Last week I had the opportunity to photograph a special little Sydney-sider who was down to visit his family in Melbourne. Surrounded by seven adults, this little 20-month old lasted the photoshoot incredibly well, considering everyone wanted a piece of him. The time spent with the family also got me thinking about my alternate biological clock. Huh?? Well believe me, there is such a thing because I definitely felt it ticking.
Everyone who knows me knows that as much as I love my own kids, I’m done having more (the sleep deprivation can be thanked for that). Yet watching little Julian and seeing how much love surrounded him from his grandparents and aunties, left a part of me longing to exercise the same kind of love. Now, not that I’m in anyway putting pressure on my siblings to have kids, but I do long for the perks of being a parental figure without sticking around for all the mundane but important stuff: the nappies, middle-of-the-night feeds and all-round responsibility of having your own child. I just wanna have some fun, fun, fun. I want to be able to spoil a child without dealing with the ramifications later (never mind an inch, let’s give you a whole mile and watch you take two!). I want to be able to tickle them, bounce off walls with them, run them ragged and then hand them over when the sleepy time cries start. I can give them really big, loud, annoying toys and not be around when they play with them. I’d like to join in the thrill of banging pots, delving into sock drawers and pulling tissues out of tissue-boxes. Most of all, I’d like to just enjoy them for them, without my mind wondering off to what they’ll have for dinner, when their last feed was and if they’ve drunk enough water for the day.
Watching Julian made me realise just how much kids mirror the energy of the adults around them. He only had eyes for his aunty Cas, whom he adored to bits, as she radiated this energy that can only come from someone who has no young kids and is untainted by broken sleep – an energy I’m envious of. Ofcourse it helped that her heart was also a bottomless pit of love and patience which drew the biggest hugs and smiles, full of childish exuberance. His adoration for the others was equally as heart melting. In the presence of his calm grandparents, he too became this calm child, even if it was only for a few minutes, until he sought someone else for some re-charging. As for his parents, the ones who deserve the most for their hard work, probably got the least of his time, attention and willingness. Mum and Dad were boring compared to the rest. Tick, tock, tick, tock….
So until I become a grandmother and have the joy of spoiling my childrens’ children, I long to be an Aunty Cas. I long to have a child come up to me not because they are hungry or tired or need their nose wiped but because they KNOW I’m the doorway to fun. That glint in their eye that confirms that I am indeed their favourite. Then all that’s left to do is to convince their parents to invite me round for a play…