Means Of Production

Entry by: Emindee

8th April 2016
We met through a mutual friend when I was 18. Apparently, he was “really, really” into me and our friend cajoled me into giving it a go. He was quiet and not much of a looker but I was carefree and would date someone for the sheer hell of it back then.
It was standard early dating by a naive yet overconfident and horny teenager. I slept with him on the second or third date and sex made the wheels of the relationship turn. Conversationally, it wasn’t going anywhere, and it became increasingly obvious that Wayne wasn’t very nice. I couldn’t put my finger on it at the time but with hindsight I realised I was being given the silent treatment if I spoke to other men in my social circle.
So naturally enough I decided to end it. I hadn’t been out for a week because I was feeling ill. Before I could see him again I took a pregnancy test at the doctor’s, just to rule out pregnancy as a cause of the constant nausea.
Boy was I surprised! I thought we’d been using condoms. He admitted later that sometimes we were, sometimes we weren’t. It’s a simple ruse in the dark.
I reckon I was pregnant within about 6 weeks of meeting him and found out I was at about 10. I didn’t go out much in those early months because I felt so ill, but Wayne was slotting nicely into my group of friends. If I was present, I was made to feel unwelcome. One time when I was about 6 months pregnant he walked off and left me in the pub without a word. I was supposed to be staying at his place, didn’t have the money for a taxi and the last bus had gone.
Still, it was very much a case of I’d made my bed, and in it I would lie. We moved into a flat a few weeks before I had Stephanie. By that time I was treading on eggshells and used to cry myself to sleep.
And I completely stopped going out. In the days before social media and mobile phones it was easy to pretend you couldn’t hear the door being knocked. By the time Stephie was a month old I was completely isolated. Have you heard of the term ‘gas lighting’?
That basically covers it. What followed was a cycle of physical and mental abuse I’m not inclined to talk about and it’s an old story, anyway. I just want to tell you about the lovely daughter that came from all this, because that’s a story that never gets old.
She was a gorgeous little baby but an awful toddler, I couldn’t take her anywhere. Aeroplanes have been grounded for tantrums quieter than hers, but she grew into a fantastic little person, standing all of 5 foot 3. She was student of the year two years running, a cricket player at county level and sailed through GCCEs and A-levels. Now she’s a young lady more likeable than any parent has a right to expect and has always been my second in command. Though she’s flown the nest we’re still exceptionally close and I’m one extremely proud mum. But mother nature wasn’t quite proud enough of me to let me just have Stephie...
I met Mark at a New Year’s Party. Even though it was just down the road from my parents’ house, he insisted on walking me home. We got chatting a week later on a night out. He was just a genuinely pleasant guy, no side to him at all, and we were soon seeing each other every day.
He’d come over to my parents’ or I’d go to his with Stephie. Mum pointed out that Stephie and I were there more than at home, so why the hell didn’t I just move in? So that’s what happened that May. Mark and his parents took Stephie on as their own from the start.
Talking of which, Mark’s dad had a heart condition and the first time I met his parents was in A&E when I’d only known Mark a few weeks. Stephie had tripped and fallen through a glass door (nothing serious, fortunately) and Mark’s dad was brought in with chest pains. I was talking to them when Mark came in, did a comedy double take, and introduced us formally.
Once I’d moved in Mark’s mum started laying it on a bit thick about how sick his dad was and how his greatest wish was to see one of his children married. They didn’t think it would happen, as he was due a quadruple bypass in October. Well, we were happy together so we figured why not. Whirlwind preparations were made and we got married that September (His father is still alive to this day and never did have that quadruple bypass).
Meantime, we decided to try for a baby and Travis put in an appearance the following July. We were actually quite happy for a while. It just kind of got wearing, being married to a real life Homer Simpson. Everything he did turned into a comedy misadventure. We never had any money because he’d always fritter what we had away on one harebrained scheme after another. Sure, he was the life and soul of the party and would do anything for anyone. Which is perhaps why we were without heating for four months whilst he fixed everyone else’s for free.
He actually saw more of the children once we split. Between helping others, playing with yachts and fiddling with engines we never saw him. When we split he saw the kids twice a week without fail and every other Saturday and Stephie and Travis are very close to him. And I have a friend for life (who’ll do anything for me).
