Every single day at lunchtime, you come and you sit in the same spot – the park bench just outside my kitchen window.
You come with your new baby. Sometimes your baby is tucked against you in a baby carrier and sometimes she’s sleeping in the pram. But you always, always have your Nike sneakers on and your hair pulled up in a tired-mama topknot.
While your precious baby slumbers, you sit and look at the trees and occasionally scroll through your phone. Taking a quiet moment to reach outside those milky, blurry days of new motherhood and see what else is happening in the world.
I wonder what you’re thinking. I wonder if you’ve slept the night before.
I wonder what your name is and whether you miss your old life. Or not.
Sometimes your baby wakes and you sit holding your baby, making cooing noises and breathing in the scent of your baby’s hair. You do it for ages, just pressing your face against your baby’s head. Watching you reminds me of that soft, milky scent of my own babies.
I know you don’t know that I can see you. And I know you don’t know I am watching you while I drink tea and work on my laptop. My heart bursting with memories of those early days of motherhood as I quietly observe you enjoying a rare moment of peace while bub naps and you gather your thoughts and recover. Just for a little while.
Some days I miss seeing you because I am out shopping, racing around, picking up supplies for my own two children – now busy with cricket and gymnastics and their own little friends.
Some days I think about popping outside and walking through the park with a cup of hot, milky tea and saying hello.
I haven’t just yet. Perhaps you want to be alone? Or perhaps, like me, in those early days of motherhood – you are desperate for a kind word, a hug and a giggle with another grownup?
Maybe tomorrow I will come out and say hello.
Because every time I see you, I am just a little bit relieved.
You see, I know I will worry if I don’t see you.
If one day you miss your little park outing with your baby and I don’t see you outside my window, I will fret. Because I will know, inherently, that on that day – perhaps you didn’t quite manage to get dressed, showered, fed and pack up your pram. Perhaps you are at home with a crying babe in arms, tired and overwhelmed and exhausted.
Perhaps wishing someone was there with you to make you a cup of tea and tell you it’s going to be alright. And that these months will pass oh so quickly.
Because you see, I remember.
So yes, it’s all decided. Tomorrow, ‘mum on the park bench’, I am going to pop by with tea and a smile and I’m going to ask you about your baby, because it feels right – and that’s what I would have wanted all those years ago.