Family

After my first son was born I was delighted despite the fact that he took several months to settle down after his traumatic birth. However by the time he was six months he was a cheerful little chap. I was fascinated by seeing him changing almost day by day. Bob took a while to get used to him. Little by little he overcame his initial jealousy because I spent so much time with him. Knowing so little about such matters I did not know that this is a common reaction in men when they first become fathers. This was particularly strong in Bob who was still getting used to being married and having me to himself. I was his first and last girl-friend. I was beginning to see just how much he needed me. Never throughout his long life did I ever see him attracted to any other woman. I filled a very important gap in his life. He also mattered to me, but not so much.

I was learning how important the mother/child relationship is. I had no such problems as do some women, such as post – natal depression. Thinking back I realised that at last I was capable of making a very strong relationship with another human being and that solved one of my biggest difficulties. With all three of my children I was very happy to give them all the love and understanding that I unconsciously knew I had. I got every bit of it back.

Knowing how much Bob missed by being an only child I soon realised that we must have another baby soon. At first he was against this, but as he began to get to know his own son, he reluctantly relented. I became pregnant after nearly a year but miscarried after only a few weeks. This did not upset me at all. I felt that if this had happened so soon the chances were that the baby was damaged and I certainly didn’t want that.

It took some time to become pregnant again. All went well and my second son, Quentin was born two-and-a-half years after Robin. The baby thrived from the start. I was glad to have another boy, not because I didn’t want a girl, but because I thought that two of the same sex would gain more from each other. Quentin was a happy, easy baby which was just as well since Robin went through some of the symptoms of jealousy, but fortunately, as the baby grew older , Robin took to him and they got on well. Their temperaments were very different. Robin had a tendency to be pessimistic and Quentin was the opposite. As they grew older they enjoyed each other’s company and went through the useful experience of fighting and making up afterwards.

One day when we were back in England again and they were aged five and seven, I was in the kitchen when I heard shrieks and rushed into the living-room. They both shouted at once to get in first. After I had calmed them down I said “I don’t want to hear this sort of thing again”. In one voice they both said “It was only a friendly fight, Mum.” I then learned that this is what brothers do, so in future I let them get on with it.

Another day we were all set to go on a picnic, then the rain began to pour down. Robin burst into tears and said “Our picnic is ruined”. “No it isn’t” said Quentin. “We can have our picnic here, sitting on the floor.” This sort of thing is very useful for brothers and probably for sisters too, but I don’t know so much about them.

My one and only daughter was born much later. At that stage we had decided to stick with two children. At first I was annoyed because I wanted more time to myself, but as it turned out I had a daughter to whom I have often said “You were the best mistake I ever made!” Old mother nature was at it again.

With such a gap between Kate and the boys everything went well. They both took to her and she was very fortunate for the love they gave her. Our family was complete.

Kate also had two sons with only sixteen months between them. We all lived close to each other in Cambridge, so I saw a lot of all my family and still do. From someone who never thought she wanted children it is quite remarkable.

Ah! I forgot about Bob. He also was very pleased to be a father. We both came from families that were unable to give to us what we really wanted, because we were never really able to connect with them, except for the early baby periods. I still managed to develop my own gifts. More of that later. But the best part of my life was the family Bob and I created together.

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