Archive for July, 2011

… was the last day I wasn’t a parent.  I remember very little of that day.  I presume I whooshed around the house frantically doing the kind of insane jobs that are called ‘nesting’ when you are pregnant but when you are not pregnant are just called insane jobs.  A lot passes for normal when there is an overdue guest refusing to leave your body and you have become a human Hotel California.

One thing I remember with crystal clarity is that night I watched again one of my favourite movies.  Spinal Tap.  Oh how I laughed.  Little did I realise how much of the wisdom of that film I would come to appreciate as the years rolled by.  And then, the following day, in the hospital an anaesthetist told me that if I had to have a c-section they would give me … yes, you’re way ahead of me … a spinal tap.  I laughed even more.  He didn’t see what was funny about this important and delicate medical intervention.  And doubtless had I watched, say, The Shawshank Redemption the night before I would have agreed.  I had to tell him about the film.  He’d never heard of it.  Imagine – an anaesthetist who had never seen Spinal Tap.  I laughed uproariously at that too.  He didn’t get the humour in that either.  Then I was filled with pity and dismay at the poverty of his existence.  I think he may have had similar feelings about me.  It’s true what David St Hubbins says  – there is a fine line between stupid and clever.

So here I find myself at my significant and yet ritual-less anniversary.  The last day I was not a parent.  There isn’t a card for this event or a stone or a flower or a gift.  Not even an acceptable price point.  And yet it’s a very significant milestone.  Certainly if I had grasped the significance of that day nine years ago I would have spent it very differently.  Mostly sleeping.  Definitely.  And rejoicing at the vision of myself not covered in vomit.  My own or anyone else’s, because if we’ve learned anything from Derek Smalls it’s that you can’t always tell.  And doing spontaneous things like going for a sudden coffee.  With nothing in my bag except cash.  To a militantly family unfriendly restaurant with nary a high chair or a kiddies meal in sight.   On my own.

I would have spent some of the day slapping people silly for saying things like “oh, get all the sleep you can now.”  Really?  Is sleeping like putting money in the bank?  When I am suffering sleep deprivation of South American prison proportions, can I go and withdraw that lovely night’s sleep I had back in 1997?  No.  It’s just one of those things people who’ve had kids use to torment pregnant women.

I would have taken my vast reserves of wealth and bought shares in Britax, Calpol, Sudocrem, Mattel, Huggies, Tommee Tippee, Smyths, Clarks – I do, after all, happen to know who is the patron saint of quality footwear – Boots, the Early Learning Centre and Disney and all those other people who I have kept going as part of my early prototype of Obama’s stimulus package.  I’ve no idea what it’s like to laugh all the way to the bank, but I’d say it’s a hoot and I’d love to give it a go.  As Bobbi Flekman told us, money talks and bullshit walks.  I have walked a lot in the last near decade.

But, no, this is not a day for regrets and recriminations.  This day, like all others, is a day for thankfulness and rejoicing.  I have learned so much from my little pension plans, oops, did I say that? Freudian slip, I of course meant children.  It’s the anniversary of the last day that I was mummy to no-one.   The last day my Present Husband and I were just two people living for ourselves.  A life-changing day.  An anniversary to celebrate.  And I will celebrate every year to come on this date.  Especially two years from now.  Because on that day it will go all the way to eleven!


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