It is mid Sunday afternoon.
Emily is asleep, Michael is shopping, and I am sitting on the back step with my computer.
Write write write. I need to write.
The words come thick and fast.
I can barely keep up.
But that is what happens when I begin to read good works by great authors.
So here, I am with a not so good work to offer up.
But I need to write.
GA GAA GAA GA GA…
That is Emily’s favourite word in her new big girl loud loud voice, which is so clear and crisp and cute.
Of course, we have the old favourite of mmbear, but her best one would have to be the way she calls Michael.
Daaaaaaadyyyyy daaaaddyyy daaaaaaaaad daaaaaaddddyyyyyyyy she will say. Sometimes quietly, and sometimes very very loudly.
I only get mamma as they walk in the door from the park of an evening.
Every day I watch her learn something new.
Now she gives hugs back, and actually pulls us to her.
Now she says baby.
Although who knows what that means.
Yesterday she told me to have a good day.
Today she drank from a Sippy cup.
And I think she is taller.
Her cheekiness knows no bounds, and it is really difficult for Michael and I to get upset with her.
Sometimes I have to walk away because I am laughing when I am not supposed to.
I was nervous on Monday morning as I woke.
The reality set in that although I was to start my sideways job, it was in essence the same job I was already doing, and spent most of my time dreading and hating.
Had I made the right decision, I questioned as the three in the bed yawned and stretched.
At least it is light outside I thought as I rubbed the sleep from my eyes.
That has to mean it is past 6:30AM, I continued with relief.
Sometimes the days can be very very long with Little.
Especially if she gets up super-duper early.
Michael had kept her snuggled with him for most of the night so I could get some sleep.
However, we all know I haven’t slept properly in months.
Not since my neck seized up, and I haven’t been able to roll over.
What the hell is wrong with me, I wonder every time I literally have to sit up, and turn my whole self from one side to another before going back to sleep.
Sleeping on my tummy is a distant memory.
It is as if the strain goes from the top of my head right down my neck and almost half way down my back.
My range of motion oscillates between none, and very limited.
Yeah, I’m a picture of health.
I had started a new book the evening before when I had seventeen minutes to myself before Emily joined me in the bath, and I was hooked.
Therefore, I may have lingered over my morning coffee a little longer than I should have in order to squeeze another chapter in.
Gone are the days when I used to read for hours at a time.
Not that I miss it, because Emily is so much fun.
Even hanging out the washing is fun with her.
She makes life a game.
I had been surprised at just how bored I had been the afternoon before as I unpegged the clothes while daddy and her had been at the park.
Especially given I had decided to leave the task until she wasn’t there, thinking it would be faster and easier without her.
Which it was, but as I said, not nearly as fun or engaging.
How had I ever done it without her, I wondered as I took peg after peg off the clothesline and carelessly threw socks into the basket.
I hate folding socks.
Even though I know if I just did it straight, from the line it would save time and work later.
Instead, I prefer to pile them in Michael’s wardrobe, and make him do them.
I was panicking that we wouldn’t make it to work on time as we turned right out of our driveway instead of left.
I had asked Michael for a lift, more for the fun of it than anything.
I was testing out the purks of being five minutes down the road.
It felt ridiculous to take the train all of two stops when he could drive me, or better yet, I could walk.
Well I could walk if I wasn’t in this stupid moonboot.
I think it is further than I think it is, I had said to him as I pondered the idea.
Yep, he had replied.
We just need to get petrol he said as we drove in the opposite direction to where I wanted to be.
What time is it, I had asked.
I knew the petrol station would be further and take longer than he thought.
There is bound to be a cue I continued inwardly as I shut my mouth tight and let him lead us to a place where I didn’t think we really had time.
He hadn’t done it the day before because he was hoping the prices would go down.
Somehow, I knew that it wouldn’t be the case.
Still the same, I thought as we drove along the busy road, edging further and further from my new place of work.
There is a big cue, he said as he put the blinker on, and then decided against it.
Sorry sweetie, he said as we pulled up to my new building nineteen minutes after we had left the house, and six minutes before I was due to start.
It is ok honey I said as I leant my forehead back for a kiss.
I would have turned to kiss him on the lips like a normal person, but my neck wouldn’t allow it.
Have a happy day baby girl, I said as I rushed from the car and up on to the pavement.
At least I can see the outline of the building today, I thought with relief as I struggled and strained against the bit, which is my blindness.
Fuck, I have to do something about that, I thought as I tentatively walked up the road, sniffing for the chicken shop and listening to the echo of the doorway.
I heard the traffic lights beep from behind my right shoulder as I stood perpendicular to a shop entrance, hoping against hope it was mine.
Look for the black tiles, I said.
But were they black?
Now I wasn’t sure.
