For two weeks, we had the non-stop noise of hammering every day as next door had their carpets fitted. The noise stressed me out but I couldn’t help feeling angry and jealous that whoever the people were had the ready cash to afford carpets and curtains before they moved in.
The new neighbours moved in last weekend, and I hadn’t seen them, but I had heard their little children laughing and screaming (which was endearing and irritating by turns) and their mother constantly shouting at them (which was upsetting).
I spent the week thinking how youth is wasted on the young and how so many young mothers wish the time away, not realising how short a season it is. I also found an old diary from 2004 (something my hoarding tendencies won’t allow me to part with) and thinking about what we were doing when our children were young.
We have also had visitors every day this week – a dear friend whom I love, but who has had a very different experience to mine. We are the same age, but she married late and her children are all little. She spent the whole time telling me how lucky I am to live by the sea. True. But depression can’t appreciate that, and I wasn’t able to communicate that to her. If you’ve never been there yourself, it’s hard to comprehend how depression draws a veil of grey over the sunniest day.
Last night as we arrived home, the next door neighbour was knocking on the door. I expected she was coming to introduce herself, but instead, she said:
“Your kids keep waking my kids up!”
“Oh, ok” said I.
“I wasn’t going to say anything but it keeps happening. Your kids keep running up and down the stairs” she said, angrily (presumably it had just happened)
“Oh, ok. Nice to meet you” I replied.
I went in and told my sleepy children to try to be more careful on our un-carpeted stairs. I’m pretty sure nobody has been running up and down, but they do get a bit stompy when they’re tired.
That was the last straw really.
Instead of crying, I went in and stuffed my face with (vegan) comfort food (banana, non-dairy chocolate spread & peanut butter in tortilla breads). Several of them.
I went up and checked my blood pressure, which is horrendously high (tablets notwithstanding). I’m a little bit frightened I will just drop dead, and I’m really not ready to do that. Not THAT depressed.
I will leave you with a poem that has been going around in my head this week.
“Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.”
Song for a Fifth Child
by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton