And then I thought to myself, “Excuse me, Self? Uh... exactly when did you become the kind of woman who gets excited by getting baby milk stains out of upholstery?”
If I look at my 33 year old life with the eyes of my 23 year old self, she'd be all: YEAH RIGHT, I’M SO SURE, and would stick her fingers in her ears and LALALALA CAN’T HEAR YOU before promptly bursting into flames.
Back then, I had lofty ambitions of filling up my passport: our first ka-dunk of the stamping machine at Customs brings us to the South of France, anyone care to join me? Bienvenue, cherie -- absolutement. Alors, et maintenant we’re off to Marrakech – let’s sashay about the souks in a kaftan and drink mint tea. Malta? Check. Florence? Si, si, si, bella signora... and the list goes on. I planned to show up with a bag full of dirty laundry at my parents’ place when I was 30 and then start looking to settle down.
But I met my would-be husband on my first port of call and I now live in England. Which is great... but the Cushion-Covers-Washing-Incident is one of my life’s occasional curveballs where I am reminded that at one time, I was having a blast being just 'Girl'... no responsibilities, no limits, no worries. No worries of course, other than, 'What time is that connecting flight?' or 'How much are tickets for that gig?' or 'Where's the corkscrew?' or 'Oops, that was kinda slutty.'
Does anyone else do this? Why do we choose THAT plate – our first one – to set down out of the way? Can’t put down ‘Mammy’; that’s totally out of the question lest I condemn myself to an automatic visit from Social Services. Spiritually bonded to the lovely Jason such as I am, it is imperative that I keep ‘Wife’ up in the air, too; you all know how bonkers I am for him anyway. There are a DILLION (there’s a “Ben-ism” for ya) reasons why my ‘Girl’ plate is over there in the corner not seeing any twirly-action.
I’m pretty sure it’s a matter of self-preservation. I’m no martyr – it’s not like I’m painting a picture of being pitiful and self-sacrificing; don’t misunderstand me, I don’t have any regrets. I have a fab life with a dreamy husband, I love the bones of my two wee lads and things are good.
Looking a little closer... that dusty plate over there in the corner on the ground isn’t delicate fine bone china, make no mistake. She’s tough, she’s earthenware, her glaze isn’t as shiny as it once was but whoa, nelly – she can handle a chip or two. She is cherished, she is big, she is central... and she is protected over there, out of the way, the heart of the dinner service. She doesn’t jostle for place and insist on heavy rotation like the other plates. Not because she doesn’t really enjoy a good old gyration once in a while, but because she knows that if she is dropped and shattered, then there’s not a hope in hell for the rest of them.
I take great satisfaction by paying homage to my cool ‘old’ self by refusing to cut my hair short and stomping about the neighbourhood with the pram in my Doc Martens/Chuck Taylors (delete as weather appropriate). I went to see Blur at the end of June this year, 2 weeks before Jude was born! That girl with the pregnant belly with the glow sticks at the back of the arena while Prodigy rave it up on stage? That was me, back in April. I’m still collecting tattoos and wandering around used book stores and record stores.
I’m still (intermittently) the same ol’ Nick – just with baby barf on my shoulder, bags under my eyes and always, ALWAYS a box of snack raisins in my purse for kid-related-snack-emergencies.
I’m all right, me.