With the new year, comes a desire, or need, to tidy cupboards and drawers which have not been tidied for years, in order to find space for new Christmas presents to live! That is how I spent yesterday morning, in a spree of upcycling to school and charity shops, dumping in he bin and reminiscing. I found all sorts of presents that I had bought over the years but had never given away and I found clothes that had never fitted in the dark recesses of one cupboard. Joshua rummaged through a pile of children’s books that I had found until he found a Madagascar sticker book, so he must have recognised the characters. He handed it to me so we took a break, sat down and looked at the pictures together. Then I carried on but he kept passing me the book, until I realised that he was asking to see the film and once he had successfully communicated his request, he left me to the tidying up again!
But in one drawer, I found some very precious documents, carefully tucked away. I took the time to open up and read the letters that I found tucked into a paper bag with Joshua’s birth announcement cards in. My father in law had created the cards with some photographs taken in Special Care – one of Mike holding the tiny pink bundle that was Joshua, one of me bathing him and another of us having a cuddle. It was quite a memento so I kept a couple of the blanks, for purely sentimental reasons, and no useful purpose.
Lying next to them, I found a bundle of letters that we received when news of Joshua’s arrival got through. They are hand written, heartfelt messages of love and support from a surprising range of family and friends. They all begin by congratulating us on Joshua’s arrival but swiftly go on to wish us hope for his future, tell us not to worry and offer advice to live each day as it comes. Of course, this find stopped me in my tidying tracks and I had to sit still and read them all. Some from people who are no longer alive and some from people who are very much still in his life now. They were precious letters from the outside world, brought by my husband into the Special Care Unit where I will have read and re-read them and probably will have read them out loud to baby Joshua. I have emails too, but there is something more personal about a hand written letter, it shows the effort and time that was put into the correspondence.
Of course they made me cry but they made me smile too but they all took me back to that painful, frightening time in SCBU, when everything was unknown and daunting. So these letters were not dumped or upcycled, but once they were read, they were carefully folded up again and returned to their drawer for safe-keeping. Luckily we have lots of other places to find for Christmas presents to live, these precious documents do not need to be disturbed, except for occasional reading, maybe in another 17/18 years time.