Thank you for bearing with us whilst we had some downtime last week, readers. We’re back with a beautiful post from Katy this morning and have a full week of content ahead / including an AOP! Such joy.
Katy’s is my favourite kind of writing. Simple, thoughtful, almost letting you be inside her head for a moment. And it’s lovely, so lovely.
Last week, I made friends with a toddler on a train. She and her parents got on one stop after me and managed to settle themselves down with baby, bags, books and coats, but baby’s big sister wasn’t havingany of this sensibly planned activity and instead decided to dance around the aisle for a while. Both girls had gorgeous ginger hair and big brown eyes: they were adorable.
The toddler looked around her and started to explore, and to her delight, found some similar age girls to make friends with. Within seconds, they were “doing dancing” in the aisle and then running up to the baby and making silly faces to make her laugh. Gradually the noise level went up, and the parents started to look a bit stressed. Then the little girl bumped into me as she performed a twirl. “Careful!” exclaimed mum, and cast a worried look in my direction. I smiled to try to signal that it was OK, but didn’t say anything. Mum was by this point more occupied with baby, who was just on the edge of starting to cry.
I kept sneaking glances at the toddlers, who had now moved on to experimenting with whether they could hop on one foot (answer: only one of the three had so far mastered this skill, but they could all shout “Hop!”), while trying to read my book. Baby – who looked very warm and cosy in a cute fluffy all-in-one – had continued to complain until Mum started to breastfeed her, Dad carefully holding up a cardigan to create their own little private corner. I kept stealing glances at her too. (As an ignorant non-parent, who knew breast-feeding could take so long?! All of you, I’m sure). Eventually my stop arrived and the family carried on – I had never spoken a word to them.
If I had spoken, perhaps I would have said, please don’t assume that because I’m keeping an eye on your daughter, I find her annoying. I couldn’t take my eyes off her because a) she’s adorable and b) I wanted to make sure she didn’t bang her head on anything. Please let me apologise if I looked at you breast-feeding and you thought that was inappropriate. Please know, just for a minute in your busy, hassled life, that you are beautiful with your big brown eyes and so are your lovely children. I couldn’t stop looking at you because I envy everything you have; and perhaps, when you saw me sitting quietly with a book and a pastry, you might have wanted what I had for a few minutes instead of being in charge of a noisy toddler. But I bet – I hope! – you wouldn’t really swap. And I know that right now is not the right time for me to have children, and there’s plenty of time yet, and I very much hope that I will come to experience everything you have when I have had time to enjoy my quiet existence with my book and my pastry.
In the mean time, I can only apologise to all parents out there for being an avid baby-watcher, and say I hope you take it as a compliment.