Friday, September 12, 2008

Flashback Friday :: the waiting

[a flashback in words, not pictures, this time]

I was six and a half, and our house was old and cold and the toilet was outside. An old-fashioned affair with a pull-chain flush and an atmosphere attractive to spiders. It was go-to-the-toilet-before-you're-in-bed-or-forever-hold-in-peace. Because no one wanted to get up and make the trek down the long hallway, out the back door, through the darkness, and into the freezing little room once they'd been held by the sweet security of the blankets. I had it down to a fine art and got so that I didn't wake in the night at all.

But I woke in the morning with a bounce, that's for sure, because Mum was having a baby soon and I was convinced that babies come in the nighttime. Every morning after I climbed down from the top bunk, even before making my way outside to the toilet, I looked in on Mum's room.

Morning after morning she was there, curled up under the blankets with the baby-shaped stomach prominent, still most certainly in one piece. That baby was never gonna come.

My grandmother came to stay, to be "available", and to iron and clean and hang washing just as she has always done for everyone. One night -- and my memory pushes all these events into the one night; whether they were so or not, I can't tell -- I was woken in the middle of my dreams by a loud knocking on the front door. I lay, huddled in my rugs, waiting for Dad to get up. He didn't.

The knocking came again, louder, so in a sort of fog I climbed down from my bunk and went to open the door. Too late, with the heavy wooden door swinging wide, I realised what I could be doing. I stopped it halfway and whispered into the darkness, "Are you a stranger danger?"

I can almost feel the terror now.

"No," came a familiar voice, hissing back through the flyscreen, "it's Ma."

She hadn't had experience enough to know not to head out to the bathroom at midnight, and she'd locked herself out of the house.

The next morning, when I climbed down from my bunk bed, I didn't bother to look in on Mum's room. I'd done it so many times and it never worked -- and besides, I could hear the lawnmower going in the back yard. Dad wouldn't be mowing the lawn if Mum had had a baby in the night, surely?

But he would, and she did, and I have always regretted not looking in on Mum's room that morning and seeing the empty space in her bed that would have told me right away that a new baby had come and was waiting in the hospital for me to meet him.


  1. Thanks for sharing, you have a lovely way with words. How are you all doing while waiting for another baby to be born? Is Andrea due now or at the end of the month?

  2. did you tell me you had a blog? a real one? no..........
    well, boy oh boy.
    looking forward to reading.

  3. Hello Danielle,
    How are you? I was thinking in regard to your post called "Yo". I would love to hear or see any news or photos of 'one' of the world's cutest nieces and her soon to arrive sibling, and of course her parents. Just another idea.
    Anyway, hope you are having a wonderful Saturday.
    With love Tegan

  4. Wow, D.
    I don't have any memories like this! You make it sound so lovely and...well, lovely.
    Love, Staish.

  5. Congratulations on becoming aunty to a nephew!!!!! How exciting!! We are waiting for photos... :)

  6. Hi Danielle,
    You all must be very excited. Now ,for the time being at least, you are more than welcome to acknowledge that Mitchell is the 'world's cutest nephew'.
    Hope Mum and baby are doing well.
    Have a great day.
    Love Tegan

  7. After posting off letters just now, Mum and I were just about to start home, when i mentioned that just maybe you had posted a photo of your newest nephew...and so we headed across to the library. And yet we were doomed to disappointment when we looked and found you hadn't so much as mentioned him!:-)But i undersatnd completely...and will just have to check again soon! Enjoy your time away!

  8. oops...'understand' sorry!:-)

  9. This sounds remarkably like MY getting-up-in-the-morning thoughts when my little brothers were on the way!

  10. I feel like this now about the wait for BabyWebber!


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