Wednesday, 13 November 2013

A Letter to My Son

At least, we think you're a boy. The sonographer seemed pretty sure, but they have to add that these things are never 100% at the end, kind of like a little legal disclaimer. Still, whatever flavour you actually come out as, you're a boy in my head for the time being. You'll also be largely dressed in Batman-themed boy clothes for the first few months, whatever happens.


Of course, we're also fully prepared for your being an alien
I don't really know why I'm writing this letter, apart from the well documented fact that I write about pretty much everything else that goes on in my head. 

I suppose that I want a record of how things were between you and I before you were even aware that I existed. Right now, I'm little more to you than a heartbeat, a handy source of nutrients (ok, sugar) and an occasional poking hand when you're undoubtedly sleeping and a little bit too quiet for my comfort.

You don't know who I am, but I'm your Mum. I've been your Mum for the last 33 weeks and I'll be your Mum for the rest of your life now. I guess I'm sorry about that. There will be times, I'm sure, when you'll wish that I wasn't, but I'm afraid you're somewhat stuck with me. 

There's also someone else you need to meet. You'll probably recognise his voice when you eventually arrive; he's been talking to you through my belly button for several months now. He pokes you too, but you ignore him. He'd hate me for telling you this but it upsets him that you always stop moving the exact second he puts his hand on my belly. Personally, I think you're just comfortable with his hand there. I happen to know that you roll against things that you don't like: the waist band of my work trousers are a particular source of bother for you, by all accounts.

In fact, there's a whole bunch of people out in this world that you know nothing about, all just waiting to meet you and to love you. We don't even know you yet, but we love you more than you'll ever know. 

The truth is: I miss you. You're with me all the time, every second of every day, but I miss you so much that it makes my heart hurt. You feel so unbelievably fragile that part of me is convinced that one day I'm going to wake up and you'll have just disappeared, leaving me with the realisation that, for a short time, I'd held on to something far too good to be true.

And then you move, and I know that you're real. You're really there: growing inside my swollen tummy, and you're mine. You're strong and big and really bloody heavy, and I suddenly know that you're not going anywhere. Not without a fight. I feel that every time you do battle with a slightly too tight waist band or when I try to shift you from under my rib and you push back. You're staying right where you are, and if that means that I have to drive in an almost horizontal position then so be it. 

I'm scared too. Sometimes I get a bit upset, and I know that you probably get some of those hormones, so I'm sorry about that. Just know that it's never because of you that I'm frightened. I'm mostly frightened that I won't be good enough for you. I've spent nearly twenty-nine years being a pretty rubbish human being, and I'm terrified that I'll let you down in every way possible. Luckily, your Daddy is there to pick me up, dust me off and put me back on my feet. He's pretty wonderful. I hope I don't, but if I do ever let you down, know that he will be everything you ever needed and more. In fact, I have no idea what I've done to deserve the two of you: my beautiful boys. Whatever it was, it must have been good!

Anyway, I'm rambling on a bit and you're kicking as if to say "wrap it up, woman". In a few weeks we'll meet. You'll finally know who I am and I'll finally see the little face that I've been dreaming of my entire life. I can't wait. 

I love you and I'll see you really, really soon xx

Saturday, 2 November 2013

On Friendship


If I was to be completely, brutally honest with myself I would have to admit that I'm not a very good friend. Not because I'm evil, with no capacity for love; I'm just not naturally inclined to rely on friendships the way that some people do. I'm an inherently selfish person, who would rather stay at home than go visiting, with the result being that I often prove to be incredibly unreliable. I was even a rubbish friend to Mr Meaney back when that's all that we were. I wasn't there for him half as much as he was there for me.

In other words, I make plans and immediately begin thinking of a way that I can get out of them. I hate actively letting people down, but I find it difficult to force myself out of the house if it's just not something I want to do. Like I said: selfish.

When I see articles in magazines about 'maintaining and relying on female friendships', I always (unfairly) assume that the writer must have something missing from some other part of their lives and go on about my day. I don't know why that is, but I assume it has something to do with having sisters; I already have very close female relationships so I've never felt the need to fill that void. 

A lot of my friends are also male, which leads to a certain amount of complacency. Boys are lazy friends, which suits me just fine. I don't need to be in touch with them regularly for them to know that I'm there. I just need to occasionally invite them over for a beer and make the odd joke about tits and I know I'm not going to be forgotten about.

However, I do love my friends. Despite my apparent reluctance to make any sort of real commitment, I have actually chosen certain people to be part of my life without being the type to actively need them there for any sort of personal gain. So, even though I flake out on plans on a regular basis, I do class my friendships to be pretty special.

I have lost a good many friends in my lifetime, and I've let a lot of them go. There have also been people that I have found myself leaning on just a little too heavily at times and, perhaps not coincidentally, these tend to be the relationships that fizzle out (or, at times, explode with dying star ferocity). These are not the friendships that matter to me and I have never fought for them. Instead, I highly value the people who are in my life on a long term basis who are understanding about my inadequacies.

The friends who stick around are people who know better than to really expect a lot from me. They know that I'll be there for them if they really need me, but who don't expect me to pick up the phone just for a chat. They're people with whom I have common ground, but don't  rely on me to validate their own interests and passions. They're people who choose to have me around without needing me there.

My friends are varied in age, walks of life and experience. I know each of them through wildly different sources and many of them are sole survivors from larger groups that I have gradually distanced myself from; and I love each and every one of them more than they could ever know.

So, I guess what I'm saying is this: my wonderful and weird friends, I'm sorry I'm a bit shit and I'm incredibly grateful that you've stuck around regardless. You rock.