Sunday, December 01, 2013

An Advent Sunday baby

Perhaps I should hesitate to start a post with what verges on a cliché, but I can’t help wondering where the years have gone. Back in the earliest days of this blog I asked myself the same question when DD celebrated her fortieth birthday, and today I’m looking back even further, to the day forty-five years ago, when, at the tender age of 22, DH and I became parents for the first time.

It was 1968, the year of students riots in Paris and the doomed Prague Spring in Soviet Czechoslovakia, of the last mainline steam trains in Britain and the first manned Apollo mission in the US. It was the year DH and I graduated and bought our first, rather decrepit house for the princely sum of £2,150.

We were subsisting on a student bursary of £500 a year while he trained as a teacher and once the mortgage had been paid each month, there was very little left over to live on . The house was minimally furnished with family cast-offs, the unused rooms still empty. The only clothes we bought that year were for the baby I was expecting and even those were just the few things I couldn't make myself.

I discovered very quickly how fortunate I was to have been brought up by a mother who taught all her daughters to cook plain, healthy and, above all, economical food. DH was away at college from Sunday to Friday evening, living in our ancient camper to save rent, while I was alone at home, trying to turn a neglected house into somewhere to care for a baby. I’d made a start by painting the kitchen what should, if the label on the tin were to be believed, have been a warm but muted shade of coral, but which turned out to be a vivid and virulent pink, which we had to endure until we sold the house four years later.

Two weeks before the baby was due I went for my weekly ante-natal check-up on the last Tuesday in November. DH was at college as usual, after a very pleasant weekend at home during which we’d celebrated his birthday. Out of the blue, the doctor who examined me said he was worried about my puffy ankles and on hearing there was no-one at home to look after me, insisted that I be admitted to hospital the same afternoon for rest and care until the baby was born.

As it turned out, DS didn't wait for the two weeks to be up before making his entrance. An accidental fall on a wet bathroom floor precipitated the first signs of labour and DH arrived home for the weekend to find that active fatherhood was imminent. When that Advent Sunday dawned, it was obvious that the baby was well on the way and DH spent the long day by my bed, fetching and carrying and making himself as useful as he could.

Back in those days it was mandatory for fathers to have attended ante-natal classes if they were to be admitted to the labour-ward. Being away at college all week meant that he hadn’t been able to go to the classes with me and the staff were adamant that he had to say goodbye to me at the labour-ward door and wait outside until it was all over.

He didn’t have long to wait. The first stage of labour might have been long, but the second was almost precipitous and DS made his entrance into the world only 20 minutes after I’d been wheeled through that door.

When he was wrapped up and given to me to hold, someone asked what we were going to call him. DH and I had whittled  down the possibilities to two short-lists of names, but hadn’t yet made our final choice. At that point I could remember only one name from the boy’s list, probably because it was the shortest, but as soon as I said it out loud, I knew it was the only possible one. When DH was allowed in to see us both, I presented him with not only a son but a name, and suddenly we were a family and life would never be the same again.

Forty-five years on, DS is a husband and father in his turn, with a son who will soon be 10 and a very busy and worthwhile career. But on this Advent Sunday I can still see so clearly the baby with dimples, who looked up at me at the end of that long day and lodged himself in my heart for ever.




Postscript:    It may seem almost unbelievable in these days of camera-phones, Facebook and Instagram, but we don’t have a single photo of either of our children until they were at least 3 months old. They were both born in winter and our first photos were taken when it was finally warm enough to be outside with them. 

70 comments:

  1. Dear Perpetua, what a heart-warming and special post! You both look so young, and so delighted with your baby, as I'm sure you were. It is scary how fast the years fly by, and incredible to think of the difference in costs of living since those days. We, too, raised by mother's who knew how to make do, mend, sew and cook on a shoestring, also managed for years on very little, as you did. There were some years when the camera was broken, and there are no photos at all because we could not afford to get it fixed or buy a new one :)) Thank you for bringing back memories and making me smile. Happy Sunday!

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    1. Thanks, Patricia, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Yes, we were very young and lived on a remarkably thin shoestring for years. We had none of the things so often taken for granted nowadays, but at least house prices were affordable, which was a huge advantage. We never had a broken camera, but the cost of film and developing meant that we took photos infrequently and with care. I still have every photo we took when the children were young. Thanks for sharing the memories I stirred. :-)

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  2. Dear Perpetua - I relate to so much of your story - it is almost mine too - I suspect that it will resonate with many.
    We didn't have much - money or possessions, no washing machine for me until second son arrived.
    However, I do feel for the young people today - how can they possibly get their foot on the house owning ladder with all of the astronomical costs, and the debts that they are carrying from their studies?
    Happy birthday to DS on his 45th birthday.

