Saturday 7 April 2012: Gypsy!
Not technically a brilliant photo of her due to poor light, but here she is waiting expectantly to go for a walk (and Christina was holding a morsel of food above my head, which helped!)
Perhaps sadly for Gypsy, she has never had puppies (we did think about it, but at the time there were no male Beagles living in Bahrain, to our knowledge. The day after she was spayed, I read an article in a local magazine welcoming the new Naval Commander of the US 5th Fleet to Bahrain, together with his wife and two Beagles, Ben & Jerry!). It would have been nice to have a litter of beaglets, but finding responsible, caring homes for them might have posed a challenge - or not, depending on how many there had been. All hypothetical water under the bridge, anyway.
Why I am thinking about this I don't know, but today I've been pondering the fact that if I had my life over, or were asked for any useful advice to give a young woman starting out in life, I would say "Don't put off having children till your mid-to-late thirties, do it sooner!" That way they will be safely past teenagerhood when you hit 50!
Christina was born when I was 29 and Immy when I was 37, so I'm experiencing both sides of the coin...... one of my sisters had her first child at 21 and as a result her eldest son is now at Uni and she's not quite 40. I saw some pictures recently of her with his friends and it was hard to pick that she wasn't one of the students! Of course, there are complications (particularly financial ones) that come with having children young, too. But today has been a day that made me wish I was at least eight years younger. The funny thing is that Christina - all of 21 herself! - is reacting more like a 50-year-old when it comes to her sister's behaviour!
While chatting with my friend Kari in Auckland airport a few days ago, she mentioned that her mum is now 92. Immy was stunned.
"How can she be 92? You're the same age as Mum, and her and Dad's mothers are only in their mid-seventies!" she exclaimed.
"Well, she was 42 when she had me, which was rather old to be having a baby in the 1950s and 60s. Most women got married in their early twenties back then and had babies straight away," Kari explained.
"Nowadays, it's far more common for women to put their careers, or just their lives in general, first and have babies later. You'll find that it's more usual with your generation to have older mothers - by the time you and Patrick are 50, we two will be 87!"
Everyone's circumstances are different, of course, but I do wonder about the wisdom of this trend. My grandmother was 30 when my mother was born. (Again, rather unusual for the 1930s but she had considered becoming a nun first! My father's mother was also in her late 30s when she became a mother but in her case, WWI and the loss of her fiancé had intervened). Five sons and ten years later, she had my aunt at 40. The parent-child relationship was very different for the two sisters and I think that my aunt always felt that her parents were too old for there to be any real connection (by the time she was a teenager, The Beatles and The Beach Boys had exploded onto the scene, for example!). I don't believe that there is a huge generation gap between us and Christina - not nearly so much as the one that existed between us and our parents, for example - but having to deal with twelve and thirteen-year-olds that think they are sixteen can be quite wearing when one is 51. I think it seemed easier at 43. Just saying!!