One hears a lot about how awkward it is to look after children, what a burden of cost, energy, hassle, etc, they are, and parents tend to mention these things quite a lot, perhaps in a very British form of self-deprecation, and also because it is bloody hard work, especially when you are old and poor.
Now I’m not saying we never hear about the good stuff but I think it’s time I mentioned some of the good stuff from this particular sofa.
Just to bring the mood back down, it occurs to me to write in the form of a letter to the bairn, which is something for her to have in the event that I were to (god forbid) vanish from her life at a premature date.
You have made me eat healthier, in an attempt to set you a good example.
You are making me fitter through continual heavy lifting and carrying. The steady weight increase allows me to increase my own strength in a nicely paced gradual way. I am developing the biceps of a sailor. I love to feel strong like this, carrying you.
You have made me realise I am actually a grown up and am entitled to charge properly when I work.
You have shown me how much I do know and how competent and skilled I really am.
I have had to stop worrying about how I look, which I regard as a pleasant holiday from the usual pressures.
You have made my parents very happy and we are getting along much better these days. Mum in particular is full of lightness and fun when you are there. When you laughed delightedly to see her the other day, I was very happy.
You make me smile a lot because you enjoy life and laugh so often.
Your delightful little body is so warm and delicious. Observing the development of its processes has taught me greater reverence for my own body, weary and saggy and voluminous and worn as it is. It works, and it’s quite powerful, and quite adept, and it gave you life, so that’s not bad.
You have allowed me to clear out a lot of junk, both literally and metaphorically.
Prioritisation has never been a strong point for me but I have made a significant improvement in this area. Similarly I am much more focused about how I spend my time. (That’s my excuse as to why I haven’t hardly done any jelly posts for so long).
Dear daughter, thank you for these and other gifts. I wish you find your place in the world, with a reasonable level of contentment, as I have, and have some good adventures along the way, as I have.
With love from your Ma.
(Well that’ll do for now.)