Anybody who knows me will tell you I am a little “odd”. My good friend Ian calls me “a mental” and I love him for that. It took me, however, 38 years (yes I am 40 now) to stop being stunned at people not reasoning like me, to realise that hey, I am the mental, and what I used to consider mental behaviour or thought in other people, is not.
When I was younger I was terrified, utterly terrified of being at some point “found out”. At losing my incredibly honed diplomatic skills (those who have met me recently may be surprised at me having any) and actually show my true colours and then being shut up in an institution. Thankfully it never happened. Other things happened.
As my children were growing up, I received many, many compliments. How well-behaved they were, how sensible, how good, and so on. I always responded saying that my merit in all of that was simply allowing them to be themselves, which is not always thought of as a main priority, and the rest was all them.
Now my first born is almost 16. All I saw in him is starting to blossom forth, and of course in him I see all the stuff that was his, all the stuff he has picked up from me, and, more painfully, the stuff he decided to discard. I knew this moment would come, it’ll come with the other children too, and I was preparing for it but now it’s happening, it is always a bit of a lance through the heart. There is a mixture of immense pride and happiness for him and what he is becoming, a sense of relief that he will, as I always suspected, cope far better with life and this society than I ever did, but I can’t escape the pain of that first unspoken judgement, the first true, deep stab when he, too, communicates that “I love you, but …”, when he communicates that That Bit, that bit of you, I don’t want.