3 – Heather did you know? (1970)

Mary, did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man
Mary, did you know that your baby boy will calm the storm with his hand
Did you know that your bay boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God.
From the song  “Mary did you know” by Mark Lowry 1991

13th February, 1970. That was the start. Well obviously it was 9 months before, but I don’t really want to go there. Anyway, back to that present. 6.55pm Belvedere hospital in Glasgow’s east end. Fourth of what would be six children. It was Black Friday 13th February. I’m not superstitious, but maybe my parents seen it coming.

I cannot remember any of the details, but there is an official piece of paper with some info on it, so it must be true.

Belvedere was jus a stone’s throw from Celtic Park, a place that would grow to hold fond memories for me in the coming years. It was part of the culture my brothers and I would grow into.

My aunt Alice did have this to say though, “Did you know that you were born 3 weeks late? It would seem that you were not too keen to make an entrance into this world. The day your mum brought you home from hospital I couldn’t wait to hold you and remember her telling me that your skin was only dry because you were so late and it would all clear up. At almost 14 the shock of a new baby with flaking skin must have shown on my face 😶. Isn’t it strange the sort of this us that stay in the corner of our minds?”

So if i had been three weeks early I would have been a child of the sixties and Tracy said that would have made me tool old for her.

I don’t really know much of the circumstances surrounding my mum and dad at that time. Other than my mum already had John, Gary and Yvonne and between the four of us there was an average 18months. Darrin would arrive just over two years later, and my mum, at the tender age of 25 would have five kids aged from 7 to newborn. How the heck did she manage?

Neil came along 10 years after Darrin in 1982. By then mistakes had been learned, parents a wee bit older and he was spoiled. “As he should be” my mum used to chide us. She also demanded and commanded that we should be spoiling him as well. So Neil grew up with a sense of entitlement that has served him well in all his endeavours. It’s caused him to work extremely hard for what he has, because he believed that’s how entitlement is actually worked out.

Anyways, this is not about him, its about the little baby with the blue eyes making his way in this brave new world he had found himself in.

My earliest memories all seem to involve people over at the house, socialising and drinking. Not in an abnormal way, it was just that parents loved company and people actually loved them. I can remember lying in my cot in my parents room in Easterhouse, hearing all the noise and laughter and wanting to be part of it. All the “aunties and uncles” as we used to be told to call mam and dads friends. The boys didn’t, but Yvonne did. There was always people around. If it wasn’t the Friday nights then there would be visitors through the week. My mum got on very naturally with people, and I think my love for networking stems from her always relating to her friends. She was very good at it.

The times I would cry to be lifted out, and then when mum and dad would come in and ask what was wrong, I would always say something stupid like, ‘Can you fix the blanket?” Instead of asking them to let me join in.

So much of what was to go on and go wrong in my life can probably trace right back to those days, when I was not able to express my self properly. I always had a fear, that if I said how I felt that people would not want to know me. It was a pattern that was to repeat throughout the years, with the obvious outcome of me becoming a very withdrawn child who always struggled to make friends or even to get along.

I often wondered what my mum and dad thought where I arrived. What were the questions racing through this young couple’s minds? What were their fears? The Christmas songs “Mary did you know?’ Really does apply to all mothers. To cradle a newborn baby in your arms and wonder what kind of life is going to unfold through their tiny package. Scary thought.

Like the song that the lyrics at the top were taken from, did mum and dad ever stare at this newborn child and know the joy, the despair, the heartache and also the peace this little bundle would bring? Does any parent? I look at my three daughters now with different eyes. I know the potential that God has placed in them. To do good. To be right. To bring joy. I also know that it is up to them to choose, as Jesus did, to follow Father God’s ways.

This blog is part of a wider collection to show the journey that would eventually lead me to the cross of Jesus Christ, my personal redemption, and my journey of faith afterwards. If you would like to know more of my story, please click on my “About” page and take it from there.

If you would like to know more about the Christian response to addiction, or just need hope please click on one of the links below.

The Haven
Teen Challenge Strathclyde
Teen Challenge UK
Teen Challenge Global
Street Connect
Bethany Christian Trust
Cornerstone Assemblies of God, Maryland
Broken Chains Ayr
Easterhouse Community Church
Stuart Patterson


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