It's funny, but I feel old talking to some people on standupgirl. They may be older than me, but their children are younger, and I can somehow look at them and say — wow, I was once in that position.
Not just on standupgirl. It's funny, even talking to a forty-year-old with a two-month-old, I feel a little bit older. In no way can I call it superiority, just more experience: and doesn't that feel FUNNY when you're talking about someone twenty-one years older than you!
The days just slip by. Nobody seems to notice. People who haven't seen you for a while say wow, your son's gotten bigger, but you see him every day, for you, it's just a constant routine of games, sleeptime, storytime, bathtime, making him feel better after a fall, lunch…. Life somehow doesn't work in ways where you say, okay, he is six months and five days old today, and only today, I'm going to make the most of it. There's laundry to do, bills to pay, articles to write…
But one moment made me pause today. I was going through the big mountain of washed clothes that is lying in my bedroom at the moment — yes, still, at this very moment — and looking at all the long-sleeved shirts that Alex will never wear again. Why? Because by the time next year comes, he will be three, and he will have no need for a size that small.
Something moved me about that. Something nostalgic, even though this past winter was a hard one and not too full of excessively happy memories. Nevertheless, I suddenly realised time had somehow slipped by, winter had turned to summer once again, and the boy taking up the whole bed right now is no longer the little child I cradled next to my breast and nursed to sleep.
How long have we known each other now?! Oh dear, three years one month now! I can barely comprehend how he grew up to be this big. Taking up the whole bed, in the 90th percentil for height, a miniature version of me as a male with big ears is sleeping on the bed, on a little bed — not a cot anymore, when as a little baby he used to shake the bars because he wanted me to rock him to sleep, and I would eventually give in.
It's being a long road. Never in my life would I have seeing this at five months pregnancy, when I was sitting in our flat, having my first proper conversation as I felt the first kicks of his little feet. I could not have possibly seen the future when he was just a little newborn, his lip curled and forever crying, rocking him to sleep in the hospital — I could not see myself as a mother with a two and a half year old, the personality that would cause me to develop.
I did not see the twists my life would take — I had no clue that I would get an emergency flat, that I would live in government housing, go to uni, study journalism and international relations, and battle with my own demons, as I'm hoping thus far, successfully.
To make things worse, in about six months I will be twenty — I will stop being a teen. As stigmatised as being a teenage mother is, I feel a bit odd hitting twenty. I know, strange. Alex will be three, I cannot imagine what sort of parenting that will require of me — of course I will know as day slips into another day, as changes come subtly…
It just feels strange that now, these days, I came look back on certain events, and say calmly, I have being there. I can turn around calmly to those who made prophecies about me during my pregnancy, and face them with the real facts. I can look at newborns, and remember what lessons I learned from that, even give advice if asked.
Jeez, there's a long road ahead of me….but I do sense that I'm getting older.
And I'm sure there'll be another twist to my life quite soon too….