No Privacy but a little bit of Shmaltz
A few years ago I was cash rich and progeny poor. A close friend with three children confided in me.
“There is no hiding place. Once you get home personal space is a Defunct concept.” I nodded with feigned understanding, thinking of the morning I had planned doing… Nothing. They carried on “This morning I had to shut the bathroom door and shout – going to the toilet is not a spectator sport, please leave me alone” for some reason this story stayed in my head. As my Didsbury garden grew with Didsbury Son and then sprouted spectacularly with Mighty-Headed Boy and Pearl-Topped girl it moves from story to prophesy.
In the morning, the crawling-cruising-walking the landing leads to two tottering babies trying to gatecrash the shower and Didsbury Son’s reluctant school preparation. This Dystopian future is my present. The only practical lock here is on a stair gate.
It is a 24 hour cycle of pre-teen identity, post-feed teething trauma and trying to separate Science homework from primary coloured puzzles. There is no let-up. We play tag when work or European football calls but International games, nothing. There are plenty of laughs, but it is constant in a way that even my male-tuned football obsession finds hard to comprehend._
Within this 24-Hour cycle that breeds grey hairs and furrowed foreheads faster than a filled nappy, there are Little House on the Prairie moments. Snatches of soppy, eye-wetting pureness that are more soothing than the Pethidine strength drugs I will need to correct the damage lively twins can do to a spine looking backwards to. 39.
In my life I can think of 3 such moments of pure bliss. The first happened in a previous century when after many many years I witnessed a first and long-awaited Wembley victory. Groping teary-eyed through my Malibu-drenched psyche I sidestepped the pre-Didsbury Wife attachment to sloppily hug my equally clueless friend as we mumbled ecstasies. As we snuggled our then partners prepared their exit strategies.
The second seems a finger click away to me but was with a little Didsbury Son. I awoke one Saturday morning to find my little blondini inches away from my face, waiting patiently for my eyes to twitch open. It was simple and the most beautiful site. The look of delight on his face was far more than I deserved and altered my perception of reality far more than a lost weekend at a festival in 1987.
The third was last night. A combination of teething and tiredness had taken my little pearl-topped girl beyond soothing. She howled from the utterly safe arms of Didsbury Wife and, grasping for sleep she caught my eye. I looked at her wide-open and wide-eyed and realised how lucky I am.