I became an auntie before I became a mum.
Aged just 23, I was at the prime of life when my sister introduced me to my first gorgeous nephew and I was smitten. Fresh out of Uni and ‘between jobs’, I found myself with time and energy on my hands to spend some proper quality time with this beautiful curly-haired little moppet. One over-riding memory of this time is of us dancing wildly together to Mika’s ‘Grace Kelly’. My nephew simply LOVED this song and I would swing him round and round the living room singing at the top of my voice while he threw his head back in joyous fits of giggles, yelling, “again, again!” each time the song ended. I never tired of it, I loved the song too and had as much energy as him to keep going.
I’d always been big on energy. Describing me as a ‘hyperactive’ child, my parents fondly (!) recall my boundless energy and tireless penchant for being constantly on the go. So, despite being rhythm-less when it comes to dance, I have always always always enjoyed a good old jump around. That’s not to say that I didn’t ever attempt to dance properly – as a child in the early 90’s I took up Disco Dancing, held in a church hall every Wednesday at 6pm. It was attended by almost all the girls in my class and I’m sure that had something to do with me wanting to join. Sadly, not many of the routines involved jumping up and down – except for the occasional star-jump – I had to learn actual steps, which I did with huge enthusiasm and a huge lack of rhythm. Still, we had fun and I’ve kept a couple of plastic trophies to remind me of my past ‘talent’.
Jumping up and down remained my signature dance move right through my days of gigging and clubbing. I’d still be doing it now if, well, you know.
Anyway, let us star-jump forward to the present day. I’ve been a mummy to 1, 2, and then 3 little munchkins for over 6 years and haven’t managed a single jump in that time. Not that an ability to jump is particularly imperative when raising children, but it certainly helps bring the fun. To be fair, my lack of bounce didn’t really impact too much when my first 2 sproglets were tiny, they were always very happy to sit and read or sit and play calmly. My 3rd, on the other hand, refuses to sit still and, therefore, refuses to let me sit still. Taking after his (now teenage) cousin, he loves nothing more than to sing and dance and jump around the living room… with me.
In these moments it is jolly hard not to think longingly back to the energy I used to have and assumed I’d still have for my own children. It’s hard not to scream out in frustration. But, I don’t. Instead, I simply plonk a record on the turntable, flop onto the floor and allow my little monster to charge around me in never-ending circles of manic dancing while I manage the occasional bop and semi-rhythmic move with my arms.