Thursday, 7 November 2013

It Is Better To Be Alone Than To Share A Bed With Hitler


Living honestly was difficult for me to obtain and then to act on. I had to cope with the periodic episodes of loneliness that tend to coincided. I remember complaining to Grandma that I didn't fit in, that a particular person truly did not like me, that I had been left out of plans, that I was surrounded by lost invitations.   Grandma said, "Do you want everyone to like you?" I, of course, did, and she replied, "Even Hitler?" 

When I was 18 years old, visiting my hometown from university, I attended a cool person's party. Obviously this wasn't typical because I was never cool.  The host was a friend of a friend etc...  When I arrived, it was nice to wander through the crowd of swaggering designer clothes and static large hair. I listened to whispers about the host being a bit of a prick, but they were just whispers, no one would have dared to say it aloud. He was the archetypical male, large forehead under his cap and unnecessarily large condoms in his pocket, padding the keys to his father's Porsche. He was important not just because he could  funnel a few beers in under a minute, but because the next morning with hangover and bad breath, he still would  make the winning goal and that would win the crowd's hearts.

"Great party, Scott" I said. Thanks, he smiled. His teethe were so white that they seemed to glisten. I stared mesmerised, taking space in his circle. I listened to fluid conversations, interrupted only by laughter, the stomach holding type and I smiled and held my stomach too. But then came the racist slant, smoothly and comfortably introduced in the disguise of banter, aimed at the one jock who wasn't white. As my jaw dropped, the receiver nodded and smiled and waited for the spotlight to move on but, I didn't, I couldn't. I had to ruin the moment. Maybe it was due to the influence of midnight debates with lit cigarets in cramped rooms, maybe it was due to discussions had with a vocal mother (your grandmother) who marched for equal rights or maybe because it hurt when it happened to me, a Jew, which was the point I tried to explain. And then there was quiet, it was a moment where the world seemed to stop and my face started to itch.

Mr. Alpha  chuckled, head down, embarrassed, maybe, no.  His next line, "I hate the Jews,"  said with ease.

"You can't mean that."

His response, "Wish Hitler had finished the job, gassed all of you in the oven."

By you he meant me as a collective, my family, my community and eventually you, little one. I thought about my ancestors, who had attended similar parties, held by more powerful alpha dogs.   I looked around the room, at others with shared ancestry. I thought about the soldiers, professors, lost little children, who all attended similar parties, generations ago. Were they quiet?

His voice boomed, "Hitler didn't go far enough, he should have killed you all, poof," the room silently parted, so he could spit out his chew.  He looked back at me and wiped his face, confident that on Monday, the crowds would cheer him on again as he entered his arena. In a frozen room, I screamed until I no longer made sense and as he was pulled into the crowd, I was pulled to my car. The door shut and I sat staring at the vacant passenger seat.

Later, friends tried to excuse his actions, to convince me that Scott was not a bad guy, but he just had too much to drink. As well, they also tried to excuse my strong reaction saying I wasn't usually this hysterical, it must have been due to my father's recent death, another Jew.

Are Alphas made or born or a bit of both?  That person, aware of that dynamic and evasive social formula, a skill I have never mastered. Alphas, with their large personalities, often conveyed by few words, attracts and holds power. So much power that people will sit, patiently, to take notes, to take direction. They will stand staring at their feet like well-trained puppies as their organic world passes, in hopes of garnering acceptance, sense of belonging.

People like to stay within a breath of the alpha. They feel safe there. However, I encourage you to fight the pull of the mainstream current and find a comfortable seat that fits your individual stature. You will never finish designing your world, when helping to paint someone else's. I encourage you to seek that natural smile, even if that smile is given to you by a lifestyle unfamiliar to the one WE have led.  Do not expect people to publicly support your uniqueness, at best, there may be affirmations behind closed doors. But, trust me, being you is better than playing you and if you live honestly, then you will develop a more realistic vision of self and your surroundings.

