Children: the centrepiece of any family. That is obviously a truism for without children there is no family. Cathy and I have three. They are all grown up now, with the youngest at 23, but to us they are still children. Do other parents think like that? I wonder.

When I think of Hannah, our youngest, my first thought is of her going to primary school as a seven year old. I don’t know why that should be, but it just is. I think of taking her to the school gates and leaving her there, all young and alone and slightly scared, and the feelings I had in leaving her in the care of strangers. I did not like these feelings.

When I think of Alex, our son, I think of his face as he returned from his very first day at primary school: he was five. The school was a three minute walk from the house and he was all smiles and happiness at being a ‘big’ boy now that he was at school. He was always smiling. Then there was the times I taught him to walk in the Botanic Garden in Edinburgh; the step by step, wobbling, tottering experience of very early childhood and the utter triumph of success. Happy, happy memories.

Lesley, our oldest I remember in our flat in Edinburgh. It was a top flat and the roof leaked on rainy days. We had no money [we still have no money!] and certainly could not afford a roofer to fix it. So I was up there on the tenement roof in the lashing rain with tarpaulins and liquid bitumen, searching for cracks and holes and anything else. Where does Lesley come in? She wanted to come up as well, so on the first fine day I brought her up to see the view. It was a fine view over the city to the Castle and the Pentland Hills and northward to the fertile fields of Fife, but we were high up. Was she scared? Not a bit. Was I scared for her? Petrified.

So there we have them; childhood memories. Now they are all grown up, two working and one at University and I am immensely proud of all three. Yet when I think of them they are still wee and vulnerable and here, in my heart.

I do not know what the point of this blog is, if indeed there is one. Perhaps I wrote it because Hannah, our youngest, is home from University for the summer and she is tall and sophisticated and intelligent. Yet in my eyes she is still the small child walking into school on a wet Monday morning.

Value our children and the memories. We are all young in somebody’s mind.






About malcolmarchibald

Happily married for 34 years to Cathy, I have three grown children and live in the depths of Moray in northern Scotland. I was educated in Edinburgh and Dundee and work as a lecturer in Inverness, while writing historical books, both fiction and fact.
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