Saturday, 19 June 2010
Not a daughter....
Father’s Day tomorrow and it has caught me by surprise. I’m wise to Mother’s Day – I watch it warily as it approaches, get my defences up and bung sticking plaster on my grazed heart. But Father’s Day snuck up behind me and bit me.
As I woke up this morning, I had a picture, so so clear, of my mother. She was sitting on the bench at the end of her garden, her hand resting on the head of her border collie, a mug of tea by her side. She loved her garden, loved her dog, loved the sun. Her face would break into a smile as I walked up the lawn. She’d pat the bench; I’d sit; we’d chat. I haven’t dared let myself think about how much I miss her. It is just too too painful. I miss my father too – both fathers, come to think of it. The first died when I was ten – of lung cancer. The second (my mother remarried) not so very long ago – of a heart attack.
Yesterday on Twitter, people were asking ‘what are you buying for your father?’ and it finally hit me (yes, I know, stupidly late) that I don’t have any parents; have no-one to buy presents for. I’m a mother but I’m no longer anyone’s daughter.
Not being a daughter hurts like hell – but being a mother can dig the pins in too. James had a taster boarding night at his new senior school last night and I felt ridiculously emotional. I wasn’t worried about him – I knew he’d love it. But it was this jump – from junior to senior – that freaked me out. I can remember, oh so clearly, shifting up to big school. It feels like yesterday – I can even feel the crisp cotton of my school blouse in my mind’s senses; the smell of my new wool blazer; the creak of my leather school bag.
I found myself welling up as we walked over new paths, down new corridors, talked to new teachers. This will be his life for the next seven years. Time doesn’t so much have a winged chariot as a supersonic jet.
‘It was great,’ he said as we picked him up this morning. ‘I can’t wait to go up. In fact, I think I’ll probably like to do weekly or even full boarding, rather than just the odd night.’
I bit back the tears again. It’s what I want – my boy to be happy and independent – but by heck it hurts as well. Sometimes I wonder why we sign up so readily for parenthood when it tears you to pieces so often.
So now I’m back home, sitting at my desk, looking at the sun outside. Adrian and James have gone down to watch the cricket and I’m alone in the house. And the tears come. A deluge of tears so fierce and violent I wonder if they’ll ever stop.