After a bad marriage when I was very young I spent some time on my own with my young children, when I met my now husband a serious relationship was the last thing that I wanted. Life was settled without the need of a man in our lives I worked full time and the children were cared for by a chid minder and although we didn’t have much money we would often close the door on a weekend and not see anyone for days but the kids were young and that is the way I liked it at the time.
When I met my husband he had been married before but didn’t have children and in time he met my daughter and son and was great with them, I got a bit of confidence back in men something that I had lost after my marriage. Once he moved in we were a happy family and he had said more kids were not really what he had planned. After a while the subject came up again and we decided we would try for a baby of our own, we were both delighted to find I was pregnant really quickly but sadly I had a miscarriage soon after. I quickly became pregnant again and after trouble free pregnancy had a perfect little boy 8lb 4oz, I have seen a man so in love with his baby as my husband was as my first husband hadn’t been particularly interested in his children. I remember life being pretty perfect my older 2 loved their brother and life was good.
He was a great baby who breastfed and slept well, my older 2 would go off to school in the mornings and it would just be me and the baby I had a good friend who was also on maternity leave so we would be out shopping, luch, walking with the prams and going to mother and toddler groups. All was well until at 5 wks he became unwell with a chest infection, which I found strange that a summer baby exclusively breastfed would get a chest infection. Over the first 10 mths of his life the supposed infection never really went away and he coughed and coughed often to the point he would vomit. It would ease after times on oral steroids but never fully went away. He was still such a happy little thing even though he would get breathless crawling and laughing. Before his first birthday he was diagnosed with asthma like his dad he was prescribed inhalers.
After initially going back to work when he was 18wks old during the day I only lasted for a couple of months as neither myself or my husband could bear the thought of him being left with a child minder so I found an evening job working 7pm till midnight, not ideal but I needed to work and it meant he was going to bed not long after I left for work and my husband was home to look after all 3 children and meant we had no childcare costs. I look back now and wonder if because he really never got left with anyone is that why he suffered so bad with separation anxiety as a child? I suppose I will never know the answer to that. I went on to have another baby only 17mths after my son was born a little girl also perfect. 2 boys and 2 girls all beautiful and healthy apart from the asthma I considered myself to be very lucky.
When my son was 3 and my daughter was 18mths we decided to move 300 miles away to where I was originally from because we had no family where we lived and wanted the children to grow up knowing their cousins and grandparents. The move was fine and the children registered at the local schools so life again returned to normal. My sons asthma would often become a problem for no apparent reason and after one particular incident when he was hospitalised the doctor referred him for allergy tests, which discovered he had multiple allergies to animals so bad that once after his sister visited a farm and touched animals it resulted in a hospital visit for him just by sitting next to her in the car. When I looked back whilst he was a baby my eldest daughter would go horse riding most weekends and come home and pick him up and we didn’t know she was probably the cause of him being so poorly as a baby. Once he was diagnosed it helped because we could keep him away from certain things but horses and rabbits were the things he was mostly in danger from and we couldn’t control what other people touched, daily antihistimes helped.
On his first day at school he cried, which I know a lot of kids do little did I know he would continue to cry at school most days until he was 10!!! He hated being left at school and would sob for so long even the teachers said they had never known a child who so badly wanted his mum, dad, brothers or sisters as he would instantly calm down once his family reappeared. I don’t know of any traumatic incident which had caused him to be like this as none of my other children had ever cried like this. He was always particularly bad on Mondays, beginning of term, change of teacher (even if only for a day). It almost got to the stage where the teachers were like come on ***** because they just knew him so well. He was well liked at school and made friends easily so his crying episodes used to confuse me so much. I believe as he got older he really did try not to cry and he would often almost get there without crying then I would see him lip tremble and think oh no here we go again. I remember the first time I went away without my husband and older two children he was so distressed because he just kept saying he wanted all his family together. My mother once let him stay overnight and when we went to pick him up she said `never again` and he had sobbed for us nearly the whole time he was there.
He was such a cute kid with a personality to match doted on by us and his older brother and sister and to a certain extent his little sister being the tougher one of the 2 would often be behind him comforting him when he needed it. Probably not the way it happened in most families but in ours it was the way it went. My oldest son if anyone would be a bit jealous and say we wrapped him in cotton wool far to much but again just the normal family squabbles.
I know we weren’t perfect parents I don’t suppose anyone ever is, but we worked hard to provide for the 4 of them, going on holidays and we loved each of them unconditionally.
I woke up this Sunday morning without many worries, feeling quite happy with myself, starting to feel normal after recently being a stem cell donor through the Anthony Nolan Trust; it’s a good feeling knowing you have saved someone’s life.
I got up and went to the gym full of thoughts of the future, of how nothing was going to stop me getting fit and losing some weight.
I went home and popped out to Asda with my husband, I bought new bedding and picked up things for dinner. Everything was normal at home; my son had stayed at his friends the night before but now was home.
As I started to make dinner, my husband and 16 year old son went out to the barbers to each get a haircut; I have 4 children at this point 24,22,16,14, so I have quite a lot of experience of the behaviour of teenagers. My son had been particularly moody over those last few months, but no more than his older brother at that age. He actually was the most loving, caring person I had ever came across – I was proud of him as he had always struggled at school, but at the last minute really tried; unfortunately he didn’t do particularly well at school but wanted to resit what he hadn’t passed and was loving his engineering course at college. He had been told the year before that his dream of being in the forces wouldn’t happen because he has quite severe allergies and asthma, and I know that this had a negative impact on his life as it is something he had his heart set on.
Around 3pm I was cooking dinner and listening to some music when I saw activity at my back gate. I went outside to find some uniformed and plain-clothed police officers, afraid to enter my gate because of my dog. I opened the gate and invited them in, my heart pounding as neither I or any of my family have had any involvement with the police before. They said they needed to talk to my son and I told them he was out with his dad, having a haircut, and wouldn’t be long. They asked me to call my husband, which I did. I told him to come home as the police needed to talk to our son, I was shaking from head to foot as I guessed it was serious by how many police officers there were.
On the way home my son told my husband that on Friday night he had punched a man who had been following him, but he hadn’t thought that he had injured him so he didn’t think it could concern that. When they came home the police said to my son “is your name *******” he said “yes” and they said “we are arresting you for murder!” They then asked what clothes he had been wearing on Friday night and bagged them up for evidence, in addition to my own mobile phone and work laptop. The fear and the pain was unbearable, nothing could prepare anyone for the shock of this. Because he was a minor, my son needed an appropriate adult; my husband was unable as he had told my husband he had hit the man, and I was so hysterical I wouldn’t have been suitable; so we called our sister in law who is a lawyer, and knew she was the best choice.
My son did not resist and during the first few moments, seemed to be more worried about me than anything else. As they covered his handcuffs with a coat, he looked so scared, so young. Could he have murdered someone? My head was all over the place but I managed to calm myself down enough to give him a hug and tell him I loved him. My parting words to him were: no matter what, tell the truth son.
From that day to this our lives have been turned upside down, which is why I wanted to start writing this – to see if sharing it will shift the burden that I carry everyday. I have never done this type of thing before so I will blog my experiences of dealing with the police whilst never having been involved with them before; the tagging system; the youth justice system; youth offending team; secure units for young offenders; people pretending to be friends, and anything else along the way.