The Middle of the Moment
Helena was her first child. When they put her in her arms, after a prolonged labour, she was overwhelmed with exhaustion, and a terrifying thought kept going through her mind, ‘I am responsible for making this baby into a strong woman.’ Slowly, she realised that what was happening was the opposite. This fragile daughter of hers made her into a strong woman. She had always claimed to be a patient woman. How wrong she was! Helena’s endless demands for feeding and her restless nights often caused her tears of resentment and self-pity. It was Helena who gave birth to her mother’s patient self. It was Helena who gave birth to her mother’s courage, when she killed the dog who attacked her little girl. Most of all, it was Helena who taught her to lose herself in the moment. That evening, Helena had a high temperature. She was too hot and could not sleep. Sitting on her mother’s lap, her feet gently rubbed in warm lavender water, their breaths synchronised and the world fell away. There was only one heart beating in two bodies.