For months Jessy was on a mission to find a giant gobstopper. One of the really huge ones about the size of a tennis ball. I got a very excited phone call one day when he was out in Sheffield with my ex, to say they had found one! I remember having one as a child and how the novelty wore off about half way through. The same happened for Jessy and the gobstopper has been abandoned on top of the chest of drawers for weeks, getting the occasional lick. The other morning Jessy declared he wanted to smash it. I thwarted his plan to smash it on the wooden bedroom floor so he suggested we do it outside and went to find a box. He wouldn’t even pause to get dressed!
Nothing happened on the first throw. Next time he threw harder and bits of gobstopper shattered and went flying. We scrabbled to pick them up, both subconsciously aware of the ‘5 second rule’! Then I had a go and perfected the technique of ‘Smash & Slam’, whereby I hurled the gobstopper as hard as I could into the box and then slammed the lid shut to catch the flying pieces. It was fun! The gobstopper looked really pretty. It was interesting to see all the layers,which Jessy seemed to find hard to conceptualise as the gobstopper revealed its coloured rings and I explained they were layers. It also looked like a partially destroyed planet which appealed to my love of fantasy space scape art.
We were both excited when reached the core of the gobstopper which wouldn’t smash. I’m sitting here wondering whether I should try and attribute some kind of educational value to this. I can’t think of anything that fits neatly into a ‘subject’ or a defined learning experience. That’s a lot of what this autonomous journey is about though, learning to relax, and trust that following what interests you and enjoying the experience means you are inevitably learning, even if you are smashing gobstoppers in the garden!
Yesterday Jessy asked about his donor. We often chat about him and I try to mention him in casual conversation if it seems relevant. Jessy has known he was conceived by donor insemination since he was first able to grasp the concept. It began with the simplicity of ‘you don’t have a Dad, you have a donor. He’s a special man who helped me to make you’ and went on from there. When Jessy was 3 years old he asked ‘what’s that?’ pointing at a doughnut I was eating. “It’s a doughnut”, I told him. “Like my special little man in America!” he said. It was a brilliant word muddle and we still refer to him as Jessy’s doughnut from time to time.
We snuggled up in an armchair and I got out the whole file of documents I’ve kept from when I conceived him at the clinic with Manchester Fertility Services. We read through his donor profile together. Some of it he already knew and some of it he hadn’t remembered. Interestingly, even though Jessy knows his donor has curly brown hair and hazel/green eyes he said he always imagines his donor with grey hair and grey eyes. Trying to describe Jessy’s eyes makes me feel sure he has inherited his donors eye colour as ‘hazel-green’ is probably the closest description I could manage for a form – they change all the time! We read about what he liked to watch on TV as a child, which famous people he admires and even his favourite flavour of ice cream! I talked a little about why I chose him as we read. We wondered whether Jessy was the first child conceived using his donor and whether he might have half brothers and sisters, possibly all over the world!
Perhaps the most important part on the form was the place where the donor said he is open to being contacted by children conceived by his sperm once they are 18. It was strange to think that we may meet this man one day. Perhaps I will look into the eyes of a man I have never met before and see the eyes of the child I have loved all of his life. That would be quite something!