This time ten years ago, I was a month away from giving birth to my son Theo. Sadly, this day ten years ago, my husband’s mother Bobbie passed away after a long struggle with many physical ailments. She had spent the better part of the last two years of her life bedridden and unable to enjoy moving around by herself, eating solid food or being outdoors. The timing of her passing, just one month before the arrival of her first and only grandchild, was heart-breaking, but it was good that she knew he was coming and his birth in mid-September helped to heal some of the pain of losing her and the sadness of the fact that Theo did not know either of his grandmothers.
Memories of ten years ago are particularly strong today because I was invited to my dear friend Christine’s baby shower, a lovely gathering of women (with a brief visit from one man!) of all stages of their lives – a couple of grandmothers, several mothers, a couple of women with no children, a woman about to consider marriage and children and the teenage daughter of one of the lovely friends present. As Christine described her excitement at the imminent arrival of her little daughter, I remembered my own excitement, mixed with discomfort at being so heavy at the hottest time of the year as well as fear that I wouldn’t know how to be a decent mother. Ten years on, I can’t help chuckling at how thrilled I also was today to be escaping for a few hours from my own son to celebrate the start of Christine’s parenting adventure. She will love it, as I do most of the time – just not as much at the end of a 2-month long summer break! Today, I reveled in Christine’s radiant expectancy and relaxed and enjoyed exchanging stories with her warm circle of adoring friends and gifts with Christine. I had bought her some items from her registry, but had also asked Theo if he’d like to contribute a toy. He chose a sweet little teddy bear, which I added to the gift bag.
I parted company with my dear friend, knowing the next time I see her she will have her hands much fuller. As I reflected upon motherhood, Christine’s, my own and also the loss of the two mothers in my own life, my own and David’s, I felt closer again to my own child and spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the unique company of my own almost-ten-year-old baby.