Monday, 23 July 2018

Rhapsody on Blue

Last week the boys were at summer camp. The manager told me one afternoon when I picked them up that every day Blue Bear warmed their hearts with his big smile and enthusiasm. They would always get into the car chattering away about their day then within minutes of getting indoors they would argue, someone would cry (usually Brown Bear, sometimes Blue Bear and on the worst occasions me) and it was a race against time to get food on the table before the apocalypse occured. I remember the first Summer holiday after Blue came to live with us. I was at home so couldn't justify sending them to camp. Instead I tried to keep them both occupied and more importantly apart. We booked our usual week in Cornwall and stayed at Coombe Mill where the boys fed the animals every morning and rode on the mini train every afternoon. It was in Cornwall that we discovered Blue Bear's love of animals, especially dogs. On subsequent visits he would bottle feed a goat and hold a carrot for a donkey to eat.

A lot of momentous events have occured when we've been in Cornwall. It was when we stayed at Coombe Mill for Christmas that we received an email from the social worker with a photo of a blue eyed little boy and a bit of information about him. I spoke to Hubbie and then showed Brown Bear and he asked, "who is that ?" I told him and asked if he wanted to be his brother. "Yes, he looks like me doesn't he ?" "He does baby." We had no idea that the next day we would receive an email saying he was no longer an option and to forget about him. I couldn't forget this little boy though. His beautiful face. That serious expression. I didn't want to forget about him.

Thankfully I didn't have to and during the Easter holidays he came to live with us. We took him on his first holiday to Cornwall the following July. He was nervous about the other children and kept close holding mine or Daddy's hand. He loved feeding the animals, but didn't want to drive the tractor. Where Brown Bear would make friends and go off to do his own thing, Blue would stay close to us and didn't want to stray too far from our sides.

This afternoon I watched as Brown Bear showed Blue Bear how to push the pedals on the electric bikes to make them go. With the payment tokens put in they both went round the track carefully and accurately. Brown waited for his brother so they could ride round together and it was so sweet. We have seen so many milestones on these annual visits and this week is no exception. I've seen a confidence and a cheekiness that is heartwarming. This afternoon the boys were in the back of the car chattering away and - for a change - not arguing. I quietly commented to Hubbie that it was lovely. We spoke too soon - of course - as within seconds Blue was screaming because Brown was prodding him.

A few days earlier we had all gone to the beach and friends had taken body boards. Brown Bear had a surfing lesson two years ago with me and loved it. This time we figured that some fun splashing around in the shallow end would suffice. When I went over to see how they were getting on Blue Bear was having great fun and trying the board. The same little boy who was scared of the water and wouldn't go into the sea the first time we came to the beach. I watched him do so many things that day and noticed how brave he has become. Some of this is because Brown Bear is fearless and competitive and Blue Bear wants to be just like his brother. In no small part, though, it's because he knows it is safe to take risks and we will be there for him. He trusts us.

The other day the boys were staying with family members while me and Hubbie had a weekend away together. I phoned Blue Bear to see how he was doing and was taken aback at how chatty he was. He explained that he'd been painting with Grandma, watered the plants and that Missy (the cat) had even hung around - she usually runs off. He had chicken dippers for tea and was going to have an ice cream for pudding. Once he'd given me the full report he announced, "I going now, bye Mummy." This is the little boy who barely spoke and now he's holding conversations with me.

We were sitting at the table yesterday eating lunch and Brown Bear had gone to get something and Daddy had gone to the car. I smoothed Blue Bear's head and kissed him softly. He smiled. I did it again. He leaned into me a bit more. I laughed and kept giving him gentle kisses on his face.
"Mummy when you kiss me I stop eating."
"Am I putting you off ?"
"Keep doing it."
We both laughed. Brown Bear came back and asked what was so funny. Blue Bear finished his chips and we walked back to the car to join Daddy.

At one point today Brown Bear came over to hug me - Blue Bear went to hug him. Hubbie picked up his phone and managed to capture the moment. When I looked at the photo I saw my gorgeous boys and the smile of love and happiness on my face. As I told a friend of mine later, this is all I ever wanted from parenthood. Children with ice cream all over their faces and huge smiles. Ok, it's not often, but just sometimes it's plenty.

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