What a relief it was to hear the jingle jangles of the bells as Merryn opened the door and said good morning.
I was wearing my black trench coat that I hated.
The one that I had gotten as a sloppy second prise because after finding one I liked in a particular shop some time ago, when I asked if it came in black, the chick actually sold me a navy blue one instead.
I had been mortified when I took it home and proudly showed my flatmate only for her to tell me the true colour.
I had been furious when I took it back, but I didn’t have the energy to argue consumer law with the Chinese owner, so had settled for this one instead.
I have never been happy about it.
They wouldn’t give me a refund, even though I explained the situation.
And even though Australian consumer law says that, they ought.
Stuff like that makes me so angry.
Needless to say, I have never gone back there since.
And ha ha I think they are out of business anyway.
I can’t be the only customer they screwed.
The problem was, the belt kept coming loose, and pissing me off.
This is why I never wear this thing, I thought as I fumbled down the hallway to where I was to keep my bag.
This coat, despite its apparent loveliness, only makes me look like a box, and doesn’t make me happy.
I have since put it up on the freecycling site, where it was snapped up in a second.
Work was busy, and the time flew.
Before I knew it, I was out the door, on a train, and back in my front gate within nine minutes.
Nine whole minutes.
I couldn’t believe it.
Emily was just waking up as I walked in, and she swapped between Michael and me for her afternoon I’m still sleepy cuddles.
I love how he never rejects her.
Even when he is busy, if she asks for him, he will put down what he is doing, and reach for her.
We must have gone back and forth twenty times within five minutes, and not once did Michael complain.
They had been preparing dinner, but only to discover we didn’t have enough eggs.
That would be my fault I thought, as I had attempted to make bread the day before, and it had epically failed.
We’re going to the shops mummy, he announced as Emily climbed into her pram.
We’ll be back later.
I knew the shops meant to the shops and for a play in the park.
This gave me plenty of time to catch up on my notes for the day.
Holy crap I am going to have to brush up on my anatomy I thought as I struggled to remember what I had done that morning.
I had been so absorbed in what I was doing that I had forgotten to close the house up, or run Emily a bath.
Hadn’t I been upset when Michael hadn’t done this only a few days earlier I laughed.
Sorry honey, I am not organised I called from the top of the stairs as they came through the gate.
But unlike me, he didn’t mind.
He is such a better person than I am.
The bath was almost too hot for baby girl as Michael lifted her in with me.
I had stolen five minutes to continue with my book as I waited for her to finish her dinner.
As usual she sat on my lap and we played with the ducks, sang songs, sucked on the face washer, and went through the normal routine of opening and closing the bathroom cabinet a million times, climbing up over mummy’s shoulder to see out the window, and sitting at opposite ends of the bath tub just keeping company.
The moment she hops in, she crawls over and gives me the biggest cuddle.
Even if I have seen her, fifteen seconds before.
I love it.
Her heart and my heart beating against one another.
You’re so cutie cute cute cute Little.
She was full of energy as she got out of the bath and her and daddy played their usual game of run around the bed, tickle monster, upside-down world, and who wants a nappy.
Emily never wants a nappy.
Then we went downstairs and she ran around the loungeroom with her Zimmer frame like a mad woman before hitting the wall and needing to read books with mummy.
However, it was all about the daddy, so he too had to sit with us and read all about ballerina belle and Pearl the cat.
I think, but I can’t be sure, but maybe getting Emily down of an evening is becoming slightly easier.
I am getting better at giving her a bottle in the rocking chair, then putting her in her cot before it is finished, and walking out the moment we swap it for her dummy.
She cries, and cries and cries and cries, but it is getting easier.
Two steps forward, three back, two forward, one back, and so on.
Last night she was carrying on, and I was surprised that Michael had his cranky firm voice on when he went in.
I had been quite prepared to leave her.
Go to sleep Emily, he said as he lay her back down.
A couple of times he got her there, but the moment he left the room she would start up again.
Eventually he gave up and went for a shower.
However sometimes I don’t think he realises how loud his voice is, and his abrupt answer to a softly spoken question from my end woke her up again.
So I gave her a second bottle, popped her dummy in her mouth and walked out again.
More and more I am noticing she will cry, but then sometimes she’ll stop and just talk or sing to herself.
I don’t care if she is awake, as long as she is happy.
Well actually I do, I would prefer she were asleep, but…
We didn’t hear a peep out of her all the while we watched television.
I wonder if she’ll sleep through the night we wishfully asked one another as we often do before snuggling into our covers.
But of course not.
Before we knew it, she was crying crying crying, and wouldn’t go back down.
But we were now in my official birthday, so this was the one night a year I didn’t have to worry about it.
Not on any level.
My job was to be a princess, and Michael’s was to look after us.
