as it once was
holds inside the
all I ever was,
like a chattering
city full of noisy
would stand firm
with all her lungs
I am full
I will not fail
of this woman
in her continuing
wild, indignant self…..
VJ, 71, Herne Bay
From the dawn of time and life.
Or should I say we can see.
But do we see? Really…see?
Do we see the gentle smile of our mothers, hinting at pride, as we take our first steps? Do we notice the wince and the furrowed brow on our father’s face, as we ride our bike for the first time? Do we understand the pain and the fear etched across their faces as we walk through the door on our first day at school?
I obviously didn’t. I didn’t realise the wealth and range of emotion my parents went through. Not until, that is, I became a parent myself.
She came from a loveless pairing. But she was no less wanted, planned, as we both wanted children. I suppose there was some selfish, forlorn, abstract thought that a child may bring us closer together, rekindle some kind of fire that was long since reduced to little more than the charred remains of attraction. But that wasn’t to be. We split when she was six months old.
But even though the parents cared not for each other, we both fell in love afresh…
I remember holding her, seconds old, marvelling at her tiny hands and feet and a mess of blue and pink skin, a squished up little face, puffy eyes that weren’t fully open, and seeing the fear and confusion in her wee features. What must have been going through that tiny little head? From the safe, calm, comfort of the womb, out into the lights and noises and smells of a hospital theatre! A full frontal, intense assault on her senses.
She takes a few minutes to absorb it, no doubt bewildered by the urgency and the cacophony, with no references and no comprehension. Then she starts to cry. The sound absolutely pierces my heart to its very centre and in that moment, with every fibre of my being, I promise her that I will do everything in my power to protect her, to support her, to enable her.
And my love for her is, immediately, all encompassing.
It is at this very point I realise the depth of meaning of almost every single word that my parents have ever said to me.
I also know that I will go on to say all of those things that I promised never to say to my kids, when I was a kid myself!
I love you Heather!
I’m sorry, Mum and Dad!
Kelly Tonks, 40’ish