Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The story within

We were balancing plates, nibbling chicken wings, making polite conversation, when she asked that dreaded question.
"Would you like another child, Nikki?"
The honest, nonchalant, answer would have been a simple, yes.
Under any other circumstances, I might have succumbed to the easy route and just said yes.
Whether it was the heat, Prosecco, or proximity, I did not nod politely and reply with a positive, basic, yes.
I told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
I explained, with plate and drink perched, and whilst other friends were in the garden area, that for the past three years, almost immediately after Tommy's birth, Mark and I have tried to create a sibling for him.
Frustrated and concerned, there have been numerous appointments for advice and guideance. Scans, fertility drugs, false hopes, brutal conversations, shattered dreams. Myself and Mark have experienced them all.
Not to mention a bucket full of guilt, on my part. It's my problem, my eggs are now practically rubbish.
I'm sorry Mark and Tommy.
As usual, Mark has been completely understanding, patient and optimistic.
I dread the day Tommy asks why he hasn't a brother or sister, or admits he craves or fantasies that we are a four member family. For personal reasons, the one thing I didn't want was for Tommy to be an only child. I guess it wasn't my decision to make.
At nearly forty four years old I have to admit almost defeat. And of course be ever thankful that we produced Tommy.
I will continue to love and appreciate Tommy and Mark, and achieve everything in my power to ensure Tommy's life is full to the brim with love and happiness, friends and family.
We are fortunate that we have friends with similar aged children. Children I will encourage Tommy to grow and nurture with. Also, when he reaches school age I will always welcome his friends to our house for play dates, dinner times and sleepovers.
Whilst balancing plate and drink one Saturday afternoon, my friend was noticeably surprised and concerned when I opened up about our predicament.
There were only a handful of people in this world who were aware. For I can sometimes remain very private with regards to my story within.
Yet sometimes, I admit, it's healthy to share our journey, our thought process.
In one way or another, we are all soldiering on. Some days it's good to talk about stuff.
I recall the great Robbin Williams once quoting, "Be kind to each other, you never really know what battles people are facing."
Ain't that the truth.
I'll leave you with pictures of that Saturday afternoon, and Tommy playing with the kids.
Feeling ever so grateful that we have them in our lives.

All the kids. Love the way Tommy is looking at his cousin and the watergun. Can you see him?


Pool time.


Tommy and cous Will. Sweeties under the trampoline.


Show us your bumps! How special, all experiencing second pregnancy together and all future babies will grow together. Of course I wish I was in the picture too, boasting my bump, but some things aren't meant to be.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

The unexpected picnic

It was a sunny Sunday morning. Tommy was playing with his Optimus Prime (Spider-Man, you have a rival). Mark and I were casually sitting on the sofa, catching up with each other and the television.
Scrambled eggs and hot chocolates were digesting, and all three of us were still in our jim jams.
Suddenly, Mark's mobile beeped.
"Oh no, we've been invited to a picnic," said Mark.
Allow me to explain Mark's dismay, for some unknown reason to man, he is against picnics. I always remind him that it's just food and drink outdoors, what's not to like? Weirdo.
"Oh no, not today?" said I.
Allow me to explain my predicament, I do not like surprises. I relish in planning and preparation, besides I was looking forward to a day chilling at home.
"Yippee, a picnic!" said Tommy.
Tommy is three years old and loves eating and drinking outdoors, he is also fond of surprises.
Seeing my son's joyful reaction, I was reminded that sometimes the unexpected is fine. Although I tried not to panic when I remembered I hadn't washed my hair yet, and we were due a big shop.
Tommy was literally bouncing with excitement, whilst I ran up the stairs to clean my hair, and ran around the kitchen to see what I could contribute.
"Katy said she's made enough food for us all," said Mark, in his usual there's nothing to stress about manner.
"We can't turn up empty handed!" wailed I, as I stuffed cold drinks, crisps, strawberries, cucumber wipes and a football into my brown bag. I sighed, it would have to do in the short time span.
Then I ran around the house, collecting clothes, throwing them at Mark and Tommy whilst ordering them to dress themselves, as I tried to squeeze into my floral summer dress.
Phew, it's amazing what you can achieve in half an hour when you really put your mind to it.
We had a fabulous day. The sun shone, the kids played nicely, and Katy packed a marvellous feast.
And Mark said he now likes picnics.
I repeat, Mark now likes picnics.
I am ecstatic.
Hooray for the unexpected picnic.

Yes Tommy is doing a funny walk.


Cousins.


Playground.


Stick house.


Playing in the meadow.


Searching for the perfect picnic spot.


The unexpected picnic.