Mo Foster is the author of A Blues for Shindig, published by Paperbooks
A few days ago my granddaughter phoned me to ask if I would like to attend the graduation of her brother. Sounds normal enough – but until a few days before I had no idea that I had grandchildren and when I was informed that I have great grandchildren too, I was nearly stupefied.
I have become cagey about my age these last few years owing to the fact that when you are over seventy there are all kinds of ghastly expectations laid on you: no more sex or drugs and rock and roll, a nice peaceful life of beige seems to be the order of the day. I do not subscribe to this at all and expect to be hopping about with a joint in my hand and lust in my loins until the day I die.
Meanwhile I have a middle aged son who appears to have similar values but along with this he seems to have a bit of a grudge against me for ‘dumping’ him. There is nothing I can do about this except to tell him that I kept him until he was six months old and I was whisked away by the law. I have explained this to him and there is nothing else I can do or say to alleviate his distress. I hope we can be friends at least.
I have very mixed feelings about all this. On the one hand I have a magnificent granddaughter who is quite determined to take up her position as my relation and wants us to meet soon and then I shall meet my GREAT grandchildren. And I am delighted to have such a woman on my side. Her brother sounds a little dubious but he has requested a book and remarked that not everybody has a granny who writes juicy novels. I expect that we will all get on well eventually and look forward to slightly more expensive Christmases with joy! I can’t think how I got this lucky – a fully formed family with hardly a change of nappy or I have missed the best years of parenthood ? I know which I choose.
I want to warn anybody who I come into contact with that if any of them begin to treat me like a fossilised old trout owing to me sharing this information my reaction will be swift and very possibly violent so watch it!
I had my son when I was sixteen and he was with me until I was whisked into approved school (it was never clear who approved this establishment and I didn’t stay long enough to find out) After this he was fostered with a family while I absconded and remained free for three years and when I was arrested the school refused to take me back, in fact I was expelled. As far as I know I am the only person this has happened to.
I was told that he was happily settled in a ‘nice family’ where he would get a decent upbringing – as opposed to a life with me. I continued with my rackety lifestyle which included a long time as a heroin addict and though I thought about him a lot I tended to agree with them. Frankly there was no room in my life for child – I looked around at the progeny of other junkies and was appalled. Poor little tykes waiting for mummy to score and jack up before any hope of attention.
He was swiftly given to a family to foster. I was on the run for a year or
I am the only person to have achieved this.
I carried on leading a ramshackle life for many years and though I thought about my son on his birthday and at Christmas I made no effort to find him. Until a few weeks ago. I sound like a total shit in this, according to all the mothers I know who could never have given up their children. I have no excuses and I don’t feel guilty although my son.