I want it NOW!
I often say my kids live in the now. What matters to them most, is what is happening right now.
Can they have the PS4 controller – now.
Can they have a snack – now.
Can so and so play at our house – now!
But I think that is most of us. We are so focussed on what we have to do today. What we have to do tomorrow. What we have planned for the future.
It is easy to forget what has gone before.
The events, experiences and relationships that made us who we are today.
Last night, I went to the movies. I watched the Mamamia sequel.
Here we go again.
I live in a house of boys. My nine year old was happy to come along. My 11 year old said it wasn’t his thing and watched Mission Impossible with his Dad. My six year old, as usual, had little choice in the matter.
So, the three of us went to the movies. Master Six didn't stop talking. Once the movie started, he had a lot of questions.
'Mum, I’ve heard that song before,' - you live with me of course you've heard 'Dancing Queen.'
'Mum, is the mum really dead?'
'Mum, I think this is a girl’s movie.'
'Mum, Mum, Mum...'
I don’t make it to the movies very often and was in the mood to zone out for an hour or so. But my son had other plans. He was becoming increasingly restless. I had semi-bribed him with the promise of a pack of sour sweets if he was good during the movie. This resulted in him enquiring at regular intervals, 'Am I being good?' At one point during his various seat gyrations he took my hand and held it to his cheek. He often does this. It always makes me stop and remember.
Ready to pop
My third pregnancy was my best – physically and mentally. For the most part I felt relaxed. Physically I kept in good shape. I did not stop dancing. And by dancing, I mean, really dancing. Three or four times a week I attended a class called Dance Xtreme. It lived up to its name. No matter the size of my stomach, I was a woman on the move with a groove. I remember walking out of class with a massive tummy and a group of young girls looking my way in horror.
‘Don’t worry, it’s not contagious girls.’ I said, with a touch of third baby ‘tude.
I only gained 10 kilograms throughout the whole pregnancy (half the amount of my previous pregnancy) and was completely up myself with achievement. I stopped exercising about two weeks before giving birth, but that was only because it was the Christmas shutdown. I would have entered the labour ward with a jazz run if it was socially acceptable.
Preferred method of entry to the Labour Ward
On 9th January 2012 Noah arrived by caesarean section.
Everything was going to plan. Until it didn’t.
I swelled up to Teletubby proportions after the surgery. A bit of swelling was normal for me, but this was comical. I remember family and friends coming to visit and having a look of confusion on their face, whilst trying to be polite at the same time.
Hospital staff repeatedly reassured me everything was fine, but I wasn’t so sure about my very sore and protruding stomach. It looked bigger than it did before giving birth.
I was in a lot of pain.
It hurt to walk.
It hurt to eat.
As the saying goes - literally in this instance, go with your gut, because two days after going home I was back in hospital. Scar tissue had wrapped itself tightly around my intestine and I was really unwell.
I was readmitted to hospital with my newborn. Noah spent quite a bit of time in the nursery, so I could sleep and recover. Each time he came back into my room to feed, I would cuddle my tiny future chatterbox, and pace the room. I would hold his cheek with the palm of my hand and press it softly into my own. I would sing to him (maybe even an ABBA song, just to make this story more interesting.)
It makes for a good story
It amazes me that to this day, my son still gains so much comfort from this. How often he takes my hand and presses it to his cheek. It helps him fall asleep. It soothes him when he is upset. It’s his instinctive response to any kind of trauma and yet he was only a few days old when I did this.
I know other mums with similar experiences. One girlfriend was going through a tough time and would sing a particular song to her baby and cry. For a short while it was a nightly routine. To this day if she sings that song to her now eight year old son, he still cries.
We are the sum of our life experiences – even from those first few days of life. There are relationships, comments and incidents that have helped shape us and our opinions of ourselves. Like that mean kid on the playground who called you ugly and you believed it – maybe forever, or the English teacher who said you had ‘something special.’
By our 40s we have a lot of life experience – statistically close to half of our whole life experience. What has made you – you? Why do you think you react as you do? Could understanding be the key to inner peace and self acceptance?