Saturday, April 19, 2008

Wonderful Women

Last night I laughed until I cried. I wept and screeched like a banshee and hooted and howled. I laughed in a way that only women can make each other laugh. From the belly and from the soul.

It’s so easy to moan. Really it is. Some days I make it an Olympic sport. I moan about the house. I moan about the weather. I moan about money, or lack of. I moan about my children. But today I’m not going to moan. About anything. Not one tiny thing. Because last night two girlfriends gave me a tonic that will set me up for days.

I don’t see them that often, but true friends don’t have to. We can pick up wherever we left off, and we know that should we need each other, we’ll be there. Absolutely. Friendship is a bit like a plant. Sometimes it’s in full bloom, fragrant and bursting with energy. Other times it is dormant and quiet. But it is always alive; living, breathing and growing. Last night we were in full bloom. One has just danced with cancer, but thankfully has now left him stranded on the dancefloor. The other has things in her life that would darken many a lesser person. But these two magnificent women brought only sunshine last night and we laughed and talked till the wee hours. That’s what I love about women. We can be talking about death and the depths of our despairs one minute and be clutching each other in laughter the next. There are no disparities between the two, because as in life, they are inter-linked.

Family is the blood that pulses round our bodies keeping us going, keeping us warm. But friends – good friends – are like the air we breathe – they invigorate us and stop us suffocating on life.

According to the African proverb, women hold up half the sky. Indeed we do. But many women I know hold up half the sky with one hand, and brush a rainbow in the sky with the other. This is a thank you to the wonderful women in my life. To the girls that keep me a girl no matter how old we get, and to the women who are a place I call home.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Is she demented?

Not a good start to the day. 6.05am and Daisy’s dulcet tones rudely stir me from slumber. I don’t know about any worms, but the only thing this early bird caught was a ratty retort from her cranky mum. She whined, I whinged and by 6.15am we were already in a full scale battle.

Something has possessed my two and a half year old. My angelic delightful Daisy seems to have vacated her body and the Omen’s devil Damien has taken residence. I’m sure her head even spun 360 degrees during yesterday’s tantrum. Where has my sweet girl gone? I can’t cope with this deranged monster that is now dominating every moment of every day. Her little sister has just cut her first tooth and crawled her first wobbly movement in a forward direction. What did she get for her efforts? A quick yelp of praise from me as I carried my demon daughter to the worn out naughty step. I wracked my weary brain for some sign, some planetary shift, some scientific explanation for what has caused this chaotic conversion from sweet to sour, from terrific to terrible, from amiable to angry. But as I checked the fullness of the moon I realised with a shock – all that’s happened is I’ve entered the scary sceptre of terrible Two-dom.

It’s now a daily battle of her will against mine. Daughter pitted against mother. Peace versus chaos. And I’m stumped. I’ve managed teams of ill-suited people. I’ve out-manoeuvred testy Boardrooms. I’ve survived bitchy bosses. But this? A two foot bundle of over-wrought emotion? I’m outwitted and out-energised.

Motherhood is all about climbing the slippery slope of experience until occasionally you get a foothold where you can catch your breath and look down to see how far you’ve come (never look up to see how far you have to go – that’s a vista too far). But this? I feel I’ve lost my footing and slipped right down into the black abyss of ignorance, where I know nothing. Where’s the god-damn manual?? Where are the instructions? I spend so much time on reward charts, naughty steps, counting methods, shouting, begging and ignoring, I haven’t the energy to just run away.

My mum is visiting and as my child clamps her iron lips together refusing her breakfast, lunch and dinner, I notice my mum look away before I see her amused smile break into a full-blown smug grin. I made her life hell when I was two. This is her revenge. We reap what we sow.

I’m really not looking forward to the teenage years…