I have always wanted one of those adult swings – you know the double seated chair swings? I have been imagining myself swinging on one with a book in hand and a cup of tea a lot lately. So it was with a sense of the surreal that I found one sitting abandoned at the end of my driveway in last weeks council clean up. It’s in need of a new coat of paint and the seat needs recovering but other than that it’s in perfect working order. I am completely in love with it and eternally grateful to the universe for granting me my secret wish.
This morning the boys have discovered it for the first time and we had a wonderful time as I sat in the middle with my cup of tea and book in hand and Auden and Oscar set themselves up on either side of me. I was able to actually relax and disappear into my book for about 20 minutes as long as I kept the swing going. This, no doubt, won’t last but until the novelty wears off for the boys I am going to drink in the deliciousness of some stolen me time within my mummy duties.
As we sat there, gently rocking, we were visited by the birds and the cool Autumn air meant I had to put on a jumper for the first time. Hooray! I am so glad to see the back of all that humidity. We are delving into the deliciousness of this divine cold weather, with the sun still shining and the sky neverending blue.
Something about the cool weather makes me want to go inside myself and cacoon myself not just in jumpers and blankets but also books, movies, writing. I want to go into hibernation in every possible way and just disappear into the interior of myself. That’s why I love it – it takes me back to me.
Or maybe it is just a coincidence that I am just starting to get some of that sense of self back after a couple of years of non-stop mothering to my two boys under the age of three. In all the exhaustion and selflessness of the intense first years of mothering, doubled up by the closeness of the boys’ births, I really had no space even to imagine being me again. Motherhood has felt like a marathon only without a finish line, nor a winner or loser, nor any prize money. Just pure hard work and the constant need to be attending to someone else’s needs, and those two very little someone else’ s not being able to express their needs through words – just different versions of crying, screaming, whinging and pulling on my clothing. Dragging me around and into their minds with every means possible except actual language. A crash course in extreme intuition and the courage to stand up for what you know and the need to defend yourself from outside forces that always know better. And doing all of that in a state of extreme sleep deprivation.
There is nothing like becoming a mother - to lose yourself at the same time as everyone becomes more critical of you in everything you do. If you can survive that then you have to be stronger, perhaps even wiser, but certainly encased in thicker skin.
So I am just peeking out from the fog of early motherhood into the land of Cindy. Reclaiming my right, in some small way, to be myself, whoever that may turn out to be in the wake of all this change and challenge. And it is the autumn weather and my new swing that have woken my slumbering sense of self from the distant and dark place it has been pushed into during these past few years.
In light of that I am going to make a promise to myself to write each day because writing is the best way I know how to get back to me.