Blind allegiance is dangerous, especially when given to those who lack intelligence and/or compassion, and, yet, it happens in all institutions and social circles.  People will choose obedience to dimwitted deities, and look down at their feet, smiling, waiting for the line to move, so that they can follow.  Hopefully, you, will stand outside the circle and rightfully ask questions. You will hold true to your own mores, map your own direction and not be pushed by the flow. However, this may mean that, instead of you joining in with the laughter, you could be the one being laughed at, which breaks my heart. It may also mean you spend some nights alone, covered in a pile of lost invitations. But some worlds may be wrong for you or they may just be wrong, and it could be a blessing to not gain entry.  I promise you, it will be worth it, because a cold bed is better than one warmed by Hitler.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

No More Babies In The House

It was the day before you started reception and the first day of school for your big sister. After drop off, it was to be our day, a you and me day, a day for just us.This is what I said to you many many times and you repeated back to me many many times.

After too many kisses, cuddles and pictures taken, your sister escaped and disappeared through the school gates.  You and I then turned towards different gates.  These gates were at the end of a windy path and curved walls. We peeked through windows to see women sitting inside a classroom- the teachers for big girls and boys. They were colourful, bright women in a colourful, bright room, cutting and pasting decorations to cover the walls. 

A special seat waited for you, positioned between me and her. It gave you the best view of your new world. You sat quietly and looked. The teacher then led you to "your special things": the hook for your coat,  the draw for your papers, and the cubby for your shoes. You were still quiet unlike the picture of the giggling girl, which identified your name.

When we left, I was a bit sad. You were quiet that is until you exploded.  You exploded down the street, into the store, to the garden, to the door, to all over the couch and you wanted me to join your display or at least stand by and watch.

You were restless, littlest one, very restless and the house was untidy.   It had been destroyed by last night's exploration through old uniforms, tights, shoes etc... many of which no longer fit your big sister.  For weeks I had prepared for the first day of school, made lists, visited various stores and bought and bought until my plastic cards cried to melt. I placed those items in safe spots. We then went away on holiday and came back with growth spurts and jet lag and the rest that we had scheduled was interrupted by to do lists, unpacking and last minute can't-miss-plans. So, labels stayed hidden in their safe places and markers ran down silk tags. Today, our morning routine seemed no longer routine. It was a disorganised hussle at best. I had a reminder of that when I opened the door.

"Let Mommy just have a cup of coffee," I begged.
"You tired? I give you a massage. Then you give me one." eyes arched, moisturising cream out.
"Ok," I replied. You made a pretty good masseuse and we both giggled at how much moisturiser we used. It was a good start.
"Now, Mommy is just going to have a quick cup of coffee." I smiled.
"We play a game first." You ran to the box of games saying we could play teachers.
I thought that wasn't a bad idea, I could teach you the alphabet and numbers and how to write your name in the next few hours and maybe a bit of physics, all it took was a little concentration.  However, you wanted to play the teacher and I was getting scolded for not raising my hand.

"I am getting that coffee," I said, in a much more assertive voice and you continued to scribble your very important notes. So, I slipped my way to the kitchen, turned on the TV and sat down. It seemed to be only a minute or two.  You didn't seem to notice I was gone, so I thought that I would tidy the kitchen and finish the laundry. About an hour or two later, you came back to me with letters you wanted posting and pictures you had drawn, and a snack later, it was time to go and get your sister. We no longer had time to go into town and have that ice cream or visit the park or go for a swim or just do that craft seen on TV.

Sissy was excited about her day. She had written letters, drawn pictures,  read books, been given sweeties and then ran around with her friends during play time. We looked at her work.  "I do that?" you asked. "No, not yet, Dear," I said as I turned back towards your sister.

After snack, you cuddled with your sister in front of the TV, until you pulled the cover off, until you kicked her, until I put you in time out. At dinner, you refused to eat, you played with your seat, getting up and sitting down, getting up and sitting down. When we went to take your sister's new pets out of their cage, you didn't find it necessary to practice being quiet and gentle. In fact, you threw down your princess crown in protest when I stopped you giving the rodents a shower.

