I am authentically myself when I am not at all myself, and it is magical, beautiful, wonderful.
What do I mean by this? Well, I’m not sure. It’s a little too obscure to understand or explain, but I’m certain you’ve felt it. I’m certain you’ll know what I mean when I tell you.
I’ve been reading the BFG to my son. He’s seven, and the best, and so naturally I want to give him the most beautiful experiences life has to offer. Reading is one of those experiences, and the magic of Roald Dahl is…well, it’s magic. There’s no real way to capture that feeling, for me.
And when I read this beautiful story to him, I so often find myself transformed. Every night I become the BFG. I put on my unusually accurate english accent and off I go. I am the BFG (or am I Roald Dahl, it’s hard to really say.)
It’s what I loved so much about acting. Embodying and expressing energies that are not my own is so intoxicating I could easily become addicted to the very thing. The deep booming cutesy tone that flies from my mouth every time the BFG speaks to Sophie: it fills my whole body, it resonates down to the bone.
I so love it.
I so love being authentically me, without being me at all.
I sang about fairy lights as we drove. I remember. My tiny head bobbling about in the back seat while Mum drove us through the darkness to her weekly game of basketball.
‘I love your beautiful songs, Brooke.’ It was a line she’d repeat all the way up until I left home; the warbling six year old I was never did stop making up songs.
Fairy lights. They really were beautiful in the distance. Just window lights shining from houses on the horizon, a lot of them. So many it looked like a sea of twinkling stars dancing beside us as we drove.
I’m not in the most peaceful of places. Looking after a newborn is not the easiest of things, and it’s especially difficult when your body begins to misbehave. Mine has done so spectacularly of late, many thanks to all the regular post birth complaints. Crunch, screech, ache, sob. But life can’t stop because I am in pain.We cannot pause our children, we cannot pause the laundry and the cooking that must be done in order to keep us all happy and healthy.
Fairy lights. I needed something to get me through the chaos and through these achy, sleepless days. And here I am, typing away, every now and then gazing up at our ornamental bookshelf, tired but grateful for the unexpected burst of creativity that found me earlier. Fairy lights. I’ve strung some up around the bookshelf frame and it is the most beautiful thing to stare at them and just…let them take me somewhere.
I love my children beyond it all and I am grateful to even have a home and things to care for. But sometimes I need a breath. Sometimes I need to raise my head above the water and find one of the joys of my soul waiting to soothe me.
Fairy lights. Beauty bringing me back to peace, once more.
It’s funny, isn’t it. How we zone in on the things that happen in life that signal an ending of something and the beginning of something else.
They roll on in, these momentous happenings, and soon they pass: although we do wish we could cling to the beauty of them. We do wish we could hold on to their quiet precious hands just that little bit longer than they allow us to. So we can breathe them in. So we can close our eyes and know something bigger than ordinary is actually happening to us.
That’s a lot of waffling just to get to the point isn’t it, my lovely bloggy friends. And yet I’m certain you all know me well enough to understand that waffling is my way of holding on to the precious moments of my life a little longer than the average human might.
Without further ado…
It’s a girl.
A beautiful, darling, button nose girl: isn’t that just the loveliest thing?
She’s been flip-side of my belly for a week and a day. It’s been a foggy time. A time where my hormones have screamed abnormal things and my rational side has begged to make it all feel a little more normal than that. But I am perfectly okay, and that is just about all I am asking of this post birth phase.
I am being so, so, so well cared for by a husband I love even brighter the second time around. I am kept busy giggling at my other children who tumble around, daily, and so often remind me of tiger cubs at play (especially when the tiger mum nudges them away and gently snaps at their tumbling bodies, in order to pull them into line.)
Eight years ago it was, when I sat on the couch, a day before my 30th birthday, suspecting today might be the day I’d meet my very first baby.
There was a muslei bar involved. Four AM insomnia. And I suppose there must have been some sort of mild lower belly/back discomfort that had me thinking this particular morning might be different to other mornings. Waiting for baby. How epic a wait it had become.
Today, I sit upon the couch once more, again at an extraordinary hour, again watching the morning show and dealing with certain pregnancy discomforts. I am smiling quietly as I think of the years to come where I will reflect on the days I once ‘waited for baby’. Usually eating something grainy. Usually at ridiculous o’ clock.
