Sunday, 3 June 2012

I read your book because of a tattoo

It has been a cold, wet start to winter and the rain seems unlikely to relent any time soon. We were at the beach this long, wet weekend, with the intention of dancing along the sand and collecting shells and spent much time indoors instead, watching movies on the couch and listening longingly to the roar of the stormy ocean outside. It was so wet that even I, the inveterate rainwalker could not head out through the dunes to splash in the waves.

It was a slightly crestfallen Jenn that woke this morning in the grey wetness, looking balefully at the clouds and wishing for the tiniest interlude, a quick steal onto the sand, as I packed up the detritus from the hotel room and the collected pens and sponsor waterbottles from my conference. The children were in surprisingly good humour, considering the resort pool that they had only seen glimpses of and the beach and playground equipment that eluded them as we set off this morning. Bellies full from the buffet breakfast (the highlight of their trip) we drove North West, into the shadow of the volcano to trip through some of the world's most beautiful country.

The bickering from the backseat ebbed and flowed with the raindrops as we ascended into the Border Ranges and into the forest, watching the ephemeral rain waterfalls off the escarpment that are only there when the rain is heavy. A brief hiatus in the bucketing rain left the leaves glossy and wet, with every breeze dislodging heavy drops that splodged over noses and tickled down collars as we pulled everyone out of the car and off to see a waterfall that had eaten through the rock and formed a Natural Bridge, the cave underneath home to thousands of glow worms, seen only by their glistening silken threads.

The spray off the waterfall mingled with the tangy rain drenched air and tasted sweet as it snuggled down in my chest. The girls racing along the paths, asking with teenaged exasperation why we were walking through the forest on a rainy day just to see TREES. When I asked the Possum, who was holding my hand, he smiled and told me the trees were singing. Whereupon I tumbled him up as he giggled, hugged him tightly until he squirmed and whispered that that was exactly it - I needed to hear the trees singing.

I am glad that at least one of my children has inherited my insatiable need to be out in the green, though to be fair to the other two ratbags, they enjoyed themselves as well, watching waterfalls and trying to catch glimpses of pademelons as they sprung between trees.


It was the Possum's third birthday this weekend. Three. It makes my heart ache to think of a time when he was not part of our lives, when I did not wake with his feet warming on some part of my body while his body curls with his elbows tucked in neatly. I was afraid that as he grew older my need for another baby would resurface, but he is so much more than enough that every stage of his growing older is more lovely than the last. Being his mother and getting to hold him against my heart is such a massive privilege. I am a very lucky woman. We are all utterly besotted and he is thriving.

On Friday we took his birthday cake into daycare where he solemnly blew out all the candles and exulted in the joy that is quite unexplainable of having a birthday. More than just the attention and balloons, it was his joy in simply being alive in his new shoes that flash as he walks and help him leap puddles in a single bound. Of his skinny little hips in his new jeans and shirt that made him look older, wiser and ultimately more vulnerable than he ever seemed as a newborn. I had to restrain myself from holding him to me, just to absorb through my skin the radiance that lights him from the inside out, exploding through his cheeky grins.

I feel often that I should write more here, about what is happening in their lives, of their stories and their triumphs, but I also feel that many are not my stories to tell; to share with the world at large. Though as the guardian of something so wonderful it feels as though I want to bring that light to others too. Do I sound like every besotted mother, convinced of the loveliness of her own progeny? Of course, and it's how it should be, but I know there is something special about my boy - if only because, temporarily, he is mine.


The title of this post comes from Vonnegut, who I read on the advice of strangers who commented and submitted to Contrariwise. I was reminded of it as I clicked on a blog I once read miserably, to push the blade deeper into my chest and hope that the fragile creation within it would finally die and stop hurting. And it didn't hurt at all tonight, and I didn't even finish because I was not interested in playing with knives any more. I read a little and all I could think was "So it goes". And while that felt empty and strange for a little while, I was pouring a bowl of cereal later for dinner when I broke into a huge grin and a laugh tumbled forward from my lips. Because the ridiculousness of finding a life philosophy from a tattoo that echoes in all of the secret places of your soul was so delicious that only a squirrel could understand. Or perhaps a tree.

So it goes.

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