But the same urge – nesting, protecting one’s young – has also made me a believer in gratitude. If a day doesn’t have any disasters in it – cuts, head-bangs, major illnesses – I’m grateful. If we can throw in an outing or some beetroot-paint fun or some paper mashing, that makes me happy. I’m also aware, suddenly, of how totally privileged we really are. We have a house which (for now at least) the government can't throw us out of overnight, rendering us Homeless; there’s fresh, reasonably clean water for my baby to drink and frolic in; if she’s ill, we can afford good treatment – no one will stick needles into her without our express approval (for what it’s worth); we can afford to buy her clothes, blankets and things to keep her warm; we can feed her good, healthy food; we have access to a good education for her. If a day is dull, if nothing scary happens, that is good!
With such a nest-focussed life, where dull = good, people wonder how I don’t drop off the planet out of boredom. And truth be told, I do feel like skipping off the sphere sometimes, but most days it’s illuminating to sit down and be such a part of someone else’s universe… Soon she’ll be older, bigger, will have friends to meet and worlds to discover on her own. She’ll shrug me off and then I’ll creep back slowly into the open, blinking at the sun, feeling positively Neanderthal and wondering what to do with myself. And perhaps trying to re-discover the spirit I lost. So it goes and so it goes. Looks like all clichés have a grain of truth after all!