So no, I wasn’t going to feel guilty about not getting up for her the way I normally do.
Feel guilty I mean, not the not getting up part.
Because especially since my foot, Michael has taken on the lion’s share of the work.
Well between that and my yelling at Emily a couple of weeks ago, and we’ve since silently agreed that maybe I shouldn’t do the night-time shift.
I know I shouldn’t use it as a justification, but sometimes I am so exhausted from the mere cognition of trying to get around throughout my day, that by the time it comes to a 2:00AM wake up call, I am spent.
As in, there is nothing else more in the tank.
Nothing to give Emily, Michael, or even myself.
I am getting to know the mornings when I should and can get up with her, and those whereby I cannot.
The trick is remembering to articulate them to Michael.
Tuesday morning I would have gotten up with her, but it was my birthday, and I knew I would be cranky all day if I had to, as Michael had promised me a sleep-in as part of my present.
So just as I had given up on that, and was getting cranky with him in my head, and had sat up to pull on my dressing gown, he saved the day by saying that he would get up.
You don’t look like you can, I had responded as I caught a whiff of Emily’s morning pooh.
On Monday she had done such a big one that, we had experienced our second pooh explosion in as many days.
I had laughed as Michael put her up on the bed with no clothes the twenty-four hours previous.
I guess you won’t be wearing those pyjamas again, I had said to her as she lay her head on my chest.
He was not impressed.
Rarely is the man happy before his first cup of coffee.
Which by the way we are going to have to put a moratorium on that particular substance in our house, as each of us have hit at least three a day.
Every fifteen minutes or so after 7:00AM I would hear my phone buzz with a birthday message.
Aww, I would think before rolling back over and going to sleep again.
The problem was, it was a cracker day outside, and I didn’t want to miss it.
Michael had promised me birthday breakfast, and let’s just say he delivered.
A bacon, egg, let’s, tomato, and yogurt French toast sandwich.
Oh my God!
He had never made French toast before, and let’s just say he nailed it first go.
I am hoping it will become a part of his regular menu.
Then after another lazy cup of coffee, whereby I couldn’t read another chapter of my can’t put this book down book because my phone ran out of battery, we walked up the road so I could get my nails done as is our tradition.
Michael picked a beautiful tangerine colour with a shimmer, and it looks fabulous.
Come back in ten minutes the girl had said.
Michael glanced at me before walking out, which I knew meant he would be back in forty.
Don’t forget me, I had joked as he and Emily walked out the door.
Already he had gone back to retrieve one of her shoes from the zebra crossing. Therefore, I wondered how long it would be before we were making an emergency trip to Kmart for another pair.
My friend Katheryn had bought them for Little when we had gone shopping for her birthday earlier in the year.
But as daddy said, they were all glitter and no substance.
Now they looked like red and white shoes, as the red glitter had worn off, and there was even a whole in one of the toes, while the Velcro was coming off the other.
After coming home, we put Emily down for a nap, and I sat in the sunshine and began to write.
I hate being cold, I thought as I baked my aching bones.
I know, it makes me sound like an eighty year old, but sometimes that is how they feel.
What would it take for whenever there were cracker days like this that I wouldn’t have to work, I asked the universe as I quietly sat sipping my tea and taking birthday phone calls.
After Emily woke up, daddy took her to the park for a big play.
And hello book I can’t put down.
Before I knew it they were home, the sun was setting, and baby girl and I were back in the bathtub.
It sounds so extravagant to my mind.
Having a bath every day.
However if I think back, I am fairly certain it has been on my wish list for half a lifetime.
Somehow, I equate it with rich people.
As in things they do.
Or would do.
All day I reflected on just how much things had changed.
Little was bigger, Michael and I were in an amazing place, and yeah I might be one year older, and life might be slipping away, so I better get a wriggle on, but things were good.
I used to hate birthdays because all they did was to remind me just how miserable I was, or how much more miserable I were in comparison to the year before, the hopes and dreams yet unfulfilled, the promises I had made and not kept, and how I had thought things would be better when in truth they were worse. whereas now they serve as a springboard for happiness and progress.
Yeah we may be no further along financially. But there are possibilities.
Last year when we went for a drive through some possible could we live here suburbs after my birthday breakfast at my sister in law’s house, it all felt pipe dreamy and impossible.
Whereas now when I think about it, there is more substance to the energy.
Sure, I have no idea how it is going to happen, but there is the possibility.
All we need to do is pick a suburb, and stick to it.
Beach side or bush?
Now that is the question.
All the anger, fury, frustration, and total bitterness, pissed offends, and fuck you I had been storing in my left foot began to break out and ulcerate my skin.
My leg had been feeling funny all day, but I had put it down to the healing process rather than an infection.
