Pants protest without Louis
And reunited with my shadow
There comes a point, during that first, looooong, year of motherhood when you begin to wonder if the day will ever come when you will get the chance to shake off your shadow and venture out, solo. Such is the intensity of that relationship it can be hard to remember that the umbilical cord actually was cut at birth. Especially if you don't have the luxury of family or friends who can take the odd shift to give you a bit of a break.
I should know. For the six months I was in DC the only Louis downtime I got was the odd yoga class. I began to wonder if I'd ever manage to use both hands simultaneously again or walk down the street without either a baby strapped to my body or a buggy in tow. Or worse. A baby strapped to my body AND a buggy in tow. (Or a stroller as it was then.)
Don't get me wrong. Come the weekend, provided DJ was actually in town and not off on one of his trips, he'd always offer to take Louis off so I could have a break. But I never wanted to miss out on time spent a trois. So I stuck around.
And I hardly let having Louis around 24/7 cramp my style. Whatever I wanted to do, he just came as well. (With the exception of going out for a night on the tiles; somehow that just never happened!) Which meant he got about a fair bit. One of my personal favourites - and I imagine his if he can remember - was the Prop 8 protest march we went on with Sara, Jen and Alex.
My excuse for reminiscing like this is that last week I found myself at another protest. But because it was a Friday, and because I was there for work, I was by myself. Well, I say "work" - what I really mean is that I was there on work time because I'd have gone regardless. It was a protest in support of Lubna Hussein, the Sudanese UN worker who was on trial facing 40 lashes for the crime of wearing trousers. I'd written a piece querying where the International Sisterhood was when it came to supporting her, which had led to a (very terrifying) slot on Women's Hour and the aforementioned protest.
I'd been there about half an hour, when I realised something was wrong. Something was missing. My shadow. I'd been so used to dragging Louis along wherever I went, it just seemed wrong that he wasn't there with me. I missed him. Hard as I would have found that to believe had you told me that all those months back when I longed even to drink a coffee without balancing a wriggling little bundle of menace on my knee. I guess that from now on he'll always be an extension of me to some extent.