As for Travis, he was the opposite of Stephie as a small child. She was the one throwing herself through glass doors, falling down stairs and getting stuck upside down on climbing frames, Travis was Mr Sensible. As a toddler he seemed to take health and safety inspector role, tutting at Stephie’s shenanigans and sitting quietly with his toy cars. He was a bit of a savant with cars. He could recognise different makes and models by the door handles or wheel trims.
Then at seven he developed a sense of humour, surreal at times and very, very funny. He’s highly intelligent but chooses to hide it in favour of playing the fool. I never saw him revise but he floated through his exams without having to apply himself. He taught himself to play a bass guitar out of boredom before he was old enough to drive and monkey around with cars instead. I’ve no idea what direction he is headed in career wise but as he is nineteen and can take anything mechanical apart and put it back together again for kicks, I don’t see a problem. Did I mention that he also happens to be as personable as Stephie? Didn’t think it was possible two people could be.
My next boyfriend was Billy but he collapsed and died of hypothermia after taking drugs... Shortly after, I was introduced to Colin by a female friend. He was a cook at a cafe in town and part time barman at my local. He was also quiet to the point of nearly silent, pleasant and incredibly sensible and safe. The most controversial thing about him was the fact that his staunchly Catholic mother hated me (still hates me, actually) with a passion. I say staunchly. Allegedly she only survives on the Eucharist. As you can imagine, she wasn’t too thrilled when Colin introduced a divorced agnostic mother of two as his new squeeze.
Oh, and we had Ethan out of wedlock, too. I tried to explain that I was married in the eyes of the church (to Mark) but that didn’t fly. Not a lot else to say about Colin. He was so quiet it should be his epitaph and to be honest, I was still hung up on Billy, which I admit was unfair. The relationship fizzled out when I didn’t start a conversation with him to see how long it would take for him to initiate one. I got bored after a week. I suggested we should split, he said “Okay” and left.
Ethan is quiet, like his dad, but being the youngest of three taught him to speak up. He’s just the loveliest kid you could meet, even as a toddler he behaved himself. I can honestly say that in 12 years I’ve told him off twice. Both times he welled up at the sheer idea of me being upset at him. We’ve got the teenage years ahead and I’m ready to cut him a huge pile of slack for giving me little trouble so far. But for the time being he’s a sweet twelve year old with a penchant for dinosaurs, growing faster than his spatial awareness; he’s like Bambi on ice. He has a lovely relationship with Travis, who dotes on him and winds him up in equal measure.
After I split from Colin I had a period of quiet reflection. Just me, working, looking after my children, with occasional dating. Then I met Simon. I spoke to him first on Twitter, then on Facebook. He suggested that we meet up for a drink. From the start it appeared we’d tons in common from music to food. Even the way we took tea and coffee. I now realise that anyone can seem a perfect match if they’ve studied you intensely.
It was a brief courtship. Within a couple of weeks he was staying overnight and he’d practically moved in within 2 months. We ticked along alright for a while then he started the rumbles about wanting his own child. I finally relented on the condition that I go back to work and he be the stay at home parent. (He worked from home anyway).
I fell pregnant within a couple of months, and was greeted by a surprise at the first scan. They couldn’t tell the gender of the baby as there a second one in the way. Having already had a girl and two boys, I was of course hoping for a pony, but twins would have to do.
As the relationship progressed little niggles became bigger ones. Simon’s well crafted facade was slipping. Foolishly, I stood by him when he was convicted of drink driving. Fortunately, the only damage was to the car and the tree he crashed into.
The twins were born premature, around 2 pounds each. They left the hospital after 66 days, Norah with significant hearing loss, Nell with a learning delay. Both are inconsequential compared to what we saw happen with other babies in neonatal intensive care. I returned to work and certainly by the time they turned 2 their father’s daytime drinking became noticeable.
I tackled him on it and was manipulated into thinking I was wrong and untrusting. Then came the day I returned from work to find he’d passed out on the sofa blind drunk, and the twins had been found playing in the gutter two roads away. Nothing finishes a relationship quite like your children being endangered by someone that should jump in front of a bullet for them. Suffice to say Simon is now my ex and I am now a full time mum.
The Twinado are just incredible little people. Norah is the dominant and smart one, even though she has hearing loss. Nell is a little chatterbox, a constant stream of consciousness and questions. Not the brightest spark, but she’s got plenty of time to catch up and the charm to get away with murder.
Regrets, I’ve had a few, but having written all this down everything seems worth it. With these wonderful children to call my tribe who am I to regret the means of production.

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