Back in 2005 I was young (30-something!) free and single. I had previously been married (for 7 months!) and divorced but never had I felt any kind of biological ticking (fortunately!). I was on the lookout for my next
victim love but, when you get to such a ripe old age you become quite picky. At the age of 22 you may have been quite happy to date a smoker/workaholic/football fanatic/[add personal bugbear here] but you learn from your mistakes and a subtle “vetting” process inserts itself into your dealings with the opposite sex (maybe I should have just gone all out and created a tickbox survey and spreadsheet…) So when I met the hubster I was resistant to his charms for some time.
To this day he will happily tell all and sundry that I refused to date him for months because, in my words, he was too short, too young (four years my junior) and had a daughter from a previous relationship. Let me explain my thought process – firstly Tom Cruise/Nicole Kidman/Katie Holmes Syndrome – I just didn’t want to end up standing in a hole next to a man in platforms on my wedding day, alright? Secondly, what could be worse than spending the rest of your life with someone who’s going to constantly remind you how old you are? Thirdly, a child from a previous relationship? In my mind this spoke of acrimonious and ongoing dealings with your partner’s ex and a never-ending competition of popularity for your partner’s focus and attention (which you can never really win) selfish as that may sound.
To cut a long story short I gave in to the pressure – he turned out to be someone I felt completely at ease with – we made each other laugh and, after some unpleasant dating experiences previously, I knew that I had found someone who was serious about liking me for me and who wanted to make a commitment for the future.
Then I met his daughter just as she was turning two. And I fell in love with this adorable little girl. And that was completely unexpected. I was there to witness her potty training, developing language and flourishing little personality. One time she actually turned to me (at the Tescos checkout as I recall) and told me that I was her best friend. I was there for bathtimes and pajamas, Christmas celebrations and birthdays.
And then I felt a strange sensation from deep within, tick tock, tick tock. It was more than just the biological clock though, it was all bound up with the frustrations of knowing that, despite our bond, at the end of the day I was no-one to this little girl who would fiercely defend her mother to the ends of the earth (and yes, the acrimonious relationship with the ex did hold full sway in our lives for many years and is only now subsiding as she has recently given birth to a second child with another partner ten years down the line). When my step-daughter turned 5 I gave birth to JJ (exactly two years after our first attempts to conceive), followed, two years and 10 months later by EJ.
Unfortunately our relationship with my step-daughter has fallen away quite considerably as she has got older and I’m sorry to say that I don’t feel that same bond that I once did. But I am so thankful that I was able to have children of my own – I always knew that I wanted to be a mother one day but it took an awful long time for that urge to kick in and it still surprises me how fierce it was and how unexpected a sensation.
This post was inspired by this week’s Prompt conceived by Sara over at Mum Turned Mom. I have also recently discovered another new linky called Share with Me over at Let’s Talk Mommy so I’m giving that a go too!