You're not really a parent because you don't have the life experience, you're not a sibling because that age gap is a bit too wide and you're not a mate because you're his mum. You're neither fish, flesh, fowl nor good red-herring - you're something in between.
So hence this hideous dilemma, which I don't think I handled at all well because I didn't have the life experience. It is the Mother of all Nightmares - well certainly my biggest fear that become a reality.
At the end of June last year, my son (22) brought home this huge strapping girl of 19, who was really eager to meet us all. I really couldn't be bothered to meet yet another girlfriend especially as they had only been going out for 2 weeks. You know what relationships are like at that age, a new person every month. Anyway, this girl (I shall call her Rhino) was quite insistent that she wanted to meet me, (Lord knows why), so she showed up - all ten tonnes of her, make-up slapped on, hair styled etc. Obviously made an effort. Liam's girlfriends never know how to take me because of the age gap as explained earlier, so she was peering at me with great interest as they usually do. I wasn't really impressed with her, we had nothing in common and she irritated me. She was bossy, over confident to the point of brazen and appeared to be lacking a brain of some kind.
The next week she wanted to meet my mum, so Rhino and Liam drove all the way to Somewhere in Kent and met her. (I was quite cross with both of them about this, for badgering my old mum, what's the bloody rush?). Alarm bells have already started ringing in my head. Then Liam rang a few days later and said Rhino wanted to meet my sister. Yeah? Well Jaye lives in the Netherlands so unless she wants to go there, there is no chance. End of that.
A few days later another phone call saying that Rhino wants to meet my Dad. (What the frig is up with this bird?!) I told firmly Liam 'No way!'. (I am very protective of my Dad, because he needs 24 hour care and he probably wouldn't know who they were anyway). Over the next few days, via phone calls through Liam, she kept insisting. I finally lost my temper and told Liam that if she went anywhere near my Dad I would slap a restraining order on her. The badgering stopped.
A week later another phone call. This time Rhino has offered to take my kids out. Err, no. I don't even know you. Do you know how to deal with an Autistic child? Do you know what Autism is? Do you know what a child is?
What is with this bird, is she some kind of stalker? Sod. off. Grrrr!
A couple of weeks later I had this misfortune to meet her again. She slouched into my house, this time with no make-up, hair a mess and dirty clothes. She looked slovenly. I didn't think it was possible for a 19 year old to look so unattractive.
Now, I usually greet Liam's new girlfriends with a warm welcome including my line, 'If you get yourself pregnant, I'll have your guts for garters!'. It generally wipes that 'Are you really his mum?' look straight off their face. Most of the time I never see them again and that suits me fine, but if they visit again they know where I'm coming from and the air is clear.
So, I give her the line. She gives me a quizzical look. I said 'I'm not joking, he is not ruining his life and neither are you'. Now we know where we stand. But alarm bells are tolling in my head like Tinnitus.
This was a the end of July. Had not seen hide nor hair of Rhino (Mmm, something was brewing) and it was a pleasant August until the beginning of September.
One evening, I legged it down to my college to enrol for my last year of study. Oddly enough I had left my phone at home. Enrolled in college, bused it home. Everything fine. After dinner my Hubby ushers me into our bedroom, where my phone is pipping like mad. Eight missed calls from Liam and Hubby.
Me: What's going on?
Hubby: Sit down.
Me (getting alarmed): What is it? Is it Dad?
Hubby: No its not your Dad.
Me:(fear had strangled my voice) Is it Liam? What's happened?
Hubby: Liam and Rhino came round this evening....
Then I knew
Me: (screaming) She's f***ing pregnant isn't she? Isn't she?
Hubby: (starts to cry) Yes.
All the years of educating him about contraceptives, vetting the slappers from the genuinely nice girls, buying him condoms - wasted! Years of nagging; don't have a kid too young, enjoy your life, travel, get a good job, have a lovely wedding, enjoy your wife's company then have a family....gone. I tried so hard to prevent this happening, my worst nightmare had come true. No way was I ready for this, I'm still learning how to be a parent not a bloody grandparent. For f***ks sake I've just turned 40 not so**ing 60! I'll probably end up in The Sun as another dreadful statistic: 'Lone Teen Mum Becomes Gran Due To Bad Parenting' etc.
I took it rather badly.
