Several years ago I was volunteering for my favourite not for profit (Australian Red Cross) when one of the women I was working with mentioned that she’d had a falling out with her son.
‘Oh that’s very sad,’ I replied, ‘I’m terribly sorry to hear that.’
‘Yes, both he and his wife are refusing to speak to me.’
Isn’t it awful when people offer leading comments like that, hoping your response will be ‘why whatever happened?’
Sometimes (particularly in volunteer situations where my experience is that the do-gooders are often as troubled as the people you’re trying to help) I find the less you know about your fellow altruist is very often all the better.
‘Oh dear,’ I respond, still hoping to avoid hearing the story, ‘perhaps it won’t last.’
‘Oh no, I think it will. You see I was babysitting their son the other day and he needed a drink.’
I couldn’t possibly guess where this was going.
‘So I offered him my breast.’
I told you I couldn’t have guessed where this was going.
‘I offered him my breast.’
‘Yeah, right.’ What was I meant to say?
‘And when I told my son and his wife what I had done they were furious with me and have banned me from ever visiting their son again.’
‘Right, well, I can see how that might have upset them. I mean you didn’t actually have any milk to give your grandson did you?’
‘No, of course not, but I knew it would comfort him and in some instances a non-mother has begun to lactate when a baby attaches to her nipple.’
See what I mean about do-gooders being crazier than a big bag of dust.
I had forgotten this story (or quite possibly I’d blocked it from my mind) but it resurfaced again today when I was thinking about a mother’s sacrifice and just how far we would go for our children. Though for the record, my mother has not been offering Miss Q her non-lactating boob.
So in celebration of my first official mother’s day, here is a list of some of the sacrifices I’ve made for little Miss Q:
· Nappy scraping. Our virtuous decision to use cloth nappies has really begun to bite now that Miss Q is eating pureed carrot. In case you’re wondering, it comes out exactly the same way it goes in. It’s truly remarkable.
· I had to stop running for four months, which (if you know me at all) you’d realise was a great sacrifice indeed – for further reading on my love for running, click this.
· An unrelenting, continual, ceaseless pattern of interrupted sleep, resulting in constant dry skin on my eyelids and permanent bruises underneath them, thereby ruining my career as an eye model.
· Getting my boobs out in public. Although I know someone who would argue I could ask my mother to do this particular parenting duty for me instead.
· No more than one champagne. Even at your brother’s wedding, which really, really blew.
· Missing the middle part of the movie for the 10pm feed. Which is what just happened. Even though it’s A Few Good Men and I’ve seen it so many times I can say ‘you can’t handle the truth’ better than Jack did.
I love belonging to clubs - water polo, choir, I even joined the library club for a brief moment in time because I’d started a new school and my only friend was already a member. But that only lasted a day because you’re not allowed to talk in libraries and I wasn’t very good at that.
But now I’m a bona fide member of a club of elite, special forces. I guess the aforementioned sacrifices were all part of my hazing. Trouble is, the hazing continues…for the rest of my parenting life. Happy mother's day people. I am very excited to belong.