Yuletide is upon us like a great chocolate log waiting to be devoured. It is also the season to reflect: what has been jolly, what has been a load of old wally? My year has been a mixed bag of sweeties, with far more liquorice in it than I can safely spit out here. The worst bit: My teenaged son going to live with his father, who, to put it kindly, is an evil monster. The best bit: A new son is on the way. Not that the old one can or ever will be replaced. Exhausted, I have simply given up the battle. And a new baby brings joy! Husband and I laugh a lot, as do the in house kiddies, so why not have one more to adore seeing as we are able to love and support it in every way?
So what is it like to be up the duff at 43? Almost 44 now. Well, husband and I are chuffed, as for everyone else, it's that mixed bag again, because, dear readers (yes, I know you are out there, I've seen the hits, please identify yourselves by commenting on my posts!) our culture is not only sexist, it is ageist too. I will let you into a secret though. Not everyone who is 44 is actually 44. Health, fitness and mental attitude have a lot to do with it. And for anyone out there who believes in God and is not, in this fervently religious atheist society afraid to admit it - as I am able to have children as easily as I do (without help, apart from my husband's) perhaps God is not as ageist, sexist and so on as vast tracts of society.
You'd think I was standing naked before them brandishing an Uzi given the reaction of some folk. Some are silent. Others turn a whiter shade of pale and then come on all Moody Blues with their tales of woe betide. One woman on the bus warned me to put a stop to it. "Think of the possible chromosomal problems," she said. "Well you have managed despite your mental problems," I almost said. One male relation said this:
"You can't keep having children." (Same reaction as last time).
Me: "I intend to buy a plot of land, build a giant shoe and keep having children until I am sixty." (Joke)
People registered similar shock when I married my good-brained, young in years (32 and a half) yet old in wisdom, husband. He is adept at ignoring a person's bad traits and fishing about for the good bits to focus on and does not care a jot what people say, but me, though I usually smile sweetly in the face of negative comments, do occasionally like to haul people out of the dark ages and beckon them into the age of enlightenment. "Cradle snatcher," has been an oft-quoted cliché that has been offered to me. Often from people married to grave snatchers - I have been known to point this out.
Well-intentioned types thoroughly enjoy telling me about all the horrors I am going to encounter with my children given my great age. They like to point out how old I will be when the little three will be at 18 or 21. They do not go above 21, assuming, I suppose they think, that I will be dead. As for me, I am delighted at my second, third and fourth chance at happiness. This second time around has been bliss compared to how tough it was being a single mother for a decade and more, while studying for my degrees, running businesses and writing a book with no financial support or actual parenting input from my son's erratic father and no family around to help. And my ‘other’ and me are still laughing.