Clearly when I had last had my foot taped, my body had not appreciated the jesture.
I must be so angry, I thought as Michael examined my leg in shock after Emily and I had gotten out of the bath.
By the end of the night, I was crawling up the stairs as I couldn’t weight bare all over again.
On the plus side, I had to admit to not feeling so hard done by on some level.
After all, my blindness may have nearly broken me on the weekend, but I had survived the event.
Even if I hadn’t yet done anything concrete about it.
Meanwhile, My birthday dinner consisted of the most amazing roast vegetables and succulent lamb imaginable. Followed by a homemade chocolate coconut cake I had spontaneously whipped up earlier in the afternoon, and a bowl of homemade chocolate concrete – ice-cream I mean ice cream.
Michael is still giving me a hard time about the amount of chocolate I used in the recipe.
He thinks if I had used milk chocolate, it would be better.
Then we watched the finale of Master Chef, and promptly went to bed.
He vaguely mentioned something about a present he had forgotten to give me, and said he would give it to me on Wednesday.
However, when Wednesday rolled around he woke up so flat and grumpy, that I didn’t dare remind him.
I was pretty sure it would be jewellery, but I would have to wait.
I was so happy when I got up with Emily and we played in her room before going down stairs for breakfast.
Every time I fill my coffee machine I am reminded that it is a dream come true to have one of those in my house.
Every time I push that start button, I think to myself how it would be such a good idea to write all the things I have which I have coveted down in a book, and maybe then I would feel better about where we are.
I was so happy when after listing my stupid black how to catch a thief inspired trench coat on the freecycling site after all that someone had come to collect it.
Why oh why had I held on to it for so long I wondered as I waved it off to its’ new home.
How many more things are in my wardrobe which are good enough to pass on, I wondered as I sent Michael and Emily to the park so I could rearrange furniture in the quiet.
As I said, Michael had his grumpy pants on, and I wasn’t about to ask him to do it for me.
I get so sick of nagging him about shit, that it is just easier to do it myself.
But I was supposed to do that, he will always say.
Yes, and I asked you a gazillion times, I will always answer.
Why oh why does he insist on making me that wife.
Anyway, when they returned from the park, baby girl and I had a quick lunch then I put her down.
The only other thing for it was to send Michael on a bush walk.
For God sake, get out of the house and go for a walk or something I had said to him.
I am really sorry you are having a cranky day.
It was as if he used up all his happiness and energy on my birthday.
I figured Wednesday was not the day to remind him that he had promised I would have a fully-fledged website and business up and running within the next fourteen days.
I try not to think about if I could see how many things would be easily accomplished, but I have to hand him this one.
I am so sick of the I will do that for you this week my love phrase.
I swear to God if I had the money to pay someone, it would be done with a click of my fingers.
I know I shouldn’t complain, as he does so many other things for me, and is an amazing husband.
I simply wish he would stop saying it, and either admit defeat, or get on with the job.
Which means again I am back to is he interested in pursuing this line of world domination or not.
Back and forth, we oscillate between yes no yes no yes no.
No wonder progress is at a standstill.
Wednesday afternoon was much the same as all the others.
When Michael got home, he took Little to the park, I ran her a bath, she had dinner, and we battled the bedtime battle.
Although keeping up with toddler antics are relatively new for us, and we are still adjusting.
People keep telling me things will change, and I never quite believe them.
Not until they actually do.
Now for example, I have to figure out how to use my cane and walk with Emily beside me.
Whereas before it was all about pushing the pram, the trike, or having her in one of the carriers.
Just when I get the hang of it…
Holy crap she is into everything.
And I mean everything.
As Michael and I stood talking upstairs on Wednesday evening while Emily quietly played downstairs at Michael’s desk the way she does.
Good God I wish he would move the printer.
How many times do I need to ask?
One day she will break that stepping stool, and then he’ll be upset.
Just as she broke his spectacles, which were sitting just inside her, reach on his keyboard.
I had seen them there the night before, and surruptisciously moved them to higher ground.
She’ll get to those, I had thought as I fumbled with the various bits and bobs surrounding his keyboard.
All the while wondering when did his lamp become so annoying.
I keep rubbing my eyes in the hope that they will miraculously recover, but they don’t.
I can’t believe this is happening I keep saying to myself.
Can’t someone just scrape this shit off my lenses and be done with it?
Should I poor cayenne pepper into the truly blind eye and see what happens?
Nothing like an old wives tale to give a girl, some hope.
Or would that burn the crap out of my eyes and then I would be screwed.
I keep remembering the eye doctor from years ago who announced without warning that somebody must have done the dodgiest surgery job on my eyes because he’d never seen such fucked up retinas – or words to that effect.
This then sucks away all my hope, and I think that I shouldn’t bother trying.
