Yesterday I fired up the stroller and Harper and I went for a wee walk about the burbs. I tucked him up in his cave with a blanket and hat and within seconds he was asleep, there must be something about being jostled about in a dark space that he likes, something womb-like perhaps. We walked. I haven't quite recovered fully from Harper's entrance into the world, so really we ambled. We moseyed. We strolled. In the weeks leading up to his birth, the Postie would drag me out for a walk around our neighbourhood, discovering little spaces and gardens and views over the gullies and hills. He would walk in tiny little steps to give the impression that we weren't going at a snail's pace. Sometimes on the way back we'd swing by the dairy and get marshmallows for hot chocolate. We'd inspect people's gardens and paintwork and peek in the windows of houses for sale. Clouds would tear over the hills, chopped up by the wind turbine, while it stayed clear over our heads. Sometimes tui sang in trees.
Yesterday walking with Harper, I saw my future. I saw kids having tennis lessons at the local club, saw parents parked outside the community hall waiting for classes to end, saw parents picking up their kids from the local school. I saw kids playing softball in t-shirts and shorts, barefeet on brown grass, just like when I grew up. I saw my mumsy haircut reflected in the windows of a landcruiser parked on the footpath that I had to go off-road to get around.
Later the Postie put Harper under his play gym and we sat just staring at him for a little while.
I used to look after my nephew, the most excellent Sweeney, and walk around town with him in his stroller before pushing him up the hill to our old flat. I used to feel like some sort of wannabe mother feeding him in cafes and doing those things that mothers do. I caught a glimpse of myself yesterday and saw that person again, only this time, I'm not an imposter at all. Still, I can't shake the feeling that Harper has been lent to me by someone, that I'm not his mum but just a full-time babysitter who happens to think he's extremely awesome.