18 Years Ago Today

Eighteen years ago today, I was 29, married and very pregnant with my first child.  At 3pm I had the injection to induce labour.  Exactly 5 hours later I was mum to a healthy little boy.  I didn’t have a clue.  I was petrified.  I was the first of my friends to have a baby.  I’d never changed a nappy.  Ever.   What on earth had I done?? 

I remember not sleeping that night and wandering down to the nursery to see my baby.  It was so surreal.  He hadn’t fed and I felt strangely alone.  I didn’t like the fact that they took him away for the night.   When they brought him back the next morning I didn’t have a clue what to do with him.  A nurse would be in shortly to show me how to feed they said.   I watched him sleep, then without warning, he exploded.  I didn’t even know how to change a nappy.  The lady across from me took control and came over and changed my first nappy.  Thank goodness she did – I had no idea! 

Those first few weeks were so very hard.   Reflux, cracked nipples, post natal depression.  Nobody told me how hard it was going to be.  Nobody told me that from the moment this little life took it’s first breath, my life would never be just mine again.  Nobody told me how many times I would cry from sheer tiredness.  Nobody told me that at times I would hate being a new mum and I would wish for my old life back.  Nobody told me just how beautiful breast feeding was (after the two weeks of cracked nipple agony that is).  Nobody told me how my heart would ache when we were apart.  Nobody told me just how much being a mum changes the very essence of who you are.

That little baby is now 18 years old.  He’s a man, yet he’s still my baby.  I just love him to bits.   We’ve been through so much together.  He’s grown up from a baby, to a boy to a man and alongside him I’ve grown into the woman I am today. 

It’s not until now that I look back and realise what a ride parenting is.  It is the hardest career ever.  If we choose a career in medicine we get years of training before we get to practice.  We don’t go into the job of parenting with any qualificiations or training.  In fact, when we have our first child we have absolutely no qualifications.  None whatsoever!

Did I get it right?  I yelled at him, I smacked him, I made him feel guilty, I ignored him.  I always loved him and he always knew that.  There were a few years where I know he felt I let him down.  I destroyed his life as he knew it.  I left his father, the man he idolised.  I broke up his family, his sanctuary, the security blanket of his life.  For years he bounced between hating me and loving me.  It was really tough on all of us, but mostly him.

One moment that will be etched forever in my soul was particularly difficult.  We were at a soccer match and he was meant to be coming home with me.  He was 9.  As his father was leaving he ran all the way down the driveway screaming “I wanna go home with you daddy”.  Daddy drove slow enough so he could reach out and touch him and prolong the moment.  It was gut wrenching.  I made him come home with me.  It wasn’t very exciting at my place.  We were poor, we didn’t go out much and we didn’t have much.  Nine year old boys are very easily persuaded by fun and stuff and the sheer joy of hanging out with dad. 

We had 50/50 care and it was important that my children spent that 50% of time with me.  This sounds hard and selfish.  It wasn’t.  It would have been so much easier for me to let him live with his daddy.  Sure I would have had my heart broken, but I know how to deal with that.  Watching my little boy’s heart break on a weekly basis was the hardest thing ever.  I knew I didn’t have a choice.  Although at times I wavered.  However, I knew I had to be true to who I was, what I was doing and that time would make all the difference.  If we had nothing else, we had truth and time on our side.

Fast forward 8 years.   We are driving in the car one day and he says “Mum, I now understand the reasons why you left dad and I’m glad you did.  I wouldn’t like my life if we were still together as a family.  I love my life now.”   That was the moment I realised I have done a good job with my boy and all the pain and heartache was worth it, for both of us.  For all of us.  Even his daddy.

He is kind, generous and loving.  He tells me every day he loves me and ends every phone call with a “love you”.  We are close.  Don’t be mistaken, he’s still a boy – he’s loud, he’s smelly, he farts … a lot, he gets cranky, he’s hormonal, he’s messy.  He swears like a wharfie, he’s lazy and he smokes.  He was never a straight A student (not even a straight C), he never made the debating team, he never won student awards.   However, he has grown into the loveliest of men.   He stands by his friends.  He sticks up for his brother.  He hugs me when I cry.  He cries when he sees animal cruelty.  He stands up for what he believes in.  He is a nice person.  He has a kind heart and he knows how to love.   And that … is really all a mother can ever want from her son.

I love you darling.  Happy 18th Birthday. xx



About Annieb25

A mum to 2 teenage boys, would be writer, thirsty for knowledge, Radio Solution solver on Radio 1116 4BC and so much more!!
This entry was posted in Divorce, Family, My Boys, Parenting, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to 18 Years Ago Today

  1. Patty says:

    Happy Birthday to your son. And happy Birth Day to you Annie. Being a mother is changing! Enjoy your time together, hugs

  2. Katrina says:

    Happy Birthday to your baby! I loved this post. Truly. I love your honesty.. you are a great Mum (and a great friend!) xoxo.

  3. francesjones says:

    Wow. I can feel the love.

  4. Seraphim says:

    Oh this made me cry. Beautiful post. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to love tough. You are amazing. Happy birthday to your beautiful boy xx

    • Annieb25 says:

      Thank you but I’m not sure I am amazing. I broke plenty of conventional parenting rules. But, love got us through it all.

  5. Maxabella says:

    A beautiful post – he’s a very lucky boy, your boy. I had a tear when I read “We’ve been through so much together. He’s grown up from a baby, to a boy to a man and alongside him I’ve grown into the woman I am today. ” You’re a special person, so it’s no wonder your boy has grown into such a loveable, solid man.

