Well, seeing as November has just dawned, I suppose it is time to post August’s snippet! This project is currently a huge document of ‘offcuts’ and thematic bullet points under months and ‘don’t forget this’ and ‘expand on that’ inserted in bold throughout the text. At the very top, under ’36’, I have had this since January:
Life in its terrible, terrific ordinariness simply continues.
- Being a woman
- Raising kids
- German culture
- Seasons of life
Summer brought a (temporary, I can say, coming to you from November) lull in Corona weirdness as our numbers went down and we felt pretty good about our vaccination rates. My thoughts and words turned to a brand new school kid and this season of life as a parent. This collection of writing, this ‘year in the life of’ was always meant to traverse a number of themes against the backdrop of a pandemic, from what it means to be a citizen of somewhere to a family’s first pet. I finally found the theme of August’s writing and it’s the final sentence of this particular snippet below.
To read a little bit more about the bigger project the following is an excerpt from, click on over to January.
I think what is interesting, or at least what I am finding, is that as your children get older, one’s ego is quietly yet soundly removed from the picture. At some point, as their shoe size veers sharply away from adorable and their language suddenly possesses ‘well actually’ and ‘it’s understandable’, children cease to be solely about you or, at least, you cease to be their frontwoman. I know you’ll all say, ‘children are never solely about the parents’, and perhaps ‘about’ is the wrong word. But, when you have a baby, it’s almost like possessing an extra limb for a time. That baby is very much from you, of you, on you, presented to the world by you. People search its face for you and find you. You carry it everywhere, it requires your voice because it cannot use its own, it requires you to feed it, hold it, bathe it. You choose the clothes, you summarise the personality traits, you tell the baby where it’s from, who it’s like. Have you noticed how easily we can put things on babies because they cannot refuse them. ‘Oh that’s so typical! She does that all the time! Such a stubborn little thing! So Independent, so feisty! So affectionate! Such a dreamer!’ All the bog-standard baby things that billions of babies do everyday take on meaning created by and inferred by you. You are the context; the historian, the playwright. And then one day, you wake up and there’s a child that comes up to your waistline, who doesn’t like those leggings, nor that skirt, who recounts stories revealing a lens that isn’t yours, who occupies time and space in a world that now belongs to them in a manner entirely independent of you.
This is, I suppose, the beginning of Act 2.