Monday, 2 May 2011


I have had this window open now for the better part of 4 hours and have left it hanging in the breeze the whole time. Like an assignment that's due tomorrow that I'm putting off until the very last minute. Which is ridiculous because this is a blog, and the only reason to write in it is because I want to. There's no have to anything. And yet, here it sits, like a precocious middle child, reminding me of my duties, and feeling guilty for avoiding them.

It should not be difficult to write, there has been a lot happening in recent times. First and foremost I took a holiday. A charlatan's holiday, in that we left at 10am after I had worked through the night, and I had to come back in the middle for a late shift, but still, we went somewhere new where the walls were white and the ocean crashed outside my window and the air tasted of salt. It was lovely to go to bed at night with the doors open to the view and to hear the tempestuous sea. For the first few nights the weather was quite wild, and in our 10th floor apartment the waves still roared. It was an angry sea.

The first morning I woke up, and there was sun on my face rising over that water. It reflected off the mirror next to the bed, and refracted it all over the white room so that everything sparkled. I have not slept so well as I did the last few nights, in months. Years maybe. That glorious white noise speaking of power and fury and wind rocked me as softly as any lullaby all night long. It kept me calm and zen, even when I discovered that the Possum had drawn all over a wall in crayon, and had tipped a bowl of cocoa pops on the cream carpet.

The air did beautiful things to my skin and made my hair shine. I went swimming in the waves, and licked the salt from my lips, smelt it on my arms. I played in the sand with the kids and ate whatever I wanted. I drank sweet bacardi with fresh mint and I ate chocolate while sniffling over the Royal Wedding. I read 3 Mills and Boon stories while sticky with salt and stretched out on the unmade bed. I luxuriated in our in room spa bath and let the jets and the bubbles transport me to some place else.

The kids had a lovely time too, but I was reminded of how much work they can be out of routine. They were constantly bored, or fidgety, or grumpy, or hungry hungry hungry, and it was interesting remembering that they needed to be thought of at all times again. While I am at work, someone else is remembering that you need to take tiny bladder toilet breaks every 2 hours and that meals need to be about the same apart. Whereas I can often forget to eat, especially if I'm off in la la land as it was very easy to drift this past week. But there were lovely moments too. The Elfling has been reading books on her own, and "in her head" and it makes me heart glad. Watching her sitting on the couch curled up with a book made me squee, just a little bit.

The Possum loved the sand, was terrified of the waves, and adored drawing on everything. The walls, the carpet, the tiles, and even the speakers for the tv. I spent a good bit of every morning finding that which he had decorated while we had foolishly slept in, and weighing up how much that extra hour in the morning was worth. But he smiled a lot and he tried valiantly to talk, gradually, oh so gradually, moving on from pointing and grunting to mimicking sounds. He was and continues to be so delighted when he is understood, that I feel that talking will be very soon. But in the meantime I don't mind at all, he is still my snuggliest baby, he loves cuddles, he loves books, and he adores me, in a way that makes me feel humbled to be his mother.

And the wild Monkey enjoyed herself too. She has been reminding me lately a lot of how much of a failure I felt as a mother when the Elfling was four years old, and I am so glad that I've lived through that long enough to know that it is not just me and that it will get better. Four is tough. She is bright and clever and far too quick witted, but there are still vestiges of babyhood as well. A few soft reminders at cheek and wrist that speak of my curly haired baby girl, who gets lost so often now in my fiery red headed preschooler. She of the corkscrew curls and the titian temper. She is flailing a little at the moment, and I am missing her dreadfully, to the extent that the two of us are going on a special holiday soon, where she gets to be made a fuss of for a change, instead of being sandwiched between her high maintenance siblings.

Bingley and I are doing better as well, with the ability to spend time together under the sun. My job is wretched on a relationship. Any relationship - and it is only made more difficult by the things that are meant to bind us so strongly. Children and money have to be the single biggest stressors in any marriage, and play into it my misogynistic career and it's chaotic. But after a few nights of sitting back together listening to the waves, and waking in white light, I feel more settled. Restless, still not breathing properly, but settled. I still have moments of wretched despair, but they are less often than they were, and I take comfort in this.

As part of our renegotiating of our relationship I asked Bingley to take more photos of me, so that I might be part of our family chronicles. Usually this exercise brings me to the point of despair, with poorly focused photos that are framed to best exhibit my nose hair or back fat, but he took 2 single photos this holiday that made me happy that I insisted. I look happy and relaxed and alive, to the extent that I received no less than 15 messages on facebook in the hour after I posted. And I know that when I am having a bad day, and it will come, sooner rather than later, I can look at that photo, and know that in that moment I was happy. That in spite of my catastrophising fear that I have never been happy, that my eyes there tell a different story.

And for the rest, I've learned how to take self-portraits.


Averil said...

Oh Jenn, those Rainbow shots are SUPERB! Did you take those??

And I wanted to say, selfishly, how happy I was to see more of YOU in your FB holidays pics. I love seeing your beautiful face, just as much as I love reading your always always beautiful words.

xxx Avey

Jenn said...

I took all of the photos except the one of the kids and I under the rainbow :)

They're following me around at the moment, determined to cheer me up, even when I'm trying to be miserable!

Nina said...

Is that you in the last pic - gorgeous!


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