Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Grit's guide to Christmas for mean parents (10): Kids

Dear Shark, Squirrel and Tiger. You are all a great and overwhelming noise. Tonight you had a big combustible fight in the front room over who had first rights and primary access to the fireside.

The screaming brought everyone from miles around flooding into the room, dialling hospitals and ambulances and emergency surgeries and firefighters. Until we all realised it was just an issue over where Shark had territorially positioned her left foot.

While I am clearing up after the bomb blast, I don't know why, but I think back to how it was, nearly ten years ago, when the three of you were born. You, my tiny Tiger, were laid down next to me, and I met you face to face for the first time. While I wondered and marvelled at your miniature perfection, your tiny eyes struggled with the awful realisation that there was a huge blundering messy alien right in front of you, and then there was all light and sharp noise and damn now there is something wrong because a moment ago it was all dark and warm and safe.

And then I watched you blink.

That little blink changed my world. In that tiny blink my old life was suddenly gone. I was plunged into a world which was all new territory to me too. A wonderful, awful, thrilling, scary and turbulent world with every rule binding me around, yet none that applied.

In the weeks and months that followed I revealed to you and Shark and Squirrel that I did not have a clue what I was doing. As a responsible adult I was next to useless. I showed you that I was totally unprepared, utterly confused and rendered incapable by a bottle steriliser. I was confounded by a nappy, brought to tears by strange sleeping rituals, incapable of feeding you the way we were told, created clumsy and awkward with your little arms and legs and miniature clothing. Basically, holding you the right way up was just manageable.

But that time brought a lesson. Even though it seems long gone in the past; even though we are now become this noisy, awkward family with loud mouthed, unaware, opinionated kids. The lesson is the same in these present days, when you bring more challenges, more bizarre circumstances, and more haphazard absurdity than ever I could have mustered without you.

It is that there is no problem I cannot solve if only I could take a moment to shut up, sit down, and then look at you. You teach me what to do. And as you do that, you make my life rich, full, rewarding. And you bring more meaning and focus into my life than I ever had before.

I hope to be able to stay a while with you over Christmas, to sit with you and talk, to be with you, to be around you, listening to you, here for a cuddle, here for talking, for laughing. I want to let you know that I am so very glad you are here, making my life noisy.

Because what else is Christmas for, but to be with people you love?