My 2-year-old daughter, Evelyn, had just picked her nose then shoved her finger in my mouth.
So I’m sitting there…
Unintentionally chowing down on toddler snot.
In a living room half covered in flung spaghetti.
Braless because, well, my boobs just needed the rest.
Fighting with Evelyn to make sure she doesn’t climb behind the couch because I’ve just realised the dog’s pissed there in some kind of act of defiance (probably because I wouldn’t let him eat her ‘delicious’ shite out of the potty).
Thinking to myself ‘what the fuck is going on?’
I stared at a spot on the wall, mesmerised. It was a bad patch of plaster work that my brain started making shapes out of. The power of my imagination meant it either looked like a weeping willow tree or an elderly woman, hunched over, with long hair and a walking stick. I decided to go with the elderly woman and I called her Betty. Why was she standing there alone? Was it windy and that’s why her hair was all flung forward? Or had she lost all motivation to ever brush it? Where was she going? Where had she come from? I wonder if Betty ever had any kids…
Then the salty taste hit my tongue, the salty taste of toddler bogie’s, snapping me back to reality and I noticed I’d just completely zoned out of my life for a moment. ‘What the fuck is going on?!’
Annie was on the TV and at this stage Miss Hannigan had just walked into the room, exclaiming “Do I hear singing?!” . Then I realised… When we were children we rooted for the protagonists in books and films. But as you get older don’t you find yourself empathising more with the antagonists? ‘Understanding’ the villains? (Or maybe I’m just getting too cynical and dark as the years go on).
Let’s look at Miss Hannigan for example… She’s clearly an alcoholic with a lacklustre life, no adult company, surrounded by little girls who despise her, passionless about her job, dreaming about love and sex (that’s why she tries to take a ‘tumble with the Bundles’ and rubs herself against Daddy Warbucks expressing her provocative desires in song). So she’s obviously gone to bed drunk and alone for the potential millionth night on the run and a kid in the next room decides to start loudly singing about the sun coming out… in the middle of the fucking night! Not only is she awake but she wakes up the 20-odd other kids there too, as well as Miss Hannigan. All whilst the poor bitch is probably well into the beginning stages of a hellish hangover!
If you’ve got kids, you’ve been there… Drifting off to la la land, dreaming about the day they invent self-cleaning houses and holidays abroad are an every-weekend affair. We’ve finally just got to that part of the dream where the Hollywood hunk catches our eye at the bar, as we manage to sexily tie a knot in a cherry stalk using just our tongue.
Then we throw on the seductive eyes and take a sip of the champagne and suddenly *tap* *tap* *tap* – there’s a leak from the bar ceiling and it’s dripping on our forehead – we grab a nearby newspaper to protect our hair so the Hollywood hunk doesn’t see us looking all dishevelled but it’s too late, the frizz has kicked in and the mascara’s running as fast as the hunk is out the door. The leak eventually breaks into a gaping hole and before we know it the water is pouring down on us, the place is flooding, we’re in over our heads as we cling onto the bar stool and start drifting off to sea like Kate Winslet on the big door (except there’s no DiCaprio to hold our hands because he’s just bailed through the side exit).
THEN… you wake up.
You realise the *tap* *tap* *tap* on your forehead wasn’t the bar ceiling leak, but rather little tiny fingers demanding your attention. As your eyes open they’re met by two big, bright, beautiful eyes, on a face that starts screaming “BREAKFAST MUMMY! I WAN’T TOAST!” You mumble something in response, preparing yourself for the morning routine, as you reach for your phone to check the time. 3am?! ‘WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?!’ Noooooooope. It’s still night-time! It’s still bedtime! The hunk was just about to buy mummy a drink baby. Pleeeeeeeeease go back to bed. You also realise after checking the time that you don’t have a single notification other than that 10,000th friend request from that Nigerian prince looking for his princess and at this point you’re desperate enough to consider his offer.
Now imagine that except instead of just one pair of tiny little fingers you’ve got 30 pairs of tiny little lungs all singing, talking and shouting in the next room, whilst you’re trying to sleep off a month’s worth of alcohol and forget about your pitiful existence. THAT’S what Miss Hannigan went through. Given the facts I think she actually reacted rather well. Wandering into the room, calmly questioning if someone’s been singing. At this point I’m rooting for her. YOU GO GIRL! Get their asses back to bed! (Okay, so maybe she took it a step too far by inducing slave labour and making them all clean the orphanage in dirty clothes on their hands and knees. But I bet it taught them not to wake her up in the middle of the night again).
Miss Hannigan clearly doesn’t know what the fuck is going on. I don’t know what the fuck is going on. You probably don’t know what the fuck is going on. I don’t think we’re actually meant to know what the fuck is going on.
After that I started sneezing uncontrollably for no apparent reason and I had a sudden thought ‘Is this what it’s come down to? Have I really become allergic to my own life?!’ And then I realised how beautiful it was that I didn’t know what the fuck was going on. I’m human. I’m not a robot. I’m not in control of everything all the time. If you’re someone who is then please teach me all you know! Actually, don’t… Because I wouldn’t want to know what the fuck was going on all the time. If I did, then some of the greatest things in my life would never have happened. I didn’t plan to fall pregnant when I was 20 and in the middle of education. I didn’t plan to spend my afternoon’s in a messy house watching musicals and eating salty toddler snot for lunch. I didn’t plan to have breasts that look like two baldy heads atop my chest, that would ache after 8 hours in the confinement of a bra. I didn’t/don’t know what the fuck was/is going on.
But my daughter is my world. My messy house is my home. My gargantuan, always-in-the-way boobs have been the start of some of my funniest (and albeit worst) conversations. (I’m pretty sure they got me a job offer once too).
I could never imagine not being tapped awake at 3am by my daughter’s little fingers and seeing her big, beautiful eyes. I could never imagine waking up and not having my own messy, crazy, comfy home. I could never imagine not waking up in this flawed, crazy, body that I can call my own.
I might not know what the fuck is going on but I certainly know what the fuck I don’t want to be going on and I can imagine Miss Hannigan feels the same. She’s woken up in her own nightmare. She’s woken up knowing that whatever the fuck is going on is something she doesn’t want. Do you really think she’d be a depressed alcoholic if she actually had the company, warmth and love of another adult human being to share her life with? Do you think she managed to become the owner and operator of an orphanage if she’s never liked children at any stage in her life? Maybe she wanted to meet the love of her life and have children of her own but it never happened. And now she’s lost passion in finding love and families for these children because she never found it for herself. And now they just remind her of everything she never got.
See, it’s okay to want. Everyone always wants more. But never dismiss what you’ve already got. It’s okay to zone out every once in a while. It’s okay to not know what the fuck is going on. Nobody really does. But when you get that salty taste of bogie in your mouth that snaps you back to reality you’ll either realise that what the fuck is going on is actually rather remarkable and you wouldn’t change it for the world. Or it’s not what you want and you would- so do something about it.
It’s okay to not know what the fuck is going on. It’s human. It’s beautiful.