proud to be his mum

Today 18 years ago at 4.19am our eldest son Declan was born

How quickly time has passed, one moment I hold him in my arms, the next I look up
To him for he is taller now than  I will ever be

I’ve taken out his photo album and look at the earliest images we have of him; he was such a small, fragile thing and yet so determined to be reckoned with

I hardly look at these early images as they always inflict pain and it’s sometimes easier to turn away from that and as he’s still at home with us I don’t need the reminder, but every now and then I do
The moment he came into our lives we were parents, a fact of life that will only end with our deaths, in life there is death.

I baked an apple crumble last night for us to eat on the morning of his birthday; the apples are from a tree we planted in his first year
A gift from two friends, one is no longer with us as he drowned in a sailing accident, leaving behind a wife and two then young daughters
Each year as I pick the apples I am reminded of our son’s birth year as well as our friend’s untimely death
I find it almost unbearable to hold the two thoughts in my mind at the same time; in life there is death

But today is a day for celebrating the fact that our small boy has grown and is now almost a man, I say almost for I am his mother, I know he sees himself in a different light
What happens between the two extremes is the stumbling fumbling make-do business we call a life and most of all what matters on the journey from here to there is love
all of it and every kind of



jude said…
my son is 35. i think of him, of course, as a man, but always then, the boy.
he found a friend dead from suicide a few years back.
how strange. life and death.
and motherhood.
Marti said…
This is such a moving post Saskia: love in life and death and bittersweet memories. This picking of apples to celebrate, this fine gift that was given to honor a new life by one whose life was taken in the same year. There is solace, it seems to me in the fact that the tree continues giving and that is a fine tribute for the one who lost his life as well as for Declan, 18 years old today. Happy Birthday to you all. The photo of your proud pregnant self is beautiful.
Dana said…
Yes, the visceral poignancy of motherhood is sometimes too much to bear... but what a blessing! Happy Birthday to Declan and to you. May he continue to grow in love.
Saskia said…
Jude: the strangest gift I can think of, motherhood that is, and also how at the same time the most natural, how our body's geared to becoming one, one way or another; how awful for your son finding his friend like that; these things are just tough......and sad

Saskia said…
hi Marti, our friend died a few years later, his girls are more or less the same age as our I grow older I become more sentimental, growing soft towards the end, haha and I do believe I can see better what matters (which is ironic as I now need reading glasses) so I guess I can say life improves as you grow older. Now that's a comforting thought.

Dana, a blessing indeed. Watching our boys grow is beyond words, it's just so WonderFull, small miracles really.

Liz A said…
Beautiful Boy ... with thanks to John Lennon for the perfect words
Debbie said…
My son is 36 in a few weeks time, my daughter 31 in a few more. My son, the man, but still my boy is doing well. My daughter not so good so she is my child still though she does live away from home.
Jude she also has lost friends in the last couple of years, so sad so young.
A moving post Saskia but how lovely to have planted a tree to grow with your son and to be able to celebrate his manhood with apples from the same tree.
Declan, Son of Saskia

i think he has your Flair?

Children. And he will be your boy until he brings his own child changes then. Not the love, but the sense of them, boy/man.

So happy BIRTH day to you, in honor of that moment 18 years ago.
Els said…
Happy birthday, to you and him ....
(I have a daughter of 40 .... life goes on, no matter what !)
Anonymous said…
hey mooie jongen
van binnen en van buiten
als jongen word je geboren
een " man " worden daar werk je zelf aan .
veel geluk daarbij dat wens ik jou toe
aan de ouders nog vele jaren van intens genieten , liefde is de basis
Nancy said…
Such a beautiful bittersweet post Saskia, as is the way of life. Your boy is so handsome. My boy is now 34, which is somewhat unbelievable to me, especially when he says things like "business trip" in relation to himself. My mind can't make sense of this adulthood. My girl, who entered the world early, now 31...which for me sounded so much older than last year's 30. I too know young ones already passed. Sometimes too much to think about. Big hugs to you as you celebrate your boy and life as a mother.
Julie S said…
I love this post and tell us something about that photo of pregnant you...what is that beautiful piece of art on the wall?
Saskia said…
well Julie, the pregnant me is a cut-out photo glued onto the card I made for his birth, I don't know about traditions in the States, but here in the Netherlands we send these birth-announcement-cards to friends, family and basically anyone you know and think is interested! one: to inform them you have a baby and two: send us a gift please.
I realise this sounds a tad greedy, but young parents need all the help they can get;-)
So I made a giraffe stencil in lieu of the usual animals and stencilled appr. 100 giraffes on as many hand-made paper cards and my sister got them from the printer once Declan was born and they had gotten the date wrong! So the printer who was mortified and so very sorry because all the cards were hand stencilled by me, had to print them all over again with the correct date etc. and print the giraffes in such a way one might imagine they had been stencilled by me personally! phew that is quite a long story. Of course the new mother=me only had eyes for her baby and couldn't care less: I knew he was there as did my husband and that was all that mattered.
Saskia said…
oh Liz, John Lennon one of my favourites, thank you!

yes Debbie being able to use the fruits from his birth year to bake a cake is quite special and I love the symbolism of life continuing each year with new and different stages of growth. I hope your daughter's situation improves, 'tis the way it is and having to watch as a parent is rather tough at times. You can only do so much.

Grace he has flair in bundles, how nice you think that comes from me, I'm not very flair-some, my mother is, perhaps it skipped a generation, I'll mention it to her...that will make her happy and proud!

dank je wel Els, hem te zien opgroeien is een groot geschenk.

Juist Maria, liefde is de basis, hij zit zo vol kracht en vertrouwen, ik kan er als moeder zo intens van genieten en ben verheugd daar getuige van te mogen zijn.

Nancy, bittersweet exactly, the moment you become a parent you're flooded with emotions; immediately you're vulnerable and powerful at the same time, because of this immense love for someone else who depends on you completely; I enjoy witnessing his growth in every aspect of that word, it's a privilege.

jan said…
Even into my 50's my mother behaved towards me as if I were a teenager. I came to realise how much she struggled with the idea that I was a middle-aged woman; and too, that she was an old woman. We both wondered where the time had gone! I still do; every day. Apple trees are wondrous. I love that you make apple crumble to celebrate. May you celebrate for many years. XX
Anonymous said…
He is very handsome, that is clear!

With an 18 and 20 year old sons, I understand this strange limbo where they are boys and men both. It is such an unbelievable privilege to have parented them, and also the hardest thing I've done in life to date.

I am mostly avoiding older pictures, by the way, because it is just so hard to notice how quickly it all went!

What a wonderful post!



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