In Close-up

January 14, 2007

I was just looking at a digital photograph when it happened. There was the image of my nephew fast asleep, my childhood teddybear held tight in his arms. I enlarged the image and sat transfixed looking at his profile from forehead to little button nose, studying the soft downy hairs on his head.

It had never hit me before, you think it would have been holding him, rocking him to sleep, smelling that incredible baby smell, making him laugh that would have got me, but it was the picture that made me realise that I want a child.

I want a little person to look after, to watch them sleep, to love unconditionally, and to be the person they turn to insitinctively, and hold their arms up to so readily for affection.

Airport Moments II

March 29, 2006

"Shall we get a coffee before you have to go through to departures?" She asked. I nodded even though neither of us like coffee.

Sitting with hot chocolate she made me promise again that I would come home again when my year was up. I could barely imagine the year being over as I sit there waiting for it to begin, but I promised, and then she dropped the bombshell. I knew what it was as the pulled the piece of paper from her bag, I knew that shiny white texture, and I cried even before she turned it around to show me the picture – her first baby picture.

I know why she told me then – she'd only just found out and she wanted to tell me in person – we're closer than most sisters, and we share nearly everything. The biggest thing I've ever kept from her is how it broke my heart to not be there, not to see her grow larger, not to see his little newborn face.

She called me from the recovery room as the nurse checked him over – it was the middle of the night in the US, but when the phone rang I knew it was her. I kept it together until she hung up the phone to call Mum, and then I broke down. I wasn't there for the most important day of her life.

They were waiting for me in arrivals when I came home – and as we sat in the same coffee shop where I'd first seen the ultrasound, I held him for the first time – my little airport boy.

Airport Moments

March 29, 2006

I used to dream of having one of those great romantic moments – walking through the arrivals gate and seeing him standing there. There would be slow motion running, he'd pick me up and twirl me around so happy to see me again. In reality my airport moments have always been significantly more tearful than the daydreams…Sobbing so hard after leaving him that even the customs lady looked at my with pity, talking to him on the phone from airport after airport, wishing i was somewhere – anywhere – but in an airport.

That final airport day was never going to be a Hollywood moment, the closest it came was the stickers on my luggage from LAX Airport. I was tired, I was jetlagged, I was ready to be at home. It all seems a bit of a blur to be honest – after my years of waiting for that moment I can't remember who i hugged first, or the expression on his face as I came through the gate. The only thing I remember is the feeling of being back on the ground, and wishing i'd brushed my hair before i got off the plane.

Childhood

March 28, 2006

My sisters and I used to talk about which cartoon character we would marry. Jo and Beth would argue over Aladdin and He-Man, and they would tell me that I couldn’t choose Wil CwacCwac as he didn’t speak English, and he was a duck. I can remember us sitting in our fort (once a garden shed, then lovingly filled with pictures and cushions to sit on) practicing how to write our married names…

Cookbook

March 28, 2006

I was so angry as I looked her legacy. A cookbook? This was her great letter of goodbye?

It took time to understand what she was giving me, she was giving me her support one ingredient at a time. Every time I tried out a recipe I would taste home, taste my childhood, taste the memories of her before the illness withered her away.

when i'm at work, i like to make up stories about the people living in the flats opposite my window. The top floor (mr & mrs blonde) have nearly finished their loft conversion, just in time, as she looks ready to pop. I imagine that they spend hours happily bickering about what colour to paint the new nursery, she'll win of course, and it will be pale yellow.