Today was different to yesterday. Yeterday was a mizzling understimulated mopy day with low level feelings of guilt hovering above me in grey wraith like wisps all day. Guilt that I was not helping to build our new home, guilt that I had not initiated any inspiring activities with the children and we didn’t get out of our pyjamas until lunch time, guilt that I could be a better mother… etc. Sometimes I just need to step out of the suffocating web of expectation and disapproval I build for myself, walk away from the intense enclave of my home life and be free to just be, to think or not think, to nip to the loo without three children immediately needing my assistance with a burning project.
But then, today, the clouds cleared, the ones in my head anyway. Despite interrupted sleep again, (Leo lost his wolf twice in the night, Tansy lost her duvet, the cat brought a mouse in) we had fun. Decorating gingerbread for Granpa’s present we sloshed chocolate and icing around in a sticky relaxed mess, without any uptight concern from me about how much sugar had gone into Leo’s tummy instead of onto the gingerbread moomins.
Then I was left alone, am alone, in the house, for the first time in many weeks, to do exactly what I please. The last time I had two kid free hours I had all my Christmas shopping to do!) Hugh very lovingly suggested that I didn’t need to come to his parents house today and they would quite understand my need for rest and peace.
I do need rest and peace.
When I am not surrounded by the details of my life there is space for other things.
When I don’t have to wash up the fourth load of dishes that day and simultaneously solve an animation software problem, find Leo’s wolf and help Tansy cast on twelve stitches please, I can look at my life with softer eyes, see myself with more tenderness and love, and feel immense gratitude for what I have.
I can feel things that are usually brushed away and sealed under a welter of practical tasks.
When I am not enmeshed in domestic minutiae, I can physically walk out and feel the wind colour my cheeks and notice and remember things I wouldn’t at home.
- The excitement and love in my kids eyes when I forget about chores and dance and sing with them.
- How good it feels to move, to run along the cycle path, to dance on Boxing day evening, to cycle up Castle hill into town…my body doesn’t do sedentary well.
- The slender egret, hunched like a white shadow by the weir as I walked to town this afternoon, balanced on one delicate, black leg. The pair of swans, serene and fierce drifting below the rapids.
- The feeling that some emotions are so deep, swirling dark blue fear trapped far, far down under thick layers of ice that I only catch a tiny fleeting glimpse as a shaft of sun pierces the gloom, for one moment eughh no… a shudder, and the ice forms again and down goes the memory.
- The realisation that I am not being selfish or indulgent by wanting to spend time alone, meditatively, or writing or creating in some way, that it is necessary to me for my spiritual and emotional well being, and hence my physical well being and hence my family’s.
- Three children with severe disabilities on my path to town which could have been Lily if she had survived.
- The memory of the feeling in me and the noise I made when the hospital consultant said losing her eye was the least of his concerns. I don’t remember this very often.
Space for Lily that’s what’s hard when I’m at home. I passed the funeral director on my walk today too. Last night Fred and I realised the card game I had bought for him for Christmas was for three players. Hugh was out. Where was Lily? We looked at each other, Lily would have loved it, we said, and played it anyway, it was fun.
Time for me, time for Lily, time for love, time to be. Time for my living family. There is enough time really when I realise how important we are. And enough love for everyone else too,
I wish you all a New Year filled with love and beauty and the realisation that there is always time for what we need to do in our wonderful lives. Can you remind me sometime?