There’s always an older woman around when you need that crucial piece of advise. I’m sure I’m not being ageist or sexist when I say it, I assure you. Maybe it’s coincidence but I think not for there she is, the older lady with nuggets of wisdom to dispense at just the right moment. They are mothers, grandmothers who no doubt wait by phones for sons to call or wave grown up children off of a Sunday evening urging you to enjoy every second of your time with your young children. It is well meaning for that I have no doubt and comes from a place of empathy but happens within earshot of most young mothers normally at the end of their tether, far too frequently. Allow me to illustrate.
Now, rest assured, the following incidents are purely fictional and thereby serving to illustrate my point. I mean at no point yesterday afternoon did I personally find myself at a local library with three young sons you understand. No, no son of mine was emptying the read-it-yourself shelves and upsetting the alphabetical order of things while his brother begged his mother to read another of the Mr Men series. Nor was I drawed upon, ahem, she drawed upon to find Wally at the same time. No, I’m sensible like that. No, this was an altogether different mother. All characters remember are fictional, all but the lady who appeared just when the poor mother at the library was about to throw a tantrum herself and pack three said boys into the people carrier, lo and behold, there from behind the cookbooks appeared the older lady like an appartition ‘Aw’, she said ‘enjoy them now, these years go by in a flash, You’ll miss them.’ The mother almost huddled in the corner trying to realphbetize a row of Horrid Henry‘s while simultaneously trying to hold a trying toddler, smiled and nodded, really appreciating that little nugget of wisdom. I’m sure it was the first time, even that day, she had heard it.
That same sorry mother an hour later in the supermarket encountered another angelic vision who might have popped out at her from the cereal aisle to whisper ‘oh, their problems only get bigger.’ as she cajoled her eldest along who had gotten his finger stuck in the trolley. Is that so? I better get home I thought, I mean she thought, before the third vision appeared telling her that she had her hands full and that indeed boys are a handful and then inevitably there would appear the ‘wouldn’t-it-be-worse-if-he-were-thrown-down-sick’ fairy who somehow finds the perfect time to deliver the most useful line with perfect timing. Is there nothing to be said for awkward silence anymore?
Then today, that same mother found herself watching her three boys tumbling down an outside slide in fits of giggles, watching them standing up in turn to blow her a kiss at the window where she watched on, knowing instinctively, that she will miss the days when they were young, full of fun, carefree and naughty. And funnily, no-one had to tell her that.