    • Annieb25 says:

      I’m a lucky mum too. Teaching boys to love is so important to me. They weren’t always taught this – it wasn’t a “boy” thing. Our boys are going to make amazing husbands and fathers.

  6. Bern Morley says:

    You went with your gut and it was right. Be proud of yourself Annie, you’ve raised an amazing young man. x

  7. Thea says:

    This is so beautiful!
    If I can say all that about my boy when he’s 18, I’ll know I’ve done a good job. xx

  8. Tracy Rudd says:

    Oh, Gordon Bennett! This post choked me up so much! I guess it’s the empathy of the single mum with a son, but also the awesomely beautiful and honest nature of the post and the gift that it is to your son (hope he’s read it). Happy Birthday to him, and Happy Birth Day to you – it’s clear that you’ve done yourself proud with the fine young man he’s obviously become. xxx

  9. Christie says:

    I only have time to read one blog today and I’m so glad I chose yours! (I had a feeling I’d like it).
    Happy Birthday to your wonderful, loving son. You taught him what a strong, loving woman is and that was valuable in who he has become.
    (And Tracy ^ ^ I thought I was the only one that says “Gordon Bennett”. Truly. I’ve never met anyone else that does)

  10. Ali says:

    Oh how Lovely!
    Happy Birthday to you Boy xx

  11. Jodi Gibson says:

    What a beautiful post Annie. Happy birthday to your son, you are very lucky.

    I started keeping a diary for all my daughters and I write a personal note in each one on their birthdays. I love that I can look back on how they have grown, the good bits and the bad bits of each year and how much they make me so proud to be their Mum even through the hard times. I hope some day they will appreciate it too!

    Being a Mum is at times so hard but I wouldn’t give it up for anything. Love to you all.

  12. Carol says:

    My two boys are still little, Annie, but I hope they will grow up to love, and be loved, never be afraid to love and show care and concern for others.

    If I achieve that, I’ll have done OK.

    What a beautiful tribute to your manchild.


  13. Meredith says:

    *sigh* that’s love. Happy birthday to your boy!

  14. Brenda says:

    Absolutely beautiful post! You are one amazing mama in my book.XO

  15. Speegetti says:

    A really lovely post – hope you both had a lovely day 🙂

  16. Thanks Annie. You have done it again. Beautiful post. This has given me some food for thought. By sharing this with those of us who are yet to experience watching our children grow into adults, and sharing it from the heart, you have given us a wonderful gift. Something to look forward to. Knowing that even when it’s hard and we’re not perfect, there’s a chance it can grow into something like this – a real, honest, loving relationship. So many parents that I know who have grown-up kids misguidedly describe their children by turns glowingly or with disappointment, either papering over the cracks or wondering where they went wrong (particularly if their children have habits or have chosen lives that don’t sit well with them). This leads to a distance between parents and children. By attempting to always show or describe their kids in the best possible light (or else denying the reality that they’re less-than-perfect) the kids can feel that by idealising them, their parents don’t really know them and have unrealistic expectations which creates pressure to live up to their standards. I have seen this cycle cause the disintegration of adult parent/child relationships and it’s sad because there is (often) obviously a lot of love there on both sides.
    By acknowledging your son’s flaws, and describing who he truly is rather than what he’s ‘achieved’, you show us (and him) that you see him. You see him as a separate, fully formed, wonderful person and accept the good and the bad. That gives me a beacon of hope that no matter what, if I do what I believe is right and give my kids a chance to be who they are, we will be ok. Thank you! And happy birthday to your boy.

  17. Tenille says:

    What a great post, thank you for sharing. And congratulations for surviving 18 years as a mum.

  18. Peter Brewer says:

    Just Beautiful!. Even choked me up. Lucky Boy-Lucky Mum. Thanks for sharing so openly Annie. I’m sure you feel very liberated for having written this. Hope the party went well!

  19. Girl Clumsy says:

    Congrats Annie – to you and your bub. 😉

  20. MsDovic says:

    Just absolutely beautiful. My heart exploded for what you described and for what my own journey ahead may be.


    Thankyou xxxx

  21. Annieb25 says:

    Thank you for the lovely comments. I am really proud of my boy. He’s had an amazing weekend – loved his party (was very drunk) but the thing we loved is he is a funny drunk. He laughed and giggled all night. I have hardly seen him this weekend, but he’s got some amazing friends who have been looking after him on his first nights out in the city at pubs and night clubs. Last night I called around midnight (I was up watching soccer – not being paranoid) to see if he was ok – his friend answered and was freaking out because he had gone missing – he said “it’s ok Annie we will find him for you, we are looking everywhere. We will make sure he gets home safely.” I got a txt saying they’d found him. It was nice to know his friends care so much. Makes a mum feel ok about her first child going out into that scary world of night life!

  22. allconsuming says:

    This: … He stands by his friends. He sticks up for his brother. He hugs me when I cry. He cries when he sees animal cruelty. He stands up for what he believes in. He is a nice person. He has a kind heart and he knows how to love…

    As the mother to four boys, if my boys grow into men and I can say what you have said about your son, I will stand tall, proud and happy.

    Happy birthday to your son and to you. It is such a cliche but the hardest job brings the most reward.

  23. Oh I love it… you are clearly a wonderful mum, thanks for that!

  24. Jo R says:

    Annie- I don’t know you- apart from what you write on Twitter. I read this post and it made my heart ache, then swell and pour over.

    You children are very lucky to have you as their Mum- you seem like a great Mum too 🙂

    Thanks for sharing.

  25. Pingback: Ten Years Ago … Part III | Living Life as Me

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