to me and we both cried into our ice creams for the rest of the afternoon. Well I did, coz this is the 3G about five minutes after she was found. Not a care.

And breathe, mama elsie, breath.

Something tells me it ain't over yet!

This post is linked up with Photo Gallery 189 - Sticky Fingers

No comments:

Post a Comment