Last January I was at a David Byrne gig with my friend Bernadette, a 'rug munching' affair at the Perth Zoo. No, no, not that kind of rug munching, I mean people munching while sitting on rugs. Now, I like picnics as much as the next gal - some washed-rind cheese, olives, and prosciutto, a glass of wine in one of those spikes - I'm all for it. But there's a time and a place for it. And then, there's a time to pack the gourmet delights back in the basket, fold up the rug, (if you can ever find that god-damned velcro bit that makes it into a neat little package), get up off the grass and DANCE. But would those rug-munchers pack away their picnics? Would they hell! Did that stop me dancing? No sirree. ("Oh, sorry, I seem to have trampled on your duck-liver parfait. Hey, I've got an idea, why don't you move it out of the way? What do you think this is? A senior's concert?") Anyway, this is a bit of a rant, and also a bit of an aside (the first rule of storytelling, don't start with an aside because you may never reach the middle, although I think someone forgot to tell Salman Rushdie that).
So the point of this story is... on the way home, lamenting the shameless lameness of the crowd, I recounted for Bernadette a tale of the halcyon days of yore when after a Violent Femmes concert, the first four rows of seats at the Perth Concert Hall had to be replaced because they had been completely TRASHED by the angsty teenage punters. Of which I was one. Yes, I was standing on the arms of the velvet chairs. I was jumping up and down. I was screaming obscenities (well, they were part of the lyrics). Okay, I have to admit at this point, even this story is an aside.
The real story begins here: Bernadette said to me, "Wow, I'd love to see you in full flight". You see, Bern is a newish friend. She has really only known me since I became a mother. And reflecting on Bern's response to my story, I started to feel pretty sad. I felt like I hadn't been in full flight for such a long time, in fact, since Harper had been born. I've heard people refer to marriage as a ball and chain but for me that was a more apt description of motherhood. I felt so restricted, so repressed, so tied down by becoming a mother. It was as though my wings had been clipped. Then, last July, when Harper was 21/2, we went to the US to visit friends in Seattle. My amazing husband stayed with Harper in Seattle while I took a mini-trip to the Big Apple to see my old mate Swifty. There, in the city of cities, not Mummy, just Annabel again, I remembered how to fly. (I also learned how to ride horsey-style on a drag-queen's back during an impromptu cameo drag-show appearance but that's another story). See, here I am:
The challenge though, was learning how to fly with Harper. Almost a year and a half later, after finally finding the right combination of medication and therapy, I think I'm getting there. A few weeks ago Harper and I raced and wrestled and danced with wild abandon on a football oval, and it felt like flying.