"Don't wait." The lesson I learnt on an ordinary afternoon with my newborn son.
LEIGH CAMPBELL Executive Editor AUGUST 8, 2019
At the end of every year and the beginning of the next the hosts of Mamamia’s podcast, Mamamia Out Loud, choose a word. They select a single word that represents them – their goals – for that new year. For 2019 Mia’s was Impact. Holly chose Change, and Jessie picked Humour.
I didn’t pick a word. Not for any reason in particular other than there wasn’t one that resonated with me.
A few months back I saw the members of the Mamamia Out Loud Facebook groupwere sharing updates on their words and how they were honouring them, considering we were about half way through the year. But still I didn’t have a one.
But now I have a word. ‘Light the ‘good’ candle’. For those playing at home, that’s four words. I know it’s breaking the rules but I’ve never been one for rules much anyway.
‘Light the ‘good’ candle’. This year gave me my first born child. After a three year fertility journey he was born in June and he’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever known. I dreamed about him and what motherhood would be like more times than I can count. I wished for it. I wished as hard as I could wish and I promised the universe that if ever it happened I’d never ever ask for anything more.
My baby’s name is Alexander Ross. Ross is my dad’s name. My dad who is sick. First my dad was diagnosed with melanoma. Then lung cancer. It then spread to his brain. Now his stomach. And so my dad is dying when I just started living my dream.
I know the world works in mysterious ways and the fact that I’m on maternity leave affords me time with him I otherwise would have struggled to navigate if I was working full time. But I also feel so monumentally ripped off by the cruel coincidence because I’ve waited for so long for this baby and this time and this happiness.
I paid my dues and I waited for my perfect life to start.
Today I wandered around the apartment, looking for towels to refold or pictures to straighten while I waited for my happy distraction to wake from his nap. I walked past the bathroom where I noticed the scent of an unlit candle. The ‘good’ candle.
I’ve had it for ages – maybe even years. It’s out of its box and on display but it’s never been lit because it’s the ‘good’ candle.
I’m waiting to light it. Waiting for a special occasion. A worthy time.
Today I looked at the candle and asked myself what I was waiting for. What good is waiting? When will this elusive and magical time come that warrants such ceremony? What does that time or event even look like?
Today I took a bath, on a cold Thursday at 3pm, while I waited for my six week old to wake. I lit the ’good candle’ on the side of the bath on an idle winter afternoon. And I think maybe that’s what I was saving the candle for.
And so my word - words - for the rest of 2019 is ‘light the ‘good’ candle’. I know this post might come across a bit ‘poor me’ and sure, today I felt like that. But I also know that there are plenty of harder fought fertility battles out there and that old people get cancer and old people die.
‘Light the ‘good’ candle’ means wear the outfit you’ve been saving. Even if it’s a little too tight on your tummy or you don’t have anywhere very fancy to wear it or there won't be the opportunity to post it on social media.
‘Light the ‘good’ candle’ means drink that special bottle of wine. Drink it with friends, or by yourself if that’s what you prefer, but don’t tell yourself you have wait for a big life occasion to enjoy it.
Don’t wait. Or at the least, ask yourself what you’re waiting for.
‘Light the ‘good’ candle’ means say all the things you want to say even if you can’t find the perfect words. Make the memories, even while things are messy. Light the ‘good’ candle while life is a bit shit, or a lot shit, or imperfect and messy and not exactly how you dreamt it. Or even if you’re just bummed that you’re not in Europe like the rest of Instagram and that life is utterly mundane right now. I’m going to light my ‘good’ candle again tonight. Join me if you like.