A year ago, around this time, not far from where I am sitting, I was hunched over my birthing ball. De doorbell rang. Never have I lived as intensely in the moment. I clenched Roel’s hand. I did not let him go, not even to open the door for the midwife. Word by word, image by image, I can remember what happened next. Not so much the pain, but me running to the pool, and after, on the sofa, baby Jasmijn on my belly. Tijm and Linde with Roel next to us, smiling. Me and my family. Nothing else existed.
What I did yesterday is fuzzy and grey and what I’ll do tomorrow I do not know. Of the future I can only dream. My mind is in Malaysia, thirty years ago, in my new book. Last year exists in snapshots. A broadly smiling baby on the beach. A little girl, blonde pigtails, and a mouth purple with blackberry juice. A boy, stirring a bowl of pancake batter. Roel and me on a rock, the kids on our laps, smiling at the camera. Click. The photograph caught our happiness.
It’s is delightful when you don’t dream but just are. Are here and now. Here and now a princess and a king are playing in a tent. The princess, in a glimmering pink dress, lines up her ladies in waiting. Poppa, Pop, Nelly and Upsiedaisy. The tent is their castle. She pulls my sleeve. Hungry. She wants a sandwich with chocolate sprinkles. In an hour, I point at the clock. The king runs to the back door, wanting to see whether the beans he planted yesterday have come up yet. When spring comes, I say. Tomorrow we will see. But here and now knows no tomorrow.
Along the sofa a little creature walks, grinning. It is a year ago that she was born. The year is gone but we did not lose it. It was a rough year full of beautiful things. I put it away, in a drawer. The difficulties first, in the bottom, the better things on top to cover. The best memories I put on the wall, in a frame. There is so much to cherish and keep. Mouths dirty with apple syrup. A broad grin with only two teeth. A pondering look with which a checkers piece is moved. Two arms sticking out of a duvet demanding a nuddle. Late night, the two of us on the sofa. A skipping boy with his rug sack, on his way to nursery. A duck, clenched in little fists. Never-ending games we played. All biscuits we baked. Eggs for breakfast in the weekend. Running in the garden, around the slide and back. Filling lavender bags. Breastfeeding, on a cliff near the sea. Tijm’s garden, with it’s ice-lolly sticks. A flannel pyjama with pink roses. The fastest crawler. Muddy boots. Finding acorns in the wood. The climbing tree. Blackberries. A little body wriggling out of nappy changing.
The wall is full, overflowing. I turn my back to it and crawl into the tent to find here and now. There is cake to eat.