Little moments. Little thoughts. Vignettes of stories to share with you.
On the weekend, I got to hang out in a magical artist’s studio with friends & kidliwinks. We painted up a colourful storm, and after a while the kids drifted away into their own world in the garden, as they are want to do. It was especially precious because my eldest kid was reunited with her best friend from kindergarten in Canberra. And it’s been so many years that neither of them could really remember each other, but they just fell back into the sweetest playing. It made my mama heart very, very full. Also: that garden, that afternoon, that moment… all of it reminded me why we moved here. To cultivate the wild and the florid green in our children.
Sometimes I think I will have a great life as a widow. There’s a part of me that is so solitary, so self-contained, that I think I need only my own company to be happy, that I have missed my calling as a monk or a hermit. I think to myself that I would be fine, fine, completely fine in my life post-husband. I imagine that I’d have a little apartment filled to the brim with art and books, and I’d happily dole out my days walking the river, reading, scribbling in my journal and talking to plants and wild animals.
But then I actually have… time away from my husband. And the first few hours are gladness and rapture. But soon, my compass needle rights and it points only to him, him, him. And I want to run wildly back to him, a groping my way in the dark just to sniff him, to cover myself with the pelt of him.
And I realise then: actually, maybe I won’t be such a great widow after all.
Not if it means being without him.
Once, I was waiting in the grocery store line
And I saw someone that I thought was someone
And I merrily waved to her
And gave her a giant hug
And she was obliging and kind but slightly confused
She wasn’t the person I was thinking of
She was someone else
She was a mum at my kid’s school
That I’d never spoken to before.
When my littlest was a toddler, we taught her how to play Scissors, Paper, Rock.
Except for every turn, she would do scissors, and then would chop up our scissors, papers and rocks with her pudgy toddler fingers, all while merrily chirping “cut, cut, cut.”
Her scissors trumped all else, and it didn’t matter how often we corrected her. Just merrily: “cut, cut, cut” as tiny fingers gouged tenderly at ours until we acquiesced.
And of course we did acquiesce. Toddler Beth’s CUT CUT CUT was the winning move, the one that trumped all else, the one that made us all giggle uncontrollably.
She had strawberry blonde hair that curled at the ends, almond-shaped eyes, wrists that were fat with deliciousness. We were helpless in the storm of her gladness. We still are.
My eldest daughter was six, and would coo as though she was witnessing the most adorable creature on earth: “Oh Mum, she’s just SO CUTE. I love her the MOST. I love you and Daddy, but I love Beffy the MOST.”
She is seven now, and her hair has straightened, her wrists have thinned, her legs tripled upon themselves. And now, when we play Rock, Paper, Scissors, we all clamour to play the winning move: just CUT CUT CUT, relentlessly, joyfully, tenderly, despite all the rules.
Because that’s what she taught us all to do, five years ago. That’s what she teaches us now.