Suzanne Power: Double joy story made me weep like a baby

Suzanne Power

I HAVE to share the best Christmas romance story. I bumped into a mother with twin babies in her buggy while I was out mad shopping for the cold snap. I know what it's like to have two three-month-olds at this time of year. You're desperate for a kip and some revelry, but the little wailers have other ideas. I stopped to wish her well and tell her she was doing a brilliant job.

There's something about the festive season that makes strangers open up to each other. She beamed and said: "It's brilliant." I was expecting her to say how hard it was, and ask me, as every other mother of multiples asks when they meet another one: "Does it get any easier?"

But this woman, her eyes were shining like stars over Bethlehem. "Do you have the babies Jesus in your pram?" I laughed. "They must be saints."

"No way, they're up all night," she told me. "But I don't care."

"Then you're the saint," I whistled. "I love my lads but Christmas 2001 was lunacy."

She told me her story and I went home with the gift of it inside me. This woman had a boyfriend in her mid-20s who she had been dating a year when she got pregnant unexpectedly. They decided to move in together. "It was a bit fraught but we were so excited."

She lost the baby. At a horribly late stage. It was awful to watch her eyes fill up. I found myself putting a hand on her arm. "I can't stand to think of my 20s," she said. "I just had to write them off."

Her boyfriend tried to help her through it. But she said she was past help and didn't want to be bothered by anything again. They agreed to go their separate ways.

For a few years she went abroad and then came home to work with her surviving parent.

The story of this is amazing. Her boyfriend, she heard, had married someone else and she sent him a letter to wish him well and to say she felt he had really helped her through that terrible time.

Two years later, almost to the day, she got a letter from him asking to see her. They met when she went up to Dublin and she was incredibly nervous. "I just didn't want to have all the sadness come back to me again, but I had a feeling I hadn't treated him very well, so I wanted to say what I had said in the letter in person."

That meeting was three Christmas times ago. She had expected to meet an old flame with a new life. Instead, she left the pub they met in realising her old flame had never gone out. He was separated. They rekindled. I asked her if she regretted the years they didn't stay together. The babies started to wink awake and stir.

"Meeting him again in my 30s was right. We had a chance to appreciate what we had before. It wasn't that we were too young to commit. But we hadn't decided on living together and having a child. Just when we were getting used to it, we lost it."

Now they're both in their late 30s and had worries they mightn't be able to have a baby. They got two. There's one house in Ireland tonight where a new family of four are looking at a bright future. They don't care about economic outlooks. They've seen the worst of life and now they have the best of it. I asked her if I could pass on her news in this column.

"I'd love that." She said. As she walked off the babies had started to wail. I never saw a woman so happy to have a cartload of crying children. I went in the opposite direction. Crying too.

Have a brilliant New Year people, full of the right priorities.

Suzanne's memoir Angel Journey is in shops