I escorted you to your room because you wouldn't stay in time out. You screamed and yelled and said, "I don't want to play with those things anyway. They're boring."  At bath time, the water was too cold to hot.  You didn't want a bath.  You didn't want to get out. At bedtime, you jumped on the bed, under the bed, around the bed, until you were in your sister's bed but you refused to get into your own. I picked you up and carried you to a different room, a new room, a rarely used guest room, to calm you and let your sister sleep.  I was frazzled.

"I scared. This room spooky."
"I am with you. I won't leave you, but I can't have you keep your sister up."
"I scared. I'll be good."
"Sh, you need to calm down." I said.
"I scared, don't leave me." You begged. I had you wrapped up in your duvet. I was still holding you like a baby on my lap, on the bed. You, so small. "When are we going to play that game?" you asked. "What game? Oh, that game," the game I promised that we would play during our day together.  Our you and me day. "Tomorrow." I whispered.  Your eyes opened wide, "Promise." "Yes." You leaned towards me, "Pinky, promise." I wiped away the hair from your face and sank back in to the bed. My voice cracked, "pinky promise." I nodded.
"But, it won't be a you and me day," you informed me.
"No, it will be a school day and you will have such fun at school," I said.
"I scared, Mommy."
"I know." I held you closer and rubbed your back.  Your arms wiggled beneath the duvet, until your head could reach my shoulder. We sat for a moment.  Our fist cuddle of the day. I then carried you back to your bed and kissed you goodnight and left your room.

I walked into my bedroom and found your father's shoulder for my head to rest. Quietly, I confessed, "I screwed up. Her last day with me and I screwed up. I wish I could call for a do-over." He just turned, put his arm around me and kissed my forehead. "It will be alright," he said.
I took his hand and he shut his book, "Tomorrow, there will be no more babies in our house. It will be empty and there will be no more chances for do-overs." We both lay quiet.

I know that you won't remember this, but I will.  I guess I just wanted to say sorry.

Monday, 26 August 2013

This Is Your Home


When that mean girl digs her sceptre into your toe, 
come to me. I will kneel down, arms open,
a wish kiss given above red eyes.

When that man who spits when talking, yells, red faced 
because you have treaded on his territory. 
I will run, tissue in hand, to calm your tremble.  

I cannot always keep the bogie men at bay. 
Nor can I ensure the path you stray upon 
will be the one I have mapped. The safe one, 

the planned one,  the one your father and I quietly create.
Most likely, it will not be, and I will worry, quietly.
About what may trip your step? And what waits for you
across the bridge or under it?

I dress you in armour, sword in hand and
heart in chest. I teach you how to climb the stairs
And hold tight to the rail, but if you stumble. 

Please remember, this is your home, little one.
A place to take refuge, or just visit
when in need of a cup of tea and a chat. 

I will sit here, chair at window, ready to greet your return. 
I will prepare a snack for you, as I do today, 
because you may be hungry. 

You will no longer use crayons to hint
about your day, your world. 
And we will have to find another way.
But we will.

I will always laugh at your jokes
and tell you you're lovely, even if
you're hair is a mess and knees scraped. 

I love you. I am your safe place.

They say I cannot wrap you in cotton wool, 
but here I sit with needles to hand.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Cinderella, The Long Story

I leaned against the door
and thought of Friday Harbour,
that table for one when I was 24.
That glass of wine.

When I watched mobiles
sway outside shop windows,
and felt the breeze pass me
to hide in the tall grass.

Then I thought of you
because you would end this
peace by pointing to the ferry
or foraging for pebbles.

Although when we met,
you lay quiet and blue
on my chest. So they took
you away to make you pink.

And your father looked
across to you, while I looked
at him, wiping his eyes
with my hand, we waited.

I turn to that man, deciding
to stay, to make him
another coffee, if I could
remember how he liked it.

Placing it in front of him,
my arm across his,  Feeling
a different memory now
from a different day,

That day in the park, before
we had the courage to speak
of you. That day he spread his
coat for me to rest my head.

