Sunday, 12 December 2010
A Pregnant Pause
What with the recession, health problems and an ever increasing workload at the office, there hasn't been much in the way of good news for The Ranter recently. Although Hearts did hammer Aberdeen 5-0 yesterday to lift the gloom considerably. So I was delighted to read that one of Scotland's top bloggers, Groanin' Jock will become a father for the first time in 2011. My very best wishes go to him and the famous 'Mrs Wife' (Jock's blog is an excellent read) for the weeks ahead. It will, of course, be a life changing event for them both and his news set me thinking back to the early summer of 1986 when my elder daughter Laura was born. If you like, a pregnant pause to reflect (okay, give me a break!)
Being a new Dad felt brilliant. Apart from when I had to change dirty nappies. And getting up several times during the night because Laura felt the urge to be fed. And when she would throw up all over me on all too frequent occasions. But, apart from that,…I loved Laura with all my heart (whisper it, but I still do…) When I took her out in her pram, I felt twelve feet tall. I wore that smug look which shouted LOOK AT ME, I’M A DAD, and THIS IS MY BABY…as if no one else were parents. I had a week off work when Laura was born and my wife Pat and our newborn were kept in hospital for four days. Laura had jaundice and my initial horror at this revelation was tempered somewhat when a nurse reassured me this was quite normal in newborn babies. I was in dreamland in the immediate days following the birth before reality kicked in and Pat brought Laura home. Fragile, frightened, screaming….it is fair to say Pat was taking time to adjust to being a mother. But baby Laura was grand. After only six weeks, she was sleeping for most of the night, which came as a huge relief to Pat and me, and, no doubt, to the neighbours.
In the days that followed it seemed half of Aberdeen, where we lived at the time, visited our house to see Laura. Many of Pat’s family appeared have devised a rota system - if it wasn’t her mother it was one of her sisters or brother or some other damn in-law. My family consisted of my mother and she was a regular visitor to see her first grandchild. Pat’s mother had several others but, being an only child, I was the sole provider of grandchildren to my mother. It was such a big event that my father even made the trip north from Cumbernauld. I could see the pride and joy in his eyes when he held baby Laura for the first time and, I don’t mind admitting, it brought a lump to my throat. My father and I became closer when Laura arrived and he and I kept in contact more often than we had done previously. He knew he had missed out on so much of my growing up and he seemed to realise that he didn’t want to miss out on his grand-daughter. In the years that followed, however, events would tragically transpire against him.
More than twenty four years on the events of the summer of 1986 are still very fresh in my mind. Every parent will feel the same. The world may be a troubled place but for Groanin' Jock and his good lady 2011 promises to be the most wonderful of their lives. If I may give Jock one piece of advice - Ibrox isn't the most child friendly of places - but Tynecastle is....