One evening last week Ben came downstairs to where we were sitting.
“You’ve put a photo of me up in your room.”
I didn’t have a clue about any photo of him in our room.
“I put it up,” Mike said, “because you were the only one who didn’t have their photo up.”
“It’s the one when I was at nursery. The one that used to hang on the wall over there.”
And then not only did I know the picture they were talking about but I remembered clearly the day it was taken.
That morning I’d taken Ben to nursery as I did every day. Halfway through I suddenly had a feeling that something was wrong. Something had happened, I just knew it. I can’t explain the feeling, but had a knot so tight in the pit of my stomach I could feel it. I could really, physically feel it.
Minutes later the phone rang. It was the nursery telling me that a child had thrown sand in Ben’s eyes. He was ok now and over the worst, they told me, but his eyes were sore and he was upset. No, they didn’t need me to come in but wanted to let me know.
So my “feeling” was right. Something had happened. It wasn’t a terrible tragedy or anything life threatening thankfully, but it was still something that had happened to my little boy. Something that upset him, and made him cry and something that I wasn’t there to protect him from.
I told Ben the story last night.
“You remember it?!” he asked in amazement, “Why do you remember that?”
“I think it’s because it’s the first time something like that had happened.”
I wasn’t referring to the sand incident.
It was the first time that I’d experienced a warning, an instinctive feeling regarding one of my children. It surprised me and shocked me. There was no explanation I could find for it.
Ben is my first child.
My first pregnancy where I was so, so sick that I even threw up in a carrier bag at the checkout in the supermarket.
My first labour where I experienced REAL pain. Man oh man, real, tough, screaming-my-guts-out pain! Nobody told me it’d hurt this much!
The first time a precious baby was placed in my arms and I was hit with this overwhelming, powerful, “I-would-die-a-million-times-over-for-you” feeling that I’d never, ever experienced before.
The first time I felt a true, mad, deep love like nothing I’d ever known.
And the first time I became a mother.
So what happened that day when I was at home and Ben was in the nursery that made it so memorable 13 years later?
I don’t know.
But I’ll bet I’m not the only mother it’s happened to.