My girlfriends and I keep a continuous facebook chat going, so that we can be in everyday contact even though we live on the four corners of the world.
I recently wrote to them:
I’m still feeling clucky, but I also feel like everywhere I look, parenting looks harder than it looks joyful.
Blech. I just want to know that it’s also rewarding and that there are times when it’s fun and when you all come together and it works. And more than just moments every now and then. Pure biology might not count, if there aren’t nice bits like that.
I’ve also talked a lot with my friend Adrienne, who’s step-mum to a three year old, about how hard it is to parent other people’s children, when you don’t get the unconditional love in return. (Read here for my issues with my niece. Little people can be terrifying.)
But today, I am happy to report, despite all yesterday’s apprehension, I had a moment. The moment.
I was sitting on the couch with the day all wintery and cold outside, my nephew leaning on one arm, my niece (fresh from her afternoon sleep = warm, snuggly and silent) tucked under the other, reading The Magic Faraway Tree.
“Saucepan, have a plum?”
“Crumb?” said Saucepan, in surprise. “Is that all you can spare for me–a crumb?”
“PLUM, PLUM, PLUM!” said Moon-Face, pushing a ripe one into the Saucepan Man’s hands.
“Oh, plum,” said Saucepan Man. “Well, why didn’t you say so?”
I am right back in a world that I loved intensely as a child – these were the first books I ever read to myself – and my niece and nephew’s faces are lighting up with the same imaginative joy.
If life’s about anything, then surely this is it.