Last Mother’s Day I wrote about the wonky little pansy. Unfortunately the Pansy didn’t make it through June but it was truly treasured for weeks. Its demise was entirely my fault; I left it outside accidentally one night and Jack Frost murdered it. I’m still a little sad about it to be honest, that pansy carried with it the love and pride of a wee three year old girl who potted that pretty (ugly) little flower just for me.
I’m a teeny bit concerned that this entry will be a bit depresso, but hopefully by some miracle I can redeem myself from a great self-indulgence and write something relatable (that’s always my aim). Be prepared though, it’s less about Mama in Wonderland and more about Person in Wonderland (so if you’re a person perhaps you’ll relate, all aliens and animals go can back to your business, this doesn’t concern you) (if that last statement gets me abducted, I’ll be able to relate to aliens as well, stand by) (any animals reading this are instructed to bring chocolate in return for a scratch behind the ears).
A while ago I was in the chemist collecting drugs for children (NB: that’s medicine for my sick children, not drugs for me to cope with my children although I won’t lie, they have been offered before). I was at the new Amcal in Echuca, which somehow makes me feel a little bit posh and exclusive, no idea why (although the lighting is impressive, it’s so bright and I think it makes my skin looks nice, a bit like Georgie Parker’s), and I saw an elderly gentleman who was leaning against his walking cane as he waited to be served. He had a kind face, the sort that is charmingly aged, making him both handsome and interesting, and he smiled at me. It was a long, slow, captivating, genuine smile which came with a good dose of eye contact and a tiny nod of the head. It was engaging and welcoming… and somehow it was reminiscent. I detected ‘I remember when’ sentimentality in his smile.
And his smile isn’t the only one. There have been more. I have noticed lately that my three darlings are capturing the attention of our senior citizens, and they all wear that same expression. It’s reminiscent and sentimental and possibly a teeny bit regretful. Something about my tribe is familiar to them, and I do wonder if they are remembering their own young family and wishing to turn back time. Not for any awful do-over reason, but because these really are the best years, and they truly do go too quickly. My darling dad went to heaven before he met any of my children (which sucks like a big fat arse), and I am crudely aware that he is missing out on a fair bit. I’m sure he’d give almost anything to be here with us, and he’d give me a talking to for complaining about having air in my lungs. I have moments of clarity where I realise that next year I will have a child at school and in five ridiculously short years I’ve raised what was once a baby, into… a Preppie? I’m going to have a Preppie? Wha….?
Being surrounded by innocence and wonderment and awe in simple things should be refreshing and delightful. Why then doesn’t it feel at all refreshing or delightful? Sometimes I get comments like ‘gee, you’ve got your hands full’ or, ‘those are the best years, treasure them, they zoom by.’
I return the kind smiles and banter of these caring seniors, but in my internally I’m thinking ‘faaaaaark no it doesn’t go quickly! Today I’ve wiped noses, arses, spills, dirty footprints, sticky fingers, washed half a jar of honey out of the youngest ones hair (courtesy of big brother), broken up three fist fights and had cold tea spilt all over me and my clean clothes, and it’s not yet 11am.’ What am I doing wwwrrrrooooooonnnngggggg?!
Quickly? Nope. Precious? Not today. Hands full? Hell yes. (Ungrateful? Don’t answer that…)
Guiltguiltguiltguilt. Alllllll the guilt. By about 11am on home days I’m anticipating bedtime, literally wishing the day away. Not every single day, but sometimes it’s 100% shit-fight, almost devoid of pleasure/fun/joy and genuine, bonafide bloody hard work. I always, always know that I adore their sassy little backsides, but for the love of Pete, they were sent to challenge me.
Lately I’ve had some epiphanies. About myself; spiritually, emotionally and psychologically. Some of these light-bulb moments came gently and with lessons and meaning and soothing sounds to make me feel comfortable. “Yes, that’s exactly who I am and Jesus loves me and the Universe blesses me and all the Hippies endorse that I have the courage and grace to embrace this part of me and I am OKAY.” (try reading that out loud like Oprah Winfrey, ‘tis fun!)
Other realisations have smacked me in the face with such cold force that I gasp for air, saying “is that really what I’m like?” I’ve had a few of those latter ones lately, and the feeling resonates as somewhat uncomfortably familiar, indicating that perhaps somewhere in my sub-conscious I’ve thought this before. Do you have them too? That self-exploration stuff where you wish you hadn’t self-explored? I know, I know, it’s for the greater good of me, but that blissful ignorance was temporarily warm and sunny and there was chocolate and cocktails and now I just have a bad taste in my mouth from that dodgy truth inducing serum. Pfft, damned brain.
You see, I rock at convincing myself that everyone on the planet is more stable and emotionally secure and better at EVERYTHING than me. I know that the rational truth is that we all have moments of yuck about ourselves, be it physically or with our inner goddesses, but dammit I win the ‘I suck’ competition, alright! And, um, becoming a mother has been no help in this department. Apart from the first couple of days post birth when I could have single handedly cured cancer but was too busy being an incredible mother, I haven’t felt full of maternal goodness and naturally wonderful. In fact, I’ve felt less like ME since I became ‘Mama’ (ouch). When I left the hospital with my tiny little baby I was expecting someone to tap me on the shoulder laughing “haha, look at this, she thinks she gets to take the baby home! Sorry love, you can’t leave with her, you don’t know what you’re doing.” BAM! And for the most part I still don’t know what I’m doing. Maybe I never will.
But I love them. I love them so freaking much. While they’re jumping on the couch and pushing vegies around their plates and making me age prematurely, I love them. While their tiny, pointy, torturous elbows are bruising my soft fleshy body parts, I love them. When they are walking snot production units, I love them. When they screech at me, I love them. When I sit down and I get mauled and jumped on, I love them. When I am up to them allll night, I love them. When everything I do for them is wrong (I cut the toast wrong, I pick the wrong clothes, I cook the wrong food, sometimes I even cuddle wrong), I love them. When they pick their dad over me, I love them. When I hate me, I love them.
I studied the brightly lit gentleman with the nice smile and great complexion at the chemist for a while. His posture was like the natural stoop of a big old tree. His hands were crinkled and creased and had done their share of work. His hair was fine and grey, not full and shiny. And with sadness I realised that with each of his laboured steps he was getting closer to his final days on earth. But through the subtle curling of his lips, I could see love, and value and worthiness. A lifetime full of it; I could see a sweetheart (who I overheard has already passed away, sob), I saw love for children, love from children. Adoration and respect from friends, colleagues and a whole community people who treasured this human on some level. And in that single, profound moment, I felt that just like the pansy that was potted just for me last year, this man’s smile was just for me too.
I won’t live forever either, one day the world will exist without me. I can’t even tell you how confronting that thought is (classic megalomania, look at me go!). But when I’m (hopefully) very, very old and I lean on my walking stick in the futuristic-new-age-well-lit-beautifully-carpeted-chemist, I hope that my legacy is a whole heap of glorious, cloaking, saturating love, I hope it shines off me like it did this man. And when I smile at that gorgeous young lady with her perfectly behaved children, I hope she knows that despite how much of a battle it feels like, and how much she doesn’t like herself and how much she feels she is getting wrong, she is loved. If I get the privilege of capturing someone with a single smile, I hope it gives them the epiphany it gave me.
Happy very, very belated Mother’s Day, Mamas. Go love yourselves sick. XX
Photo credit: http://hqwide.com/old-hands-cane-life-story-wallpaper-51445/
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Waiver: if this blog post didn’t make sense it’s because I haven’t slept since 2008.
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