One of my favourite Glennon Doyle Melton essays is Don’t Carpe Diem because, yes, in this season of life, I can carpe the moments, but can not carpe the whole flipping diem. And I hope I don’t forget, when I’m older and greyer, that I did not enjoy every minute. I hope I remember that I could be grumpy, bored and humourless with these 2 little treasures…
… that one more splat of weetabix, missing mouths and bowls, could push me over the edge.
I hope I don’t paint dishonest pictures or give unfounded advice or damage with my nostalgia. I hope I don’t do that now. I have thought since writing I am from the dressing up box that if Olivia were writing in the future about her current childhood she would say things like:
I am from one more episode of Peppa Pig.
I am from “in a minute” and “after Imogen is fed” and “no it’s raining”, “no it’s bedtime”, just “NO!”
I am from “later” and “after” and “hold on” … I am from “BE CAREFUL” and “BE GENTLE” and “take that potty off your head!”
Yes, I am sometimes grumpy, bored and humourless with them. You should probably know that. I should remember that. But I hope I also remember, that some days, we danced.
On the days that have the potential to be the longest, the most fraught, I try to find my inner-Nana. The thing about Nana is… she says yes.
“Yes we can blow bubbles, outside, in the rain”.
She says yes on a day that is wet and dark and Olivia and I are not really friends. She says yes to this toddler that seems so damn demanding to me. She says yes and a little later they come in in their sodden shoes and bright raincoats, wet hair plastered across their foreheads, water dripping down their noses, grinning faces poking out from their hoods. Olivia comes in happy and reasonable, changed somehow by the “yes we can”, by the fresh air and the puddles and the bubbles, by a few minutes of freedom outside on this grey and gloomy winter’s day.
So, some days, I try it.
“Yes we can paint, here among the crusted porridge bowls and the potty with dribbles of pee.”
Some days, usually Fridays, we stay in our jammies, and I leave the dishes and we are content and joyful, and completely hilarious. Some days, it can be fun actually, to go to the jungle, then the robot factory, then the Tallest Mountain, all before breakfast.
I hope when I’m older and greyer that I don’t damage with my nostalgia. I hope I remember it was hard. But I hope I also remember days like today when we danced ourselves dizzy to Uncle Hugo on the kitchen floor…
How Liv spun with her head back, all teeth and wild hair, in her cousin Ju-Ju’s faded hand-me-down Post Man Pat jammies.
How Immie looked like a boy in that red striped sleep suit, how we called her John… how she shook her bum, and her shoulders, how she head-banged. How she laughed until she choked.
I hope I remember that some days and moments were fraught and long, that some stories were not funny at the time. But I hope I also remember us at our most hilarious, here on the kitchen floor. I hope I remember Fridays when if you snuck a peek through this rain-covered window you’d see Mummy, Livi and ‘John’, shaking their ass.