I've got a short story in the next Woman's Weekly Fiction Special (due out on 5 February) - and flicking through my copy, I'm delighted to see that my 'blog friend' Teresa Ashby has got no less than THREE stories in the same issue - fantastic achievement, Teresa, not that it's anything too unusual for you!! - and Geraldine Ryan from Strictly Writing, and Lydia Jones - all bloggers whose blogs I enjoy reading - have got stories in there too. Exciting to be in such good company, and if I've missed anyone else who's in there, give me a shout!
Well, I'll tell you something about this story. The title is 'The Worst that can Happen' and it's a humorous story about a girl who always fears the worst. The idea came from something I always used to say to my daughters when they were children, and were worried about something: 'What's the worst that can happen?'. It was meant to make them realise that even if they'd lost their homework or got into trouble at school, they weren't likely to be expelled or thrown into prison for it! But they'd often reply dramatically: 'The teacher will kill me!' Fortunately of course it was never as bad as that!
Facing up to the worst possible scenario can make us feel braver sometimes ... but it can also have the reverse effect. As a parent, it presents us with horrible possibilities that have to be put out of our minds, otherwise we'd never manage the job. We'd be forever wrapping our kids in cotton wool, scared to let them out of our sight, afraid every childhood fall means a fractured skull and every sniffle is the plague. These fears are part of being a parent, of course, but we can't let ourselves focus too much on them.
And just as you get to the point where your kids are all grown up and you think: hooray, they're adult, they're settled down, married or whatever, they're safe - I can relax ... (not that you ever, entirely, stop worrying about your children - as every mum knows!) ... along come the grandkids, and all the old anxieties return! Is he OK, is he too hot, too cold, sleeping too much or not enough, is he crying because he's hungry or has a pain, or just because he feels miserable? I'm re-living all this now along with my daughter ... but, of course, the pleasure and joy of seeing little Noah growing up far outweigh any of the natural concerns of parenthood/ grandparenthood! I wouldn't change it for the world!
Here's Noah with me at Christmas, and a couple of pics from recent weeks.
Believe it or not he'll be 5 months old next week - where has that time gone? He smiles, laughs, rolls over and is almost sitting up on his own. He loves his bath and has already been taken swimming ... and best of all he loves bouncing on his feet in his new Christmas-present bouncer - so much so, that he now wants to bounce on our legs whenever we hold him on our laps: his poor mum has bruises! He's absolutely gorgeous and a credit to his lovely mum and dad - not that I'm at all biased, obviously!
Having brought up three gorgeous daughters, we never had any regrets about not having a son ... but now we've not only acquired the three nicest sons-in-law we could have asked for, but also a (literally!) bouncing baby boy. And that's why, despite the title of my story, I've called this post 'The Best that can Happen'!