The Green Eyed Monster

Following on from my last post, I’ve moved on from Swine envy to child envy – from Mummy Pig to the Green Eyed Monster. Maybe because my 40th birthday is breathing down my neck like a dirty old man on a crowded tube, but I’ve been having weird thoughts about my eldest daughter recently. Up until now, I have firmly been the mother, and she has firmly been the child. I am the boss, and she is the bossed around. I have all the wit and wisdom, and she has all the innocence and ignorance.

But once or twice recently I’ve caught myself looking at her and feeling a little off colour. It’s not that my rose tinted glasses have slipped off – she is as dynamic and dazzling as ever. It’s just that there has been the hint of a haze of green that clouds my eyes. I’ve actually been feeling a twinge of jealousy. Is that awful?

Her life sprawls before her like a long lazy summer’s day, while I feel a chill in the air as I enter the autumn of my life. Is this normal? I think of all the life and loves she has yet to experience, all the excitement and energy she has yet to enjoy. Her life is like a beautiful map – a chaotic ramble of roads and avenues unknown and unexplored. Mine resembles a shopping list – things to get before I run out.

But then as I snuggle her up at the end of a long day of shared moments together (making collages) and shared moments apart (like this one, where I ‘do important work on the computer’ at the kitchen table and they play beside me lost in their imaginary world of Peppa Pig figures – life imitating art more and more!) and she asks me to tell her a story. As I rack my brains, she prompts me to tell her about when I was a little girl. And I sit on the floor beside her, stroking her long hair and I tell her about my eating so much chocolate one Easter, I threw up. I tell her about my rabbit who nearly bit my dad’s finger off. I tell her about the elephant that chased us in Africa. “You were chased by an elephant mummy?” I was. And many, many, many other adventures and excitements and experiences, many in far away lands, that have made my life incredible. And in telling her, I suppose I will relive them again. And I realise that while she has her whole life ahead of her, I have half of mine behind me and it is a map littered with roads and avenues explored and enjoyed. And hopefully I have another half yet to live, more paths to travel, unknown and unexplored, and the difference is now her footsteps will walk alongside mine.

And so I embrace that smidgen of envy and mix it up with large dollops of pride…it will keep me reminded that I must keep making my life – and now hers – extraordinary.

About Grin & Tonic by Alana Kirk

Bouncing into middle age armed with courage, ambition and a pair of tweezers (chin hairs for anyone over the age of 45 reading this) I am a writer with a mission: to redefine this midway point in my life when the last thing I want to do is hang up my high heels and become invisible. This is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. A single mum to 3 fabulous girls, an author, and a fundraising consultant, both ends of my candle are on fire. As I enter this new stage of my life, I want to explore what it means for 'mid-aged' women today, who were promised they could have it all, ended up doing it all, and just do not identify with the traditional image of middle age.
This entry was posted in envy, jealous. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The Green Eyed Monster

  1. cath c says:

    wonderful.

    you were chased by an elephant in africa?!

    now look who's jealous! i was merely pelted by hailstones the size of baseballs in the desert of california.

    well, there was that one face off with a king rattler in the mountains of arizona, too….

    Like

  2. foodie mummy says:

    My daughter often asks me about when I was a little girl. Now nothing as fancy as being chased by an elephant in my story. But I find it sometimes overwhelming to think that she has it all in front of her and me, well, I still have a bit but I'm well started on my path. And I do get a bit jealous too. X

    Like

  3. I get almost the opposite feeling when I look at my eldest daughter, who is 14now. I think back to all the awfulness of secondary school, how cruel everyone seemed to each other and how even the tiniest events seemed so important and unfair and I am just grateful I don't have to go through all that again!

    Like

  4. Your daughter will have all her own wonderful memories when she is nearing 40, but I don't think it's unnatural to feel the way you do. I often look at Amy and envy her a life ahead, but then I remember that I'm only 40 and will be able to share most of that life with her…..

    CJ xx

    Like

  5. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!! This post is just amazing. Your daughter is very lucky to have a mom like you. And BTW we want to hear the chased by an African elephant story!!! Dying to hear the details on that one…for reals.

    Like

  6. kate hopper says:

    This is so lovely! What a wonderful post full of such tenderness and honesty. I love it. And I second Cath: You were chased by an elephant?

    Like

  7. Mummy mania says:

    I will have to try and hunt out the photo – yes there is a photo! We lived in South Africa when I was young, and once on safari we rounded the corner too fast because we had to be back at camp before dark, and there standing on the middle of the road was a huge bull elepant. My dad screeched to a halt, and as it stomped its foot and flapped its ears, I (helpfully) screamed in the back, my dad (helpfully) took a photo, and my mum (helpfully) hid under the dashboard. My 11 year old brother was the only one with any sense, and calmly told my dad to reverse… which he did, but the elepant started following us…. so dad reversed faster, and the elephant chased faster. As I continued to scream (helpfully) he must have got bored, and suddenly veered off into the bush. And that my lovely friends, is the story of being chased by an elephant. (I leave the screaming bit out when I tell Daisy!)

    Like

  8. Caz says:

    What a wonderful story, yes please do post pics!! I too am almost 40 and have been having loads of funny middle aged thoughts as well. I've decided I'm hiring a bouncy castle for my 40th party. I'm going to pretent I'm a kid again and shake off all the proper-nesses that have gathered over the last 39 years. I'm really struggling to believe I'm that old!

    Like

  9. Diney says:

    I love where I'm at and don't envy my young 'un at all as, being 10, she has all the coping with periods, heartbreak of first love, spots, fall outs, etc to come, and although I loved my teens in the late 60's and had a bloomin ball, I wouldn't want to re-live 'em! Life's too good from here, thanks! It's such great fun telling her stories of things we've done, as you say – and they love to hear them over and over! Good post – thanks for telling us about the elephant chase, too!!!Fab!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s