Friday, 13 March 2015

breathing in & breathing out

For the most part, our days have fallen into the new rhythm of the fresh year. Filled with the familiar routines of breakfast, the school run, laundry and hanging out washing, cooking meals and eager little hands pulling up stools to the work counters to help me chop, stir and taste. Punctuated by cups of tea and favourite story books and tidying up the basket of wooden blocks, whose contents seem constantly strew  over our living room floor. Helping to build towers which are knocked down again seconds later, eliciting delighted giggles. Carefully prepared food tossed from the highchair tray to be swept up and replaced by the next meal a few short hours later. A baby banished from her siblings bedroom for unknowingly causing scenes of mass destruction to carefully laid train tracks and little towns in her eagerness to join in with everything they do. So she sits outside the door alone, patiently waiting for them to finish their game and emerge again until my heart can't take it anymore and she is scooped up and covered in a hundred kisses, just to see that sweet beaming grin cross her face.

Sisterly bickering and taking a back seat whilst they learn how to compromise and negotiate and then smiling as they pack up little cardboard suitcases with their most valuable possessions and set off on a journey, losing themselves in a game of make-believe for hours on end.Tending to our garden and every day noticing new blooms and picking tomatoes and strawberries from our veggie patch (we have been blessed with a bumper crop of both this season). Stealing a moment to hold a sleeping baby in my arms and imprint upon my memory the weight of her there and run my finger along her soft cheek before putting her gently down in her cot. Mason jars and small glass bottles filled with fresh flowers and plants in terracotta pots strewn through the house because they are good for the soul. Folding laundry which doesn't always make it back into the drawers again before the piles need to be rifled through by a child in search of a favourite twirly dress. Kissing sleeping foreheads and slipping out the door for a rare dinner with a few friends accompanied by freely flowing wine and restorative chats. A Daddy who is almost knocked down by the small bodies that launch themselves at him with such force as he walks through the door after long days at work, eagerly awaiting their precious minutes of bedtime stories and shoulder rides with him before bedtime.

I can hardly believe it's March already and the speed at which every year now passes never fails to astound me. As time slips through my hands like sand, I'm reminded how precious the days and weeks are. The life we have created for our little family is nothing extraordinary but it is ours and I feel so thankful for it and the happiness it brings. Of course some days are long, some bring tears of frustration and exhaustion (mine as well as theirs). The little questioning and growing minds that surround me remind me to stay curious, seek out knowledge and make time for creativity despite the thousands of other tasks clamouring for my attention. In turn I hope they are learning to live and love well, staying true to their own hearts and selves and valuing the importance of kindness because the world can never have enough of that.

After 31 years, I know myself well enough now to have realised certain things I will never be and that aren't so important to me after all. For the most part I can see the beauty in others lives and still feel glad of my own. Comparison is inevitable, we are only human after all, but remembering that what we see on social media comprises the highlights reel of everyone's life, not the behind-the-scenes footage definitely helps. As does the knowledge that most perfectly captured shots probably have a pile of dirty washing and a fruit bowl with some questionable over-ripe pears leaking gooey stuff at the bottom just out of shot (well mine do anyway). Two pearls of wisdom that are close to my heart are 'Bloom where you are planted' and 'Stop wondering if the grass is always greener and water yours'. More than anything I am doing my best to remember that the path to contentment lies in letting go of any ideals of perfection and embracing the highs and lows, inherent messiness and joy this life brings. How lucky we are to be able to experience it all.

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