Fourth week into Januworry and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve started writing something and haven’t finished. I think it’s somewhere around eleventy five times that I’ve got to the third paragraph and thought “agh what BS” and then got up and run away. It might be that my jeans are too tight after the holidays and I can’t sit still for longer than three paragraphs but I tried writing in elastic top shorts and the feeling was the same. Tali Babes (aka Julia Anastasopoulis aka Suzelle has a wedding show on Showmax that I binge-watched in one day and which contributed significantly to the need for elastic top shorts) would say “What The Actual F*ck”. With a hair flick. And an eye roll. Possibly even a dropped jaw. I couldn’t help it. The third paragraph threw me off. Until I started that paragraph I would fool myself into thinking I was ready for this 2018 animal, or enough to Actually F*ckin write about it. Everyone else seems to be on their way to getting things together, or at least have a view on why not having things together is working for them. I’ve read a bunch of clever words where the writers are New Year ready. Old school versus new school stuff about making resolutions or not making resolutions, setting goals or going with the flow, chilling out or taking charge. Some of them made words and plans swirl in my head until I knew I had to do something or else the nutters would start talking to each other and make me shout (even more) at my children. I got all ‘Great, I want to write about that, get 2018 started.’ But the third paragraph would strike and call my bluff. It’s all BS. I have no clue. The last couple of years have been pretty epic in good and bad ways and the arrival of a brand new 2018 makes me feel sort of like a parent with a fifth child. I know what to do but I also know enough to know that I know nothing.
Cue epiphany. Six weeks of school holidays and it’s unsurprising that the only epiphany I have to fall back on is an out-of-the-mouths-of-babes moment. It started with my youngest son and a stumble outside CNA in the Waterfront Shopping Mall somewhere between Christmas and New Year when I didn’t know what day it was, only what meal was due. It wasn’t a big stumble, just a little foot stutter that made his toes lose their grip and his foot slip ever so slightly out of his flip flop. His seven-year-old feet had grown in the summer holidays, and it didn’t take much for his heels to catch on the floor. A relentless optimist, he was nagging me to go to Hamleys when his eyes caught the CNA window display.
“Why do they have Back To School things in the window?” His eyes had creased with shock at his own B(t)S moment.
“It is Back To School soon,” I answered in my best “Mom-in-charge” voice that never works on this fifth child in the family. Our usual tug of war followed. His total outrage and denial that I could be telling the truth versus my resolute repetition that I am. Like two people speaking a language the other does not understand, we said the same thing in ever louder voices. It ended, as always, with something I did understand but couldn’t argue with. “It’s not fair, it was just Christmas and I don’t want to go to school anyway.” Lucky for me, a shop later we were past CNA and the fruity smells of Lush grabbed him by the nose and chased thoughts of school from his mind. (“Can I have a bath bomb?” was the next question which set off a whole new tug of war. I won with my “No, only tourists who promise to use them far away with their own water are allowed to buy them.” Sorry, but it’s easy to digress from the epiphany now that I’m in the thick of being so far from the third paragraph.) After that Lush moment when the lovely smells literally chased all thoughts of B(t)S from his mind, I raised the school story maybe once or twice until Back to School was a reality last week.
And every time I mention it, even now that he is physically at school with a Student of the Day sticker under his belt, he has the same response for me.
“Don’t talk about it, it freaks me out.”
And boom. Epiphany. 2018 (or at least February) here I come. It’s sort of a non-resolution resolution that sets a goal and goes with the flow and lets me chill out while taking charge. I’m just going to get on with it or ‘las it’ as the older kids say. A Back to Old School way of doing things. And I’m going to remember that even with a stumble, a little smell of something Lush will do wonders, and eventually relentless optimism will get you somewhere (yep, no Hamleys or Lush, but he did get Haagen Dazs). Probably all this is still BS but I’m going take it. Thanks boykie, another round of ice cream is on me!