Saturday, 5 December 2009

comfort and joy

I looked out of the window just now and felt a huge wave of joy. I am sitting in a café, about to have the best cappucho in town, it is a beautiful day, my lovely son and husband are together at home about to go out and explore the local sorting office and I just saw a pregnant woman walk by and thought ‘Thank God I don’t have to do that again.’

Did I mention the joy? I should. I should not forget to tell how being a mother, or at least being Snooks’ mother, has brought me such indescribable joy. I assume it is the same for others. People don’t often mention it. Very English. We don’t talk about joy much. But I have seen it on the faces of some of my mumfriends. I didn’t know them before we all had our babies but I am guessing that that face-splitting, skin-flushing, eye-illuminating smile is a new feature.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t say I was never happy before Snooks. I was, certainly so, and would no doubt have continued to be, at times, had he not been given to us.

But this joy – I don’t believe that anything, a book in print, losing three stone, the dream house – that anything else could bring it.

I say ‘given’. I know we did all the necessaries to bring him here, and if you do that sort of thing often enough, nature generally does the rest. But it still all seems very hit and miss somehow and I only ever allowed myself the hope that we would have a baby. I never planned to. That would assume more control than I ever felt I had over the event. So that is why he feels given. He is a gift to us, to me really as I pushed him out of my body, and I just hope that I can look after this gift, this perfect little human, with the care that he deserves.

I called him an angel once, you know like you do when you are canoodling and you have fallen madly in love again. The Engineer happened to hear and corrected me. He is not an angel, he said, and never will be. But he is a perfect human being. It still moves me. It is interesting that I am more moved by the thought of him being a perfect human being, with all the flaws and confusion and conflicts that that involves than by the idea of him as an angel – something I can’t be and can’t imagine being and can’t be with.

It reminds me that we will both fail, but that we can keep trying always to be better. Isn’t that what being a human being is about?

When Snooks was born, a friend counselled me away from playing Saint Mum - always kind and attentive, never angry or impatient or sad.

“If he grows up thinking you are perfect, how will he cope when he is not? And how will he find another woman to match it. Don’t do that to him.”

Did I mention the joy?

In my book, the season of goodwill is upon us. For me, it starts with December. The cards get bought and posted, the decorations go up and the tree is bought and decorated at the first opportunity. None of this saving it all up until Christmas Eve business.(What was that all about? My parents were teachers and I am reliably informed that during the school run up to Christmas, no teacher can bear to go home each night to the same pantomime.)

This will be our first Christmas together when Snooks is able to understand some of that pantomime – at least the present and mince pie part.

He is already very pleased with the daily opening of the advent calendar window and has so far noticed the moon, the sheep and the candles of the emerging nativity scene.

The challenge may be bringing home to him the reason for the festivities – to understand how the birth of a baby brought peace on earth and joy to men and women of goodwill.

Well it took me long enough.

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