Tag Archives: parenting

It doesn’t matter how old they get or how tall they grow…treasure every moment

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When you have children, people often say to you to make the most of the time you have with them when they’re small.

Repeatedly, you’re advised to treasure every moment; treasure every memory; treasure every hug as they grow up way too fast.

Maybe I’m getting a bit sentimental in my old age (who’s old? Not me!) or perhaps it’s the fact that Boy Child is in the last few months of his teenage years or the fact that Girl Child is on the brink of leaving high school but I’ve bene reflecting on things a lot recently. (Lord, maybe I am getting old!)

I’m by no stretch of the imagination a natural mother. I’m not a particularly conventional mother. I’m not even convinced I’ve been a good mother but they’ve both made it this far – whew!- and have grown into sensible young adults – well, most of the time.

I don’t think it matters how old they get or how tall they grow, Boy Child and Girl Child are still my babies.

I’ve watched them take their first tentative steps as toddlers. I’ve waved them off to school. I’ve made endless packed lunches. I’ve sat through countless dance shows, school shows, musical performances. I’ve been to dozens of parent/teacher evenings.

I’ve jumped in waves in the ocean with them. I’ve built sandcastles on the beach with them.

I’ve dragged them through numerous museums – they’ll thank me for it one day.

I’ve introduced them to my favourite foods, favourite films and books.

I’ve introduced them my eclectic taste in music.

But, possibly most important of all here is that I’ve let them make their own minds up about things.

We don’t always enjoy the same meals. We don’t always agree on which film to watch and they both disregard my thoughts on books. (I’ll be honest, that one winds me up a bit.)

As for music, Girl Child is still developing her preferences having journeyed through EMO, Swedish death metal to cheesy pop and, for now, a more indie band sound. Her tastes are more catholic than mine but we occasionally agree on a band or song.  Boy Child too has developed his own tastes and preferences but it’s safe to say we share a lot more common ground.

This was brought home to me earlier this week when I realised that with regards to music we’d come full circle.

Almost six years ago, accompanied by two of my friends, we went to see Iron Maiden at the SECC in Glasgow. It was the first gig he’d been to where we were in the standing arena. The mother in me was anxious to protect her baby boy in this crowd of thousands of rock and metal fans. I stayed close to him all night as we enjoyed the show together.  My friend even commented over coffee the following day how cute it had looked to see us both together, horns up.

Earlier this week, Boy Child and I went back to see Iron Maiden. This time they were  playing in the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, next door to the previous venue. When we arrived about a hour before doors open, we detoured into the SECC to use the facilities and Boy Child commented that he hadn’t been there since the previous Maiden show.

As we stood in the queue, basking in the warm early evening sunshine, outside the Hydro, we counted up how many shows we’d been to together over the years. Twenty six, including the one we were heading in to.

A couple of hours later, as we stood side by side in the crowd watching the support band, Shinedown (love those guys), I stole a glance up at him. My baby boy was still standing beside me, smiling and singing, horns up. I smiled.

An hour or so after that moment, as we were being pushed and jostled and barged about in the midst of the mayhem at the front of the crowd, I realised the roles had reversed. We had come full circle. My Boy Child was protecting me, keeping me close to him and regularly checking that I was OK. My heart melted.

The childhood memories you make with your children are to be treasured.

The ones you make with them when they’re young adults are equally precious.

Treasure them all.

And, yes, we were both still standing together, six years down the line, horns up!

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The Big Green Gummi Bear’s Longest Night Out – a tale of a family outing

Saturday was the longest day of the year and we marked the occasion by actually going out as a family….Please don’t all faint! (If memory serves me correctly the last time we ventured out as a family was to celebrate Boy Child’s birthday last December)

The special occasion that triggered this rare family outing was a summer BBQ at the local boat club where the Big Green Gummi Bear spends most of his time. A slight twist to the tale came earlier in the week when Girl Child asked if she could bring along a friend – her current “Special Friend”. Having caught us in a weak moment both the Big Green Gummi Bear and I said yes.

Cue several hours of preening behind closed bedroom doors before Girl Child emerged looking……well looking like a beautiful young lady instead of her usual rock chick self. When he saw her, a wave of panic washed across the Big Green Gummi Bear’s face.

“Special Friend” duly arrived and politely endured the torture and torment of being introduced to the Big Green Gummi Bear before we all set off to the BBQ. I’ve never seen two teenagers look so awkward, cramped into the back seat of the car, with Boy Child wedged in as chaperone.

A local band had been hired to provide the evening’s musical entertainment and, when we all trooped into the club’s lounge, they were just finishing up their sound check. With drinks in hand, we joined a long table with some friends and sat back to enjoy the evening’s entertainment.

No disrespect to the three musicians but they weren’t exactly aiming for the teenage audience and after a few minutes Girl Child asked if she could go for a walk. Her father said yes but then added, jokingly, that she had to go alone. Special Friend sat frozen in his seat as she trotted off out the door! After a gentle nudge of approval from me, he bolted out after her.

Now the main entertainment for the evening began- Big Green Gummi Bear baiting.

Within five minutes of the two teenagers escaping, he was fretting about where his baby Girl Child had gone. Within fifteen minutes he was twitching and glancing up at the door every few seconds. His friends jumped on the opportunity to make him squirm with suggestions as to what the two teenagers may or may not be up to. When someone dared to suggest that they may be down in the boat sheds enjoying an intimate moment, he almost had heart failure!

