Last year I got offered a job in New York. The offer was only partly made in jest, there was definitely room to continue the conversation if I was keen.
Which I was, but realistically, I couldn't.
It was not a job I could've done with a family, with two young children, even if I had been able to persuade them all to pick up roots and move across the world.
It was a poignant moment, one of those junctures in which one is forced to examine the choices you've made, the life you've built. It was a moment in which I looked through the time/space continuum and nodded at a different version of myself, a different life Molly.
'Off you go', I said to her, 'go live and work in that city you've always dreamed of, go have adventures, send me a postcard.'
She looked at me and smiled, and got on the plane.
A few weeks later I found myself back on a beach where I'd spent much of my adventurous youth.
One of the girls needed to pee and in the beach loo's, while doling out instructions on remembering to wipe and washing hands and don't touch that, I looked up at the old speckled mirror and caught a glimpse of my 17 year old self there.
She was checking her hair, examining her peeling shoulders, rearranging her bikini and wondering whether that dark-haired wave-skier had noticed her ...
Her eyes caught mine and we briefly acknowledged each other.
Hello mother-type person. Hello different life Molly.
These last few weeks of enforced stasis I've been communing with another previous version of myself. I've been hanging out with the pre-kids Molly. The Molly who has time to sit and think, who moves much slower through the world, who takes long baths and watches TV without feeling guilty that she should be doing something else, for someone else. The Molly who looks after herself.
I wish I could say this time has been productive, that I've been writing and planning and using my time wisely. But you know that parenting thing of always wishing you had more time? Now I have it I don't really know what to do with it, and instead I find myself doing nothing.
But one thing I've always known is that doing nothing is not a bad thing. That, as someone once said, 'time wasted is not a waste if you've enjoyed the wasting of it'. Does that make sense?
Doing nothing is a complete and utter luxury. And for whatever reason, that luxury has been bestowed on me at a time, in the madness of this parenting life, when I can appreciate it enormously.
Far more than pre-kids Molly ever did!
I do wish however I could parcel this time and share it though. My husband could definitely use some, most of my friends wouldn't say no, I wouldn't mind being able to store some away for future months when I'm back on my feet and the madness returns.
But for now Cripple Molly is at peace. I don't really have a choice, do I?