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    1. Thanks, Rosemary, I'll pass on your greetings. , I think most people of our generation had very similar experiences in early married life. We often married young, at the very beginning of our careers and had to scrimp and save for years. DH and I got a washing-machine when DS was 6 months old, but only because I took a temporary evening job to pay for it.

      I so agree with you about the difficulties facing young people today. We had no student loans to repay and house prices were reasonable until the first housing bubble in the early 70s pushed prices up very steeply and quickly.

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  3. Lovely to hear about your memories of your son's arrival. Life was so different then , I'm not sure everything we have now is for the best! It is quite amazing how few photos were taken then, even looking back 10 years ago a family holiday may have only produced a few pictures! I'm so glad you have been able to help Val.
    Sarah x

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    1. Hi Sarah, thanks for visiting. It was only when I started thinking about this post that I was reminded how much life has changed. We take many material things so for granted today, yet managed without them for years when we had to. as for the photos, I'm guessing that many people today (especially the young) take and share more photos in a month than DH and I took in the first 10 years of our marriage. :-)

      I'm just waiting to hear from Val that everything is still OK.

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  4. I too find many similarities in our lives, Perpetua. DH and I married on January 20, 1968 (between semesters at LSU). We were both 22. And I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy on October 21, 1968 (Yep, you can bet people were counting on their fingers back then). I had graduated a few days before the wedding, but DH had another semester to finish. So we lived in married student apartments one semester. And we too had nothing but a few pieces of 2nd hand furniture... but it didn't matter. Life was good. Still is. I read somewhere that gratitude turns everything we have into enough... I like that.

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    1. I do like that saying about gratitude, Rian, and find it very true. I love the way your lives and ours were running in parallel back then. It really didn't matter that we had so little materially, did it?. We were young and in love and had a lot of fun making do and learning new skills as we did so.

      Life got a bit easier the following year when DH qualified and started work as a teacher, but I've never forgotten that first year and the joy of that Advent Sunday.

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  5. I loved this post, Perpetua. It's impossible to convey to expectant parents how the entrance of that little person into their lives is going to change things forever. I'm in Victoria right now with my oldest son Karsten, his wife Diana and little Lucy. Tomorrow Karsten turns 32, and like you I wonder where the years have gone.

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    1. You're so right, Kristie. We go merrily through that first pregnancy, surrounded by excitement and congratulations, with barely a clue of what life will be like afterwards. I wouldn't change a minute of it, but i was a total innocent as I went into that labour ward. :-)

      A very happy birthday to Karsten for tomorrow. The years go past far too quickly.

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  6. That was such a lovely post Perpetua. Happy Birthday to your DS. So true - where have the years gone? My son was born in 1967, we were living with my in-laws - oh what a time that was. Daughter was born in January 1971 - we had moved to our own home by then, but it was the year of Ted Heath and the miners' strike. All those mandatory power cuts, how did we manage!

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    1. Thanks, Molly. I'll tell him the blog world is wishing him a happy birthday. :-) Your experience parallels ours very closely, with your daughter being born just a month before ours as you can see from my link. Oh those power cuts and the postal strike that stopped me telling everyone about DD's birth. At least with DS I could put the news in our Christmas cards. :-)

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  7. Perpetua, what a beautiful story. Happy birthday to your son and thank you for sharing. Having a baby really does change everything. I often think about how ill-prepared I was for our first child, I really had no idea what I was doing! He's only eight years old now but even that seems like a lifetime ago. I hope you're having a good day.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Jennifer. It doesn't matter how many books we read or how many ante-natal classes we attend, we just don't know what's going to hit us once we have that little one to care for. Your eldest is younger than my youngest grandson, but I still remember their parents' births as though it was yesterday. So long ago and yet still so vivid.

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  8. Thank you for this post and many happy returns to DS. I'm sure many of us can relate to your experience starting out as a young married couple with a young family in the 1960s and early 1970s. In our case we saved all our combined earnings for several years before we managed to put down the deposit on a house and I still remember the thrill of furnishing that home and bringing two daughters into the world in it in 1966 and 1969. (There was no maternity hospital, although there was a unit in the next town for complications). Bringing up a family is still not easy with different challenges in a changing world.

