My friend told me a story once about a lovely day trip she had with her mum.
She was young, and they had some precious time to visit the city and to see a show together. In later years she lost her mum, and though she assures me that her childhood was more special than ever imaginable, there is one thing I know that she wishes she could have.
I know she wishes that she could remember all of the small things about that trip, what they ate, where they stayed, all the tiny details. All the details that do not matter to anyone else but you, and yet some memories do stay. Somewhere deep inside you memories and feelings stay locked away because they matter a great deal. I suppose that is how our friendship began really. As I panicked that I was going to disappear from my children’s memory she helped to show me that actually my children would be just fine, if that day should ever come. I know this not because of what she has told me, but because of who she is and what she has achieved – it made me realise that my Isla and Noah would not just crumble, they would become determined to make me proud one day.
More recently I almost asked her (as if she needed anymore questions) what she thought I should do about continuing to take my medication (Tamoxifen)? I stopped short though because I knew what the answer would be. I knew that if her mum had been given the treatment available to us nowadays for breast cancer that she would have gratefully taken it. And so that is what I have duly done. It is my choice as a mother.
As the days go by I have often pondered how I will keep the memories alive for my children, that is after all the reason that I write. It is starting to feel like this is the next Chapter.
And yet deep down I know that one day my boy will forget the moment that he looked over to me with tears in his eyes when he had been injured in a football match. A look only he and I shared for the briefest of moments when only I knew that he was really hurt. Followed swiftly by look of indignation that he would continue to run through it, despite my best motherly efforts to dissuade him.
Or the memory of sharing ice creams on Filey beach that the girl holds dear, hers was the delicious lemon ice cream she still assures me. Or the day she nearly won her cross country race wearing a school hoody too big for her and as she ran my heart soared with pride.
So much to the annoyance of my ever patient husband, I recently applied for us to appear on a children’s television show called Our Family. It is the girl’s favourite. She knows every single child on the show. Of course straight after I had put us forward, I instantly regretted being so bold, because we were then shortlisted to the final few.
There is a method to my madness though…
You see they are going to film us as a family, with good quality cameras not like the one I have on my phone that only captures the odd funny five minute episode at home. They will film our querky little habits, our favourite foods, our messy house, our day trips on a steam train and even our favourite beach that the children love oh so much. They will film all of this and capture it for the children to watch forevermore, and that in itself is priceless.
Now I have to be honest here and say that the filming has often knocked the stuffing out of me. We have regularly become accustomed to packing several fun things into a weekend, where we would normally just managed the one. It has taken me a few days to recover each time & all the while I have been hoping that the final footage of us will show us as we really are. The children I have noticed, are becoming more and more attached to the film crew because each one of them is so lovely. Last time they left at the end of the weekend Noah declared he didn’t want them to go – and neither did we really. During the break sessions we all happily put the kettle on and chat and joke as if we have known each other for years.
There are a few more weekends to go, and one special one in particular will be filmed on our favourite beach. The weather most probably will be windy and hopefully sunny enough for us to collect shells and walk along the shore as we always do. And that is just our little family, it is just what we do, all the normal things, nothing special to anyone but us.
It is tiring (according to my husband I am always tired nowadays) but it has been great fun at the same time. The next chapter of our lives begins, and as I scramble around trying to record the memories – I also marvel at what wonderful little people my children are becoming. In amongst the daily hustle and bustle I often stop and make a wish that I will see this through, and I truly hope that I do.
The new episode of Our Family begins on Monday 27th March – we only feature on the titles *waving* for the first ten episodes, I think our episodes begin in May. I hope it shows our family in its true light, and I almost wish they could show the outtakes as there has been some very funny moments (my own particular highlight was my husband making train sandwiches with the kids). It has been truly wonderful experience for us all, one which Noah & Isla will never forget.
I am hoping, just hoping that one day as memories fade this little piece of ‘us’ will remind them of all the smiles & laughter, if only for a moment.
To Gaz – thank you for filming for me, I promise no cameras will come to Italy on our next holiday