It was before mortgage payments
Before leaky pipes and
leaky roofs. Before interrupted
dinners and calorie counting.

Before that fucking gift bag.

He and I simply
intertwined and let
ourselves be warmed
by the sun.





Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Welcome to Your Kingdom, Princess Peanut

Your tiny little body barely makes an imprint on my pillow as you wake me with a cuddle and kiss. Four years old next Wednesday and still fitting into size two clothes.  You hop around the house as if there were wings on your feet. You're a dragon fly skimming atop a pond. Skipping from table, couch, chair, my head, any obstacle in your way. You own that pond, and I simply stumble along beside you to catch you incase you bounce off the ground or off a tree.  You are my peanut, and yet, you demand to be my princess. We compromise, Princess Peanut.

You march fearlessly through your kingdom in which the corners are padded and scissors hidden.  A kingdom where I redirect your attention from the wobbly man in the park and the roaming stray dog you reach to pet. You do not yet realise that there are things to be afraid of, but I do, so I stand or crouch in your shadow and keep guard.

When you call, I will come. If you fall, I will pick you up.  You shed tears, I wipe them away.  I do this because I love you, because I have from the first time you disrupted my cycle. I do this because it is my mission as your mother.

This morning, I made you and your sister breakfast as you watched TV.  It took your attention away from my swollen eyes, from the tapping sound my fingers made on the phone. Then, I heard the bomb explode and turned to see the runner fall. I shouted,  "Change the channel." Your sister asked why and I, grabbing for the remote as she pulled away, said "because there are sad things on the TV."  My voice cracked and I hid my face from your first introduction to cruelty. How was I to explain this?

I woke last night, often, thinking of my friends and family in Boston. Praying that responses not given were due to time differences and nothing more. I thought of mothers who couldn't keep their children safe and memories of frightening crowds who pushed and rubbed against us and tried to separate us.  I thought of how, in crowds, I always clutched my bag and held you close, always looking ahead or at the ground, that is, when I was not watching you. You who smile, trusting strangers, and speak your name proudly. You have not, yet, recognised those who hate; although, sadly, they have probably recognised you-one that is innocent. Their understanding of justice is not rooted in the tangible, logic stilted with anger. I cannot plan for the nonsensical, make precautions for the absurd. I cannot always assure your safety.

Your sister asked "Why, Why did this happen?" and I felt the tingling in my chest, my eyes burning again and I cried, "Because there are bad people that want to scare us." Your sister's eyes focused back on the screams of the running people.  You sat, examining my face, the tears, you had never seen me make and asked, "Are you scared?" I decided to be honest, and honesty that would crack your perfect kingdom, "Yes," I answered. I left the room to get a tissue and you looked back up to see a different picture on the screen.

It took until the evening before I received the last response to the many messages sent to many friends.  It took until the evening that I could release the tissue in my hand. She phoned to say, "We're OK." She didn't go to the marathon. She stayed  home. Stayed tucked away with her husband and beautiful boys in that home that she never locks because that world that she lives in she describes as safe.   

Friday, 5 April 2013

Before and After, A Year In The LIfe of You

You cried tonight at the thought of school.  You were so happy all summer long, but tonight you cried. At the beginning of summer, when first assigned to a new class, when first told of this class being different to the class of your friends, your best friends, you told me that it was fine.  It was all fine and then you smiled, and turned back to your drawing and finished colouring in the picture of our house.  You continued by saying that you weren't scared by "boys" anymore and that the man teacher, Mr. ..... was fine.  Later that night, I asked if you would miss your friends and you said, I will still  play with them at playtime.  I wasn't sure whose words those were but you held up a Roald Dahl book and asked if we could continue reading, so we did.  It was easier to pretend you were fine, to explain this reconciled behaviour as maturity.