I read one article after another, which says yes, there are things I can do for my cataracts, and then no there aren’t.
I don’t want to be the blind grandmother like in Heidy.
How can I will myself out of this?
My best friend Liz would say that my vision is on the move again.
Holy shit it is fading fast.
Emily disappears right in front of me.
I’m not scared.
This is way too big for that.
So what am I?
I am numb.
Denial isn’t quite the right word.
I am frozen in indecision.
The question is, will mind tricks be enough to get me out of this?
As Michael and I sat down to watch television I remembered not so long ago when I was doing the whole acupuncture thing how we had needed to swap lounges so I was further back from the screen as everything was so big and bright.
I wished I had celebrated that more.
I wish I had the resources to keep such a rigorous treatment regime up.
I remember absolutely hating the personal cost of knowing that my acupuncturist disapproved of everything I did for him in exchange.
I also remember the end of daylight savings throwing a complete spanner in the works.
But these are just excuses.
The question is, what am I going to do about it?
But now I need to be closer.
Now I would sit on the floor and press my nose against it if I thought it would help.
I know that giving my power away to an impossible lotto win is ridiculous but I still do it.
Because if we won lotto, I would have all the alternative treatments in the world to try and restore my sight.
And here is where my problem with gratitude comes into play:
I have always been grateful for the sight I have had, but still it insists on disintegrating.
So obviously, if gratitude doesn’t keep that stable, then how is it going to help in other parts of my life?
I wonder what the self-help gurus would say about that.
Somewhere in the midnight hours, baby girl came in with us, and thus Thursday morning was upon the world.
Sometimes I wonder if the reason I broke my foot was so that I didn’t have to get up to her during the night.
Michael brings her in partly because he is too tired to do anything else, and partly because he loves her so much.
Peas in a pod those two.
I had a skype meeting with the web developers working on my new multi-national project, whereby I felt like a fish out of water.
I am good at building relationships, but usually I do it face to face, rather than an online conference.
I am always surprised at my knowledge of web stuff. Because I didn’t have to google too much of what they were talking about.
I ambled through the phone call trying to ask all the right questions, and make a good impression.
But who knows.
We all pottered around the yard, not quite doing anything productive.
Emily insists on taking me everywhere with her, so that was how I spent my morning.
For the first time I took her out on the tennis court with her three wheel motor bike and let her push herself backward in circles.
I swear to God my having to go to work interferes with my being a mum.
How am I supposed to get all the mama things done.
But still when I am at work, I want to be with Emily, but when I am with her, I am worried and I not want to be at work but feel I ought to be at work.
However, Thursday was a complete waste of my time, as I went in for nothing.
Now there is three hours of my life I will not be getting back.
Thank God, I had a good book to read on the commute.
I wasn’t cranky as such, but rather resigned.
Ok ok universe, I get the point, I said both to it and my husband when I rang him to apologise for not making any money.
Move on move on, it seems to be saying.
That trek in and out is becoming even more taxing.
Walking through the queen, Victoria building is like being in a sand storm.
I have grown to hate it.
Emily was so excited to see me when she woke on Thursday afternoon.
And after a quick snack, we were out the door.
God love her, at least this time she remembered to grab me a cane on the way out.
As in literally, she picked it up, and led me to the gate.
How could I refuse such an act of consideration.
I’ll take her to the park in a little while Michael had said.
Ok, we won’t go far, I responded.
All the while knowing that I wasn’t the lead on this adventure, so we probably would go far.
Who cared because I had my cane.
I felt safe.
I felt as though I wouldn’t have to rely on Emily in quite the same way as I had done the week before.
My only wish was that we had her bells.
But we were in too much of a hurry for that.
Yep she rungs rings around me and I let her.
I had asked Michael to hand them to me as we escaped, but it didn’t happen for whatever reason.
Then I promptly forgot about it.
Up the path, out the entrance, turn right, turn right again and cross-country it across the park.
We weaved our way too and fro across the grass.
All the while, I fretted at whatever item she bent down to pick up.
She had found a random can of coke sitting on the small knee high electricity box outside our house, and that had set the tone for her curiosity.
I hate having to be the helicopter parent who touches everything she does to make sure it is safe, but how the hell else am I supposed to do it?
Lucky I had touched that can, because otherwise she would have spilt it all over herself.
And what the fuck was something like that doing there anyway?
Michael says there is rubbish everywhere, but I just don’t see it.
I can’t imagine it.
I had just thought Emily was showing me the electricity box, the same way we have to stop at every single tap we find.
God toddler territory is stressful.
If I could see, I would be able to intervene far more quickly.
How do I know the pile of dirt she picks to sit in isn’t actually a pile of pooh.
