I’m His Mum. That’s a Pretty Big Deal.

I love Tatler. Behind its tongue in cheek pomposity is a modern attitude. It can speak wisdom. This month, Tatler has been profound.

In an interview, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein said that the love she felt on becoming a mum showed her how much her mum had loved her. She’d never known the depth of her mum’s love because her mum died when she was two. She said she’s still processing that someone could love her that much.

My dad died when I was 14. His death became the dividing line between my two lives: Dad and After Dad. Few would query me saying it’s been the biggest influence on my life. I have never stopped missing him the person or him the father figure.

Until Princess Haya pointed it out, I hadn’t realised that I’m as important to Runner Bean as my dad is to me. I have a position in his life that is not earned but granted by nature. Whether I live to 100 or die before he can remember me, my role as his birth mother cannot be taken by anyone else. The same is true of his dad. What we choose to do will always affect him. Even, especially, if we chose not to be present. There is always the question, ‘and what about your parents?’

It’s an overwhelming privilege and one I don’t want to fuck up. I don’t want to leave him and leave the void I gained on my dad’s death. No matter how well adjusted you learn to become, your parent is still missing and you still miss them.

That makes my lip quiver as I type. But it quivers harder when I acknowledge I can’t make the promise never to leave him or give him that void. That’s a promise no-one can keep. My dad went to sleep one night and didn’t wake up. His post-mortem couldn’t discover why. One day he was making my packed lunches and I was stealing his razors, the next he was gone. 

I can cross roads more cautiously, drink less, exercise more. I can pay more attention to dodgy looking people down dark alleyways but I can’t become invincible. I just have to hope I’m around long enough for him to remember my love and learn that my love will last longer than my body ever could.

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