The Road Less Travelled
There is a ladle next to my TV. I gave it to my son to hold to distract him from his tears as I tried to get him to take the medicine he so needed to bring his temperature down. He took it and buried it under a ‘cushion mountain’. Later, when my daughter found it she laughed and had the cheeky look on her face that she gets whenever she finds something a little out of the ordinary completely hilarious, she’s so like her Dad. I don’t know how or why it is next to the TV but somehow I don’t have the energy to walk the few steps to pick it up and take it back to the kitchen where it will sit again, unused, for months and months. The last time I made something that needed ladling was probably never. So the ladle will sit next to the TV, next to the my little pony on top of the dust – a reminder of another manic morning of ‘where’s my baby elephant’ and ‘please come and brush your teeth’ asked a hundred times each.
The house is quiet now, they are at the childminders and I am here waiting for the boiler to be serviced whilst I work (and write down these thoughts). I have been looking around me wondering and thinking. How did this happen? Why is there a bike in my living room and 600 CDs on the wall. Aren’t CDs a bit out of date now? I check facebook and feel compelled to write about how my son has mastered ‘yesterday, today and tomorrow’ and asked to do ‘something first and something else after’ and how I am flabbergasted every day by the wonder of just how smart they are, how smart every child is. They learn a whole language by the time they are two, I very much doubt I will ever learn another language in my life. I do not write this though for my facebook friends. It’s boring, irrelevant and annoying to people – I see in my mind their eyes roll and glaze over as I post yet another picture. Instead I browse through the photos of my peers from school and university on their holidays or at their weddings and wonder if, in fact, we are peers no more. A shared history in common, to a point in time and then nothing shared any more except the odd ‘like’.
I look at my face in the mirror and I don’t recognise it so much these days. I slouch over my desk and think about how old I’m feeling and how my bones ache from four years of sleep deprivation. How my body is never going to be how it once was and I wonder if my mind will be either. I wonder how green the grass is in a life with a career and money and a home, do those people feel the same when they look in the mirror? I wonder what it is like to have sleep, restful sleep. I wonder if I will ever relax again. How did it happen that I am here in this house, in this town, with these people, working hard, mother of two. I know really. I know I chose to take a road less travelled. I chose to have my family young and was fortunate enough to be able to do that. I chose this work and I put that before buying a home or having a break.
I wouldn’t change it.
My satnav took me down a ridiculous route this morning and I ended up at the top of a hill on a single track road looking down into a valley that stretched for miles and miles. I wondered how I had got there and was slightly annoyed that I was now running ten minutes late – then I stopped. I stopped and was struck by the beauty. I was struck by the understanding that if I hadn’t followed that route and gone up this hill then I wouldn’t be seeing this view.