Saturday, 17 December 2011
Long ago, younger son reluctantly dressed for a Victorian party at school, his older brother investigating something more interesting beyond the camera's reach.
From before their births these two have stretched me in every possible direction, physically, emotionally, intellectually, financially.
I feel very privileged to have experienced life with them.
They have taught me so much, and taken me to places where I would rather not have gone, as well as to a great many wonderful, enriching places.
From the very beginning they were such distinctive personalities, and as they grew I appreciated more and more their essential differentness from me.
They were always looking outwards, upwards, beyond. Where I was often preoccupied with the next meal, the ironing, the next day at work, the next bit of commissioned writing, they were immersed in the past, in dinosaurs and Vikings, medieval armour and Robin Hood.
Their heroes were truly heroic - Mighty Mouse, who could conquer the world, Superman, Spiderman, ditto. Seemingly innocent creatures with huge hidden skills, the power to transform and to right wrongs, punish the wicked, ensure that good triumphed over evil.
They looked out to the stars, to the limits of space and time. They had duvet covers that were printed to look like the control panels of space ships and their bedroom curtains were emblazoned with silver and gold stars and planets.
Their interests extended under the sea, to the creatures that live in wet darkness, eating each other. Predators were great!
They looked to the future, beyond the horizon, beyond the petty restrictions often imposed by home and school. They knew their world was huge and they wanted to be out there, fully immersed.
My husband was used to peace, time for reflection, studious reading.
I liked the miniature, the delicate. Jane Austen and Barbara Pym were my favourite authors.
They liked things big: dinosaurs, jungles, sharks, whales, earth-moving machinery, waves, mountains, Knickerbocker glories - the bigger the better. For bedtime stories they wanted Hobbits and He-Man, Transformers and King Arthur.
So my husband and I had our horizons widened, deepened, extended in every direction.
I learned about marine biology, astronomy, the effects of zero gravity, geology and so immeasurably much more.
They learned some reasonably good cookery skills and, just before leaving home, how to iron a shirt.
I hope they also learned that they are hugely loved and appreciated.
Happy Christmas to all Mothers and Sons.