Friday, 20 May 2011

Here's to the birthday boy

Twenty two years ago, I was digging a hole in the garden for some nicotianas. A little while later, I sat down in the house and had some leftover spaghetti bolognese at six o'clock. It must have been off, I thought, because I got indigestion pretty soon afterwards.

I rang my friend and said: 'I think I'm all right but I feel a bit weird. I wonder if you ought to come over?'

She was round like a shot. Because, you see, I was a week away from my 'expected date of confinement'.

'I'm sure sure it's nothing,' I said to my friend.

'You idiot,' she said. 'You're in labour.'

So we flew over the top road, up and down, past the glorious views of the sea, the grassy knolls, the tree-topped hills and the patchwork blanket of fields, the Devil's Nine Stones, the old radio station and a roundabout called Monkey's Jump.

I walked about a bit in hospital but nothing much happened, until I opened a magazine with a full page, colour photograph of the Spitting Image puppet face of Margaret Thatcher. It was enough to send anyone into an advanced stage of labour.

At six minutes to midnight, with my dear friend at the business end, Number One Son was born, with minimal yelling from me, unlike with first-born Number One Daughter when I woke up the entire hospital.

My friend cried all the way home and the baby slept for the next couple of days. But I was wide awake. I  could not take my eyes off my perfect, nut-brown-jaundiced baby.

At 22, Number One Son, The Boy, The Chosen One, The Golden Child still sleeps whenever he can. I tell him to enjoy it while it lasts. He has just secured a three-month internship with a prestigious company after graduating from the University of Bristol last year with a 2:1 degree in environmental geoscience. Fingers crossed it will lead to a full-time job.

Where did those 22 years go?

That's about it.

Love Maddie x


  1. The years fly by if we spend them watching the faces of our children. We're crossing our fingers over on the side of the pond too, as Lillypad graduates on June 15th with a rather sweet and well-intentioned degree, but one not destined to help in the worth-while-job department. She's applying, I'm crossing fingers.
    PS we need to chat about our Skype book club meeting - are you still on?

  2. It goes SO quickly, doesn't it? Congrats to you and your boy.. may he have a very wonderful birthday.

  3. So are we crediting Maggie T. with contributing to an easy birth?

  4. Lovely post. Happy birthday to The Boy.


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