Emily is my eldest daughter. I have 3 children, Em, Holly and Callum. I’ve mentioned each of them briefly during odd stories and will write a piece about each of them over time, as they allow me too.
This one, is about Emily.
Em is 21 and currently in her 3rd year at University. Now I’m biased (obviously) but Emily is special. She is the most kindest, caring, patient, person I know. I have no doubt she has gained these attributes from her mum Jane, who I’ve been married to for 23 years and I fortunate to be able to say I love her more each year.
(I know what your thinking – “That’s great, after all that time still feeling like that” – together 25 years this year actually.)
But, I hasten to add, I’m a catch, and she just sank her claws in and wouldn’t fucking let go…
And then, upon getting married, she suddenly decided that NOW was the time to have children.
And I mean NOWWWWWWWWWWW.
I on the other hand, was planning the next 5 years worth of holidays in the sun. That and experimenting with an assortment of factor 2 – 50 tanning lotions and making the gradual transition from speedos to shorts. As it was, Jane became a splendidly and a wonderfully compact pregnant shape in fairly short order.
The whole speedo-to-shorts revolution passed me by. I felt quite cheated. It had all happened without me and speedos were long forgotten by the time I next went abroad some 9 years later.
I must add that during my barren holiday spell Jane became pregnant another 2 times, and each time managed to maintain the same small compact shape with each child. To the point that on each occasion the hospital were sure, that each baby was under-size and there was a problem. All because Jane wasn’t wallowing like a tanker and removing door-frames bodily as she passed through them. There never was a problem and on each birth Jane delivered a healthy 7 1/2, 81/2 and a 9.3lb + size baby.
Emily’s arrival into the world was accompanied on the night by a blaring car alarm that seemed to go off every 10 minutes or so outside Jane’s window. It was like a nails on chalk-board period. I spent the day and evening at the window cursing the multi-tone alarm that continued to raise my already frayed nerves to breaking point. Till finally Net, who Jane shared a house with during her nurse training days, arrived to check up on Jane. Net by this point in their careers had headed into midwifery and was just finishing her shift.
She then went on to tell us how during a manic day, she had spent the shift rushing out to her car because,
“The bloody car alarm had gone stupid and had been going off allllllll day!!”
(Jesus, she doesn’t know how close she came to discovering a vehicle spread across the car-park..)
Then Emily arrived and I was, am, and till my dying day will be.
Even from being tiny, Emily has always been incredibly articulate. I always found it amazing to come home and have a conversation with this tiny little human being, who, was so serious in her discussions. Em has a wonderful empathy with people. I mean she really cares what people think and feel. I think sincerity from a tiny age was just so sweet to come into contact with. The lovely thing about Em is when she turns her attention on you, you know you have her full and complete regard whole your in her company. And you only realize how much notice she’s given you when, a few days later a card will arrive, a card that means what it says, the care and thought that’s gone into the words evident. Or a small parcel of something, just to let you know she listened to what you said and to remind you she loves you and heard you…
I love her for these simple things she does.
When she was born and began to grow, became more vocal and interesting by the day, it became obvious to me I had this small persons welfare and care to try and guide. Hopefully in a direction that made life interesting for her and fun. I loved talking to her because she wanted to know things. She loved stories and I was only to pleased to make up things for her. Because the beauty of it was, She had this wonderful trusting naivety, really believed everything she was told.
The “Happily Ever After”, true faith in life.
I think I got the bigger kick out of just seeing her reaction to what ever I could come up with, or what tale (Lie) I could tell her..
Even meal times weren’t sacred. Its amazing what you can do with a bag of alphabet potato shapes. It was just a good job I’m not dyslexic.
I had a field day.
My God. The power.
I don’t think I’ve ever come across another child who was so patient, or would consider so carefully, what you explained to her, see the common sense of it, accept it and move on. I don’t think I’ve ever, and I really mean EVER seen Emily have a tantrum.
I felt cheated sometimes.
Till the other two came along. And I found that dragging a screaming, floor kicking child by the reins around Sainsburys, wasn’t as funny as it looked when it was someone else dragging their child. And trying negotiating,
“Come on, be good, get up. Soon as we’re done you can have…”
Or calling their bluff and walking away to the end of the aisle to hide and peer round the beans, to wait for the drum of small feet hurtling after you, only to see them either, still face down kicking the floor, or, running off in the other direction like a mini-raging Hulk.
