Month: May 2016

Punch in the Face

So you don’t expect an ageing, middle-class white woman blogger to start quoting lyrics from a song called Punch in the Face on your blog, but honest to god it’s been that kind of week. I’ll explain, but first a bit of back story.

My husband, who will forever and always be cooler than me (in a middle class white bloke kinda way), listens to Triple J and therefore has a clue about what the young people are listening to, always switches my radio from MAL (Middle-Aged Lady) FM as soon as he gets into my car. This causes extreme whingeing from me, as I love a bit of soft rock, hits of the 80s, big hair glam band kind of action, which is pretty much the antithesis of what you get from a youth radio station. But I have to admit that through a process of unwilling osmosis, I have come to enjoy some of the stuff they play on Triple J, with a particular fondness for Like a Version, which is where they have artists come in and do a live cover of another artist’s song. Sometimes, these are weirdly, yet enjoyably, improbable (like Abby May’s cover of Ginuwine’s Pony), and sometimes they are glorious (like Regina Spektor’s cover of John Lennon’s Real Love).

I’ve come to enjoy Like a Version so much, that I purchased dozens of songs which I sing along to during the 30 minutes each day I get to myself (15 minutes in the car on the way to work and 15 minutes on the way home #mumlyfe). I’ve never heard the original version of many of the songs (see earlier: I’m not cool) so these remade versions are all I know.

One of my favourites is a song called Punch in the Face by Seth Sentry, which The Google tells me remake of a song by Frenzal Rhomb (see earlier: never heard of ’em). I have taken to listening to it most days, it has a cool beat (which has now been rendered entirely uncool by being referred to as cool by someone as uncool as me) and the lyrics are insanely clever. The title might suggest that it’s about physical violence, but it’s actually about metaphorical punches in the head – the shock you sometimes need to give, or to get, to change a way of thinking or to realise that you’ve been taking things for granted.

I feel great, normally I love to complain
About stuff that I hate, science is late and juggling plates
But yo hold up let me cut to the chase, it goes:
Middle class white boy making white noise
With a pint of poison
At the pub with his mates
And we all give shit to people just for something to say
Cause our fun is talking someone’s away but don’t jump on our case
Cause I’m. Sure. the bubble will break
Until It goes pop I’m a make drunken mistakes
So I’m a give you all the tools to go and fuck up your day
And all I ask for, in return is a punch in the face, now hit me

So, my shit week in summary has involved: multiple sessions in the dentist’s chair because my previously excellent teeth have decided to turn against me; my kittens who really are now fully grown cats and therefore arseholes hunting our goldfish with such ferocity that they smashed the entire fishtank at 1am (fish survived, cats too although the jury is still out on them); and finally me having a huge fall at home on Monday night which involved my head making significant contact with the wall such that I saw lights and stars, was ever so very briefly out for the count. I was shaken up, in a lot of pain, and frightened. I cried for a long time, saying over and over to no-one in particular how much it hurt and how shit our new tissues were. When I eventually nodded off to sleep in the wee hours, after Dave had asked my name and the year and who the president is (smartarse), I had horrendous, crazy dreams about cancer and dying and losing people (literally losing them, like a pair of glasses) and assorted mad catastrophes.

I woke yesterday, headachey, sore and solemn. Falling and hitting my head? Well, there’s one massive combination metaphorical and physical punch in the face. I have been coasting for the past couple of months, making assumptions, being lazy, blundering along, having a sharp tongue, not caring enough. Today, my still sore head has reminded me that sometimes, if we are lucky, when we need to be sat on our arse, we will be sat on our arse. And so I was – literally and metaphorically.

Apart from being quite possibly the most poorly structured thing I’ve ever written, I’m not sure what the point of this post is, except maybe a nod to the universe.

Hey universe, I’m hearing you.

Loud and clear.

The Great Unknown

imageSam, it took you four long years to get pregnant. Actually, maybe not all those years were long. The first one was probably not so bad, those initial few months you were probably thinking all the books were right and within six months you’d get there. You were young, fit, healthy, doing all the right things. It’d happen. Surely. Surely. But as the months turned into a year and a year into two, surely ceased to be a statement and started to be paired with a question mark. Surely? Surely?

It took so bloody long and my god, it was so hard. It seems unfair because it is. It seems like punishment, like torture and you wrack your brain trying to work out what it was you did wrong, what you can change, what you should try next. You think about stopping, giving up, you know people do, they have to, or else they’ll go mad with the longing. You talk about stopping, moving on, embracing all that you already have. Those words are heavy with grief and yet hollow and empty. You cannot fathom how you could mean them, and yet, probably, you must.

And now, here you are. With no rhyme nor reason, after all the interventions failed and you had spoken those heavy, empty words, it happened. In 11 days time, you’ll meet your baby girl, and every moment of grief and anger and frustration and despair will seem somehow purposeful. You won’t forget how long you waited and how hard it was; rather that time will become the preface to your daughter’s story – the context of the beginning of her life.

As you count down these last days before her birth, my miracle is turning eight. I cannot accurately put into words what his life has meant to mine. I am still the person I was before, yet completely changed. I knew love before him; yet the love I have for this child, the one I longed for and almost gave up hope of having, is like nothing else. It is sure and true and endless. It has made me fight when I felt like giving up and made me give up things so I could continue the fight. I am explaining it poorly, but that doesn’t matter now, because very soon, you’ll know. We’ll catch each other’s eyes over the top of our children’s heads, and our exchanged glances will say it all.

Motherhood is the great unknown.  In eight years I have found within it such joy, sustenance, challenge and peace. I wish all this for you, too. I don’t know if motherhood is sweeter when it’s been a long time coming, but I suspect for those of us who struggled with infertility and loss, motherhood is more intense in those early weeks, when you struggle with tiredness and feel so completely out of your depth, yet remind yourself how much you wanted this and how grateful you should be. I suspect the exquisite pain of mothering is sharper when you know, really know, that you may never have experienced it. If you can, in amongst the glorious chaos of those first weeks with your baby girl, take time to acknowledge all those feelings. I never did, and it’s probably taken me most of the eight years of my boy’s life to acknowledge that I earned my stripes as a mother well before my son was born.

Here’s to you Sam, and to me, and to our babies. Here’s to every other woman who’s struggled to become a mother, to the babies born, and to those who will forever remain as dreams.

Here’s to life. We made it.