A blissful retreat from the barrage of Christmas and seasonal themes, Lucy takes us on yet another wonderful adventure with Courts and Others. As always it is a great insight into how to perceive the court cards in tarot.
Author’s note: this story occurred to me in August, before we had The Announcement from Kensington Palace
The Page of Pentacles and the Page of Cups were expecting their first baby. They had read all the books, joined all the new parent forums, looked everything else up online and felt they were fully prepared.
“You don’t need everything new,” said the Queen of Pentacles. “You’ll only need some things for a short time. Save some money for later.” “It’ll be quite an emotional time,” said the Queen of Cups. “Remember to do those new baby meditations I told you about – both of you!” The Queen of Swords turned out to be rather a good knitter, even with fine wool and small needles. “Just a couple of garments for the first six months,” she said. “It’ll grow. I can do more later.”
“When exactly is Baby due?” asked the two soon-to-be grandmothers. “Just as long as it’s after the twentieth.” “We’ve got government ministers at Pentacle Manor,” said the Queen. “Very high security – we’ve all had to be vetted – they finish on the nineteenth.” “I’ve finally got a place on a special continuing professional development course,” said the Queen of Cups. “ It finishes on the nineteenth, so I’ll be around after that.” “We’ve been given the twentyfirst,” said the young couple, “so that should be all right.”
As can be the way with babies, this one decided to upset plans and arrive early. There were one or two complications so mother and daughter were kept in hospital for a little longer than usual. The Queen of Pentacles managed to escape briefly and pay a flying visit to her daughter-in-law. The Queen of Cups was in another part of the country so could only text. The Queen of Swords visited for a while and wondered why all newborns looked like Winston Churchill, which upset the Page of Cups who was feeling emotional and not very well. The Queen of Wands sent congratulations and said she would visit at home when they were settled.
As the Page of Pentacles was temping he had to accrue leave, and as he had only been with his current agency a short time he could only take a half day off. He collected his wife and daughter from hospital on the Friday afternoon so they would have the weekend together as a family before he had to return to work. Baby seemed happy enough on the way home but thereafter she grizzled. “Have you fed her?” asked the Page of Pentacles? “Yes, of course, she had a feed before we left hospital.” “Do you think she needs changing?” The Page of Cups sniffed. “Not at the moment, I don’t think.” “Well how long ago did you feed her?” asked the anxious father. “About 11.30.” “Well it’s five o’clock now, and the book said ……” “Well, it also said if Baby is not hungry don’t feed.” “Yes, but we don’t know if she’s making hungry noises or not ……”
The Page of Pentacles returned to work, tired, underslept and anxious about his wife. He had kept the house tidy, and done the shopping and cooking but the Page of Cups had not even noticed when they had run out of disposable nappies and he had had to rush out just before closing time. Baby was restless and it was probably too soon to get into a routine but how he wished babies understood routine. How he wished his wife understood routine …. the dreamy charm that had so captivated him in the beginning was really tiresome now they had responsibilities for another (very small) person.
The Page stomped home from work wondering if things might have improved at home. There was a limit to how often they ate beans on toast in a single week. And a limit to the amount of washing up that always filled the sink and which he had to deal with before they could eat. He opened the front door. Except for the lamp in the entrance which was on a timer there was no sign of activity anywhere else. “Hello,” he called. There was no reply. Anxiously he went into the living room which was in darkness. Baby was gurgling quietly in her buggy and his wife was fast asleep on the sofa, still in her nightwear as far as he could tell. “Wake up,” he shook her. “Are you all right?” “Waaarrgh” said the Page of Cups. “Wha’ time is it? It’s so dark.”. “Quarter past seven,” replied the Page of Pentacles. “Aaaargh” said the Page of Cups, “I must have been here for hours.” She sat up groggily. The doorbell rang. “Oh tell them to go away,” she said. “I’ll check who it is,” said the Page of Pentacles. “Oh, hello father-in-law. This isn’t a very good time …..” “I know,” replied the King of Cups, walking into the living room. He switched on a lamp. “I didn’t know you had a cat.” “We don’t,” replied the Page of Pentacles. “It’s next door’s,” mumbled the Page of Cups. “It likes Baby’s buggy.” The cat stepped down from the baggage tray of the buggy, glared at the two intruders, and stalked out, holding its tail stiffly. “You shouldn’t …” began the Page of Pentacles, alarmed, but was stopped by the King’s hand on his arm.
“Look,” said the King of Cups, handing his son-in-law a brown paper carrier bag, “I’ve brought one or two things you might find useful for supper. And you” he addressed his daughter, “might like to tidy up a bit and maybe see to Baby, then we’ll eat together.”
The King and the Page of Pentacles dealt with the usual mess in the kitchen and prepared supper. “I don’t think she’s coping,” said the Page sadly. “I know what she needs right now,” said the King, “but she won’t like it. I’ll tell you both after we’ve eaten.”
“Oh Daddy, NO!” cried the Page of Cups. “She’s so unfeeling, I can’t have the Queen of Swords round here.” “Well, first,”said the King, “she is happy to come and help you, and second, she’s had children of her own, and third, neither of your mothers is available. It won’t be for long, just till you get settled.”
Next day the Page of Pentacles came home, feeling apprehensive. The kitchen was tidy, the Page of Cups was tidy, if a little sulky, and it looked as if supper was not going to be beans on toast again. Even the fruit bowl had been filled. Baby still kept them awake but at least they were getting used to that.
This continued for a few more days and then the Queen of Swords said she would be unable to come in for a couple of days but that she would come back after that, if needed. The Page of Pentacles sighed inwardly – it would be back to the mess in the sink, and tins of something, and a weepy wife and grizzling Baby.
The Page of Pentacles returned home wondering what he would find. The kitchen was still tidy, the Page of Cups looked only a little bit flustered, but there was no sign of food from tins. Baby was waving her arms and legs and next door’s cat was “on guard” on the baggage tray of the buggy.
After supper, and after the cat had gone out (“It only comes in in the afternoons,” explained the Page of Cups), the Page of Cups took a deep breath. “I’m sorry it’s been so difficult,” she said. “I never really thought about how things would be after Baby was born, then I was frightened of the responsibility.” “Me, too,” said the Page of Pentacles. “Has it been all right with the Queen of Swords?” “Yes,” replied his wife. “Daddy was right, she’s been matter-of-fact and brisk, but I see now I needed that.”
“We’ll have to stop being Pages,” said the Page of Pentacles. “We’re parents now, we’ll have to grow up.”