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Time waits for no woman

February 5, 2008

There is something wonderfully comforting about time. People have been telling me it’s a great healer for months, if not years, and of course I’ve been completely ignoring them. But something I saw in the playground yesterday did drop that penny definitively.

It was one of the more glamorous Mummies (there are plenty of stunnas, as the Sun would have it, but she is definitely top of the pops), who as usual was shepherding a brood of tiny children with her while waiting for an older son who was still in school. Seeing her with a large group of tinies, I am always irresistibly reminded of a rather bored sheepdog, going through the motions. She looks at the children with a curiously apathetic stare. It’s only her eyes which resemble a bored sheepdog, I should point out – the rest of her is drop-dead gorgeous, stick-thin, tall, toned, decked out in something incredibly form-fitting, often a camel-coloured trouser suit with real fur (yes, she’s foreign and knows no shame) around the collar, a mane of gorgeous curly blonde hair cascading down her back, very shampoo ad, and with the whole outfit finished off with stratospheric heels. If one of the toddlers did make a run for it, there’s no way she could chase them without breaking at least a leg. The poor toddlers seem to know, though , that if they did run away, they’d be on their own. She’d be shovelling the other children into her SUV as quickly as she could and would be off with a squeal of brakes and a whiff of burnt rubber, leaving them alone to fend for themselves in hedgerows. As a result, her children and the great shoals of other people’s she drives around are all uncannily well-behaved, though inclined to be teary.

Looking at her, I was reminded of myself when my children were much, much younger. All right, I don’t think I would ever have driven off and left them in a layby (and neither has she, I should point out in all fairness) but I do remember that sense of dislocation and, more importantly, exhaustion. I’m sure I didn’t enjoy them as much as I should have. Now, of course, I really do have fun with mine – and just at the moment when they’re starting to try to shake me off.

Ah, time. Well, if it can change all that, I’m sure it’ll work its wonders on the rest. It’s just the waiting that gets me down.

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