I've been trying to think of what I did last Valentine's Day, but I can't for the life of me remember. I was heavily pregnant - I know that much - which means I was tired, and swollen, and although my body probably really wanted to have sex with Vincent, my mind couldn't get past the maze of veins in my boobs, my enormous stomach, and the movements and heartbeat of M inside me. It was probably a weird day.
This hasn't been your average Valentine's Day, either. M and I spent most of the morning together; we got up so Vincent could finally have a sleep-in, and then napped together until half past eleven, when she and he had the idea that I should have a bath and drink some of the bottle of bubbles he had given me in the morning. So I did, and about two hours and three glasses of bubbles later (I won't breastfeed her again until bedtime), I emerged from the bathroom; legs shaved, two episodes of American Dreams watched, and feeling as much like a mother of none as I have since that second blue strip appeared a year and a half ago, except that I got to come out and see a beaming little baby playing on the floor, and pick her up and kiss her. I believe this is called having your cake and eating it too.
If I could go back to the days before she was born, I don't know what I would, realistically, do differently. I'd like to think I'd try harder to improve the things about the world which I'm ashamed of; to have something better with which to present her. But when I talk to friends who plan to have babies soon, all I can come up with by way of advice is for them to take many, many nude pictures, for themselves. People have a way of doing what is important to them, whether or not they realise it. Sometimes we tell ourselves we are doing what we have to do; sometimes that's the truth. More often it's what we really want to do, even if it's not what we would like to admit is the case. I like to think I would have done more to make a difference to the way things are, before M was born, but if I'd really wanted to, maybe I would have. What I did do was a lot of movie watching, sleeping in, reading, hanging out with Vincent, and drinking. When I think about how rarely (if ever) I do any of those things now, I'm so happy I did.
My train of thought has been completely derailed by my two seven-year-old visitors, one of whom came bearing an electric guitar and my old amp... But I didn't have a lot to say anyway. I'll leave with a song which I've kind of known for ages, but feel like I only really heard last week, and now it's in my bones - the way I feel about it is like a sickness. Listening to it actually makes me feel a little sick; like the feeling in it is so distilled, it's almost too much. Falling in love in the sixties must have been ridiculous.