|The Parsons at the Olympic Stadium ( Pictures by Stefan Rousseau)|
September 8 I applied for Olympics tickets when they first went on sale and was hugely disappointed not to get them. The complex sales process which had attracted a lot of criticism meant that I didn’t know anyone else who had managed to get any either. Given that my first trip abroad was to the 1980 Olympics in Russia - my prize for a painting competition in the Daily Mirror - and I now live five minutes from the London stadium at Stratford, this was intensely annoying. I had attended the Olympics at the age of six on the other side of the world but could not get tickets in my own city.
However, many friends secured tickets when they went back on sale, but by this time I was pregnant with Isaac. As he was due on the day of the Opening Ceremony we decided it would not be a good idea to go into labour at the Olympic Park.
Instead, we went for Paralympics tickets. With the Olympics mania that swept the country we got more and more excited about being able to take part and experience the atmosphere first hand. We encouraged Yasmin to wave a flag and cheer at the television as our Olympic heroes took gold after gold.
But when Yasmin was diagnosed with leukaemia, we assumed we wouldn’t be needing our tickets after all. Given that she was to be kept away from anyone with infections due to a lowered immune system, we thought that we would be warned not to attend any such events for some time. To our surprise, our consultant told us that as long as Yasmin was feeling well enough, we should carry on life as normal. It would do us good to go out and have fun, he advised.
Arriving at our seats in the magnificent stadium, we had only minutes to collect ourselves before Isaac started wailing and Yasmin threw a tantrum over wanting some toast.
“What have we done?” Andrew and I asked each other as we prepared for a stressful day and wondered where we were going to get toast from. But milk calmed one, while a toddler meal spaghetti pot assuaged the other and soon both babies were asleep on our laps and we were able to enjoy the athletics.
Friends working at the stadium invited us into the VIP section and we enjoyed a tour of the area where the Queen and Kate and William had sat. Yasmin perked up when she saw the food on display.
On our way back out through the park, we passed a musician surrounded by dancing toddlers, as though he were the Pied Piper. Although we didn’t discuss it, I know that Andrew and I were both thinking how that would usually be Yasmin, but still unable to walk and exhausted from her treatment, she remained in her buggy.
Yet, we had managed our first day out as a family of four. It was a gloriously sunny day and we were happy.