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    1. Thanks, Linda. It was a very different world back then you and I began married life and our families. We were very lucky to find an old and neglected house in a cheap apart of the country for which we needed only a small deposit. we couldn't afford to furnish it properly, but it was home. Where we were mothers were encouraged to use the local hospital to give birth, though my next-door neighbour had her third child at home not long before DS was born. In m any ways I think life is harder for young families now, with very high housing costs and less secure working conditions.

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  9. Thank you Perpetua, for this delightful post. I do so much identify with your postscript. Back in the late 1960s, we did only take photos outdoors, and when the light was good enough. We do live in a whole different world now. Wishing you a blessed Advent.

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    1. Thanks, Ricky and the same to you.

      It's fascinating to look through our box of family photos and see just how few we have from our own childhoods and our children's. Plenty from the 80s onward, when film and developing became much cheaper and flash was standard on cameras, but before then all our photos were taken outdoors. A different world, as you say.

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  10. A lovely, reminiscent post of those so, so important days. As you say, 22 was a very tender age but you both seemed to have coped with the responsibilities rather well! I was nowhere near being ready for children at that age but it doesn't matter how old (or young) you are - that first intimate look from your first born is forever etched on your memory.
    I am glad we can snap photos and see them instantly but old photos always have a little something extra that it's hard to capture nowadays.
    Axxx

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    1. Than ks, Annie. As you say 22 is a tender age, but back then it was pretty normal to have one's family young. Many of my university friends were married with young children by the time they reached 30. Times have definitely changed in that respect.

      I can't imagine forgetting that first look. No photo could be the same. Actually it didn't even occur to me to think about photos at the time - hence the lack of small baby snaps. :-)

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  11. Lovely post, Perpetua. How times have changed. Now people are posting their ultrasounds on facebook. My first daughter was born when man landed on the moon in'69. A lot of water under the bridge since that time.

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    1. Thanks, Bonnie. We do indeed live in a different world. No ultrasound scans back then, so the baby's gender was always the first news to be shared with everyone after the birth. I remember sitting with DS on my knee, watching the moon landing coverage on our neighbour's TV, as we didn't have one. :-)

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  12. And they say that we forget childbirth! It was very touching to read these precious memories; thank you for sharing them with us.

    Being of your son's generation, it is hard for me to imagine (a) getting married and having children straight after university and (b) being able to afford to buy a house but not clothes. A different world.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed them. Who says we forget childbirth? I could never forget it completely, though some of the more painful details are luckily pretty dim now. No epidurals back then.

      I think that generation of time that divides you and me spanned a lot of changes. Several of my closest university friends married on or pretty soon after graduation and started their families not long after. Housing costs were so much cheaper back then too. Mind you, the reason we couldn't afford clothes was because we'd bought a house. Paying the mortgage didn't allow for luxuries like new clothes. :-)

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  13. I loved reading this post. My first born was born in September of 1967, so it was around the same time that we both became mothers. I know what you mean about the photos. I have precious few of my children as babies. Times were so different then. We also were without many funds as my husband went to school to become a teacher. Those were happy days. We hold the memories in our hearts of our early days of venturing into parenthood.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Sally. yes, we're of the same generation and even though we live on different continents, our experiences were very similar. Photography wasn't cheap back then and could be dispensed with when there were more pressing things to spend our limited money on. But DH and I have never regretted for a moment having our children so young. A huge plus is being grandparents with time to watch the grandchildren grow up.

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  14. Your last sentence reminded me of a short poem I have pasted on the cabinet in my kitchen. I makes me think of the love that a mother has for her child. I don't know who wrote it but I just love it. It's just so sweet it makes me want to cry.

    I am yours
    you are mine.
    Of this we are certain.

    You are lodged
    in my heart,
    the small key
    is lost.

    You must stay there forever.

    Victoria
    Indiana USA

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    1. Victoria, thank you so much for posting that. It is lovely and so appropriate for this post. That's how it is when we love someone and with a baby it happens in a moment.

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  15. That’s lovely Big Sis – Happy 45th Birthday to DN. I remember well it being towards the end of my first term at University when I got news of his safe arrival. Love the photos. It seems almost too timely these days when photos of the new babe and exhausted Mum are posted to the world on Facebook before the new Mum has had chance to enjoy her well deserved cup of NHS tea!

