Monday, 3 October 2011


My favourite people come in two flavours: the ones I miss because I moved, and the ones I miss because they moved.

A&E Mum belongs to the latter, although I moved away from Metroland shortly after she did. We became friends by giggling, passing notes, and otherwise behaving poorly in ante-natal class while heavily pregnant.

In particular we bonded over a surreal labour induction presentation, which rather unusually was demonstrated on a man. Unsurprisingly, it wasn't a successful induction. It escalated into a full-blown cesarean demo, which was also an appalling failure both in medical and demo terms.

I'm pretty sure fake male inductions are a felony in Alabama. But the man in question is now leading a fairly normal life under a new identity.

Innocent when you dream. 
Nothing since, not even childbirth, has been half as scary or bonkers as ante-natal class. So in a strange way it really did prepare A&E Mum and I for having children by increasing our surrealism threshold.

A&E Mum has just reminded me of our early days in suburban babyland, cloistered off from the grown-up world. We ate cake and discussed weaning while our babies scrounged for muddy worms and damsons in the back garden.

This memory has left me alternately giggling and weeping into my Hovis. You see, I suffer from a crippling case of postpartum sentimentality.

Moving on is part of growing up. But I regret that I don't get to watch the A&E family grow up alongside my kids.

There was something wonderfully innocent about our days in deepest, darkest Metroland. It was not so much the babies, but rather us mamas and papas who were innocent. We thought weaning was complicated.

I suspect eventually my children will grow into movers and inherit my burden: they will miss the people they love.

Two years ago I read a piece on being and foreignness that really sums it up: 'It is not the possibility of returning home which feeds nostalgia, but the impossibility.'

To a mover, places cease to exist in geography and instead become points in time. For instance, New Mexico is my childhood. California is my youth. Metroland is when I had my babies.

For that I forgive Metroland its various other faults.


  1. We miss you guys so much. I, weirdly, feel a sense of nostalgia for the time we didn't have before babies and breastmilk. I feel slightly cheated out of boozy guitar and chilli nights - maybe we can migrate back to those one day?
    In the meantime, brace yourself Metroland, we're due a visit...xx

  2. Yes, the impossibility of returning to a special place in time... very bittersweet. Lovely post.

  3. Thanks lady :)

    Maybe there's a glimmer of possibility: like if you travel back to your homeland in a time machine instead of on an ugly orange airplane...

  4. I reckon we need to go on some boozy chili guitar benders. Come to the smoke for a weekend and we'll arrange something...

  5. Great quote. And now I really want to see the ante-natal induction video.

  6. I would show it to you, but it was a live demo...scary, eh?