You know it's been a long time since your last post when regular readers start to worry (hello to Cathy at Playing Hooky :-) Oh dear.
Two nights ago I found myself sitting upright in bed with Baby Gingerbread asleep in the armchair I'd fashioned out of ... well, my arms, actually ... while Mr Gingerbread snored his head off next to me. (In fairness, he had laid a sympathetic hand on my thigh, which is what he does to assuage his guilt at getting to sleep while I comfort a burpy baby.) I was exhausted. We'd just arrived in from a week at home in Ireland and even my bones felt tired. But whenever I put the baby down, he'd wake up, crying piteously, and no amount of back or stomach-rubbing would shift the burp that had got stuck somewhere in his little tummy. So we both sat upright, waiting for the gas to come up - or go down. In bed with two men. How very 'Fifty Shades of Grey ' of me.
It occurred to me again how hard parenting can be. And I realised that only when I had a baby myself could I fully comprehend how hard my mother and father had worked at raising me and my brothers and sisters. I mean, I was lucky to have kind and caring parents so it would be utterly churlish of me not to recognise their effort, but it's only at 3 a.m. in the wee small hours of the morning, tired to my very marrow, rubbing a 3-month-old baby's back in the black silence of our bedroom do I understand fully how much effort being a halfway decent parent requires, much less a good one.
My own mother has taken to informing us that she "might not live very long". She's trying to prepare us for her eventual clog-popping - statistically seen, most likely to occur with a cup of tea in one hand, a cigarette in the other and the phone jammed under her chin. She said this again over Christmas and my youngest sister - who has the delicate sensibilities of a barracuda - told her to shut up and stop looking for attention. I don't care how much she "prepares" us with these portents of doom, nothing could prepare me for the loss of either parent and the mere thought of it rends my heart asunder. A bit of my world would die with them; it doesn't even bear thinking about. So Mammy Gingerbread - I know you're reading this, and possibly already sobbing into one of the many tissues you store on your person - please stop. You've read enough Louise L. Hay to know the power of thought.
In all, I've learned that it takes a while to learn to be someone's parent. And I think you do it best if you're still someone's child.