By NICOLA MORIARTY
A tree came down in out backyard recently. Strong winds caused the trunk to splinter and crack, and then it fell. We’ve left it there, for now. Eventually, we’ll borrow my Dad’s chainsaw, and we’ll take it to pieces, and we’ll bundle it into piles and the council will come and collect it from our nature strip.
But for now, it stays. Slowly growing drier, browner, more withered and curled.
Recently I drove with my girls to my parent’s house. We were visiting after preschool, and as I pulled up out the front, a thought crossed my mind. What I were to drop the girls off, see them safely to the front door, and then just leave?
What if I got back in the car without a word? What if I drove away, kept driving. What if I never came back?
My insides are that tree. I am dried up, withered and curled. Most of all though, I am broken. As though something inside me has snapped, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t paste the pieces back together. And lately, there is one word that is always, always on my mind. It’s forever there, at the base of my throat waiting to leap onto my tongue.
I met a mother recently, who had just had her third baby. She looked incredible: healthy, glowing, gorgeous. I asked her how she was finding things – with three now. Fantastic! She exclaimed. Three is so much easier than two. She passed the baby over to someone else and pulled her two-year-old up onto her lap. Each move that she made was effortless. Flawless.
She is the sort of mother that I always thought I would be. I grew up surrounded by babies. My mother was a foster parent. After having the six of us, she began to take care of other people’s babies when they needed a home. Short-term foster care. From the age of two it was a part of my life. When Mum took a phone call from DOCs, I would be dancing by her side, waiting to hear the news. Is there a baby coming? How old? How long will he stay? When will he arrive?