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Feeling Old

Simon, Mower of Lawns

#1 son: Simon, Mower of Lawns

#1 son turned 18 yesterday. This is a very scary thing to deal with – almost as bad as my little brother’s 30th birthday. My own age doesn’t bother me, I’m 44 in body and 21ish in spirit, but for some reason significant anniversaries of those younger than me make me stop and think.

18 years ago yesterday Norman Lamont pulled the UK out of the ERM, and the country almost went into financial meltdown. To me it was the day an anonymous doctor pulled a new life out of me into the world, which was mostly a horrible experience, but nothing will ever beat the overwhelming joy I felt when they put a squealing wriggling baby on my stomach. I tease him that he was born on Black Wednesday… #2 son was born on the day of the Oklahoma bombing – it’s probably a good thing I stopped having children after that.

So much has changed in my life since then. On September 16th 1992 I was married, working as a researcher for a small university spin-off company which had just employed a CEO who didn’t understand the value of research and development. I was 26 years old, but didn’t have much idea about the real world or what my place was in it. I’d only been out of university for a couple of years, and the work I was doing was pretty much the same as the stuff I’d been researching for my PhD in Computer Science.

And I had absolutely no idea what to do with a baby. They don’t have power-off switches or helpful error messages, and the instruction manuals seem to have been translated through several different languages on their way to English.

Blake, Destroyer of Trees

#2 son: Blake, Destroyer of Trees

Now… I’m divorced, a full-time student of Creative and Professional Writing at Nottingham University, a part-time marketing assistant for Five Leaves Publications, I know what I want my place in the world to be and I’m busily carving it out (more on that in my next post).

More importantly (most importantly), I’m the mother of two of the most incredible human beings on this planet. I wrote this poem for them… needless to say, when I read it to them they looked slightly confused, and very quickly started talking about something else after mumbling vague compliments.

Something of Nothing
for Simon and Blake

How can you make something of nothing?
Nothing is not
                       sugar, butter, eggs and flour.
It’s not bricks, not mortar,
not blocks of marble or iron chisels.
Not words. Especially
                                 not words.

How can you bake, build or sculpt?
How do you make thoughts
of nothing?

You and I are nothing, without substance.
We pass through each other
like ghosts, you cannot rest a comforting hand
on my shoulder, I cannot demand passion
from your lips.

Yet somehow
we made our sons of nothing
and oh,

they are something.

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