I’m nearly 38 weeks pregnant, now, so it’s lovely to think that baby will be with us any time from now on. Just when it will join us is the greatest of mysteries and, I suppose, one of the most beautiful of life’s epic frustrations. It is one of the many times in a woman’s life where she is utterly out of control, and all that truly can be done to remedy the pain of resistance is relax and let it be. Let it be. It’s not an easy concept for a human mind to grasp, is it, and yet here I am. Having to give it my very best shot.
It’s come at the heals of a good few years of learning to ‘let it be’. Learning to release control and understand that life is only ever what it is, as opposed to what I always thought it was meant to be. What I often try too hard to make it.
I’m tired. I don’t know when I’ll meet this baby, I just don’t know.
But I do know I’m about to roll back into bed for the morning, which will be lovely.
I do know that first breakfast was lovely, and second breakfast (‘I don’t think they know about second breakfast, Pip’) will likely be wonderful, too.
Either way, I’m certain I’ll look back at this uncontrollable life, fondly.
The days I waited for my sweet, sweet babies to come with such frustration and desperation.
The days life happened sneakily in the background while I waited for something else to arrive.
It is so very lovely. Peaceful if I were to give it a word.
And here I am, relaxing my way through another afternoon of life in the 35th week of pregnancy.
I had a rather large shock, today. We all did, actually, including baby, I’d imagine…which was partly what made the shock ever more shocking to me.
It all began with the sound of water splashing about in the laundry. An unfamiliar sound, which instantly raised alarm bells (isn’t the human brain completely brilliant? How it records the predictability of life so thoroughly that any change to the norm has it asking questions. Prodding for investigation.)
I rushed in to see if my suspicions of unusual laundry activity were valid. They were. The sink had flooded and water was spilling onto the tiles; an unwelcome flood, indeed. After fishing out the gunk that had somehow blocked the plug hole, I began the clean up efforts. One towel, two towel, three towels and that would do it.
Then it happened. I slipped, as if on a comical banana peel, on a puddle of water that had very cheekily pooled in the door way, and in moments I was on my bottom. Shocked. And extremely worried about the little baby inside me who, no doubt, felt a great big jolt at the moment my full weight struck the ground.
There were tears of fright as I relayed the scene to my very calm and wonderful husband. We both agreed. I would visit the hospital, to make sure bub was still travelling okay. I waddled up to the birth suite and met with the midwife (a lovely, gentle, kind one: aren’t they the best sort?) who directed me into the monitoring room, with a soft voice, and began the usual monitoring procedures.
Two bands around the belly to check for contractions and baby heart beat. One clamp on my finger to monitor my own internal state. And there I would stay, just for a little while, to make sure there was no sudden decline in baby’s health due to the fall.
Thankfully, bubby passed the test with flying colours, and here I am on the couch: so grateful for the beautiful, supportive health care system I have access to at any time, for free, during my pregnancy. Bubs is boofing away on the inside. Rascal one and two are quietly doing their thing on the outside. Everything is good again.
Although, my goodness, I do wish the drama might pipe down a bit.
I’d just like a few extra weeks. No falls, no unusual contractions.
Just a sweet, calm breeze, wishing us merrily on our way, again.
At the end of the day (this day, to be specific) I feel like a 38 year old mother of twenty. I’ve managed a super healthy lunch, yoga in the morning…and yet.
My husband just came in from work and said the most beautiful words I’ve ever heard. He said, ‘Honey. You can go and hide away, if you want.’ In other words, ‘Honey. I’ve got this. Off you go. Pop your feet up. Go be a lovely, shiny pregnancy unicorn, again.’
I cannot tell you how those words (even the less dramatic version) made me feel, but I can say I’ve done exactly that and I feel the world melting off me.
I had to giggle, the other day. Thinking of my first pregnancy, versus this one (I’m currently 35 weeks pregnant with baby number three). Back then, I specifically remember shouting across the rooftops with glee in my third trimester. Boundless energy. Very few aches. So much lovely, delicious time for life.
Even though I was pregnant during summer, my ego happily yapped to the world, ‘I don’t know what every one is on about. I feel completely fine.’ It was the absolute truth of things. I did. And I didn’t even think twice about judging those who’d complain about every ache and pain of pregnancy because, for heavens sake, it really wasn’t that bad.
Fast forward eight years and two small children. I still try to maintain that beautiful glass half full attitude I’ve come to value in life, although I’ve got to say, I look back now and think: ‘Oh my goodness. How funny my ego was to be so gloriously blind.’
