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.