Or finally, counter raging back at them and just dragging them along, till they got fed up of the squealing noise their faces made on the floor and decided to get up.
Only for them to stand stock-still, tip their heads back, let shoulders slump and arms dangle, and bawl in stationary up-right rage mode.
Em just didn’t hit this period. Nor did she hit the terrible teenage years, of uncommunicative, unhelpful surliness. That teenage angst more commonly echoed along the lines of,
“The world is a shit and I hate it and everyone in it (apart from my friends who understand me),”
Just didn’t feature on Emily’s radar.
She passed through it all in a sublimely pleasant way.
Everything she’s gone through to get where she is present day, is just a reflection of her sheer determination to succeed.
Emily is now at Uni in her 3rd year studying Speech Therapy. Its just a good job I don’t have to say the “Therapy” bit because it drives her mad when I can’t quite pronounce the “th” bit clearly, and end up uttering it more with an “f” sound. She tries to make me say it properly, only for me at this point to intentionally exaggerate the pronunciation until she shouts at me and says,
“O sweet baby Jesus! For Gods sake! Its “th!” “th!” Say it with me you bloody half-wit!! “TH!!””
And I momentarily snap to attention like I’ve had a mental slap and something shifts in my brain and I say it.
“Th! Th!! Woohoo! Th! THHHHH!” And almost immediately slump back to the “f” sound.
“Th! Th!! F! F!! F?? Ohhhhhhhh Fffffffuckit!”
And Em shouts despairingly,
“OooohhhmmmmyyyyyyyyyGGGGGGOOOOOODDDDDDDD!! Your doing it on bloody purpose!!!!!!!!!!”
It bodes well for some traumatized child who can’t say “Sammy Snake” who she may later treat, that even with a tongue that will flap like a wet towel, they will be able to swear fluently before the end of the 2nd session.
They may not succeed in saying “S”. But they sure as fuck won’t have many “F’s” in their vocabulary either. With Em’s professional acumen and determination, they will be able to say,
“Thammy th’nake you motherthucker.”
And will be nothing but heroic in their achievements in shouting
“Thuuck this for a game of th’oilders!” as they storm out.
I’m just happy she leads a good life with a boyfriend who loves her and who truly cares for her. They’re a great match and work well together and its a reflection of the determination to succeed with their long distant relationship that after 3 years at opposing Uni’s, their still dedicated to each other and support each other, even at the most uncomfortable turn of events..
To the point of, when sitting in a restaurant on holiday and receiving their order, being distressed to find it was something quite inedible. So rather than complain, make a scene,
hurt any body’s feelings,
Vinny kept cramming as much as was humanely possible in his mouth and going to the toilet looking like a manic hamster so he could spit it out so it looked like they had enjoyed the meal…
Finally and on a serious note.
I speak to Em most days just because we can. She loves what she is doing, what she’s working towards. But I think she gets enormous amounts of pleasure out of life in general, either at Uni or at the part time job working in a coffee shop in town and all the people she gets to meet there.
And while she may be away from home leading her own life, she’s never far from my thoughts. None of my children ever are.
And, even though I see her only occasionally, that’s fine.
She’s leading a full and busy life, doing what any parent would want their child to do.
I speak to her most days and the days and when I do get to see her, the hug is always worth the wait. Its like having my own personal ray of sunshine that automatically brightens up a day that I didn’t realize was overcast till I saw Emily at that precise moment.
Personally what I get from having such a caring relationship with Em, is simply that.
A caring, really caring sincere relationship.
See, I know I’m amazingly fortunate to have this young lady in my life, and to be able to spend time with this person. Because she always lightens my heart every, every time I set eyes on her again.
What I hope is, that I’ve in some way inspired her to try things in life. To believe in herself, and, although its hard at the best of times, never to doubt herself or fear a challenge but to be brave enough to rise and meet it head on.
Because if there’s one thing that I’m certain Emily knows and will never doubt.
It’s that her Dad knows there’s no limit to what she can achieve and he’ll always be there when she needs him most.
So, it must be true.