And what is worse, do I bend down to check it out and interfere with her game, or do I be the blind mamma standing there beside my kid, humiliatingly and undignified ignorant to the shit she is enchantingly crumbling through her hands.
God God God! But I can’t start thinking like that.
Every time she stops and explores something, I am worried it is a cigarette butt, a needle, a bong, or any number of unidentified flying objects.
What am I going to do?
Ooh, a ramp, I thought as baby girl led me somewhere I hadn’t been before.
Who knew that was there.
She was taking me down into what we not so affectionately call the drug den.
As it is where the ferrel teenagers sit of all hours in the day and night blatantly sucking down their pot, drinking cheap alcohol, and bullying anyone who deems to get too close.
I had listened very carefully from the moment we entered the park to make sure they weren’t there.
I nearly jumped when a kindly woman asked if we needed any help.
No thank you I replied.
We’re just going for a walk.
But do you want me to take you to the playground, she asked. Seemingly very concerned about our welfare.
No thank you, I said again. As Emily and I argued about her heading down a set of stairs toward the tennis court.
Sometimes she gets her downs and ups mixed up.
But given up is more favourable in comparison to down right now, it was easier than usual to convince her to stay up with mummy as opposed to going down there without me.
The lady still persisted.
Oh, so that is what happens when I have a toddler and a cane, I thought.
Shit, I hadn’t factored that into the equation.
Unlike last week when I didn’t have it, we were left alone.
But this, this was new.
Good to know.
Emily fulfilled her end of the social contract by turning and waving to the nice lady as we wandered off down the back path nearest our house.
Michael called to us as we walked past our gate, but Emily ignored him.
She was on a mission to play with the big boys in the park, and steel tennis balls.
Without fail if she spots one through the fence, she will try and take it.
Down the path, we toddled, and I was surprised as I felt around the fence to find that the big gates at the bottom of the play area were open.
Bless Emily she tried to close them, but they were too heavy.
It is ok honey, we can play here with the gates open.
She is obsessed with closing gates and doors.
Because obviously that is, what we do to keep her contained.
I used to be able to make out the equipment I thought as it never came into view.
The only way I knew where the seesaw was, was because of its distinctive creak creak squeak of a kid rocking back and forth upon it.
Now I am not sure, if I know the slippery dip is red because I remember it, or because I can see it.
Emily followed the big boys up the stairs and across the rickety bridge.
They were pretty good about her presence, and watched carefully for her fingers and toes as they bounded across the equipment.
I had fumbled and stumbled my way around the other side of the equipment to protect Emily from trying to slide down the fireman pole the way I know she sometimes likes to attempt, when I heard another mother come over to the equipment and say something in a foreign language to the older kids.
Emily, where are you? I questioned as I waited to see her bobbing head.
Are you up here?
No said one of the boys.
A moment later Emily came around the slippery dip and pulled on my jeans.
Holy shit I thought as I picked her up.
Where did you come from madam, I asked her.
I don’t know why I ask her questions that she cannot answer, but I do.
I was mortified that maybe another mama had touched my kid and taken her off the slippery dip because she had deemed it dangerous.
Round and round my head this thought swam as I repeatedly questioned Emily as to whether or not she went down the slippery dip by herself.
One of the boys came over to the swings as I put Emily in to the baby seat.
Did Emily go down the slippery dip by herself I asked him rather shyly.
I felt guilty and about asking another kid about my own, but what else was I to do?
How would I know.
Little wasn’t giving me any clues.
Yes, he said matter of factly.
Oh, thank God I thought with relief.
Then I began to babble.
I babbled incessantly in a bid to defend my position.
But why was I defending my position to an eight year old?
I forgot her bells, I said to him.
I’m sorry, but I forgot her bells today.
Normally I would know where she was, I continued as the panic in my voice rose.
Stop talking stop talking stop talking I told myself.
I was so embarrassed.
How the hell am I going to do this with baby girl, I wondered.
Why was it all so hard?
Hard as in taxing my brain.
It was as if my hind brain was working so hard and so fast all of the time that there was no room for my mid brain or my front brain to have any input into my world what so ever.
No wonder I couldn’t get anything done on any level.
It was as if all my neurons were firing in this one area, as my body tried to figure out how to keep me safe and nothing else could ever be a priority.
We did laps of the playground, and Emily would occasionally lead me to the boys where she would give the nicest of the three a stick or some bark she had found, and then take it off him again.
Although I wasn’t sure, they were boys.
Sometimes it is hard to tell when they are so young, and no one is wearing tutus.
I tried to keep my language gender neutral.
Finally, she decided we could go home.
As usual, daddy saw us meandering up the path and called to us from the back yard.
I have a much bigger out door voice than his, which if I use it correctly, is clear as a bell from across the tennis courts.
I am sure all the neighbours can hear at least my side of the conversation.
