I’ve craved a year that could be called ‘mostly nice’ for the last few years. It’s been a while. Mostly painful, mostly dreadful, mostly despairing, mostly frightening, mostly stressful – those are the ways to describe the years from about 2006 onwards. From torrid times at home, to stressfully trying to maintain a business and a marriage and a family, to pregnancy, to the loss of our child, grief, my parents separating, trying to conceive, the most frightening pregnancy in the history of my universe and finally a year when Bene, despite making it, contrived to illustrate his grip on permanence all too lightly by being repeatedly just ill enough to undo any recovery we and I might be making.
How I’ve longed for a year that is mostly nice.
This year has got better as it has gone along for us; the biggest part of that has been Bene gradually becoming more robust and feeling more solid and secure in our lives. The bronchiolitis and asthma has been trying, but his repeated survival has gradually permeated my consciousness and given me some belief in children recovering from ailments. As the year has gone on, I’ve painfully confronted the fact that I’m a recovering babyloss mum, because when you see yourself alongside someone newly lost in that world, you have no choice to accept how far you have come. I’m beginning to be at peace with Freddie’s place in my heart and the muted, understated place he has in our family – always there, rarely spoken aloud. There are things that hurt about how quickly he has passed from the memory of people who might mention his name but I’ve learned to let it go. I’ve learned to sometimes not to mention him myself, though truthfully I think it will always smart when he is not listed among the absent and not remembered in memorials. But the piece of me that grew around the grief is a piece of me that breathes through that. This weekend has been a illustration of just this – a social occasion, meeting people, speaking about my large family as the thing by which I am identified and choosing not to speak of him. Not forgetting, actively deciding that he is more precious than a story to be wheeled out to all and sundry. I remember reading how people came to that moment and thinking I never would. But now I have. Time, as they say, changes things.
I didn’t expect to end the year without a single home educated child and my precious boy spending 2 days a week in nursery. We are ending almost as we began all those years ago, rather more part time parents than we really wanted or expected. For all the ups and downs of school – and there are plenty even for kids having a generally easy time in school – I don’t regret the change much. Having time to just be myself has no doubt hastened my gentle move to “recovering more often than not” and working together 2 days a week has been not only good for the business but hugely good for me and Max. I didn’t expect to have such thoroughly “nearly grown up” girls by the end of the year but I think we are both finding that a remarkably thrilling process to be part of; I’ve watched them grow and change and develop even more this year – school, jobs, relationships forged on their own, their own worlds, joining things that will shift them along career paths and into new skills. It’s remarkable but also gratifying and exhilarating in a way I just didn’t believe I would feel when I wished they could all be little forever.
If 2013 has had it’s moments – tough business decisions and difficult trading times, treading tricky paths among friends and family and in our wider ‘real life’ world, illness and worry for people we love and sad times for people we care about, it has also had enough ‘ordinary’ to feel mostly successful. I’d not be sorry to have more years like this one, leaving out the children insisting on having wild tummy pain, operations, requiring long term medication to stay alive or giving us moments of extreme fright. But that’s life I guess. And it ended, in a way which drew a line for me under one of the toughest 3 1/2 years of my life by going full circle in a number of ways, by hosting a moment that saw all of my birth family under one roof for the first time in a long time at my brother’s beautiful, wonderful, joyful wedding.
So yes, mostly nice 🙂