I haven’t been away; I’ve been skiving. But I have had almost nothing to report.
We are just hanging about waiting for all sorts of things, foremost amongst them being the arrival of the blessed grandson – due date now moved by 4 days to September 15th. This is the longest pregnancy in history, I reckon. The latest scan even gave his weight – 2.7kg (just under 6 lbs for oldies like me who have never really grasped the metric system) and pronounced him healthy. He is now pointing downwards, just as he should be; what a relief – unlike his father, he is less likely to be born bottom first. His parents tell me that the scan images were amazingly detailed, and that he resembles his mother. We shall see…. (I predict that by the time he is six months, he will, like many babies, look just like Winston Churchill for a while).
I’m off to visit at the end of the month, my arrival at Paddington coinciding with one of the Tube strike days, bearing all sorts of gifts from some of you and from other friends, and perhaps, if I ever finish it, and it passes muster, a little pram quilt made by Grandma. This quilt will in no way compete with the beautiful heirloom-to-be made by Anne, of course; it’s more like a padded hanky, decidedly free-hand in style and stitchery, but at least no one will mourn when it is drooled or posseted upon.
Friends are coming to stay next month. This is incentive enough for me to paint the spare rooms’ window frames (inside only) as I have promised I would do for about three years now. The Gardener used to promise to paint the outsides, but I have quietly ceased to mention them, conceding defeat in the face of his masterly inactivity and my own failure to set a good example.
PS Perhaps I should tell you….
The one thing I had wanted to write about for weeks, and found too upsetting to relate, was the diagnosis of a certain little boy as having Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). Some of you will remember from my old blog the lovely Charlotte, fashion student, animal lover, and the untidiest girl in the world, who lodged with me for a while, and her Handsome Young Policemen boyfriend? After I moved, they were living in a little cottage together, and later got married. They then had a beautiful and adored baby, Rex, and all seemed well with their world, surrounded by their animals and loving, supportive families.
Just after the baby’s first birthday, I learned that the developmental delay that had worried them, and after intensive tests had been carried out on Rex (or Rexy as Charlotte calls him) was in fact Type II SMA, an incurable genetic condition with a prognosis that offers little in the way of hope. Devastatingly painful news for young parents to be given, and heralding a life that could not be imagined in those early days of infancy, a life of doctors and therapists, special equipment, parents adapting and learning new ways of caring for a baby whose needs are so profound, and always, always, the worrying, watching and waiting.
Charlotte is blogging about it here; her writing (and language!) is frank and open, coming straight from the heart (and I can hear her Durham accent so clearly throughout!) and has taught me and her other friends so much about what she and her husband face every day, with devotion, courage and humour as well as grief, rage and bewilderment. I think about her and her little family every day, and am humbled by what they deal with. Do look; it can be heartbreaking to read, but also inspiring, with lovely photos of an exceptionally cute little boy who seems to have the same reserves of strength and courage as his parents.