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    1. Thanks, Younger Sis. Yes, of course, you started your course the term after I finished mine. It all seems a long time ago and yet I remember it as though it were yesterday. The photos are fun, aren't they? Me with those swept-up spec frames and DH in the same worn green sweater he'd been wearing the first time we met. :-) I'm actually very glad our two were born before the pressure to share every experience instantly. I wouldn't have wanted a photo of me at the end of that very long day out on the world-wide web. :-)

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  16. What a lovely post Perpetua. I really enjoyed reading it. Motherhood is so special. I can remember every detail of how I felt when I had my children. I waited 11 years for my first and had given up hope, then the second arrived 20 months later. And yes the time does go too fast.

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    1. Thanks, Ayak, I'm glad you enjoyed it. We really don't forget these life-changing experiences, do we? Our circumstances were very different from yours, with our children coming along sooner than we'd anticipated, but their births were still the best things that every happened to us. I wouldn't change a thing.

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  17. Hari Om
    Heartfelt and delightful reminiscence!! Happy birthday to the one who prompted this memory and your sharing and greetings to you from Edinburgh (finally)!! YAM xx

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    1. Yay, you made it! I do hope you're not shivering too much as you learn to acclimatise. I will pass your greetings along to DS,. who was rather gratified to hear that he was being wished Happy Birthday from all over the world. :-) I'm glad you enjoyed my trip down memory lane.

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  18. That was a lovely post...and happy birthday to your DS who brought you both so much happiness.

    A different world for today's young people....we had financial pressures when young, but nothing like those facing them today.

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    1. Thanks, Helen. Your birthday greetings will be duly conveyed to DS. Yes, he and his sister brought and bring us a great deal of happiness and DH and I wouldn't have had life any other way.

      Like you, I think young people today have a harder time than we did. There weren't the pressures to have things back then and we could be pretty sure of a secure job, with no college debts to pay back. How the world has changed.

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  19. This is such a lovely story of your little boy being born on Advent Sunday..
    You really went through some hard times there Perpetua. Especially with DH away from you.
    These memories will always be with you and they are happy wonderful ones. We each have our own. They are precious to us. I enjoyed reading this lovely post. Thank you.

    kindest wishes..to you Perpetua.. and thanks for all your help. Its so great to see you all again.

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    1. It's lovely to see you back commenting again, Val, and I was glad I could help. Interestingly I never thought of those being hard times, as we were was young and energetic and happy in our decrepit old house. It could be a bit lonely with DH away, but I had lots to do and a very kind and helpful neighbour, with whom we are still in touch after all these years. It was a special time.

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  20. Lovely post P. My daughter is just setting up her first home with bits and bobs from second hand shops, friends and family. I think it's a really important rite of passage that is now becoming out of date as most youngsters expect to have everything new as soon as they move in.

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    1. Thanks, BtoB. I so agree with you that learning to make do and even do without are important skills that aren't getting as much practice as they once did. I think we were lucky not to have high expectations as it meant we were content with very little. Best wishes to your daughter in her new home.

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  21. A lovely post Perpetua. I hope you have enjoyed remembering that lovely day all those years ago. I was 37 when my daughter was born, and really had never thought I would have that wonderful moment, when your eyes meet those of your child. A wonderful moment. J.

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    1. It was a very happy thing to do, Janice, and I've loved reading other people's memories too. DS and his wife were in their later 30s when their son was born and I know they had felt like you before he came along. There is nothing in the world like that first glimpse of your child.

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  22. What wonderful memories and I love the photos, Perpetua. My oldest is turning 40 on Christmas Eve, and I've been doing a little "where has time gone" musing, too. I hear in your story some of the same memories that I can easily recall. We always seemed to have "just enough" but never more, and I think our food budget stretched better because my grandmother would come and visit and never empty handed! I remember her care packages. When I see the baby equipment, furniture and accoutrements that accompany the new babies in our family today I chuckle, remembering that we were excited with almost nothing! My husband worked nights and was away on the railroad when I first went into labor. My mom was with me. It turned into an emergency C-Section and he arrived just as it was "all over" and he welcomed a new daughter. I tell Aimee that she was the best Christmas present I ever received. Thank you for your sweet story, Perpetua. It warmed my heart. ox (breathe lighter)

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    1. Thanks, Debra. The photos are rather sweet, aren't they? Those glasses - so 1960s. :-) These special birthdays do tend to make us think back more than usual and realise both how good life has been and yet how things have changed. I've so enjoyed the comments to this post, with their own very personal memories. I do agree with you about the amount of "stuff" now thought necessary for a new baby. Our pram was a carry-cot on a frame, which did double-duty for both babies and the rocking cradle had come down in our family from my mother. I knitted most of his clothes myself and my mother made long nightdresses for him, but he was also given a couple of new-fangled Babygros which seemed very modern. :-) The biggest difference was the terry nappies instead of disposables - a lot of work.

