There are many moments that I will treasure from this Christmas. I am one of those who loves the festive season. I love the preparation. I love the traditions. I love the memories stirred from the past. And I love most of all being in the bosom of my family wearing silly paper hats and squabbling over scrabble.
But this year there is a moment that stands out for me.
My elder son is 19 – on a gap year before reading English Lit ( yup - very much his parents’ child; the hubby is also a journalist). Like all mothers and sons we have our ups and we have our downs but I am terribly aware that everything is very soon to change. That I have had my chance to help shape who he is and that now it is time for him to step away and to shape his own future.
This year my husband had to work Boxing Day (the downside of a journalist’s lot) and so our traditional Xmas beach trip was in jeopardy. This so saddened me. Whatever the weather, I always cherish the privilege of living close enough to the sea to share a flask of great coffee and mince pies on the beach on Boxing Day.
So this year – no hubby. The younger son wasn’t keen either (it was pouring with rain, in fairness) and so I toyed with the idea of giving the tradition a miss – or playing Billy-no-mates and going alone. But then my elder son completely floored me by saying that he would absolutely love to come.
And so with me just a little bit dazed, we made the coffee together , we packed up the biscuits, mince pies and some chocolates and set out in the rain with our wet weather gear, our hats and our gloves.
And – my goodness. What a memorable trip not only because there was just the two of us and we ran out of petrol ( making it back on fumes alone- phew!) but mostly because this unexpected dynamic meant we talked so much.
Undeterred by the howling wind and rain, we made it to a bench with a breathtaking view of the raging sea with furious white horses reminding us all just who is boss around here. And yes.
We talked and talked and talked.
We talked books – especially the Life of Pi ( a favourite for both of us). We talked about our expectations of the film. We talked also about his expectations of the new life ahead of him. We talked and we talked … and somewhere along the way he gave me, unprompted, a spectacular bear hug.
As he prepares to leave home, other mothers will understand just how much this little window means to me.
It was a moment.
Yes. A little window in time with so much back story and so much hope for the future. A little rubber stamp of who we are, where we are now as mother and son and where we are both going. And in the end it made me smile to my core because I had been agonising over the title for a collection of short stories (previously published by a range of national magazines) which I am to release as an ebook in 2013.
So – no more agonising.
“ Moments” is to be the title. (More details in future blogs.)
So I sign off today with special thanks for my blessings, my lovely Christmas, for the patience of my family as I steal so many hours away to write and for the unexpected bonus of …
a bench, a beach, a boy.
(And a book.)
Teresa Driscoll - journalist, author, mother of two and lover of great coffee.