Jaqui's Daily Blog

A Special Girl, A Special Day

Seventeen years ago today I became a grandmother for the first time. Even more importantly, Our Katie was born.

 

I remember the day so well. Crowded into the hospital waiting room were Mr B, me and the Youngest of the Darling Daughters who (did she but know it) was already pregnant with her first-born.  We had a very long wait. At one point, when it became clear that nothing would be happening for a goodly while, we took ourselves off to a near-by fish restaurant for a fish and chip supper. I couldn’t eat a thing though Mr B wasn’t wasting so much as a mushy pea.

 

Back in the hospital waiting room and there was a horrible moment when doctors came flying along the corridor outside and I just knew something wasn’t right with either my daughter or my grandchild. Neither of my companions was aware of the drama – it must be a mother’s instinct, like being able to find missing shoes, phones or reading glasses.  The next few minutes passed agonisingly slowly but quick work on the part of the medical team soon had our precious baby breathing properly and eventually we were allowed in to see mother and babe. The first sight of Our Katie, she was looking straight up at her mother as if to say: “So, there you are!” Seventeen years ago – where did that time go?

 

I don’t remember many of my birthdays, but I do remember my seventeenth as it happens. It was a Saturday and I had a school trip to Canterbury Cathedral to watch TS Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral. That particular drama may have unfolded way back in 1170 but watching the re-enactment of the murder of poor old Thomas Becket on the very spot where it happened was pretty awesome. Arriving back by coach late in the afternoon and who was there to meet me off the coach but Mr B. Very much younger than now and with considerably more hair – but still my Mr B.  At home my parents gave me a watch – I have it still, though it doesn’t work anymore and needs considerable attention to its face. A bit like me, then .  It’s fifty years old this year and I think I might find out how much it would cost me to have to have it repaired and, if it’s not too much, perhaps it could be my birthday present?

 

Seventeen is such a lovely age to be. On the cusp of adulthood but not quite there. Still young enough to be Daddy’s girl but old enough to drive a car and venture into independence.  It’s the age when the whole world seems to be rolled out in front of you, full of promise.

 

Seventeen years ago, I was pondering what to buy my precious new grand-daughter – and wrote the following poem in the front of the brand-new Grandparents Book I started for her. It’s called “Gift for Katie” and it goes like this:

 

So what can I give my Katie?

 

My first, my precious, my so beautiful grand-daughter?

 

Baby-clothes?  Irresistible – but soon to be outgrown.

 

My gift for Katie must be one that lasts a lifetime.

 

Toys and books? Certainly – but all these can be bought.

 

My gift for Katie must be priceless.

 

Time? Oh yes! But I won’t live forever.

 

My gift for Katie must outlast me.

 

Love? Without question – but love for Katie

 

Is her gift to me, as much as mine to her.

 

 

So, what can I give my Katie?

 

My first, my precious, my so beautiful grand-daughter?

 

A sense of family, of continuity,

 

Of being one in a line that stretches

 

Back to the past and into the future.

 

Names and places, dates and pictures, 

 

But also tales told me when I was small,

 

All in this book for Katie –

 

And her daughter, and her daughter’s daughter....

 

My gift, with love.

 

 

Happy Birthday, Katie.  You were special then, you are special now.

 

Special you always will be.

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Latest comments

03.07 | 22:43

Wouldn't have missed it for the world. xx

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12.06 | 02:31

I love that you talk to your plants ... I used to on my allotment ... seemed perfectly rational !

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05.06 | 22:01

Sounds like a perfect day Jacqui, happy birthday for tomorrow, love Val xx

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07.12 | 15:48

what details have you got on your mysterious Wilde?

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