However, tucked away in a little crevice, in a little you, hid the truth and tonight it decide to no longer hide.You yelled the truth quite loudly through a snotty tear-muffled tone at 12:00 AM and I tripped my way into your room to see you sitting up in your bed, wet hair stuck to your face, moaning. "I don't want to go to school!  None of my friends will be in my class!  Mr. ...  scares me ..... so and so says he is horrible! Don't make me go to school." I came to you, held you, gave you a tissue and sip of water and tried my best to calm you.Yes, the truth is you don't like change and you don't like men and next week, you will walk into a new classroom and come face to face with a rather tall, rather loud, head shaven, male teacher. Another problem facing us that I am just not sure of how to fix.

I know that at drop off, I will seek out other mothers who have positive things to say about this teacher and relay those messages back to you. I know I will have a word with the teacher and pray that he can at least feign sincerity and interest and  that he looks at you when he promises me it will be all right.  And I know, if there are "bumps in the road" I shall try to work with this teacher to help fix it. I promise you I will. But, Darling, it may not be all right and with all my best intentions and efforts, I may not be able to fix it.  In fact, things may be shit.

Tonight, I stay awake, thinking of the sliding door theory, the nursery you attended, which introduced you to a certain group of friends, which introduced me to certain mothers, which shaped both our schedules and in a way our personalities.  I think about difficult personalities, past social struggles and the teachers who assured me that you weren't really upset as they pulled your white knuckle grasp from the school gates. And, I try to come up with a plan.

 I don't know how this year will progress other than it will progress and the days will pass, and it will point you in new directions and give you new ideas and affect your personality again and ironically most of these days and events will probably not be remembered. However, what I do know is sometimes in life we need to hold our breath, wish for the best, surround ourselves with ridiculous feel-good cliches and jump into the abyss screaming yahoo. And,  Babe this is one of those times.

OK, I have left this in draft form for about nine months, hoping for a happy ending and guess what, here it is.

On the first day of school, we walked slowly in rhythm towards the brick building. You twisted both your arms around my elbow and leaned your head into my arm. Girls walked by and some waved, which gave you a momentary distraction from the gates and the man standing by them.  We joined a line of parents, waiting to talk to him, and I realised that my house was probably not the only one with a a midnight wake-up call.  I told you not to listen to schoolyard gossip, make up your own beautiful mind. You nodded because you wanted to believe me or maybe you were just being polite. You loosened your hold slightly, feeling the pull of the abyss and we moved forward to take front position in the line. He smiled and bent down to greet you first. I smiled. He knew your name and you smiled.  I explained you were nervous, and in a serious tone he promised you it would be fine and then he looked up and promised me it would be fine.

And, it was fine. No, it was better than fine.  After a few shaky weeks, you made wonderful new friends, which you couldn't wait to tell me all about and the stories filled our afternoons. You taught me the new games and jokes you learned and showed me the the dangly things hanging from your coat which they had given you. And as for Mr. .... Yes, at times he used a "Loud Voice" to corral the group and this frightened you, at times, and then it didn't. He also gave out sweeties which seemed to release him of all his crimes.

At Parent Teacher evening, he sat there at the table telling me all the things that I already knew and then he asked if I had concerns.  I said my daughter's happy and I am happy that is all I could ever want. I smiled, knowing he didn't appreciate the gravity of that statement.   He didn't have to.  He just needed to create  and position the cushion that would protect your landing and he did that splendidly.

Friday, 15 March 2013

When It Doesn't Go To Plan

"We can't all be rocket scientists, Darling."  I cannot remember when or by whom  that comment was made, but I do remember the way it was said.  Sweet, soft, intonation in the right place and horribly patrionising.  I was still young enough to believe that I could be the first woman president, but not old enough to appreciate what the job entailed. That comment made me pause, look up, before being tagged and hearing "Your It!"  Those words seemed to push that phrase to the back of my psyche, lost, forgotten for a bit, but still there.  

My mother said my grades didn't reflect my potential but maybe they did; regardless, those weren't the grades of the future president.  So, I decided to just dabble in politics. Dressed up in a sweater, skirt and chunky high heals, I babbled political rhetoric, passed out pamphlets, joined parties at meeting halls and then at cocktail bars.  It was passionate, I was loud and it was all horribly insincere and I grew tired of it, turning towards the Peace Corps and choosing to give up red meat instead.

