Friday, 3 May 2013
In my previous life - pre-motherhood - I used to work in the city. Suits, heels, big fancy offices, swipey key cards to move from one room/floor to the next, lavish staff dinners and balls, big budgets, bigger egos, train rides to and from work dedicated to reading NOVELS - remember those? I made some life long friends during those years. And I met my husband.
During that time, the city felt familiar. It started out big, and gradually got smaller. I moved to Melbourne after having lived and travelled overseas, and prior to that, left my home town, a small country town where I had spent all my life. Mum and dad made sure we travelled as kids. As far as the old station wagon would take us as smalls, and then piled in - luxury style, where you didn't have to share the middle seat belt - into a tarago. I still remember the day we got our first tarago. Mum and dad had not told us about the new car, and all we heard was a toot ta-toot toot in the driveway one afternoon and we ran outside to see what all the noise was for. There was dad, sitting in our new car.
I have fond and vivid memories of our family holidays each year. As little kids, before stringent car seat laws were enforced, we would travel from the bottom of South Australia to the Gold Coast in one straight run. The seats would be laid flat in the back of the wagon, sleeping bags, pillows and blankets arranged, mum and dad would move us into the car somewhere around the middle of the night, and we would drive. Stopping for a little fresh air and toilet breaks here and there, we would arrive at my grandparents' home in time for dinner. Now, as a parent, I cannot even begin to imagine attempting this.
All grown up and headed for the big smoke (which was really small smoke after living in London and Glasgow), the once unfamiliar city became familiar, as I found my way around - lunch spots, sushi shop, coffee run, Friday night drinks hangouts that almost always ended on a Saturday morning. The ding of the tram bells and rush of the traffic became normal. Gradually losing interest in the beauty that the city holds and everything in it. When you do something day in day out, it's easy to do. Especially once the love for what you're doing begins to fade.
Now when we visit the city, it feels big again, strangely unfamiliar even though I still know where everything is. I see the same shops hidden in alleyways and side streets that I used to frequent from those earlier years. Thinking how the time between then and now for them, must have been constant and routine. And those days for me, the complete opposite. Growing and welcoming three babies is anything but routine. My life is so different and I was so grateful for the timing at which that change arrived. I was nearing the end of my rate race participant patience and news of Ruby's pregnancy was a welcome relief from that life I knew I would leave behind.
I had forgotten how beautiful Melbourne can be. This week, in all it's autumn glory, it made my boys' eyes light up, little fingers pointing eagerly with its sights, sounds and smells - mine too.