Friday, July 15, 2011

Book to Read: The Hand that First Held Mine

The Hand that First Held Mine
This is a book that I am wanting to read but also not because I'm such a reader who can't put a book down. 
Motherhood. 
It consumes me and binds me, and yet has identified me in a way that is beautiful and freeing.  Anyway, this is an excerpt from the book that I stumbled on.  It's a dead on description of my life.  And that of any mum's.  All of you mother readers out there, please feel free to comment.  This can't just be me feeling this...now I know at least this author feel's this way too!

We change shape, she continued, we buy low-heeled shoes, we cut off our long hair.  We begin to carry in our bags half-eaten rusks, a small tractor, a shred of beloved fabric, a plastic doll.  We lose muscle tone, sleep, reason, perspective.  Our hearts begin to live outside our bodies.  They breath, they eat, they crawl and-look!-they walk, they begin to speak to us.  We learn that we sometimes walk an inch at a time, to stop and examine every stick, every stone, every squashed tin along the way.  We get used to not going where we were going.  We learn to darn, perhaps to cook, to patch the knees of dungarees.  We get used to living with a love that suffuses us, suffocates us, blinds us, controls us.  We live. We contemplate our bodies, our stretched skin, those threads of silver around our brows, our strangely enlarged feet.  We learn to look less in the mirror.  We put our dry-clean only clothes in the back of the wardrobe.  Eventually, we throw them away.  We school ourselves to stop saying 'shit' and 'damn' and learn to say 'my goodness' and 'heavens above'. We give up smoking, we colour our hair, we search the vistas of parks, swimming pools, libraries, cafes for others of our kind.  We know each other by our pushchairs, our sleepless gazes, the beakers we carry.  We learn how to cool a fever, ease a cough, the four indicators of meningitis, that one must sometimes push a swing for two hours.  We buy biscuit cutters, washable paints, aprons, plastic bowls.  We no longer tolerate delayed buses, fighting in the street, smoking in restaurants, sex after midnight, inconsistency, laziness, being cold.  We contemplate younger women as they pass us in the street, with their cigarettes, their makeup, their tight-seemed dresses, their tiny handbags, their smooth, washed hair, and we turn away, we put down our heads, we keep on pushing the pram up the hill.
Maggie O'Farrell, The Hand That First Held Mine
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