day one: the moment that forgives everything else

My girlfriends and I keep a continuous facebook chat going, so that we can be in everyday contact even though we live on the four corners of the world.

I recently wrote to them:

I’m still feeling clucky, but I also feel like everywhere I look, parenting looks harder than it looks joyful.

Blech. I just want to know that it’s also rewarding and that there are times when it’s fun and when you all come together and it works. And more than just moments every now and then. Pure biology might not count, if there aren’t nice bits like that.

I’ve also talked a lot with my friend Adrienne, who’s step-mum to a three year old, about how hard it is to parent other people’s children, when you don’t get the unconditional love in return. (Read here for my issues with my niece. Little people can be terrifying.)

But today, I am happy to report, despite all yesterday’s apprehension, I had a moment. The moment.

I was sitting on the couch with the day all wintery and cold outside, my nephew leaning on one arm, my niece (fresh from her afternoon sleep = warm, snuggly and silent) tucked under the other, reading The Magic Faraway Tree.

“Saucepan, have a plum?”

“Crumb?” said Saucepan, in surprise. “Is that all you can spare for me–a crumb?”

“PLUM, PLUM, PLUM!” said Moon-Face, pushing a ripe one into the Saucepan Man’s hands.

“Oh, plum,” said Saucepan Man. “Well, why didn’t you say so?”

I am right back in a world that I loved intensely as a child – these were the first books I ever read to myself – and my niece and nephew’s faces are lighting up with the same imaginative joy.

If life’s about anything, then surely this is it.

Comments 2 Responses

  1. cheryl nekvapil

    Annii, as you know I am the eldest ‘girl’ in a family of 7 children (once a long time ago) and had younger siblings often in my care who would not be compliant, or required a lot of bathing and clothes needed ironing and dinner had to be cooked and beds made (I think you’ve got the picture, and I haven’t even mentioned the younger cousins many of whom lived close may). Well, when pregnant for the first time I was far from optomistic that the future would be anything more than mostly drudge and slog and duty, but somehow this baby was on the way.

    First big surprise was that the birth as an experience was 1/3 pain, 1/3 rest and 1/eternal 3 bliss and revelation that no-one told me about!

    Second big surprise was that he wasn’t all mine by any means; he was his own and his dad’s too, and lots of other interested people’s.

    Third big surprise was that looking after him was TOTALLY different from any other looking after I’d done before; connected to the bodily connection through birth and breast feeding and being the miracle that in fact, after all that pregnancy phenomenal growth and topsy turvey stuff,at birth there was a real live human being fresh into the world ……………

    Also fourth, is that really the bad moments take up about 15 minutes, at most 1/2 hour of the day but if we’re not watchful, they take up 95% of what we pay attention to in our memory of it!

  2. Mini-Mike

    hehe, Faraway Tree… I getya. Enid Blyton is a bit wet, tbh, but I loved that book too as a kid! Something about a trans-dimensional tree appeals…

    You may want to wait til the writing picks up a bit, I imagine once you have a kid you’ll have far less time for it!

    Then again, it’ll give you a new angle for the whole Romance novel thing…. 😉

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