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My Children

July 14, 2012

*pause to wait for those who know me to pick themselves up off the floor in shock at the title of this post*

Don’t worry, I’m not making some huge announcement of impending procreation – I still fully intend to remain a child-free zone for the rest of my life.  But I have many children in my life whom I love, adore, cherish and would lay my life down for – in no particular order I am name-checking my odd-children, nieces and nephews so they know how much I adore them and have it in writing forever: Stacey, Shannon, Shaun, Georgia, Alyssa, Hylas, Maia, James, Oliver, Rowan, Erin, Stuart, Jodie, Peggy, Aiko.  I love them, blood of my blood and blood of my chosen family.  There are others for whom I would step in front of a raging and extremely hungry lion, but those are the ones with whom I have developed a relationship.  This is the story of all about how my life got flipped turned upside down and how I came to understand the depth of that love.

I was reading a post from my biggest femi-crush and possibly the best blogger in the world Betty Fokker (which doesn’t diminish in any way all other bloggers I follow, it’s just to be in Fokkerland is utterly blissful) reminded me of possibly the most terrifying moment of my life.  I like to call it “aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG MY HEART!”  Others may know it as the day Hylas fell into the pond.

It was almost 9 years ago, and I was chilling out around the pond where I used to live. Baby H, as we used to call him, was only just standing up and used to adore to feed the fishes in the pond.  His father was nearby, there were a number of adults around, he was simply throwing the food over-arm into the deepest of the ponds.  At that time, the pond was about four feet deep.  Baby H had fed the fish in exactly the same manner many times before, and I was three feet away from him, watching his bright smile light up his face in the infectious manner that made everyone fall instantly in love with him.

I could see it happening; momentarily before it happened I had the horrible, gut-wrenching thought that he was throwing too hard and his momentum was off.  I knew, I just knew, he was going into the pond.  He threw the last fistful of fish food, over-arm and with considerable strength, towards the fishes.

He followed, into the pond.

Oh my {insert deity here} I have never felt terror or panic quite like it.  I felt my heart rip out of my chest and straight up into my throat.  I couldn’t breathe.  I could definitely move.

I was up and out of my seat faster than I ever thought possible.  My hand was straight into that pond and I grabbed hold of the first thing I could find, which turned out to be his nappy.  He was fully submerged.  I grabbed and I pulled and he was out in milliseconds.  He hadn’t even had a chance to take a breath whilst fully submerged. I lifted him by his nappy, and if this had been a comedy programme the sight of Baby H hanging by his nappy dripping wet from my arm would have been funny.  It wasn’t even in the slightest bit funny.

His father was almost on top of me he was so close behind.  He would have got Baby H out, I know that; Baby H was not in any real danger.  At least I tell myself that, and I keep telling myself that, even now.  I know Baby H would have been saved.  He hugged Baby H so close to him and comforted him.  Baby H was in shock; the water was very cold and deep, he could not have stood up in it and broken the surface.  Baby H was taken inside to be warmed, dried and calmed down.

I went back to my room and cried for about two hours straight.  It took me that long to stop shaking.  I have never felt fear like that, it was horrific and I never want to go through that again.  I finally managed to get out of my room to go and find out how Baby H was; predictably he was totally fine and suffered no ill effects from his dunking at all.

You know when you smell the head of a child and it instantly relaxes you and makes you feel happy in a way you can’t quite put into words?  When you are so far beyond angry with the behaviour of a child that you could scream and hit walls, but the most overwhelming feeling is and remains a bond of love so strong there is literally (and I mean literally) nothing they could do to break it, even through that anger?  How if you are watching television and something bad is happening to a child and it hurts to watch it because even though it’s fictional, it’s real?  It’s that kind of love I have for my children.

I could never be a parent.  I am not strong enough to live with that fear and not chain the child up in the basement for their entire lives.  I admire every single one of you that is a parent.  I’ll stick with merely being ready to kill the first person that even attempts to hurt my children, thank you.  I don’t know how it feels to be a parent, but this is how it feels to be an aunt/odd-mother.  So now you know!

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From → Autobiography

6 Comments
  1. Oh yes the gut-wrenching one, this pretty much goes with the territory, small daughter crossing the street in St Ives running right in front of a car to get to me, small son deciding that the sliding doors in the supermarket were far more interesting than doing food shopping with Daddy who have done no more than check a box of eggs finds son vanished precipitating some time of blind panic and the inability to eat for the rest of the day.

    And then there are teenage years…

  2. Marilyn Johnson permalink

    Your various children are lucky to have you in their lives. I’ve watched you with some of them and admire the way you can calm them down and distract them from naughtiness without getting angry. How do you do that?

  3. Tracey Corbett permalink

    Spot on, i remember all the fear with lennicia (even tho I was a step parent), and the joy I get when I babysit Keithen and we hang out, as well as the snatches of fun with G&A and my little sisters.

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