I can’t see your face, I don’t need to. Your eyebrows have shot upwards, your mouth fell open and a strangled squeak that may have been the start of a ‘Are you mad?’ type comment escapes. If you were sitting opposite me, meeting me for the first time, you would quickly arrange your face into a polite look of mild surprise and stutter, ‘Well that’s quite an age gap.’ Whilst still thinking, ‘Are you completely mad?’
Well, it’s okay. I can’t see you, so feel free to remain gobsmacked. I won’t be offended.
The brave (code for nosy/inquisitive/curious) will ask of my youngest, ‘Was she an accident?’ Presumably once over the age of 40, women are no longer capable of managing their contraception. Like some form of early onset dementia.
No, I say, she was planned. (Planned as in I stopped taking the pill and hoped.)
Then I’ll be asked, ‘Oh, IVF?’ No, no, Chinese Herbs and acupuncture. Just lucky.
Some people get quite twitchy when I admit to that. It seems to confirm that I am definitely loopy. And about now, I start to feel a little twitchy myself. It’s a strange mixture of guilt and greed. Selfishness and embarrassment. So, I usually slip in quite quickly, second marriage, you know.
Ah, of course. That explains it. And the interrogation of my reproductive history switches to my take on motherhood the second time round. Which always interests me, because it seems to imply that I stopped being a mother because my older daughters had reached an age when I was redundant.
But I hadn’t stopped mothering. I was on my first time round with adult children, transitioning from being the mother of teenagers to young adults. Adults who now don’t live at home, who travel, study overseas, have lives completely independent of mine and yet still seek out my company, my advice and when needed, my comfort.
So, it’s not motherhood the second time round, it’s a continuation. But I certainly have a different perspective with my little one. I’m far more relaxed because I understand that everything is temporary. No matter how tiring, trying or revolting the phase is, they will move on. Quite possibly it will be to a phase that’s even worse, it will definitely be different. And by the time they reach approximately 17½ , they will emerge from the darkness of their teenage caves (bedrooms) and be delightful.
The sleepless nights, nappies, endless replaying of The Wiggles DVD’s, the little hand slipping into yours is a fraction of their lives, so just enjoy them.