A thought occurred to me the other day. I have never really been on my own. These days it goes without saying that I can’t even go to the loo in peace but I have never lived alone, I went from living with parents to staying with friends and then moving in with boyfriends. Never any real amount of time on my own though..
..and I have never been a childless adult.
I hear people talking about their lives before they had their babies and I can’t relate. Growing up with 4 younger siblings, I have always been around children. I was 18 when I found out I was pregnant with Col.
I have always maintained that I loved being a young Mum – and I did. Despite the hoards of people telling me I wasn’t ready I was never in any doubt that I would continue with my pregnancy back then. I wasn’t living a great life when I discovered that I was going to be a Mum. I was doing unhealthy things with unhealthy people. Having a baby changed me and it saved me. In ways that 18 years on I am only just now realising.
Being a Mum at 18 meant a lot of sacrifice though. I didn’t have very much money so I relied on my family for a lot. But I loved my baby deeply and completely. The first night together I just sat and stared at him in all of his perfection for hours. Of course I look at baby photos of him now and, well, lets just say he definitely grew into his face.
But me starting this chapter early also meant that everyone else did too. My Mum was 37 when she became a Grandmother. 37! The same age that I am right now. I can’t imagine becoming a Grandmother now!
Her Mum was just 61 when she took on the role of ‘Great Grandma Grumps’. Lucky really given that she was taken from us just 8 years later.
What I am trying to say I suppose is that I have not ever wanted to go back and make a different choice. I have no regrets.
What about me though?
Wondering about what sort of a person I would have been had that pregnancy test come back negative is okay though, I think? Contemplating choices and thinking about where different ones might have led me?
In the 18 years since becoming a Mum and an adult though I have also learnt so much about myself. I love to write. Its therapeutic to me to get things down in black and white and it helps to clear my head for a little while. That is definitely something that has happened in adulthood.
I have built a little stay at home business out of something I genuinely enjoy doing. I’ve learned that I enjoy making people smile while I sometimes prefer to feel sad. It makes a person more interesting I think if they don’t feel the need to wear an inane grin the whole time. Embracing my melancholy side has been a difficult thing to do but I think I am there. I like to have my family around me, I definitely do not enjoy camping holidays and I am not a natural gardener although I am trying to get better. My musical tastes are varied and I use music a lot in my day to day. I don’t feel much different to that girl I used to be really – except now I say no and don’t feel badly about it (mostly).
The point is that I think that I would essentially be the same person had I given myself time alone to be me. Just a bit more rested and with a few more zeros on my bank balance perhaps.
I will be 51 when Moose is 18, I wonder who I will be then.