The Perfect Family - Part V
As a parent of two, my everyday life is filled to the brim with conflicting emotions. JOY at seeing my eldest daughter madly infatuated with her newly arrived sister, so much so that she experiences demon-like convulsions in the same way a teenage Bieber fan would upon seeing him bounce onto the stage after months of anticipation. Fear at having realised that my child has a 50m headstart on me and is speeding her way directly towards the nearest road. The fear is so instant and gripping that I don’t consider to look whether there are actually any cars coming. I just leg it like my life depends on it (although in reality, it’s someone else’s!)
A third, and very regularly occurring, set of emotions are those of anger and despair (oh what a lovely light I paint parenting in). The above image was taken as my darling wife was forced to pick up Selma's stiff frame and lug her across the road to our car, much to the enthusiastic disappointment of our little terrorist. Not so terrible I hear you say… I’d completely agree, but her reaction would suggest otherwise (hence the limp body in protest of the unforeseen initiative of dearest mother).
I’d like to rewind a few moments to something that my roadrunner regularly says. In fact, she says it on average a thousand times a day and in varying situations. The words are - “You MUST hold mamma and pappa’s hand when you cross the road”. We may be reading a story about something not remotely road-related and she would eagerly swirl herself round to initiate eye contact with me, open up her bug-like eyes so they are virtually bursting out of their sockets, and state as if I had no knowledge of this fact of life, that you absolutely MUST hold mamma’s and pappa’s hand when you cross the road. “Ok, darling”, I say, “that’s correct. It’s fantastic that you know this” (even though you decide never to bloody do it!). This ritual can be witnessed at many points in time; When peeing on the toilet, watching the 1970s television production of Pippi Longstocking on the telly or building and decimating lego towers which were elaborately built by her overbearing father. There is one time of day however when the words are never said…
So on to the image again… Did she hold her mother’s hand when crossing the road? Of course not. Did she repeat the often recited phrase which she seems so sold on? Not on your life. Did she pretend she would hold mother’s hand only to duck away as her leaning parent was disabled in a low crouch, and sprint directly towards oncoming traffic? The answer to that lies in the look of anger and despair on her mother’s face, a look which is seen many times during a bog-standard day, sometimes from mum, oftentimes from dad and occasionally simultaneously. My perfect family.