When I first started blogging I thought this site would be of most interest for my family. I thought that I might write things that my children would read in future years. The rest of you have kind of evicted my family as the primary audience over the years. Well today, this is a post for US, but you are welcome to look in.
As I write, 8 years ago yesterday, our fifth child was born, George. Although he was only born at around 5pm we were home within a couple of hours and preparing for our eldest child, Tamasin’s 10th birthday. So our five children were all born in exactly ten years minus a day.
The night George was born, my dear wife was blowing up balloons and making sure things were ready for our daughter’s special day.
Here’s what I wrote on that day 8 years ago:
Tamasin — on this your tenth birthday — I want the world to know how glad I am you entered our world on the 11th March 1997.
I want them to know what a joy it is watching you grow. I want them to know how thrilled I have been that you never felt jealous when your brothers and sister were born as we have filled our lives with yet more children. Thanks for being a wonderful daughter, and I’m looking forward to years more of being your dad.
Today I became the Father of an adult child. That seems like a major transition for me. Though of course, I will continue to be Tamasin’s Dad, in some ways the job has been done, at least for her. It hasn’t been easy at times. I find it much more challenging than my paid work. And I am sure I have made many mistakes. Tamasin was the guinea pig of our parenthood.But I have certainly tried hard, with my wife, to fulfill the awesome responsibility you are handed when they let you take a Baby home with you from hospital. It has of course been a privilege and a joy. And I am proud that I will always be known as Tamasin’s Dad.
We were fortunate in that Tamasin was conceived without any of the challenges so many people have. After a straightforward pregnancy, her birth was far from easy. After false alarms and a very long labour, an epidural mistakenly given as a spinal led to a dramatic drop in my wife’s blood pressure. Tamasin’s heart rate became unreadable from her scalp monitor and a rapid forceps delivery ensued. The crash team just ‘happened’ to be in the room next door, and I suspect if they hadn’t she might have had significant damage from the experience. As it is she was fine. We are so grateful to God to this day that he spared her life that day.
Tamasin was always a lively child, even as a baby. She has been a lot of fun, friendly, talkative, and like the rest of her family is rarely quiet!
At the age of six, in 2003 she got a number of mentions here on my blog, the first was for telling me that she thought John the Baptist must have smelt terribly because he liked wearing camel’s hair clothing! Oh, and if anyone went to see him in the wilderness it must have been because they wanted to smell bad too!
On the same day, she reacted to the comment about John the Baptist not feeling worthy to carry Jesus’s sandals by saying, “Of course he didn’t deserve to carry Jesus’ shoes, Jesus should have carried them himself!”
She also claimed later the same year to have solved an age-old conundrum: “God must have made the chicken first because if he had made an egg first, it would never have hatched because there would not have been a chicken to keep it warm so it could hatch.”
She was a genuinely funny child, once being known to respond to me saying, “I love you, Tamasin” by saying “I love the letter ‘u’ too!”
At the end of 2003 she also had a moment, with her brother Henry who was four where she responded to the gospel quite clearly and prayed spontaneously, “Jesus please be my boss when I grow up.’ Her faith is still important to her, and I am proud of how seriously she takes it, and that now she is grown up she still wants him to be her boss.
The following year, she hadn’t lost her cute and funny side. So one day I posted,
My wife Andrée was playing piano and getting frustrated at how a particular aspect was difficult. Tamasin patted her on the shoulder and said ‘Its such a shame mummy, you havent anyone here to help you with your piano- you help me but no one helps you.’
The same evening, I wrote:
Back then Jubilee Church London was very small, and the pastor loved telling jokes. As the beginning of a joke, Colin asked the congregation, ‘Why did the dinosaur cross the road?’ Up shot Tamasin’s hand like she was in school and she shouted out her answer, ‘Because it wanted to crush the cars!’
I asked Tamasin to tell ME a bible story. She switched out the light and begun very seriously ‘Once it was all dark. Then God was fed up. Because he didnt have anyone to talk to he decided to make the world’- at this point I interupted and said ‘What about Jesus’ she then said ‘well that was the only one, you cant talk to the Holy Spirit because he’s like the wind.’
2005 was also the year that we moved our church into the cinema. I was explaining to Tamasin that we had a number of prophecies about how God was going to continue to bless us at that place, and one person said the cinema was going to be known as a place where God is. I asked her what she thought of that. Her answer? What, so its like heaven is at the cinema?
I also shared some poems she had written, and one of these was for her mum on Mothering Sunday:
My Mum Is
My mum loves me because I love her
You give me cuddles
Mums are the best
Us together is like trees and flowers
Mums are like angels sent from heaven
Ice cream and lavendar are no way as nice as my mum
So here it is, nothing is better than my mum Andree
As an eight year old, she seemed wise beyond her years. As an example, I shared on the blog two life goals she had written having found an old postcard in which as an eight year old I had shared my own goals.:
Tamasin’s Goals at Eight Years Old
1. To go on holiday to 5 different countries
2. To be a full Christian
When asked what a full Christian is she said something like this-
“When Children want to be Christians they are not quite sure. Its obvious when adults like you are Christians. I want to be sure I am a Christian. Be baptised, be filled with the Spirit”
I had a fantastic conversation with her about the meaning of love that year:
When I asked Tamasin what love means she said:
“Love is when you care for someone and are kind to them.”
When asked if love is a feeling, she immediately answered:
“Love is not a feeling. It’s a decision.” READ THE REST
Such snatched conversations are precious, and I am glad that I captured the memories of that, and times like the time we spoke about the book of Job together.
For us anyway, in a busy house of five children we sadly didn’t manage to be as regular as I would have liked in Bible study together, but we did and still do grab opportunities along the way.
Just after she turned nine, Tamasin made a website of her own which listed some of her favorite jokes at the time, sadly the site disappeared but I did keep the text for posterity.
Another hilarious thing Tamasin said back then was when we took some Americans around St Pauls and Westminster Abbey in the same day, and we obviously spent some time looking at the tombs. Imagine my embarrassment when she asked: ”Why did you come all the way from America to look at all these dead people when there are plenty of living ones in our country as well?” There were a couple of other great comments that day.
One of the highlights of Tamasin’s childhood was surely the time I took her and Henry to Florida. Sadly I’ve not been able to do the same with the younger two, but our adventures were chronicled, complete with photos here on the blog. I will leave you to explore that if you are interested, but here is a cute video:
As the years went on, I shared fewer and fewer personal items here. I suppose I thought you were not interested in such things! Perhaps I will try and make an effort to share a few more though, as this trip down memory lane has been so precious to me.
Its hard to see what happened to the years, and that the cute girl I spoke about today, quickly became a GCSE student intent on producing cool graphical tools to help her revise, then a six former who eagerly went to help others less fortunate than herself in South Africa.
Tamasin, I am proud of the woman you have become.