I had planned to bring you a Father's Day post today. I am truly blessed to have not only an amazing dad who (with my equally-amazing mum) gave me a wonderful childhood, but also a husband who is such an incredible father that he inspired I-don't-want-kids me to enter parenthood! That post is still to come. But today, I just couldn't resist bringing you this little barefoot angel. Sometimes (about two or three times a week), Mr B asks me, "Can you believe this is your life?"
He asks it when my baby throws herself backwards and upside-down into my lap and dissolves into giggles. He asks it when I slump in a chair, exhausted, wearing daggy maternity jeans from Target, stains on my shirt, and with hair looking like I've been dragged through a hedge backward. He asks it when my little girl throws a tantrum because I won't let her put her hand in the orange juice.
Then Mr B says, "When I met you in New York, you conned me!" He says this because when we met in New York I was single and fancy-free and had nice clothes and nice shoes and we had one of those first-date conversations during which you quiz one another about everything. Mr B quizzed me about children and I said "I love children but I don't want to be a mum."
I meant it. Really I did.
Last year I wrote about what changed my mind. If you're curious, you can read about it here. A week after I wrote that post, Madeleine was born.
She is light and shadow.
When I carry Madeleine into the bedroom at night, she wraps her arms around my head and kisses me all over my face. When I tell her not to let the dog lick her food, she lets out a screech and tries to bang her head on the floor in fury. When I call "Bath time!" she bursts into giggles and runs away as fast as her chubby little legs will carry her. In the darkest hours of the night she wakes up and nothing - nothing - will calm her but to snuggle down in between us. If she finds one of her dad's dirty socks, nothing pleases her more than to place the sock on my knee and hear me say "Disgusting! Get it away!"
Today was the first day of spring, and the weather celebrated. There was a wind, but it was soft, balmy and floral. And for the first day in more months than I can remember, Madeleine went barefoot in the park. And for the first time in her life, she ran barefoot in the park.
Joy in my life, these days, is bare feet. Chubby baby toes in cool green grass. It's watching Madeleine's dress billow behind her in the wind as she races, arms akimbo, toward the playground. It's shadows lengthening and sunlight, golden on my baby's eyelashes.
It's funny how life never ceases to tumble you into the unexpected, isn't it. I never would have expected motherhood to be part of my world. Yet as I type, Madeleine is sleeping beautifully in her cot after her energetic day in the wind and grass. Baby B2 is growing, waiting, dreaming, inside me.
Beside me on the couch, Mr B just pulled out his passport to make a visa application for a trip to China later this year. He is looking over all the old stamps, awash in nostalgia. Santiago. Heathrow. Addis Ababa. Rio. Seoul. Los Angeles. And so it goes. Once upon a time (for 10 years or so), Mr B travelled overseas for more than nine months of each year. Even after we met and he had left that job, he was off somewhere new in the world every few months, and travelling interstate every other week. I've talked before about how, when I came home from New York, we moved and moved and moved again, six interstate moves in just 18 months. I don't think Mr B could ever have imagined being as settled as we are now. Buying a house, renovating it, looking at schools for our children. Watching the Masterchef finale on TV (yay Emma!).