A foot in a previous world
I went to London yesterday, to a conference … it was excellent. Great to catch up with former colleagues, meet new people and find out what’s what in the world of digital inclusion. I did my hair, I put my make up on and a ‘smart outfit’ and networked with the best of them.
I enjoyed my day, I also felt more able to take everything a little less seriously than I might have done in the past. Every contact was useful for me for potential work, every reunion was enjoyed … last year I took Hope she was five months old and happy to sit in her pram or on my lap, this year my rambunctious 17 month old isn’t so easy to contain and the conference was more serious and ’round table’ so it wasn’t right to take her. Hope spent the day with her wonderful child minder and was picked up by her precious Granby and taken home by taxi and then dozed, read the paper (favourite activity of the moment … and she can say, “paper”), had some supper and played with the little white wicker handbag that was mine when I was a little girl.
I caught up with one of Hope’s godfathers who walked me after the conference ended to the tube station and it was fun to be in the buzzy streets of London, but by the time I got to King’s Cross station I felt an overwhelming sense of need to be back with my girl. When the train finally pulled out I was excited, I was happy and I was willing it to go faster and faster to get me back to her. It wasn’t just because I hadn’t breast fed for a day so my chest felt heavy with milk, it was just the thought of how much more I enjoy being with her now and how much less shiny the prospect of an after conference drink and late train home is … her smile and the patter of her syncopated crawling vs the endless handshakes and air kisses, her airy chatter vs intense conversation about including the excluded and big amounts of Govt money …
The train felt as if it was going slower and slower the nearer we got to Cambridge … when we arrived I bounded up the platform imagining her beaming face, sweeping her up in my arms and holding her. I rushed to the car and drove steadily home to Granby’s house. I left myself in and opened the sitting room door waiting to be overwhelmed by the love of a small person.
She was sitting on her Granby’s lap playing with her “hanba” (handbag), she looked up, looked me up and down, gave me an “oh it’s you” kind of a look and carried on playing. I felt positively crestfallen. Only after a few more minutes did she drop to the ground and pad over to show me her handbag … and to have some milky … she pulled at my top and said, “maaaa” which seems to be Hopeish for Milky or more or something … she fed with relish on both sides and then, and only then did she sit back, lean up and give me a huge kiss and say, “Mummi … happy happy happy”. That made me so happy too!!! I also loved that she was so content with her Granby and had enjoyed such a happy day.
She settled well last night and slept right through from 11 til 5.30 then had a quick feed but wouldn’t get back into her little bed so came in with me … she sleeps at the top of the bed, I sleep at the bottom … she slept soundly until 8am when she crawled over, kissed me and said, “happy” and had another feast and then zonked onto me holding tight onto my arm and went into a heavy sleep until 9am … I didn’t have the heart to move …luckily today I didn’t need to get up early (and I had stayed up til 1am working) so I just lay there watching her and enjoying feeling my small limpet like baby holding on to me, it was a very indulgent and a very personal moment.
I reflected at that point that everyone else would be arriving for day 2 of the National Digital Conference, but there was I, bleary eyed and happy intertwined with Hope … maybe one day I’ll crave grown up company but right now this is exactly where I want to be… and if it means working when she’s asleep or late at night or making the 8 hours she’s at the child minder during the day into 12 hours of work then that’s just how it’s got to be… I’ll never have this time with her again and I am so going to make the most of every minute of it.
It would have been nice to have a little lurch or beam of recognition when I walked in, but I’m sure it won’t be the last time that I’ll be way down on her priorities … far below a new handbag, reading the newspaper and her playmates.