The Hokey Pokey

You put your whole self in

When I only had Pickles he was my whole world. He wasn’t my first experience of love. Before I had ever considered love as a concept I loved my family. Before I had ever attempted to articulate the enduring grandeur of deep friendship I loved my friends. Before I had ever sincerely contemplated the crashing complexity of true love I loved my partner. And other shades of love along the way, some that came and went, others that seared their intense brightness forever on my very being. Yet here he was and I saw my heart anew. Never really inside me anymore. In his every breath a heartbeat echoed. In his every smile and sigh and flailing grasp a soaring of the soul.

You take your whole self out

And so there I was lost to the world. Me but out of me. My whole self rewritten. Suddenly time was Vonnegutesque. I didn’t sleep but I was asleep. Had never slept  but was always sleeping. I was a child and a mother and had always been both. My mother was dancing me around the room. I was dancing Pickles around the room. I was here I was nowhere I was everywhere. It was perfect imperfect bliss. I had Pickles and nothing would ever be the same again. I hoped everything would always be the same.

You put your whole self in

When I only had Pickles he was my whole world. Every night I longed for the next day. Every smile was the first smile. I was every new parent and he was every superlative. I held him, rocked him, sang to him. I took him to music class, gym class, swimming class. The library, the zoo, museums, the theatre. Endless playgrounds. We explored together. We laughed and danced and shared a secret language of sounds and gestures. It was unfathomable that anything could ever be as wonderful as this, as him. This perfect little person. My heart overflowed everyday and was refilled by the mere memory of a moment.

And you shake it all about

And then. And then. There was Pords. Pickles is my world, my everything, the song of my heart. Pords is my world my everything, the song of my heart. When people described the love of subsequent children I was dubious. That the heart expands or makes room didn’t make sense to a new mother whose heart was already full to bursting. But it wasn’t that at all. This love is not an expansion of the heart. It is a new heart. They are separate loves. “Who is your favourite, mum?” “You’re all my favourites.” This is not glib. This is not trite. This is the impossible truth. When I turn my mind to Pickles he is my best love, my dearest child. When I turn my mind to Pords she is my best love, my dearest child.

You do the hokey pokey and you turn around

I have Pickles and he is my whole world. I have Pords and she is my whole world. And I have their father and he is my whole world. Together they are my universe, but each inhabits their own separate sphere. Each is my greatest joy. As a scholar and a teacher and a rational thinker it turns me around. Inside out and upside down. Why wish for the weekend or next month or Christmas time when there is the possibility of this impossible love? When there is the puzzle of how this can be so.

And that’s what it’s all about

And so, dear friends and enemies, that’s what it’s all about. Just life and adventures with Pickles and Pords. And their mum trying to make sense of it all.



10 thoughts on “The Hokey Pokey

  1. “When people described the love of subsequent children I was dubious. ” Me too. I cannot imagine how it is possible, and yet everyday my partner and I turn that thought, that possibility over and over again in our heads.

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