Hillary’s back in the saddle.
At her first public appearance since America became openly all beauty-queeny, KKKish, she admitted: “There have been a few times this past week when all I’ve wanted to do is just curl up with a good book or our dogs and never leave the house again.”
Oh Hills, babe, we all know how that feels. Though mine would be curling up with a good bottle of wine and West Wing on a loop…
Youngest had that feeling this morning. (Not the longing to get drunk in front of the telly feeling, obvs). He’d been up til 11pm last night, clinging on to me like Hillary clung on until Florida.
He wasn’t ill, he wasn’t scared, he just couldn’t let go. It was brill. Until this morning when his eyes wouldn’t work and his lip wouldn’t stop trembling. He just needed his Mum.
So does Hillary.
Towards the end of her speech, she told of how she often dreams of going up to her mother Dorothy, way back before she herself had been born, when her young mum’s life was appallingly hard. She would sit next to her and take her in her arms and say:
“Look, look at me and listen. You will survive. You will have a family of your own – three children. And as hard as it might be to imagine, your daughter will grow up to be a United States Senator, represent her country as Secretary of State and win more than 62 million votes for President of the United States.”
Her mother’s upbringing really was tough. After being thoroughly neglected by her violent parents, at eight years old, she and her sister were sent by train on their own to live with their grandparents where they were met with even greater harshness and cruelty.
One year, after being caught trick-or-treating which was forbidden by her grandmother, a young Dorothy was confined to her room for an entire year, apart from school, not even allowed to eat in the kitchen or play in the yard.
Somehow, Dorothy emerged from this gruesome childhood as a resilient, loving and encouraging mother who fiercely defended her daughter’s freedom to carve out her own future, unlimited by being a girl.
What would I say to my own Mum, if I could go back, right back to before I existed?
Well I can’t tell her she’ll survive because her troubles were inescapable in the end. And what of her daughter? She will grow up to be a depressed, deeply flawed, children’s entertainer and part-time stand-up comic with the style of a 1950’s barmaid and the body of a mouldy potato…
But I do dream of going back to little me, of climbing the stairs of our old house and finding me sitting outside the bathroom, listening to Mum’s suffering through the door. I would sit down next to me and say:
“Look, look at me and listen. You will survive. You will have a family of your own – two children. And as hard as it might be to imagine, you will grow up to be a children’s entertainer and part-time stand-up comic with the style of a 1950’s barmaid and the body of a mouldy potato. But you will also stop being so frightened, I promise. You will escape this and you will be happy.”
I sometimes wonder what my mum wanted for me. In the picture of us here, she’s mid-flow, probably making up a story about the penguins we’re looking at in the zoo. The story will have been funny and she will have wanted me to believe in it and I almost certainly would have done. I love how she’s leaning in to me, resting her hand on my shoulder. I love how she gave me the joy of storytelling and of cuddling, even though I can’t get either directly from her anymore.
At the end of her speech, Hillary reminded us: “I can’t and you can’t go back in time and hug all those children that preceded us. But we can do that NOW.”
So I’m not going to send youngest to after-school club today, so I can work. Today I’m going to surprise him and pick him up at 3.15. He can choose whatever he wants to do with me for the rest of the afternoon.
I am here now. I am his Mum and I can hug him…