Of course alongside all the scary heavy stuff is the everyday stuff. Martha started school last week and is now hopping along beside Ed as I walk them into the school playground. The organisational skills it takes to have two kids at school took me a little by surprise. I find it a remarkable strain of intellect and memory to make sure that there are ironed uniforms, packed lunches and returned notes in book-bags on the right days. My thoughts as I'm in the supermarket, making sandwiches, cooking tea or ironing shirts swirl around in a strange soup. I worry about dying, I return to snapshots of the past year, I wonder when and if and how I could go back to work and I wonder how to make my way back to the ordinary and how to find a happy place there. All this in the car between home and school!! And of course there was a time not so long ago when I could not happily assume that I would see Martha's first day at school, let alone the baby's. This is quite a lot for one small brain to cope with really.
And the pink shoes? The baby finally seemed to be doing enough walking to warrant some sort of footwear. So I took her to the shoeshop to be presented with a ghastly array of gender afflicting styles and colours. The only two shoes in stock which would fit Hattie were a terrible boys' mock-trainer or shocking pink leather shoes. Others with not much more to recommend them could be ordered but I wanted them then. So I bought the pink ones! I sort of didn't have a choice but I'm still ashamed. I cannot stand the way little girls are pushed into the pink, sparkly thing. I've never done it with Martha who wears cool jeans, sweatshirts, pinafore dresses and stripy tights and - at the moment- isn't into pink. What are we telling our girls about what it means to be female? Nothing very interesting, empowering or creative that's for sure. But the baby now has bright pink shoes - at least she's too young to know that her mum has no sticking power in the pink shoes or not pink shoes debate which rages through our land!
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