It’s not usually me who runs round the house screaming ‘mine’ and clutching all available objects in reach to my chest. Toddlers are like kleptomaniac dictators, I’ve found. Or at least ours is. I’m regularly told where to ‘seat’ and have to wrestle my possessions from him before they are hidden away in shoes or under the bed. Thankfully he’s so small that he often has to drop something to clutch another object. Toilet rolls, phones, forks, hair clips, table mats, wallets, the laptop and the vacuum cleaner are all highly desirable items in his eyes. Do not leave your handbag in my house; its contents will be riffled and/or water will be poured into it..
By default my beloved bike has been claimed as ‘mine’ by my son too. With two fixings for toddler seats, the back one requiring the removal of my pannier rack, it’s showing the same signs of possession as my post-pregnancy stomach and our Lego encrusted house.
It’s now a toddler carrying device, not my adventure loving bicycle. It’s not a complaint; I love most of the changes that remind me that our lives have been turned upside down by our furiously energetic little boy. But I have found it hard at times to adjust to being a parent; it’s an all-consuming role that reaches every part of your life – everything now has a little handprint on it, from my working life to my relationships and my own body. Nothing is just ‘mine’ anymore, just as I’m no longer ‘me’ but ‘us’. For someone who has spent most of her life fleeing from commitment, this has been quite a journey of self discovery.
I’m an anxious, anally retentive stress merchant so the need to gain control over some of my life again has been necessary. Tattoos, radical haircuts and inappropriate dancing with unwholesome people wasn’t appealing. So I did the only thing that I know leads to supreme joy; I bought a new bike.
It’s a Dawes Galaxy (20 year old frame with refurbished parts..) from Common Wheel, a mental health/bike recycling charity in Glasgow. It’s been well used, and is a little battered, rather like me, but it’s beautiful. And it’s all mine.