A Philosophical Post

It’s very easy to dwell on the small things in life. When you turn around and look back you realise how quickly it all goes. I realise I sound like an elderly person saying that, but the other day I had one of those moments. I was standing outside the bank with the kids in the pushchair, waiting for my mum to get some money out. A knackered old car drove past and it was playing an early 1980’s power ballad. We were in a sort of non-descript town, no-one else was around. At that moment in time, I was transported back to 1981, except I had my children. This is a picture of me c. 1981, I was auditioning for a part in the film ‘Don’t Look Now’. My sister sits in her vintage Maclaren. We are outside the zebra enclosure at London Zoo.

I thought to myself in that moment outside the bank, that I had essentially become my mother. I think this all the time, but this was different as it was influenced by culture rather than genes. I wasn’t hearing myself say the very same phrases my mum does. Rather, I just sort of felt that I had become her.

When I look back on my life up till now, several things stand out; birth, death, moving house, school plays, days out, holidays, moments when I experienced feelings of pure happiness, the usual stuff. The small things I cant really remember. I am sure I probably was jealous of the child who had a bigger eraser collection than me, or the one whose parents took them to Disney World. But I cant even remember their name. It was all wasted energy.

I was born in the mid 1970’s. It hadn’t been long since a man actually had landed on the moon. It was only recently when I began to consider the possibility that it could have been a PR stunt by the Americans. This never crossed my mind when I was a child. I had a Spectrum computer, I used to load cassettes of games like Valhalla. It took ages for them to load, then they crashed after five minutes. The sound the cassette player made was part of the experience. When our school got a BBC micro-computer there was universal fanfare. I liked the keys on the keyboard, they made a satisfying noise unlike those on my Spectrum. When I went to school, Thatcher came into power, this was viewed by the child version of me as a brilliant thing. A woman in the most powerful job in the country. Inspirational.

We listened to the Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, Elton John, Madonna with the odd bit of Johnny Hates Jazz and T’Pau thrown in. I often tied pom-poms in my hair, I wore those luminous plastic bangles and lacy gloves. I had socks which started off very small and expanded till they fitted and a little yellow ra-ra skirt. I was annoyed when the Littlest Hobo, Heidi and Silas came on the television for the 100th time. I kept treading on my sisters Sindy doll shoes. This was an enduring source of pain.

These things flavoured my life. I loved my childhood. I thought it would go on forever. I dreamed of having a good job, marrying a kind, tall, dark, handsome man and living happily ever after. Before I knew it, this did all happen to me. I am lucky. But it has all happened very quickly. Days go on forever, years seem to evaporate.

Nowadays, life is an endless muddle of making ends meet, keeping the children entertained, and trying to keep on top of work and housework. I have to admit, I have rarely actually had the time to sit down and saviour the little smiles that baby Fifi gives me. Or watch as the Toddler becomes more and more communicative. I lay in bed and wonder if their memories will be watching Fireman Sam, or of me and them rushing around the shops, trying to get the products to make the cheapest possible dinners for the weeks ahead. I suspect that my mum felt the same pressures and directional pulls, just with a different soundtrack. I hope my children will be as happy as I was.

All I am trying to say, is that when you are getting frustrated with your baby screaming all night, or the toddler tantruming in Tesco’s. As I do all the time. Take a bit of time to step back and saviour the moment, in its entirety. Think about how lucky you are, how you got there and the joy of life. History is a powerful thing, life does repeat itself. You can use it to learn from the mistakes of others or you can simply just enjoy where you were in the past at specific moments. I often forget that my children are separate from me, with their own sense of being, their own memories and their own interests, tears and joy. They are part of me, but distinct. In thirty years time, they will have the same sort of moments as I did standing outside the bank. Such is the wonder of life.

Postscript; This blog inspired a little blog love!


11 Responses

  1. Emily O 29th August 2009 / 10:05 am

    Reading this takes me back, I'm the same age as you with similar memories. Yes I remember that excitement when the school got the first BBC computer! I often wonder what will be my children's main memories, I do worry that the daily grind can be a bit unimaginative and uninspiring for them. But I guess it's the seemingly small things which can form those happy memories you have in

  2. Insomniac Mummy 29th August 2009 / 12:29 pm

    I think we must be a similar age too.<br><br>I worry that my kids won&#39;t have good memories of their childhoods but your poat has made me realise they will, just as I did.<br><br>Really enjoyed your post.<br><br>x

  3. Pippa Haines 29th August 2009 / 12:59 pm

    What a great post, I too have the same memories, from the same era and I&#39;m being overly sensitive and crying while I type now. I loved being a kid with my brother however much I picked on him. When did the extra worry sneak up on us, lets promise to put the worry aside and enjoy th moment as much as we can while our kids still want to be with their dear old Mum&#39;s.<br>keep up the good

  4. Lorraine 29th August 2009 / 1:14 pm

    I loved your post, it really brought a lump to my throat, and got me thinking about my own childhood and all the happy memories I have, I hope my son has the same happy memories of his childhood as I do of mine.<br><br>I also remember getting a BBC computer, amazing the things that stick in your mind!!

  5. Pippa 29th August 2009 / 3:16 pm

    I&#39;m a little younger than you, but your words echo what is in my heart. One of the reasons I started my blog was so I could record funny moments from Top Ender&#39;s life so that I knew that I was doing an okay job in being her Mum.<br><br>Top Ender and Baby Boys blogs (although they get updated with a huge number of posts all in one go instead of everyday) I hope will also show to them if

  6. Laura 29th August 2009 / 6:40 pm

    I&#39;m another who&#39;s the same age, and your post took me way back! BUt you voiced something I think most if us feel, this constant worry that we&#39;re getting it right? Did previous generations second guess themselves as much? My Mum&#39;s not around to ask, but my MIL laughs a little at current Mums and their suitcases full of emotional baggage – she says that as long as the children were

  7. cartside 29th August 2009 / 8:36 pm

    It&#39;s definitely important to get those moments of stepping back and joining in the fun that the kids undoubtedly have. For me today it was listening to some wild play of daughter, nephew and hubby through the monitor while cooking dinner. A sudden realisation of how happy the two toddlers are, and how happy I am that they are happy.

  8. Perfectly Happy Mum 30th August 2009 / 7:54 am

    That&#39;s a brilliant post and it echoes so much in me… That&#39;s so funny you published that post yesterday because I spent the whole day away from my babies yesterday and all I could think about was that what really matters is that they are here with us, healthy and happy and the rest are material stuff and whatever happens we will pull through it together. What really matters is that they

  9. Mark 31st August 2009 / 6:40 am

    A great post; I wish more were reflective like this. <br>I often look at my children and wonder about the passing of time; there is strange contradiction: they make me aware of my mortality, but also a sense of continuity.<br><br>As for T&#39;Pau – really!<br><br>Mark

  10. Sandy Calico 1st September 2009 / 9:05 pm

    Wonderful post. It&#39;s too easy to feel caught on a toddler and baby treadmill. I spent a day and a night away from my children last week and it gave me time to take a breath and think about how lucky I am to have them.

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