10 years ago, if you’d cut me in half, the word running through my middle was “teacher”. You might have found other labels like “girlfriend”, “biscuit lover” and (probably) “housework avoider” in some of my other layers, but the words would have been shiny and vibrating slightly with energy and enthusiasm. Think of one of those irritating neon lights that has a faint buzzing noise in the background. That was me. Teacher, slightly annoying, surrounded by books and probably eating biscuits.
5 years ago, my main word would still be teacher, but it’d be in a cohabiting arrangement with a new word: “wife”. The “teacher” would be less buzzy with enthusiasm and perhaps slightly worn, but the light was still on. However, maybe instead of a jazzy neon light, I’d changed. I was something new. Perhaps now I’d now be someone’s favourite coffee mug. Showing signs of use, but with a sturdy bottom and that nice warm hygge feeling that comes from settling down with a brew, a book and a dog by your feet at the end of the day.
And that brings us to now. In the last five years (since getting married), we’ve bought our first home as newlyweds, changed jobs, had a baby, sold our home, had another baby and we’re about to move into the sh*t-just-got-real / actual-real-life-adult house (ie driveway, garden, kids have their own rooms, near good schools etc) The books on our bookshelves are about troublesome locomotives, light fingered wildlife with a penchant for radishes and (my personal favourite) a dog that runs a nursery. There are a few about birthing babies and home improvements too, but the words in this house definitely say that the “teacher” I once was no longer applies (hello Maternity Leave) and even “wife” has now been very firmly replaced by “Mum”.
Those words are still a summary of my biggest achievements, but somewhere in amongst them I’ve got a little lost. I don’t really know who this version of me is. So, in the windows of time while my babies sleep, I plan to start finding me again. And, as I always have in turbulent times, the place I’ll start is with books.