Serena is my third child and the third of my four daughters. We decided to name her Serena because as she was placed into my arms just moments after making her grand entrance into the world, instead of shrieking and bawling as most newborns do, she gazed up at me in the most knowing and serene way, and smiled.
I’ve heard people say that when young babies smile it means that they’ve got wind but personally I think that’s a load of crap – For starters, who the hell smiles when they’ve got wind? I don’t that’s for sure. Also I’m not sure it’s possible to have flatulence the minute after you’ve just been born? Please stand to correct me if I am wrong.
It’s a pretty tough call being the middle one of five – you have to be very loud if you want to get attention and most definitely have to stand out from the crowd if you want to get noticed. Serena has never been a shrinking violet despite being the filling in the sandwich of our family life/loaf. She’s a beautiful, passionate, wild creature who at times in the past has been very, very naughty. There have been moments over the years when I could have quite happily have wrung her neck due to the grief she’s given me, but I adore her and shall do so until my dying day.
You might wonder why I am writing this but there is a reason. Who knows, but after reading this, you too may someday want to use this for yourself and for someone you love. I’ve asked Serena if it’s ok to spill the beans and she’s cool with this even though as far as I’m aware, none of her siblings know about it either. The reason being that it was a special pact that she and I made together eleven long years ago
It is inevitable that there are going to be times when you have be away from your children and those times can be hard especially when it is for longer periods than one would like. Serena was very sad and finding it difficult being away from me, but what she didn’t realise at the time, was that it was just as tough for me, in fact it may even have been even tougher as I had the dreaded Mother’s guilt to deal with as well.
One day I sat her down and told her about a magic invisible ball of string that I had in my pocket. ‘This ball of invisible thread is so long’, I explained ‘that it can stretch all around the world as many times as you like, it can even stretch to the Moon and back. In fact it can stretch as near or as far as you need it to stretch because it is magic’. Serena stared suspiciously at me – ‘Mum, what’s that got to do with my missing you? How’s that going to help when I need you?’
‘Well’, I replied ‘The thing is that it’s top secret so you have to promise not to tell any of the others, or else it won’t work’. Serena nodded her head in agreement and I then took the magic ball of string out of my pocket. I found the end of the string and tied it securely onto the little finger of her right hand and then I took the other end of the string and got her to tie it onto my little finger on my left hand. (You have to tie it onto the littlest finger of the hand that you write with otherwise it doesn’t work)
‘Ok’ I said to Serena, can you feel this when I tug?’ I did a tugging motion with my left hand and Serena did a tugging motion with her right hand. We could both feel the little piece of invisible thread between us. We practised a few times to make absolutely sure that we both felt the tug properly.
‘Right’ I said, ‘This is the deal. From now on and anytime day or night, whenever you miss me, wherever you are, just tug on your end of the string, and I will tug right back so that you know that I’m there for you and, anytime day or night I will tug on my end when I need you too’.
Being on the other side of the world away from those that you love, is tough. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of our children and there are times when it’s quite unbearable the distance between us. However, hard as the physical separation is, at least I know that any time I tug on my end of the magic invisible thread, 7,278 long miles away, someone I love and miss will know that I am thinking of them and vice versa which makes it a whole lot better.