We’re coming daddy, I called back to his muffled Emily Emily Emily it is time to come homes.
But then we became distracted.
Well of course we did.
We had to stop and pick up a leaf, touch the lumpy pavement, do a U-turn when two boys ran past us in the opposite direction whom Emily called daddy, look at each and every tap dotted on the side of the pathway, pick up yet another wayward tennis ball, make spiral circles in the park, play in some dirt, tap a bench seat, and pick up some dirty old pens.
All this meant that Michael had to come and find us.
This was followed up by our usual routine of Bath, bottle, and bed.
Friday morning came and before I knew it, Michael and Emily were out the door and headed to story time.
I was itching to put my pen to the page.
More and more my inner narrator likes to have her say, and when she speaks, I like to listen.
More and more I find myself wondering how to turn this log into that book I keep talking about.
Obviously, I need to change the tense, and make it more present rather than past. But as we, all know these blunder weeks have sort of taken on a life of their own.
They take up so much time, that there isn’t often the minutes to write anything else the way I would like.
Again, I raced into the city for work.
However not all went according to plan.
I shouldn’t have been thinking about how much harder it was getting to make my way to and from the building.
I shouldn’t have been remembering to when I used to be able to see things more clearly.
I shouldn’t have worked myself up into such a state as pram after pram played chicken with me, then person after person shoulder barged me in that oh so aggressive way.
So by the time someone tripped over my cane as I began to turn left into the foyer of my destination I lost the plot completely.
I had already stopped on several occasions to either regain my balance, or my composure.
The tears were already pricking my eyes.
Just say sorry, I had yelled at the group of girls.
That is all you need to is say sorry.
You are the sixth person… I broke off mid-sentence.
How could you not aknowledge me, I wondered as they looked at me with their shocked faces as though I were a mad woman.
As I turned away, I burst into tears.
Are you ok, a lady behind me asked.
I’m fine, I sighed as I wiped my eyes.
Its… It’s just… I tried to explain.
I saw was all she said.
Now come on where are you going. I will take you she continued after giving me a hug and gently taking my hand like a child.
Honestly, it is ok, I said.
I don’t have far.
What level she said as the lift opened.
Level eight please.
That is where I am going she replied.
I am so sorry she said. Genuinely empathetic to my cause.
I wish there was more I could do.
Is there more I could do, she asked.
No. This kind of thing happens all the time I explained. But I usually hold it together far more graciously.
I wish I could do something to help she continued as I peered unseeing at her face.
Thank you I said as we parted ways.
Your kindness is appreciated.
It is nothing to me she said as we turned in opposite directions.
I could barely keep it together as my client walked in.
I have known her for years.
But still I had to be professional.
I was surprised to find that Michael and Emily weren’t home when I arrived at our front door.
I hadn’t called him, as I thought baby girl would be asleep.
No sleep today mummy my husband said as we spoke on the phone.
We’re just at the park. Stay there and have a cup of tea he said.
I was relieved at this reprieve.
I still hadn’t gotten over my outburst. And I hadn’t yet told him of it.
I desperately wanted him to kiss it better.
Just kiss me and make it better I thought as he wrapped his arms around me later that afternoon.
Why don’t his hugs make it better, I wondered.
Why doesn’t the love of my toddler make this go away…
On Saturday, I had a business-marketing course to attend.
Normally I would be really nervous about it, but for some reason I was relatively calm.
I knew the venue, and didn’t have to talk myself into going with quite the same rigour as I normally would.
Michael and I had made the decision that I would not buy anything while I was there.
Although I have to admit that by the end of the day, I absolutely would have bought, if we had any money at all.
But we absolutely do not.
This bothers me.
I mean I keep talking about it, so surely it must.
What do I need to be aware of that I am not aware of that would change this situation?
I glided through the queen Victoria building with no problem.
But it was the entrance to the building I needed, which threw me.
I walked past it three times before the man on the door stopped me and asked if he could help.
Last time I had been there the lights weren’t on.
It was the yellow, which spilled from the doorway that threw me.
At least I could see it I supposed.
After introducing ourselves to one another and he offering his arm, we made our way inside.
As the doorman walked me into a sea of people, my mind boggled with the lack of anything I could make out.
Where the fuck was the registration table I thought as I let him lead me to somewhere I never would have found on my own, but that was so easy.
As I went through the usual name rank and serial number, I was utterly humiliated as I asked someone to show me where the bathroom was and they said no.
It was all I could do not to turn on my heel and leave.
But I had made it this far, and I wasn’t going to go back now.
Being a blindy is a constant state of discomfort.
Talk about putting oneself out there.
I hate it.
Especially because at the moment I would love if I didn’t ever have to leave the house again.
In fact, if I didn’t have to leave this step again I would be very very happy.
