Part of the best thing about leaving no-ties freedom behind and becoming a mother, is that it’s a lesson in living in the moment.
Suddenly it’s the little things that matter…not the great big wow moments. It’s the gentle rhythm of day to day life and the little pockets of joy that pepper the hours that roll into one. In fact it’s precisely because they can so easily roll into one that its good to remember the little things.
For me living here in Chiswick, it’s all about the small moments. I’m not going to be writing about the wild night out I had at the cocktail bar, or the fabulous play we saw this week, or the long boozy Sunday lunch we did with friends. Those regular beats belong to a melody of the past.
And my Chiswick life has a more gentle, if just as passionate and life-affirming tune.
It’s the barely-Spring walk up the river, breath-held wonder at the new chicks; feet crackling on low-tide shingle as we watch the misty breath come off the faces of the rowing eight who glide seemingly effortlessly through the water.
(Although I know they are like a troop of ducks, calm on the surface, but underneath they are working at super power to keep themselves afloat. And isn’t that like my life itself…like all mothers’ lifes, wandering through the journey of family life appearing calm, when really I feel I am working ten to the dozen to keep my family raised up and afloat.)
And then it’s moving to an outside table, where one of us is happy because it’s fresh air, and another is happy because there’s no music (me!) and DS is just happy that there is fish and chips on offer.It’s the celebratory treat of a family pub lunch. Our reward for coming out the other end of four weeks of chest infections (including a hospital stay for me, see
)It’s the grumpy row over which table to sit at and the drooping blood sugars threatening to ruin the treat before it’s even begun.
It’s enjoying a chilled, crisp, large glass of white wine and tucking into mussels…fingers and shells acting as cutlery, warm buttered bread mopping up juices.
It’s DS proudly reading the pub name from the menu: The Bell & Crown (right on the river, on Strand on the Green – one of those amazing views that makes you wonder if you’re really in london at all).
It’s happiness at being at a local pub and spending money on a big treat (the kind of treat that pre-kids you’d have every week or more without blinking an eye!).
It’s listening to the other punters…solitary cyclists with pints of ale; a table of European tourists; a group of friends; another family with a baby; a sweet older couple, still staring lovingly into each others’ eyes. A friendly waiter who smiles, even though this must be his stressful, busiest time.
On Sunday back at our house it’s knowing that we live in London and that the world is on our doorstep, and yet choosing to stay in and spend most of the day in our PJs.
It’s twister, and dominoes, and ‘sorry’ (the board game). It’s Winnie the Pooh and Peter Pan jigsaws. It’s stories and colouring.
And then it’s guilt-inducing but oh-so-gorgeous snugly sofa netflix time (we limit tv and still feel guilty when we put it on, although DH is much more relaxed about it – about everything – than me).
So it becomes wonder pets. And Charlie Brown. And Cars 2. And popcorn. And chicken Caesar salad.
But I get to read on the tube, and I see some of the old familiar commuter faces. And I do enjoy my work, and yes I consider myself a full time mother, even though I work full time. For what on earth is a part time mother?
And it’s spag Bol for supper, and more dominoes and animal lotto while DH finishes cooking.
Then it’s daddy reading sponge bob, which mummy just DOESN’T get…and the mummy reading four books and then falling asleep. It’s waking up at midnight and having a fumbly but yes lovely shag, because yes it’s the ‘window’ that everyone who’s trying to conceive knows by heart! And we want another baby to grow our family even more.
Then it’s not getting back to sleep, and eventually getting up to write and tweet, even though it’s 1am and DH, DS and the cat are all sensible and snoring.
And it’s dishes not done, and tights hanging up to dry from the doorway, and DS’ artwork stuck on every wall, because we love it and hi pm so much. And it’s too much mess and too much clutter, and too many dreams, all jostling for space.
And somewhere in the midst of it all it’s the quiet certainty of family. And another day to come of being a family in Chiswick, trying to live 150%.