I let out a roar from that came from the depths of my soul. For two minutes I roared and howled like some banshee and swore my head off.Hubby had told them to leave because he knew I would've beaten them both senseless. Instead I hurled a can of coke across my kitchen denting my new cabinets, punched and kicked two holes in the bathroom door and went outside and screamed into the night air at whatever gods were listening to me. I have never felt such anger in all my life, even when Liam's father buggered off with my best friend. Never, ever have I felt so angry at the flipping injustice of life. How much more crap am I going to have to put up with? A father who is in a dreadful state and in a 'limbo life' , an Autistic child, a Hubby who is not home most of the time, and now I've got to help look after another baby? Are you trying to kill me off? I screamed at whatever Gods occupy the heavens and told them 'You flipping owe ME! I've done my time, I've done my penance, YOU owe ME!'
I was very distressed.
I called an emergency family meeting consisting of my Mother, me and Liam (Rhino not invited).
This is how the conversation went:
Me: How did this happen? Why were you not using something?
Liam: She was on the Patch
Me: Yeah, right. Are they still using that line? Used to be called the 'Pill' didn't it Mum?
An age old excuse and well rehearsed line
Me: What are you going to do?
Liam: We're going to have it.
Me: (Getting shirty) Are you a complete idiot? Where are you going to live? Whose going to look after it and don't look at me I've got enough on my plate. Is Rhino gonna work or sit on her arse all day?
Liam: Her mum will look after it while we work.
Mother: I thought her mum worked?
Liam: Yeah she does, but she will give it up.
What a load of crap
Mother: What does her mother think of all this?
Liam: She thinks we're a bit young but its happened now so we have to except it.
Another well rehearsed line - do they think I was born yesterday?
Me:(Shrieking) Like f**k! Is she a total f***ing idiot as well?
Mother: For heaven's sake calm down, you'll give yourself a turn!
Me: (spitting blood now) I will not calm down! What is the matter with everyone! You intend to bring a child into this world without a home, without a stable environment and you hardly even know this bloody woman. Have you got rocks in your head?
My mother gave me one her looks which seemed to imply that we had been in this situation before. I ignored it.
Mother: How far gone is she?
Liam: About ten weeks
Me (Still shrieking): Ten frigging weeks! You haven't even known her ten weeks!
Mother: Is it yours?
Liam: (looked very disturbed by this question) Of course it's mine!
I got out the calender and checked back the dates
Me: The only way it could be yours is if she is a slapper and slept with you on the first night.
Mother: It's like that Boris Becker story - a quick bang in the closet....a moment of pleasure for life time of misery.
How does she think of such things let alone say them. Liam and I stifled giggles.
For the next two weeks my subconscious tortured me day and night; my True Feelings verses Morally Right. The Morally Right thing to do was to stand by your son and Rhino and support their decision. However, my true feelings were that I wanted no part in this and that I didn't want to acknowledge it as my grandchild, if indeed it was and no way on earth did I want to be related to Rhino! The thought filled me with absolute horror.
This situation was out of my control. This person was making life-changing decisions for me without my consent - why should they be allowed to do this? Why am I expected to help out and support this stupid decision, when I didn't want this to happen and have done my best to prevent it? Because it is a family obligation? Because that is what parents do? Well bugger that. I have enough family obligations to fulfill to my Father, Hubby, Kids, Jaye, and Mother not some Rhino who decides to get herself knocked up after a month or two!
One of the gods in the heavens must have heard my yelling that night and for that I shall be eternally grateful, because after these two torturous weeks Rhino miscarried (if indeed she was pregnant in the first place and if indeed it was Liam's). As my Hubby said afterwards, 'How convenient, most of us don't get off that lightly'.
What this situation did do was to give me an insight into why Liam's own father left me. (Just for the record we were together 2 years). For the first time in 23 years I saw his view and I now understand why he left (he was only 18). But I don't hate him anymore and I don't blame him either, I've let go.
I don't think I handled this situation very well, all my friends kids are a lot younger and I really didn't have anyone to talk to about it. But whether it was fate that is wasn't meant to happen or that she was lying through her god-awful Rhino teeth remains to be seen. It will probably come out in the end. However the fact remains, without life experience you are Playing with Fire, then you get burned. Then burned again. It's still flipping burning! Pass me an extinguisher will you?