I just want to sit as still as possible.
Because maybe if I sit still like a statue, this will stop happening.
But there I was in a room full of strangers, and I wasn’t even anxious about that.
Things must be shifting I thought as someone moved me out of their way.
I probably should mind more, I thought.
But there are so many other things in my world right now that need my attention.
Being shoved like a rag doll that doesn’t matter is the least of them.
I can’t trust what I am seeing, I thought as I sat diligently in the front row.
I had asked to be put up the back out of sight and out of mind, but it must have been opposite’s day because clearly I was not.
The lady next to me had instantly been friendly, and she had put me at ease.
We spent most of the day together.
Although it was disconcerting as she walked and turned her head in the opposite direction to me as she spoke to a girlfriend.
I couldn’t ever quite figure out which way I was supposed to go.
Did I follow her voice, or her body.
I felt awkward.
By midday, I was on information overload, but still I sat listening.
I tried to look like I was taking notes with my wireless keyboard, but it had run out of battery.
Well at least I looked engaged I thought as I pounded far too hard on the keys.
A habit born from learning to type on an old-fashioned typewriter.
As in one with ink and ribbon.
I don’t think I saw an electric one until I was in high school.
I thought of Michael all day, and what a good team we are.
The sales pitch was good. But still, we had agreed.
I knew he would support me no matter what, but I practically had to sit on my hands.
This offer isn’t going anywhere I thought as I watched the presenter press the time sensitive button.
A classic tactic, I thought.
Well played sir.
But still it got my brain churning again about the business.
There were some real gems here I could cobble together.
When we had more money I thought, yes yes yes I will come back.
But for now, this is where we are.
Just watch and learn I told myself.
On and on the presentation went.
As in, it was 8:30pm when I left the Swiss hotel to go home.
I had been gone all day.
I had called Michael and Emily a couple of times to touch base, but I had not intended to be so late.
Wow, I thought as I weaved my way home in the darkness.
That was a thirteen-hour day.
I will not let my blindness rule my life I will not let my blindness rule my life I will not let my blindness rule my life.
But why couldn’t someone walk me home…
Here I am, I heard my darling husband call from the other end of the path.
I had already fallen off the gutter once, and ran into a shrub on the opposite side of the path.
This isn’t very dignified is it, I said as he approached.
You almost crashed he laughed as he kissed me and took my hand.
Is the baby ok, I asked.
By no stretch of the imagination was I ready to go to bed when he was.
But still I headed upstairs under the proviso that Michael would bring me tea and cake.
I used to hated eating in bed, but then I became pregnant.
And well let’s just say, the amount of chicken soup I ate while tucked up under the covers is a lot.
As I smelt the chocolate within the dessert I had a flash back to when we were first courting, and we would hop into bed with a bowl of ice cream at midnight.
Oh now those were the decadent days I thought.
Those were the days when life was easier.
I saw more, I had more money, and we were new.
Those were the days when we were oblivious to this sticky spot we are now in.
I don’t want to be blind honey, I said to him as he opened his book.
I know sweetheart, I wish I could fix it, he responded gently.
I don’t understand why you can’t, I said.
I know my love. I know… he replied kissing my head.
I was so excited to lift Emily from her cot in the wee hours of the morning.
I hadn’t seen her in almost twenty-four hours.
I’m not even sure if she knew it was me.
All she wanted was a drink and her daddy.
When I brought her in she curled up next to him, and I didn’t hear from her for the rest of the night.
This morning daddy reluctantly got up with her as I had a headache.
I had an overload headache.
This can’t keep happening I thought as I buried my head under my pillow.
That is three times in nine days.
I need to research detox diets and eye herbs.
I need to do something I thought as I popped a couple of these will do nothing pain relievers and rolled over.
When I got up an hour or two later we had our weekend treat of bacon and eggs.
Then I got cranky with Emily for making me do laps of the yard with her when it was all too hard.
But I promised her the world I chastised, as we, both stood there crying.
Why was I acting like a toddler, I wondered.
All she wanted to do was show me everything.
She fell off that chair yesterday, Michael said as I ran into it and he rounded the corner.
What, I said rather incredulously.
How could I be that mother, I thought as I heard my tone.
Oh she did quite well he continued.
First, she tried to put her foot out to stop herself and then her hands.
She only hit the concrete a little bit with her head.
And it took you this long to tell me, I continued more softly.
I only just remembered he said as Emily picked up the watering can.
That would have been a horrible sound I thought out loud.
Yesterday they had done their usual chores and then gone to the park.
I knew it was a long day, but still, he hasn’t had a full twenty-four hours with her on his own, I thought with satisfaction.
I know I am going to have to let go at some point.
But not now.
I’m not ready.
Says she who is desperate for a good night sleep.