My first week out has been a fascinating, if overwhelming, venture into the blogosphere. With Mother’s Day just past, the topic that stands out is mothers, children and parenting more generally.
But first, I want to dedicate this one to two bloggers who made my week:
Lynn is an awesome lady – she was the first to comment on my blog, and her welcome was so generous and warm it made me want to keep going (instead of run away screaming back to anonymity). She has a fantastic, quirky sense of humour and her blog on Mums’ Absent Minded Moments was hilarious. (Note to self: since you already have those moments, DO NOT have kids – borrow someone else’s!)
It was her Blogoversary this week, too, and reading where she’s come from to now was truly inspirational.
The other was a Freshly Pressed blog by the Man of the Minivan who wrote about the Joys of Disciplining Someone Else’s Child. It was a totally entertaining read, and all the more refreshing because he says it how it is (Disclaimer: if you don’t like opinionated, don’t go there). This blog obviously hit a nerve, because his post has 209 comments and counting – and he’s replied to every single one of them! He seems like a great guy, and an awesome Dad to boot.
From everything I’ve read and heard in my life, I’ve pretty much got the picture that having kids is a show-stopping, life-changing event.
For those who’ve made the decision to have them (or the decision not to do anything to stop having them), here’s the thing:
Brothers, sisters, Grans and Gramps – it affects us, too!
Here’s how I know:
There was a day, many moons ago, when a well-meaning mother in a public toilet block mistook me for my sister’s son.
I’m not sure if it was the sexy Kermit outfit….
…or the attractive haircut my sister had just given me (‘I know, I want to be a hairdresser! Let me practice…’)
Anyway, ever since then I’ve been determined to live up to the fiction that I’m adopted.
And it was all going along so well…until my sister actually had a son.
We should have sorted out our differences before that happened, but alas, Karma is just another word for Genes (coming back to bite us on the butt).
It was like the universe waited until the Sun, Moon and Rising Star were aligned exactly how they were when I was born. Then out he popped – a few weeks overdue.
Now our family had two shy but horrifically stubborn Taureans to deal with.
Whether you believe in astrology or not, it is impossible to escape that familial connection – that uncanny ability my nephew and I have to look inside each other’s souls and know what’s there.
It’s like the time, when he was barely three, he proclaimed how “Aunty Nana’s scary.”
He said it, probably because in that moment, unlike his mother, I wasn’t buying his tantrum.
We bored into each other’s eye sockets, and then he ran away up the stairs.
And he thought HE was scared.
Having now three nephews and a niece (if only there was a single word for them, like Neephs…cute little Neephs), I’ve learned a great deal about myself.
Like the fact that my mouth has an aversion to forming actual WORDS is a genetic affliction.
It’s unnerving, the way they can look at you, and look away, and without one word just sum yours up:
I can’t blame them, really. I’d think the same if I had to listen to me trying to make small talk.
Which is why, as a family, we are much more comfortable in silent proximity to one another, admiring the wind in the trees.
Recently, I had a birthday, and was again reminded of the connection running through our veins. My sister’s three each drew a picture, and later, the conversation on the phone went something like this:
4 yo: ‘I dwew you LADY BIRDS!!’
6 yo: ‘I don’t wemember what I dwew…yeah, it was a TWEE HOUSE!’
Mum (for soon-to-be 8 yo): ‘He doesn’t want to talk’
And I get it. Sometimes it’s hard to say how we feel, or to even have anything to say at all. And that’s where Art comes in.
I write because I love my Neephs, because there are things about the world I want to share with them, because – in whatever way I can – I want their world to be a better place.
Their struggles are my struggles – to deny that connection is to deny life itself, and all the lessons that it brings.
So what about you? Does being an Aunt, Uncle, Parent, Grandparent – any kind of child relative – scare the pants off you? Do you see karmic patterns in those little bundled genes? How has it rocked your world?