I don't know if I could have been a rocket scientist.  I am interested in physics and enjoyed chemistry and math  but not enough to want to give it my nights or my days.  Not enough to choose a science museum over an art gallery, a night sky over a cold morning walk. So, I suppose that if even given the potential, I would have been a lousy rocket scientist.

Power and money taunts and temps from the first time one melts into leather bucket seats.  It is insecurity's  crutch.  So, we make the effort and let it steer us in a particular direction, one that maybe our body is not suited, and this is when  we experience what we believe to be a failure, and we are reminded of the voice that said, "We can't all be rocket scientists, Darling."  However, this time  we cannot be deterred by the distraction of a child's game; so, we wallow, ironically, because we are not the person that we were never suppose to be.

I have wallowed, little one. I try to distract from the practice, turning the music up to dance with you, holding a book to hand, whispering to the characters. Sometimes, I cuddle with your father, head on his shoulder, hand in hand, legs intwined and become silly, so silly that we laugh till we stop making sense and for a moment I can forget about my wallow and be happy.

Baby, if this should happen to you, I want you to know, wallowing is a wasted emotion. You are mourning for something you, probably, never desired but felt obliged to obtain.  It is not failure to stop and find your bearings when you are lost.  That gap in the universe that you were meant to fill is waiting to be found. And I, for the first time, will admit to you and to myself that I never had the heart to and as the result, the drive to be a rocket scientist, Darling. It was just the better paved path that I was expected to follow.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Blossom




Gardenias floated in a blue tinted glass bowl. Vibrant green leaves waltzed round their delicate white petals, which still remained in tact and unbruised even though their journey an arduous one. They travel from their tropical comforts through cold frost in the confines of a lorry to pose and greet and fulfill their role in the midst of a centre piece.  Each of the hundred flowers, unique, each complicated, each beauty distracting from their own fragility, each creating their own stage to be seen while the band played at your Aunty's wedding.

I saw those gardenias, again, today, in the outline of your silhouette. You reached over to your sister, whispering in her ear, quietly guiding her through the line of other little sisters. She stepped back and you placed your arms around her, she leaned into you before she stepped out with new confidence. She was three and you were seven. However, your profile, momentarily, reflected the woman you would become and that flicker startled me. I watch your curious brown eyes scan the room, processing finite detail, creating a plan.  Your composed, as you maintain control of the little ones conducting them to their places. And then, you smile, patiently, hands together, kneeling down to the one that is lost.

Let me introduce you to your seven year old self.  You collect stones, and keep them in shoe boxes that you also collect. You are bored by ballet but have the grace not to say it in company. You still don't like to see people kiss on TV, and you become visibly uncomfortable watching a fight, even if Spiderman always wins. You love to create whether it be by needle and thread or pen to paper.  You watch things grow, change shape.  You commit to distinct ideas that live, at times, in conflict with the mores of your little-girl world and it disturbs you, at times.  Sometimes you play a part, noticeably mimicking the movements and words of others, without fully understanding its context.  You, out of boredom, or silliness, or to create a reaction, poke fun at Mommy's need to be so serious, and you do it again and again and again until Mommy turns red. Then, you ask for a cuddle and shed the bravado, reminding me of your delicate soul of your pure spirit.

I question how you will wear the journey to your own centre piece.  You're easily bruised and your memory is much too keen. I try to shelter you from all that will taint your lustre, but I can't shelter you from me. I questioned the affects of the choices I make, of the flippant comment that escapes. Fatigue that causes me to misread a moment and confuse you with an undeserved rebuke. I play confident, mimic those who came before me. You, unaware for now, ignorant to the hesitancy in my response, trip of a breath and the whispers between your father and me.  You put your confidence in me and I want your world to be secure and safe as you follow me through this labyrinth. I turn to a different you each time;  the baby I cradled, the toddler with chubby arms and legs disappears behind the brush. There is barely enough time for me to say goodbye as maturity invades your being. I wonder how the morphed memories of me will affect how you live and how you love, and I wonder how you will remember how I loved you.

