I took the little guy on our first solo outing. Drove down the hill into town (when I am very strong and brave and the ice has all melted we will be able to walk down, but walking back will be an effort), got the pram out, browsed some shops, walked to the harbour that was milky with melting ice, and stopped for a coffee and a piece of carrot cake on the way back. Felix slept while I was in the coffee shop, so I had time to write in my journal, and read the novel Dad posted over for me (Five Bells by Gail Jones – I am very much enjoying it).
Walking around town I passed many other mothers wheeling prams. They are everywhere here. It is strange to think I am as inconspicuous as any of them. I see them differently now, and wonder about the little clouds of thought that trail after them, and what whole worlds they are pushing about in hooded carriages.
It was so nice to sit in the coffee shop quietly with my sleeping son. I used to go out for coffee all the time in England, but I do it hardly at all here. It really is quite expensive, but sometimes it’s worth it. I remembered sitting in a coffee shop on my own in Australia just over a year ago, seeing other mothers with babies and feeling shocks of pain and yearning, coupled with a mute and bewildered acceptance. And now here I was, his sleeping face more beautiful than the snowy park outside the window.
I wonder how much my experience of this time is coloured by the loss that proceeded it. If anything it makes me treasure it more, although I could not imagine treasuring it less. I still occasionally feel a weird and uninvited envy towards friends’ uncomplicated first pregnancies. But I do not think of it often. It is like a shadow, a dream. There and not there. Part of the story.