When i went into labour, the girls spent the day with Auntie Sue. As it goes, it was actually a fairly hilarious morning really, i so wish it had ended in a way that made the fun of it seem appropriate. Perhaps that will come.
They spent the weekend being cared for by my parents and then most of the next week too, with various lifts, extras (such as my sister) and support from coaches and dancing teachers and the parents of friends. During that pretty awful time, i was incredibly grateful for the support of all those people who love my girls and us – and immensely proud of us, our parenting style and the children it has produced that they not only coped but were loved by so many people that the help was offered and given so freely. By the end of the week and right up until we came home without Freddie, they had Claire and Charlie, offers in waiting from more friends and my parents again. I was awed, really. And that is before i even mention our fabulous staff, who kept the business running so that we had nothing extra to worry about. Or the people on Facebook who kept messaging. Or the friends i speak with more privately, who kept me afloat by text and forum. I’ve never felt so blessed really. When i think back to the relative isolation of the (in retrospect easy but it wasn’t at the time) stay in hospital we had with Fran, the difference of a huge network of friends to pour love at us made a huge difference.
During the first week Freddie was alive, the big 3 girls went to a musical theatre week at their dancing school, where they were cocooned in entertainment, friends and watchful adults. They had a wonderful time doing The Jungle Book – Fran was a main dancer, Akeela the head wolf and an elephant, Amelie was a narrator, danced and was part of the snake and Maddy was a completely awesome Kaa the Snake – she got more laughs than anyone else. She is very good. She also danced the monkey dance which i was busy watching Fran in, not noticing at all that the other big girl dancing really well in a monkey mask was Maddy – i can’t believe she gave up, she is good!!! Watching them was a little island of peace and joy in a really awful week – and reminded me that if things went as by then we expected, we had a great deal to come home to.
On Saturday the big three also went to a gym grading day – Josie bowed out but she was tired and emotional from a long week, though she had had some lovely times, including 2 play days with Rowan and Ella. Maddy was very unsure about doing a badge but i wanted her to finish with something to be proud of (she has given up gym now) and she got her Novice Bronze. Amelie managed 10 Star just fine, screwed up something on an easier Intermediate Bronze but got Novice Gold. Fran wowed herself with Intermediate Gold and Silver, including a couple of new moves she had to learn, Jump to Japana (?) on beam and a Candlestick on Beam. She’s very happy this week because she’s been put into a group in Squad of girls who i guess look like they’d enjoy being pushed and she’s now got an extra 2 hours training a week. The way it falls, she has to give up KYT for now, but it also means she can do an extra rec class coaching session on a Saturday to fill in some time. I think that will suit her well.
Amelie is perhaps not quite so impressed
I’m so proud of them. I’ve had so many compliments about them, from our doctor who came round and said he knew if any family could come through this, we would, to Freddie’s doctor who chatted to them for a few minutes and said to us “They are sensible kids, they’ll be fine.” All the dancing teachers, coaches and everyone who really care and are proud of them. I’m watching them all doing grief and pain in their own ways and i’m just stunned at their emotional wholeness, their ability to work through it. It is just an honour to be their parents. As it was an honour to be Freddie’s parents, in his own sturdy little battle. Not nearly long enough but oh …Â he was beautiful.
Tonight we went out for a walk. As my dad said “the sun always rises” but equally “the house always needs tidying” – and i needed to escape. We had a lovely time.
And because i won’t ever be able to do it again, here is one of the lovely pictures i have of Freddie in the time he was awake and looking at us, taken in the same week as beautiful, happy pictures of my girls.
We have been so cheated. And it just isn’t fair.