Thursday, 5 July 2012


The night my son was born, Wed June 21st 2006, I lay alone in a shared ward, in a slight daze, bleating for more painkillers while simultaneously trying not throw up - and I reached for the coin munching TV mobile that hung above my bed. I desperately needed to watch something - anything - that made life feel normal again. I had just spent a few gruelling hours in surgery - the section was fine I may add - but agreeing to be part of some study (just to keep in with the anaesthetist) meant I had been shivering, grinding my teeth wildly and jigging around more than a leprechaun on March 17th for a good old while.

And there it was.

When Harry Met Sally. Comfort on a screen. A movie I practically knew backwards. Sally faked her orgasm, and Harry karaoked badly in front of his ex, there was the wonderful moment Carrie Fisher begged 'tell me I don't have to be out there again;' Central Park as the backdrop to the whole tale and those wonderful pieces to camera where couples discussed why they had fallen in love. I lay there, catheter still in,  candula still in, with what can only be described as a nappy between my legs, as everything ached and my head whirred and amongst it all - I felt relieved. Life was normal. When Harry Met Sally was on TV.

This week I was sad to read of the passing of the screenwriter of the movie - Nora Ephron. She was an amazing writer (I confess I have yet to read her books, but I have loved her witty and sympathetic blog posts - the opposite of the Goopster, for sure) and a remarkable woman. Who else could turn a memoir about her Husband leaving her for another woman while she was heavily pregnant, into a memoir and then film starring Meryl Streep?

Things have been rocky here at chez CrummyMummy... no talks of divorce or stropping out the door - but it has been fraught and tense and hard. Husband job hunting 2 months on - me wondering what next? Happy to be working, missing my kids. Happy to be using my brain again - sad to not have a moment to engage my brain in anything other than work and house-work. Where is the time to write, to blog, to run, to be still?

This week a workmate said I seemed sad - and I was. I'd just been to an amazing gathering for a dear friend's 40th - with old buddies galore - and I had drunk too much, laughed enough and fallen over in the street twice, persuading a cab driver to take us 1 mile home for £60.... It had been brilliant. And then, it was over - back from sunny Henley, the champagne and the river, to M25 and a screaming toddler. I felt a little blue. Next year I hit the big 4 0 and  in lots of ways I'm not where I'd hoped to be... just yet.

So, I take inspiration from Ephron. Who I read gave a speech in '96 where she said to graduates 'What are you going to do? Everything, is my guess. It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess.  It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications. It will not be anything like what you think it will be like, but surprises are good for you - you can always change your mind. I know: I've had 4 careers and 3 husbands...'

Apparently she loved her 40s, 50s and 60s, saying these where her best years. That gives me hope, the best is yet to come. Most of all I love that she said 'Be a heroine of your life not the victim.' It really is a choice, and it really is that simple in almost all cases. As I start to plan my 40th... I think that'll be the motto I hold onto. The one that makes me feel most normal. Like the world is sane after all - just like that night in the hospital.

Nora, you were one of a kind.

1 comment:

Courtney said...

This is by far the best post I've read about the passing of Nora Ephron - and I completely agree with you. We lost a good one, when she passed. I'm sorry things are tough for you now - I do hope that passes quickly.