I'm just loving going out and about with Indi these days in this amazing Autumn weather, cold yet not too cold, and so full of colour. I pop her in the Ergo, a wonderful carrier lent to me by a friend (thanks Sif!), and off we go on another mum and bub adventure. It's the kind of adventure that, if you're Indigo, you can fall asleep during! She's rocked about rhythmically as I walk, with her head leaning against her mumma's chest, tummy to tummy, warm as toast. It's so nice having her pressed against me, so close. I often wonder what it feels like for her - it looks like it would feel really lovely.
So some days we walk the local streets, with me admiring all the front yards and houses that we pass. This is something I truly love to do - I love the way a front yard just says so much about a household, about the people living there. I love observing the different plants people have collected, how they are arranged, cared for, how much effort has gone into it (or not, in many cases). I love my front yard, and spend a lot of time there, not just gardening but sitting out on our front porch on one of the two lovely big overstuffed chairs donated to us by our next door neighbour. Indigo and I spend a lot of time there, everyday. So I love it when I come across a front yard with furniture like a chair or a bench - it's amazing how it can transform a garden from a sterile place with a few plants to an inhabited outdoor 'room'. Just today I passed a row of pretty terrace houses, with tiny front yards, each with a small front verandah, and one of them had an orange retro looking upholstered chair, just a single seat, placed at an angle looking out on the street, and immediately I knew that whoever lived there just loved sitting there. I could feel that it was a spot where much enjoyment had taken place. It kind of hummed with it. It felt good. I think that's kind of what feng shui is about.
So yes she sleeps and gets her late morning nap while I walk and walk and walk - I have lost a bit of weight and am getting a really good idea of the terrain of our neighbourhood, getting a real sense of where we live. I like this. I used to wish we had a dog so I would be forced to walk more, but really there is nothing to stop me just stepping out for a little jaunt now and then. And all the better if I can do it while my lovely daughter sleeps soundly against my tummy (although my hips have been complaining a little as she gets heavier, I will have to get her used to the pram soon. I'm not really looking forward to it, she'll be so far away!)
Other days we go to the market, or the local shops, where she is more likely to be peering out from her comfy and safe perch, watching with wide eyes as the enormous and colourful and chattering world goes on around us. I love watching her in this mode, you can just tell she's taking so much in, processing so much, learning so much, just by observing, just by being there. And of course there are the countless people smiling with joy just at the sight of her, peering down at her and speaking baby talk to her. I used to kind of wish they would not get in her face so much but lately she is really lapping it up - she has been smiling back at them more and more often and winning them over completely!
It's actually quite amazing how much power she has. She opens people's hearts and brings people together just by being there. I always lose count of the number of people I end up chatting too as a result of wearing her around, and they are always the sweetest little encounters, tiny moments of shared joy as we all smile and share and love her, just for existing, just for being so goddamn cute!
I'm really loving it actually. I'm loving the sense of community that being a parent has brought to me. It's like a club, a huge, really huge club that exists, with free and automatic membership to each and every person who has ever been a parent. Mat and I noticed it right away. We are both fairly marginal people who have always dwelled on the fringes of society, never really fitting into the mainstream, or even many subgroups. Kind of a lonely place sometimes. But as soon as Indi was born, we instantly became members of this great club! We'd get smiles and nods everywhere we went, and still do. People give you more time to cross the street, are more likely to stop for you in the first place, if you are walking with your child, and they smile knowingly as you nod in thanks. It's a club that is totally unknown to you if you are childless - you can see all the people out there with kids, the sea of prams out on every shopping strip and cafe and playground, you can see them there, but you have no idea that they are all so connected, bound together by the invisible force of shared experience. And what an experience! The paradox of brutal difficulty combined with the sweetest of joys is completely unique and unmatchable by anything else.
There is a deepening in the eyes of these parents who I suddenly feel so connected to - you can see it as that knowing smile hits you. With that one look you can see that this person has already gone through what you are going through now. Even if the person is old and grey, you can see that they have not forgotten. You can see that they are kind of walking with you on this amazing journey, that the terrain is familiar to them, and that they know things about the road ahead of you that you don't know yet.
So we continue to walk, sometimes just the two of us, sometimes as a family when Mat joins us, and with each step we move forward on our amazing adventure together.
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