A few years ago, my husband and I had talked about living a ‘child-free’ life. We had numerous fertility treatments to no avail and our possibilities were reducing monthly. I had read online that rather than being ‘child-less’, we could choose to be ‘child-free’. It put a more positive spin on our personal situation. We focused on the positives of being ‘child-free’ – more money, more holidays – possibly a holiday home. As we started to think positively after years of negative – I became pregnant with my son -Charlie. He was just one when I became pregnant with Aoife. We had achieved the unexpected!
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think of having a posh lunch with my daughter? But you know what – yesterday I had my first girly lunch with my daughter. We lunched at Milano’s in Grand Canal Dock in Dublin. We were on our way to see Peter Pan at the Grand Canal Theatre (@GCTheatreDublin). We got the train into Dublin and I sat and watched my wee girl gaze out the train window as her legs drummed in excitement.
Her friend Tara was 6 and she had decided to invite her friends to see Peter Pan instead of the ubiquitous bouncy castle. What a pleasant grand canal day! We hopped off the commuter train; we ran and we skipped to the DART (local Dublin light train). As she choose a seat nearest the window – a night some 12 years came into my mind. My husband and me, coming home on the DART singing blissfully unaware of listening passengers around us. We sang a song from Les Miserable – fuelled by a few too many red wine. As we got off the train that night long ago we were applauded by our fellow travellers.
Yesterday I sat listening to my dear daughter chat about what she could see out the window – I kissed her head and thought I never, ever thought I would sit with ‘my daughter’ on the DART – never mind have our first girly lunch.
We sat in Milano’s and did a word search together, she tucked her napkin into her new outfit, drank from her water-glass and smiled up at me – I thought, it doesn’t get any better than this!
We laughed, chatted, ate pizza, and coloured in. We walked across to Grand Canal Theatre and into the Upper Circle; we sat expectantly for Peter Pan to begin.
It was an amazing view, an amazing theatre and an amazing show. Aoife gasped when Peter Pan flew into the audience, her awe at the dolphin scene and her joy at the Tinkerbell hologram.
It was our first day for just us. I have often told her that we will go on holidays together, when we are older, go to the cinema, and do things just for girls. Those all seemed so far away until yesterday when we started the first in a long line of time spent together – just the two of us.
It was a long way from disappointing one way conversations with the Fertility consultant 9 years ago, where I cried into my tissue grieving over what I thought I had lost. But they’re here, one is upstairs asleep with her special pillow, the other reading a Simpsons magazine as he dozes off to sleep.
My daughter day – is undoubtedly one of the huge benefits of redundancy – I would have sent her off with Tara’s mum if I had been working. What I would have missed! What a treasured memory yesterday was – for both Aoife and myself.