Obviously there are many factors that contribute to whether the third trimester of pregnancy is going to be sunshine and rainbows, but with my limited life experience at the time of my first pregnancy…I wasn’t to know that. I thought: If I can do this, all of you can do this. It is as simple as that. Really quite black and white.
Well, it’s not, actually. It’s really not.
A huge amount of energy goes into raising children, and it’s lovely to have this current pregnancy reality check keeping me real, however awkward it is to look back at the old me and giggle (with a slight edge of horror) at my naivety.
Childless pregnant me wasn’t wrong to celebrate the ease of pregnancy, but I do wish she had been able to see the wider perspective in advance. She didn’t know that one day she’d be heavily pregnant, homeschooling and caring for a house and two little ones (during a pandemic). Even if she had have known, she probably would have said, ‘Oh, you’ll be right.’ Because she was alright. So why wouldn’t I be?
The truth is, I am alright, and really quite proud of where I’m at given the exhaustion that quite often pops up and zaps me in all the places I wish I was more alive. For instance, in a perfect world, I’d bound out of bed and get straight into painting and gardening: our new home is calling for me to do those things all the way.
But I am only human.
And because I am human, I am limited to only the things my body will allow.
But how beautiful, too. Because without this pregnancy, and the limitations my waning energy is presenting me with, I’d not have had the chance to tell my ego to back off and stop being a dick to myself.
I have been forced to see the truth of what is, as opposed to what I wish it was…and completely surrender. To adjust. To learn to be happy with taking baby steps in getting the house done, in getting life done.
So, good on you, baby number three. You’ve been a wonderful lesson.
And even though you’re taking all my energy, I adore you.
It’s a beautiful time, for me. I’m seven weeks away from meeting my sweet little baby number three, and nesting has well and truly begun.
Life has been busy and forceful, if I look at it carefully and agree with the truth of it. Lockdown and homeschooling. Rushing to finish painting our home before baby arrives (I simultaneously love painting, and never want to see another tin of paint again.)
Beneath it all, though, lies a quiet hum. A hum so lovely, I’m certain it’s the stuff a summer breeze is made of. Lately, it’s been with me when I open the baby’s wardrobe; I stand there a little longer than I need to, just because it’s so lovely to be with my baby in that ‘real’ kind of way.
It’s the same loveliness that occasionally stands with me at my children’s doorway while they sleep. And, although I’ll never deny that motherhood aches and destroys at times, I’ll always be grateful for the quiet moments it brings my soul.
She places her palms over her ears and breathes into her belly. ‘Don’t wish it away. Such a precious age,’ she’s heard it a million times. She smiles politely. Tells them, silently, they’ve forgotten. Blocked out the bad times, remembered only the good.
She wants to say to them that every coin has two sides; every story, multiple themes running at once. And love. Even the love of a parent has two sides, always. When it’s easy, and when it’s hard.
Bathroom days are hard.
She counts the hairs stuck to the bathroom tiles. She won’t have time to pick them up, piece by scraggily piece. Too busy being an excellent mother, not wishing too loud for peace and quiet to find her once again.
She belongs in the bathroom.
They belong in fresh-white homes, lovingly tending to their overgrown toenails.
I think about her, sometimes, when my heart turns to sun. Nan. Her heart used to shine like that, too, which is why I can’t help but think of her when I feel intense love radiating from my own chest. As an off shoot of the kind of love she gave to me (and, let’s face it, probably genetics) I am who I am. And I love, as deeply as I love.
We fluff our ways through life, bothering about the silliest of things: when really we should hold the beauty, longer. Feel the love of our loved ones, longer. Express our love to others, without fear: give them the beautiful gift of sun that Nan gave to me.
I often think of Nan, and when I do I wonder why I loved her so deeply, why I still feel her today just as beautifully as I did when she was here. I loved her because she loved me. I loved her because there was never a question when I felt her energy how much it meant to her that I was alive. What a gift to be given by someone. What a gift: to know that you have touched their life, that you have meant something to their moments.
I shine when I look at my children with the same kind of love my Nan did when she looked at me, and I can only hope the depth of that love sinks into them as deeply as it has me.
I’m waffling a bit today, and that’s okay. I’m in my love place. I’m in my world of grateful and I intend to make the most of it and spread Nan’s sunshine, while I’m here.
She would have loved that.
She would have loved that I’ve given her sweet sunshine to you.