Please know, you are Cherry Blossoms in spring to me.  The wind catches and spreads your fragrant petals across my world, and my world becomes beauty.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Can I Have This Dance


I remember I was vacuuming or trying to and you were pulling at my trousers or trying to because I kept flagging your hand away with a sort of swiping motion, usually reserved for removing stains. I used the remote to direct away your interest. "Just a minute," I said," Let Mommy finish, just this, just that, just one more thing and then the kitchen."

You didn't realise that I had a sort of schedule,  we sort of ate around this time and sort of cleaned around that time, different activities for different days to fit different forms of development: literacy, social interaction and coordination. Had to get my ticks in before we could take part in frivolous play.

Routines, the unwanted guest, I would rather live in a world of chaotic stress then live with structure.  However it was a lifestyle choice.  One that I often reevaluated and recreated in order to be a good mother. So, as with your father's sports car and my smoking, sporadic trips to faraway places, frivolous shopping and naughty nights out, it all had to go bye byes to create a household and lifestyle that was appropriate for a tiny little miracle like you. In came the white sheets, organic sleep suits, fruit smoothies, mothers clubs, dusted mantles, clean toilets, spotless floors and ironed panties.  I wanted the perfect home for the perfect you. A happy and safe home, but was it?

As you grow, you will be barraged by domestic goddess themes, which subtly impregnate false truths and infect unrealistic expectations.  There will be pictures of women smiling while they scrub toilets and wash floors and you may feel the need to smile back, don't! They are not your friends.  They are paid to lie, run! You will overhear pensioners on buses and trains reminiscing about household pride, joys of cleaning. Well, dear, their memory is shit.  And then, of course, there is that smiling mother of your child's school friend, who wears linen trousers, eats only organic, has stain free cream carpets and an ivory sofa. Open her closets and you will free a cleaning lady.

You are not as old as my favourite jeans, but faded pencil marks on Grandma's wall reminds me that your dynamic form is ever changing and I am missing the performance because I am vacuuming, diligently, heartfelt -back and forth, back and forth.

Days slip by and time goes faster and faster as we grow older and older.  Your infancy was a flash, toddler years a breath and I am so afraid that your little girl years will simply disappear in a moment of distraction.  I understand how you could not prefer my preference for vacuuming over cuddling, wiping stained toilets over puzzle making.  Why should I simply walk to a store when I could be pushing a doll pram, skipping alongside you. You, wearing silk and satin, glitter and velvet gowns.

Interesting how easy it is to touch the Dyson button and hear that annoying buzzing motor mute.  Also, interesting that I could still slide across the laminate floors like Tom Cruise in Risky Business, "Come on join me, little one," I put my hand out to you and you took it and you laughed and so did I, and then we ran around this trying to be perfect home dancing and singing.  It was so much more fun than vacuuming. I danced techno, jumping up and down on the bed.  You went heavy metal, head banging until dizzy, thick curls everywhere.  Then you did a mix up, throwing in an ABBA pose, finding your tiara and yelling "Super duper trooper." We dressed disco with blankets for capes, twirled around, kicking toys out of the way and prancing around in princess dresses to finalise a designer look.

Your father walked in to see us crab shuffling to the bathroom, knees and elbows moving in and out.  He stepped over plastic high heels, moved aside the custom jewellery that cluttered the counter, turned down the screaming radio and we stopped and we turned.  You with drugstore makeup smeared across your face, surprised.  You slid to him in your Peppa Pig socks, brought  your plastic microphone to your tiny mouth, pointed up to him with your other hand "I sekky and know it," and then gave a good Elvis-like shake. I looked at the dirty dishes piled in the sink, grease on the stove top, clean, wrinkled clothes thrown across the table and I stood quiet and smiled. "Have a good day at work, Dear?" Your father smiled, pulled me in and swayed with me as we did at our wedding. We then gathered you to us like a bouquet of flowers. My favourite part of the day.

So, if you want to know why you don't remember Mommy ever having a show home.  Blame yourself, kid. And, thank you because I will always be grateful.