In the background the band played on.

We were being “treated” to a set of Rod Stewart and Eagles classic tracks that prompted an impromptu pop quiz among the adults and Boy Child as we tried to guess which song was being attempted. At one point the backing tape programme on the guitarist’s iPad got out of sync and we had a warped Eagles medley playing until he reset it. For me, the highlight of their first half was when they played The Kinks “Sunny Afternoon.” After an epic fail to hit the first high note in the song, the singer just left out all the lyrics that ended on any high notes beyond his range. All that was missing was a few substitute “la la la’s” instead. Priceless!

Food was duly declared ready; the band stopped for a welcome break and the “weans” wandered back in. The Big Green Gummi Bear let out a long sigh of relief.

The legendary Scottish midgies put paid to any ideas of socialising around the BBQ as the various guests grabbed plates of food and darted back indoors before being eaten alive by these pesky beasties.

Before the band had even played a note of the second half of their set Girl Child asked if they could go for another walk. I said yes and they promptly disappeared again. Their timing was impeccable – the Big Green Gummi Bear was at the bar and never saw them leave. Around the table we decided not to tell him until he noticed for himself. Beer in hand, he returned and joined in the mutual appreciation of Neil Diamond (I still have Sweet Caroline stuck in my head) and Monkees numbers. This whole affair was beginning to have the air of couple-less wedding reception.

After about half an hour he realised that Girl Child was AWOL again. Cue panic and a flurry of hand gestures down the length of the table towards me to text or phone or send Boy Child to search for her. His fatherly concern was hysterical, especially when unprompted one of his friends casually remarked that he’d seen them heading round to the secluded garden at the rear of the clubhouse. (They were in fact sitting chatting on a bench slightly further along the road in full view of the clubhouse)

The witching hour finally arrived and it was time for me to escort the teenage contingent home. Eleven o’clock at night and it was still light- love June evenings! Right on time Girl Child and Special Friend returned. The Big Green Gummi Bear sank back into the seat with exhausted relief.

For the Big Green Gummi Bear it had been the longest day, fretting about his daughter’s whereabouts; for Girl Child and Special Friend (and Boy Child who got trapped with the adults) it had been the longest dull day trapped at an “old person’s” party. For me….well I found the whole thing hilarious!

“We could have mother/daughter day?”…..

School holidays, unless you’re a teacher, fill most parents with dread. Initially, a few years back, it was childcare dilemmas causing this sinking feeling but, as the munchkins have evolved into teenagers, it’s now a feeling of  “how many mum’s taxi runs is this going to involve?” and “how many hormone fuelled battles will rage this time?”

Tempting as it was to remain at work throughout this entire Easter break, I have in fact, bitten the bullet and taken this week off.

“We could have mother/daughter day,” suggested Girl Child, batting her long eyelashes at me. “We could go to Glasgow shopping.”

That suggestion alone was almost enough to send me running back to the sanctuary of the office!

However, I took a deep breath, and agreed to take her shopping. The pound note signs lit up in her bright blue kohl lined eyes!

So today was THE day.

Girl Child is not naturally a morning person but, armed with my secret weapon (cool blue Gatorade) we headed off to the station to catch the 9.25 train. A dose of blue juice and peace to listen to her iPod (well I was listening to mine) ensured she got off the train in good humour.

Now to improve mine – first stop coffee. Hot, black and strong!

I had surrendered all hope in my own mind that I was going to get to look in a single shop that I wanted to visit.

Caffeine levels restored to their normal high, we set off in search of the first shop on her list– a gothic/occult clothing store. I had to laugh as we walked down Queen Street, remembering a previous traumatic mother/daughter shopping day when I had asked to visit the same shop we were now charging towards. At that time the Girl Child has declared emphatically that she would disown me if I ever even suggested going into such a shop. Ah, how times change! She can’t get there quick enough….

An hour later we had browsed through five gothic style clothing shops and not bought a thing.

With the “patient mummy” smile painted on, I suggested we grab some lunch while she debated what she actually wanted to spend her money on. The idea of lunch met with teenage approval.

Someone was smiling on us as we walked into the recently opened Hard Rock Café and didn’t have to queue for a table. Extra kudos to me for the choice of eatery! We were left wondering though as we left a while later after devouring our burgers (and in my case washing it down with a medicinal beer) – when did “Dancing Queen” by ABBA qualify as hard rock? Or any other kind of rock for that matter!

A decision on the clothing had been made, probably hurried along thanks to the pop harmonies of ABBA, and we returned to two of the shops to purchase her selected items. All moods and hormone rages were still under control- they even remained under control when the one shop didn’t have her chosen top in her size. (Thank God, as on closer inspection, it did not meet with the “sensible mother” in me – too many sweary words on it!)

New clothes purchased and Girl Child declared bankrupt, we headed back to the station. Oh dear, the route just happened to take us passed the record shop…how did that happen?

Well it would’ve been rude not to go in…..

With a bag now containing three CDs (two for Girl Child and one for me) and a new addition for my vinyl collection, we meandered back to the station to catch the train home.

The sun shone down on us all day. Not one cross word was spoken. We both agreed it had been a lovely mother/daughter day out- but then again that may have been the second dose of Gatorade talking!

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