Persephone: Parent

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Mothers Make Strangers Known

on March 28, 2015

There’s a lady I see, a mother, always walking in the opposite direction to me no matter the time of day. As I walk towards Elvis’ nursery after lunch, she’s walking in the opposite direction. After I have collected Elvis, I return home and pass this mother. She has a double pushchair, one of the ones where one child sits above the other. As I go to nursery, she has one child, a boy, in the lower seat and I have an empty pushchair. On the return journey, my pushchair has Elvis in it and hers has a girl in the upper seat, the younger brother still hidden away underneath. We smile at each other although we have never met.

There is no recognition from baby groups. I’ve never seen her at a Sure Start Centre, although I have seen her around town with one child in her double. We “know” each other purely from walking our nursery runs in opposite directions. The other morning, I went out to yoga alone at half 8 in the morning and I saw her doing her morning nursery run, both children in the double. She was across the road. We had never seen each other at this time of day and I was without a pushchair – empty or full – and our eyes met across a busy main road and we smiled at each other.

Her children are both older than mine so I doubt we’ll ever run in the same circles. Maybe some under 5 groups. Probably not. But we smile and nod at each other. I don’t know what she thinks of the stranger who smiles at her. Does she think back to her days with only the one child, the single pushchair and a growing bump? Does she look at me and realise that I see her as my future? Not that I want a double pushchair where one sits above the other (I’m hoping for some baby wearing and toddler walking before a side-by-side stroller for certain journeys), but soon I will be the mum pushing a pushchair with one child, on my way to collect the other. Making the journey every day, times as strict as anything as the eldest can’t be left to go over their time. Does she look forward to the time soon when her oldest goes to school and her youngest starts the nursery? Does she think that when that happens, she will pass me with my one, her pushchair empty? And then we’ll pass again, me with two and her with her son. A few hours later, she’ll be needed for the school run for her daughter.

When these changes have all occurred, will we stop seeing each other? Will we forget each other? That nameless woman and her two children who are simply living their life, passing me by as I live my life.

~ P

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