Simply Be, They Say Live in the moment, they say. There’s no time like the present when you need to be at work by 8.00am and she wants to carefully smear the toothpaste on her special brush that cleans the back teeth with such precision. The time is now, but also the scornful glare of 22 students and some well placed cruel comments, loud enough to sink into ear shot along with your heart which dives into the stomach as you rush into the room dizzy inside the helmet that is your head and acutely aware of the putrid smell of your own sweat which has soaked through the armpits of your cheap top, size extra, extra large. The present is a gift you tell yourself while using both hands to forcibly bend a toddler’s stiff and adrenaline taut limb into her thermo jacket as she screams at the cruelty of your actions and you grit your teeth against your own tears feeling an oxymoronic hatred for the multi obstacles she places in your path, and a piercing pain that strikes right in the pit of your soul at taking away her autonomy and carving into her a sense of anger at the unjust which you have come to epitomize. Live life mindfully, they say as bells ring in your ear. How to coordinate so that the kindly person holding open the door to daycare to allow you in realises that no, the door needs to be shut again because the child must type in the code to watch magic happen. The wheezing and thumping of your own erratic heart seem to sound very close to your pummeled brain as you struggle to hold her up so her chubby little fingers can punch in shouted numbers that do not yet register in her brain. Be present scream the health gurus and you’ve never been more present than when you peel tight sweaty fingers off your arm and use another hand to stop new fingers from occupying the place the first hand has just lost. You unceremoniously and with strained breath carry your child and dump her into the arms of another person. Someone else’s mother. Someone else’s father. She screams and flails and kicks and new hands hold her down. Simple be. And sometimes she just sits on a chair staring with contempt at the first Eve, the first person who let her down. I stand on the other side of the glass pane eyes pleading for forgiveness for the abandonment of the whole world, blowing kisses that no arms reach out to catch.
Life with small children - the challenges, the guilt, the stress.