Yesterday N and I went to a family lunch at his brother’s place. There were little children there. I don’t often spend time with little children any more. Life stages.
There were gorgeous little brothers, 4 years old and 15 months old. The older one a confident little man full of information about dinasours. The little one shy, all huge blue eyes and cuddles. I haven’t cuddled a little person like that for a very long time. He quietly nestled his head into my shoulder and woosh, lots of memories and emotions.
Anyway. It was one of those days where lots of generations merged. From N’s elderly mother, to his brother and wife (about 10 years older than us), a few around our age (including N’s sister, her husband and N’s ex partner and her partner… are you keeping up). There were the young adult children and their children.
As the sweet little dude cuddled up to me (and later as the thoughts percolated down) I thought about how much I wanted to have children. So much it hurt, a lot, almost all the time. Not being able to have what most people took for granted turned it into an obsession of sorts I guess. To be honest it’s hard to remember the exact feelings, they are ghosts, faded… just a shadow now.
But now, more than twenty years later, it occured to me how different actual parenting is to what I had longed for. I so badly wanted that little head nestling my shoulder and I had years of it and it was sweet. That is such a tiny part of parenting, as I now know. I look back at who I was and I realise how pathetically naive I was.
There is not much point putting into words how I feel about parenting now. People say it’s the hardest job and that is a total understatement. The rollercoaster than never stops to let you have the much longed for upchuck. You just hold it in and hope it doesn’t ooze out of your ears.
Yesterday I had a few hours with a smograsboard of the generations and it made me reflective. The working mum with the little kids, worrying about childcare fees and finding the energy to keep all the balls in the air. The young pregnant woman, hopeful and probably scared (because of previous life experience). The grandparents, watching and worrying.
Most of all I think of the sweet little head on my shoulder and I try not to cry.