Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Spilt Milk (Note to Self)

What have I been talking about? 'You don't know you're born', and similar unhelpful cliches have been flitting through my brain all day. Shame is not a comfortable state. Some things happened to cause me to regret my yesterday's post:

This morning I caught a few minutes of Radio 4's usually wonderful, always thought-provoking 'Woman's Hour'. In my moments' listening I heard a woman tell Jenny Murray how, 17 years ago, she went to her missing daughter's house because her son had told her there was a bad smell there. To cut to the awful nitty-gritty (those of faint disposition look away), she was drawn to the bathroom where the smell was at its worst, and after only a little searching pulled open the bath panel to find her daughter's decomposing body inside.

Words fail me. The mother in me shrieks with anguish for that anguish suffered by this woman. But how can I know? I can't. I can only thank God it's not me, and send her loving thoughts. Now, not only did this woman not curl up in a ball and die, she went on, in the intervening years, to campaign to get the Double Jeopardy law changed, so that the man the family suspected of killing her daughter could be re-tried. (He was, and eventually, this year found guilty).

And so I continued my humdrum day, beginning to be more and more thankful that it was, indeed, humdrum.

And then I got an email from someone I had barely known at school, who in fact, if truth be told, I had little time for then. She wasn't one of the girls you wanted to be seen out and about with at break-time. She kept her thick mousy hair in an untidy pony tail and wore her skirts unfashionably long. This girl, now woman of a certain age like myself, found my email address in the Old Girls' Magazine which had found her in South Africa where she now lives. In her message she had put a link to one of the 2 NGOs she now works for, and within the web page that brought me to there was a link to a film she had made about abused women coming to terms with what had happened to them through the quiet transformatory moves of Kundalini Yoga. In fact she has won an award, the page states, for her work with marginalized women. And she raises three children.

What is it about the Universe? I suppose I needed humbling in some degree. Or a kick up the arse. Tonight I'm just feeling sore and nursing that ol' kick, but maybe someday soon it'll push me into a little action, too.

In the meantime I'm trying to keep a perspective. This is best kept by pausing to listen at Anna-mouse's door for her soft breath and nocturnal snuffles. You are, for God's sake, bringing up a child, I keep telling myself. This is a work in itself. This is important work, if you get it in the slightest degree 'right'. Never mind that other people juggle 58 jobs and 5 kids, or whatever. Never mind that. Never mind them. Acknowledge them, doff your hat, deal with the longing, the wistfulness and stay on the path. Your own.

Never mind that you haven't a clue where it's going.


Rachel said...

Hugs! Don't beat yourself up. Remember this: Those that have the nice cars and hoge houses that you can't seem to afford probably can't afford them either, and are just in debt. People who win awards for making a difference in other people's lives might not even qualify for one from their own children. Keep your heart close to home and with those you love. They will remember.


queendebbee said...

I, for one, hope you never give up your drug of choice! It is obviously a blessing to you and, maybe not so obviously, a blessing to others. Like I've said before, I seriously doubt that that you have only 3 fans. The other lurkers are simply afraid to come out of the closet. But, if in fact there are only three of us, we would really miss your insightful musings and the sunshine you bring into our lives. As you pointed out so well, we all have so much to be greatful for and nothing to complain about it the grand scheme of things and we must all walk our own paths. None-the-less, sometimes those paths have bumps and it is nice to have a spot like yours to rest and enjoy the view.

Anonymous said...

You don't have to be an
A-type mum - fulltime job, taking 5 evening classes a week, serving on several committees etc. etc. I was 40 when my second son was born so by the time both boys were at school, I really didn't fancy returning to the hurly-burly of the classroom (I used to teach infants). Anyway, I felt that I had my very own little class, and did lots of pre-school things with them. I feel now that my contribution is in producing 2 sensible, rational and responsible citizens - to counteract all the less rational people around!

Livvy U. said...

I know I've visited all your blogs (well maybe not all of Rachel's, as she seems to have about 29 of them, but you know what I mean) but I wanted to acknowledge here, too, how very much you three splendid people have pepped me up. I'm going to be cheery and tell jokes from now on. Well, every second Sunday.
Livvy x