      A very happy birthday to your daughter when it arrives.

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  23. Beautiful. Becoming parents is an experience you never forget... and your prose hits home so much better than the modern-day cop-outs like instagram. It's funny to think that my mum was in similar conditions as you (empty house, small salary) when you gave birth, but she had a two-year-old and a two-week-old MM on her hands ;-) By the way, laughed out loud at the paint predicament - been there.

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    1. Thanks, MM. It was very satisfying to think back and describe that special time and I love the memories it has evoked in others. Not sure an Instagram photo would have done that. :-) I can imagine your mother and I could swap some very similar reminiscences of early married life in the late 1960s. Belated birthday greetings, by the way. As for the paint, it really was strident. I still shudder at the memory. :-)

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  24. Such a miraculous way to begin the Advent season, Perpetua, and a joy to behold, and hold! December of 1968 brought me away from home for the first time, in college. It had been such a turbulent year. It is nice to know of your DS's birth. Like others who have commented, it also brings back memories of our first apartment, a few years later. No money for furniture, we had what others passed down, and our first couch, which Tom made. It served us well. Now, see, Perpetua. You lovely post has me rambling. Thank you for sharing your son's birth.

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    1. Back then I'm not sure I even realised it WAS Advent Sunday, Penny, but every year since then the beginning of Advent has been very special. You started college just after I graduated and it was indeed a year of near-revolution in a number of countries. Back then most of us had much lower expectations where material things were concerned and I don't think DH and I thought it alt all odd to furnish our house with other people's cast-offs, some of which lasted us for many years. I enjoyed your rambling, Penny. :-)

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  25. What a lovely post - so heartwarming and a fantastic snippet of social history (not that you are old enough to be part of history, but i'm sure you now what I mean).

    1968 was the year I started primary school (sorry!) and heard the Christmas story for the first time - a story which from the first hearing began to shape my life!

    Belated birthday greetings to you son and every blessing for Advent.

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    1. Thanks, Catriona, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I rather like the idea of being a snippet of social history, as I'm a great fan of social history rather than the big political events we had to study at school. In any case we're all part of social history for the next generation - just talk to young people about your youth without smartphones and Facebook. :-)

      I love the thought of the school's telling of the Christmas story being so significant in your life. It's what made me take such care when I did school assembles - sowing the seed. A blessed Advent to you too.

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  26. What a lovely post, Perpetua! Such a profound experience -- and now the joy of the circle of life continuing as DS raises a son. I'm so glad that you shared this wondrous experience with us. It is NEVER a cliche!

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    1. Thanks, Kathy, I'm glad you enjoyed it. The circle of life is something that brings me the most profound satisfaction. Watching our two bring up their own children in turn is endlessly interesting and fulfilling and a lot of fun too. :-)

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    1. Hello Caitlinsgrandma and welcome to my blog. I'm glad you enjoyed my trip down memory lane.

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  28. Ah, that’s so sweet.
    Those were the days, eh Perpetua?
    When our grown-up children were helpless babies and utterly dependent on us; it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
    But just look at them now; even they are growing old.

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    1. They were indeed, Friko! It's hard sometimes to mesh the sight of the competent and independent adults our two now are with the memory of the tiny babies they once were.

      But tempus fugit. My dear mother-in-law, at almost, 90 simply can't believe that two of her sons are now OAPs. :-)

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  29. A slightly belated happy birthday to your eldest. I feel ancient and my boy just hit 30. I married while at university and Tom was born when I should have been sitting my finals, In some ways it feels like five minutes ago, and in other two lifetimes. Funny thing, parenthood, but oh so wonderful :)

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    1. I'm sure he won't mind. :-) Gosh, you were even younger than I was and are still a slip of a girl comparatively speaking! I know just what you mean about the duality of time where parenthood is concerned. Sometimes then and now almost merge and at others they are aeons apart.

