Friday, 25 February 2011

Childless? I don't think so.....

In the film, Goodbye Mr Chips, as he lies in his bed dying, the group gathered around him tell each other how sad it was he had never had any children. Mr Chipping, as a school master for 60 years, replies: "I did, hundreds of them!"  And so it is for me.  I have never had children but that doesn't mean they haven't been a huge part of my life.  Two beautiful nieces, nine godchildren for starters!


Now, in my rural idyll I have lots of children!! The smaller ones walk past my cottage on their way to and from the village school.  Sometimes on their way home their little bladders get the best of them and there is an anxious cross-legged knock at the door asking to use my loo!!  Some come in and we have creative afternoons.  I have a big box of all things glittery, gluey, papers, feathers, paints, pipe cleaners, etc etc. My kitchen door is covered in their wonderful works of art. 


All of them love little Crumble and if we meet them in the village they love to play and run with her. Some of them come up the track on their bikes and go blackberry picking with me. Only half the picked blackberries ever make it home as they stuff them into their little faces, returning home to their mothers with blackberry-stained faces and hands!


I have tutored several of them to pass the 11+ from their state primary schools to get into one of the many excellent private schools around here.  All passed and one got a scholarship. My pride in them knew no bounds.


The littles then grow in to teenagers.  Many is the front door that is slammed in the face of their mothers with the words "I'm going to see Lucy"!! I'm impartial and have no rules in this house and so they pour out their teenage angst and - hopefully - return to their homes having now seen both sides of the argument they had walked out on!  I am on best friend terms with all their Mummys so if there is a big problem I always tell them - but otherwise security is assured!  I become a part of their lives without the responsibility.  They come and talk about their schools, friends, first loves, broken hearts (quite often this cottage is sponsored by Kleenex!)  and then almost - it seems - in an instant, the teenagers leave to go to Uni or travelling the world and their dramas go with them into the grown up world out there.  


And so it is that today one of "my" door-slamming teenagers departs for Kenya for 4 months as part of her *gap ya*!! I shall miss the knock on the door, her bright beautiful face full of drama waiting to tell me all her latest news. I shall miss the times we spend on the computer on You Tube checking out our favourite songs (This week, Adele).  I shall miss her taking Crumble out with her dog on LONG walks (longer than I am capable of!).  


I haven't given birth to any of them....but they are all my children!

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