Monday, 6 July 2020

I should have been....

At the start of the year I wrote a list, not of New Year's resolutions, but of the 60 things I'd like to do in 2020 - the year I became 60. Though I knew at the time I might not achieve them all, I didn't quite envisage the struggle I'd have to make even the first ten.

On 23rd March, with the Corona Virus spreading, the Prime Minister announced that the country would go into lockdown. The next day, my 60th birthday, I stayed at home. 

I didn't run the London Marathon, I didn't go to see Paul Heaton at the Palladium or on a wine-tasting tour of the local vineyard. In May I should have been in Wales with Philip, in June I should have been watching my son running across the Yorkshire Three Peaks. Though technology helped me to see my children and grandchildren on their birthdays we all missed out on hugs and birthday teas. 

And so it went on.

In April, my eldest daughter Claire had her fortieth birthday, and last week, in what might well have been the highlight of my year, we should have gone together to watch the tennis at Wimbledon. 

Instead, I've been watching old matches on the BBC. I've revisited the mighty battles between Federer and Nadal, seen Murray finally beat Djokovic. I've laughed at how hairstyles and tennis kits have changed, and cringed at the old commentaries that insisted on using women's married titles, yet referred to them as girls. I've witnessed the introduction of tie-breaks and yellow tennis balls, and listened to the change in volume as the crowd moved from polite applause to raucous cheering. Seeing these matches has brought back memories of a whole lifetime, of rushing home from school, then work, for two weeks every summer, to sit in front of the TV to watch Wimbledon.

Today, the featured match was the men's final of 1980, Bjorn Borg against John McEnroe, one of the greatest finals ever played. Watching it though, I found I couldn't remember it at all; not the amazing shots, or the rallies that turned the match first one way and then another. I couldn't recall the fourth set tie-break, or the final outcome.

Forty years ago, as that final played itself out on the grass courts at Wimbledon, I was twenty and my beautiful Claire was just six weeks old. As the match wound its way through all five sets, I would have been holding her, or feeding her, or willing her to sleep. As Borg and McEnroe showed off their skills as tennis players, I was only beginning to learn what it meant to be a mother. 

Today, I can hardly believe how quickly forty years have passed. While the world has been changing, I've seen Claire grow from a funny, chatty, clever little girl to a strong and caring woman. If things had been different, we might  have been sitting together at Wimbledon last week, but I don't need to feel sad about that. It turns out that what I should have been, is exactly what I am, her very proud Mum.


Elephant's Child said...

How lovely to see love and pride which triumphs over lockdown.

savannah said...

You've entered 60 and I am now 70! This has been and it seems will continue to be a most interesting year for all of us! Happy Birthday to you both and hee's to as many celebrations as possible when this is behind us. xo