365 Happy Days – A smile a day – Part 13

I’ve written a lot about Luke and will most probably write a lot more and I think with my recent piece, people probably have the measure of his little brother Jake.  But, I think I’ve only given a hint of Alexandra; time to write a little about her; being mindful of the fact her lovely boyfriend Gautier is reading :-). Some background first; I warn it’s more sadness to start.

Luke was born, easily, if there is such a thing,  the day after he was due;he slept through the night at 6 weeks and actually slept a lot as a baby, well and on and on really.  So, easy peasy with the first baby, little did I know then the harsh realities that can be a fact of ‘making a family’.  Falling pregnant for a 2nd chid seemed to be easy, the only problem was that I had 4 miscarriages, very early on, so physically that was no huge problem.  Emotionally?  A little hard, but I had Luke so knew I could have a baby; but I also knew that some were going through the same experience as me who were without a child.  

A 5th pregnancy saw a 17 week scan, I’d felt uneasy about things, it didn’t quite feel right.  As I lay down to have the scan the nurse turned the screen away telling me we needed to talk to the consultant.  A gentle man, he’d seen me go through the miscarriages; he then had to tell me the baby didn’t have a brain.  Now, nature you’d think should be a wonderful thing; not in this case.  That baby would have been born then died immediately; there was no decision to be made, I would go home and sort out care for Luke then return to have the pregnancy terminated.  It doesn’t matter how old you are when you get that sort of news; I just wanted my Mum.  Now what I’m about to write next may be a bit shocking; the sequence of events were a meant to be thing.  We took Luke to my parents house and I spent the weekend there.  As a 1st Grandchild Luke was adored by both my parents and I knew they’d be thrilled to spend time with him.

The hospital experience wasn’t something to remember, but the kindness of the staff really was.  A hope dashed but again, I had one child and was optimistic about more.  I can’t remember how Luke came home, but I do know he was with his Grandad on the Wednesday morning.  A phone call on the Thursday morning put the whole baby thing into perspective; my brother was calling and I just knew what was wrong.  The more time goes on the more I think we have some sort of connection to those we love.  My Dad who was diabetic had passed away in the night; he was 64, due to retire 4 months later.  We really never know what’s waiting around the corner for us in life; but I’m eternally grateful that I saw my Dad the weekend before he died and that he spent time with Luke who he adored.

One of Luke’s favourites!

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Back to Alex; my consultant took great care of me; I had endless scans, took Folic acid a key ingredient and the pregnancy went really well.  The only snag was that Alex decided she’d be a tad different; she was breach with her legs extended; so I had head and feet under my ribs.  i was given the safe option of a caesarean section and my beautiful daughter came into the world.  I wonder how others feel but  just presumed we’d get the same blond haired sleepy boy, but no, this time we were blessed with a dark haired girl.  Oh, and one who really didn’t need much sleep!  What a shock to the system – she didn’t sleep through the night until she was 6 months old.  I can’t tell you how much I loved buying lovely dresses, yes that was shopping I did enjoy!

Alex was born in May, a perfect time of year, she did sleep during the day and very often in her big pram in the garden.  Having pushed Luke to walk I knew better 2nd time round and Alex didn’t fully get on her pins until she was 14 months.  That was to be the last time she was slow on anything!  Goodness girls learn differently to boys!  Alex could just read; she didn’t seem to need to be taught how, she could just read as well as you and I very early on.  Luke was a struggle through school; Alex was a dream.  She thrived on learning and did well all the way through.

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Alex had an air of independence about her from quite a young age; she was funny as a baby.  Very much a Mummy’s girl, unless there was a man in the room, then she’d flash her baby eyes and be happy to be held!  She was nowhere near as much of a challenge as Luke was as a teenager but we did have a few dramas – and yes Alex I know this is where I need to be careful!  Call me old fashioned but it’s not good to have a 17 year old girl out of contact and who knows where until the early hours of the morning!  Alex’s little spell of being a rebel saw this happening; I can recall 2 particular episodes.  One Thursday evening she decided she was going to have way too much to drink and stay out stupidly late; I can remember driving round looking for her; spotting her weaving along the path home.  If it is possible to grab a teenager and throw them in the car that’s what I did!  Lesson learnt?  Well no – Alex went a step further on the Sunday night, disappearing all night!  Not a joyful Monday morning! I ended up contacting those ‘I’m not good friends with’ Police I was so worried.  I managed to trace Alex by about 11am that morning.  Having had enough of the drama she was on a plane to Edinburgh by 6pm, despatched to my brother’s house!

A kind of punishment, but a bigger one was to follow.  I’d bought 3 tickets to see Fallout Boy to see them with Jake and Alex; the Scotland thing meant it was Luke who came rather than Alex.  I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when the boys called their sister and held up the phone so she could hear one of her favourite bands!  As an aside it was a chance for Luke to go to a big event; another meant to be scenario?

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There is a lot more to tell about my lovely daughter; but to share were she is now?  Well the photos probably give that away.  When Luke died I think I’ve mentioned that she moved away from home – to Winchester.  In a move that I am so incredibly proud of she went further a field to Paris in January 2013.  Taking the childcare qualifications she’d gained while working in a nursery in Winchester; Alex set off become an au pair.  Now, nearly 2 years later she’s working as a nanny, living with the lovely Gautier and is a fluent French speaker.  I sometimes look at the messages she sends me and think that she must be thinking in French as well as talking in French; her messages are often not framed in the way an English person would put them.  I’m incredibly proud of the decisions she’s made in her life; we survived the rebellious blip!  oh and I’ll be going for the 5th time since she moved in November – and it’s only the 3rd time I’ve managed to watch rugby!  France v Australia this time, and Alex and Gautier are joining me at the Stade De France – I imagine Alex will hate it, but fingers crossed she has a little bit of her mother in her!


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