A hearty matter

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The Orchard 28.08.16

Two years ago today I had my 12 week scan, and went home with a lovely grainy photo of Freddie sucking his thumb. I think I blogged that evening, unable to quite comprehend the blossoming life nestled in utero. I’m still amazed, that my precious boy grew inside my tummy and found his way out. More’s the point, how is that 2 years ago? I can tell you what I was wearing, how nervous I was that day …. and how relieved when the chugging of his little heart was heard. This week that little foetus has learnt to shake his head in answer to questions. Are you tired Freddie? Always provokes a strong shaking of the head, even if he falls asleep shortly afterwards! It’s such a delight to see him engage with his toys and friends, and to learn new things. There could be no love any greater or any stronger. My boy, my precious little boy. He’s sleeping beside me as I type, and as I look across at him, I am overwhelmed with the maternal protection and wonder I have held for him since he splashed into the birthing pool. Life; how miraculous and yet how fragile.

Tomorrow we are off to Wales with a friend and her little boy – this 5 day break is so needed. My poor Father remains incarcerated in hospital until a suitable heart is found. [It’s okay to have a different outlook on fatal traffic accidents, right?] He had a false alarm a week ago today; when a match was found but the heart wasn’t healthy enough to go ahead. We visit regularly; he now has a room of his own with a view of the hospital helipad. I’ve loaned him Freddie’s iPad so he can teach himself to use it [with the help of written instructions from me] – my Uncle is keeping him stocked in suitable reading material, and he seems remarkably positive. I’m sure there is a fear, loneliness and much thinking, that goes on in the long hours outside of visiting. I bumble along with my PollyAnna hat on. They will find him a heart; they have to. This Grandpa needs to be playing with his Grandson, picking apples in the orchard; kicking a football on the lawn. For every week Grandpa is held hostage on Ward 304 of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham; my Freddie is missing out on time with a man who loves him so very much.

So I shall go to sleep next to my baby, and report back after our break. Never have I needed a week off more; and when we return we collect out kitten; Percy Pickle.

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Carpe Diem and all that jazz

I have one of those questionably vintage signs in my bedroom. It says “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” Cliched cheese perhaps, but recently as I’ve settled down for the night beside my precious little boy; I’ve realised how true this is. When I last Blogged my lovely Dad had been in hospital for a few weeks; we now know that he requires an urgent heart transplant. This kind of news brings with it so many levels of emotion – fear, hope, sadness … the not-knowing-when-a-heart-will-be-available factor. I try to do my PollyAnna bit. When he has the heart, he will be able to do so many of the things he has recently struggled with; and the NHS wouldn’t “waste” a heart on someone they didn’t think could survive it. Even if the wait is long, what’s several months compared to the 15 years a new heart could buy? ┬áHeavy, for a Monday evening. I find it incredibly odd to think the people on the transplant list are waiting for hearts which are currently beating in unsuspecting bodies. Needless to say I’ve made sure my name is on the organ donation register. Poor Dad.

Meanwhile, life must and does carry on for my wonderful little boy, who has really grown up recently [and is very pleased with his new “Bubbye” and hand waving whenever we leave anywhere!]. We’ve packed a lot in recently [carpe diem] – we have chosen a kitten, a tabby boy called Percy, who we collect at the beginning of September. I think it’s so important for children to grow up with a pet, and one Fred can play and interact with. We went to see him again today, and I’m so looking forward to bringing him home.

13892356_1975122169380878_1981692678579747621_nThere is a new slide in the living room [yes, you read that correctly], and the baby walker has been sold. We had a lovely time at a country show with fairground rides, pony rides, tractor rides, bouncy slides …. and Freddie won “best dressed bear” [Bear Grylls] at an NCT teddy bear’s picnic. We’ve signed up for Freddie’s first reading challenge at the library, and Fred took part in a “mini Olympics” at the local children’s centre.

This isn’t meant to sound like one of those ghastly Christmas Round Robins. I Blog primarily for Freddie when he’s older, so he can look back on a time he won’t have lasting memories of. I want to relay all we’ve done and all that’s happening in our world – and I’m very aware there can be huge gaps between finding time to write a new post. Sometimes I find myself reading back, amazed at our journey and all these 17months have brought. I still can’t believe how fast it has all gone, and yet how unimaginable life without him is.

I’m sitting here in a chair beside a sleeping Freddie [in my bed, we still co sleep] – listening to him breathe, a full tummy and a clean bottom, wearing his Thomas the Tank Engine pyjamas. He looks so peaceful, so perfect. Words can never convey quite how much I love him.

I decided, in the spirit of seizing the day, that I needed to write a list, of 18 things Freddie and I will do before he’s 18. So here goes, Master Worthington-Phillips – you can hold Momma to all of these. Number 5 will be accomplished in September, as we’re returning to my old college to wish a very lovely porter a happy retirement!

  1. Visit Kolkata where Momma volunteered, and meet the people she worked with.
  2. Go to Glastonbury
  3. Go camping [something I’m not terribly fond of!]
  4. Work on an archaeological excavation together
  5. Attend a Cambridge Formal Hall
  6. Volunteer in a soup kitchen one Christmas
  7. Go horse riding together
  8. Row a boat in Central Park, New York …
  9. Complete the local Go Ape course
  10. Go to Wimbledon
  11. Make our own gingerbread house together at Christmas
  12. See in the New Year in London
  13. Watch a premiership football match live
  14. Go to Stratford to see a play by the RSC
  15. Go to Cheltenham for the Gold Cup
  16. Go to London to watch the University boat race live
  17. Enter a charity race [I mean about 5K!] together and train/raise money
  18. Spend a St Patrick’s Day in Dublin!