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  30. Dear Perpetua, quite often, when I am reading blogs, I discover a posting that brings such a feeling of contentment to my heart and my ever-questing mind that I simply must take my hands off the keyboard and rest in peace. And that's what your posting did for me today. I recall that wonderfully joyful song from "The Lion King." I think it's called "the circle of life." So much mystery to life and part of that is the arc of being that stretches from your son through you and your husband and back, back, back into the dim recesses of time where some man and woman dreamed their dreams of a life together. Thank you. Peace.

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    1. Dee, I'm glad you enjoyed my post so much. This is a lovely poetic reflection on it, which I shall come back to again. I love the song you refer to and, yes, it does fit well with what i was remembering as I wrote. I too find a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction in many of the blog posts I read. We do offer each other some wonderful gifts at times.

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  31. What a lovely post and such sweet photos. I did take photos of our first little girl, but a burglar took most of my pictures/slides – I guess he thought those two boxes had some valuable items – they were valuable for us. We went to France in May 1968 and traveled with my mother and never realized what was happening at the time. I look at my oldest grandchild, who was just 7 last week, and wonder what life will be for him when he is an adult – I am not too optimistic really, at least with life in the US which is so difficult. I can imagine that radiant pink room you painted – but you know they say the color pink makes people peaceful – they paint some prison cells pink….

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    1. Thanks, Vagabonde. I'm so sorry you were deprived of those very special photos by someone's stupid greed. I worry today about the fact that so many people keep their photos on their computers or phones (without backup) and would lose them completely if anything went wrong. The student riots were headline news in the UK, though I had little time to read about them, being busy revising for my final exams.

      I too wonder what kind of world our three grandsons will live in after we're gone, but keep hoping that human ingenuity will solve the worst problems that face them. As for the pink room, a pale pink might have been peaceful, but not pink of that intensity. :-)

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  32. Oh pink paint [shudder!] I had one terrible experience too, the one and only time I ventured into colour and like you things were too financially tight to change it.
    Since then I've always stuck to white [teenage years spent in Denmark will tell :-)]
    In '68 I was in elementary school and played in the school orchestra, so my memories are of Christmas concerts. :-)

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    1. I know, I know! Coral pink is my favourite shade of pink, but only for sweaters, not walls. Four years of a screaming pink kitchen made sure of that. . :-) We too tend to stick to soft white for most walls when we redecorate, especially as the ceilings are so low and most of the windows quite small in our old Welsh house.

      Ah, Christmas concerts - that's quite another post..... :-)

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  33. Lovely post P. I can so relate to much of what you experienced then. At our hospital men were forbidden to be at their wife's side. In fact John was able to pop in halfway through labour as it was the official visiting time. When the bell went he was told in no uncertain terms to leave. Emma was born 20 minutes later while he was sitting in the car park worrying about me (they'd told him I'd be hours yet). No one phoned him and when he arrived at the next visiting at 7.30 was flabbergasted to find he'd become a dad! Those were the days eh. Happy birthday to DS. P x

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    1. Thanks, Patricia. Yes, we are of the same generation and today's new parents just wouldn't believe what having a baby was like back then. On the ward Sister's rule was law and life in hospital was much more regimented than it seems to be nowadays (says she who had a quick refresher course a week ago!)

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  34. Dear Perpetua,
    What a heartwarming post.
    It truly is amazing how the time flies by so quickly..
    So interesting to read about the beginning of your life together.
    I remember wanting to paint my dining room years ago, a sherwood green.. looking back.. heaven only knows what i was thinking.. i thought it was delightful.
    We all go through rough and good times. Its always good to think of the good times.
    Such great photos of you both with your son.
    Happy 1st December Perpetua.. thank you for your blogging friendship.
    val xx

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    1. Thanks, Val. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much. I certainly enjoyed writing it and then reading it again this year.
      Oh, those early days of trying to create a home on a shoe-string budget and the mistakes we made. After that bright pink kitchen, I've always been VERY careful with colour!

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  35. Thank you for directing me to these two posts. I shall try to do better in a week's time when #2 son will be 37!

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    1. I'm glad you asked and enjoyed them, Christine. I sent the link to DS who doesn't follow my blog and he was very happy about it, if a bit bemused at all the replies and good wishes. :-)

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I welcome your comments and will always try to respond to them. Thank you for reading.