A while back, Rob played me a song called Circle Drive, by Field Report. It's beautiful but sad. Haunting, in fact.
On our way to the Drakensberg on Thursday, we had the iPod plugged in and set to random. We had stopped to take some photos, eaten our snacks, Immy was refreshed after a 2-hour sleep and all was well. The song came on, and we all fell silent, listening. It's that kind of song. The kind where the words hang in the air, echoing, suspended.
I am still your man / Some days we do the best we can.
So we're listening. The fields and mountains are rolling by, clouds lit from within by the setting sun - and us, sharing a moment. I was quite teary-eyed and lumpy-throated.
Until Immy, from the back seat, belted out the chorus the way she had heard it.
Which later that evening (in the bath) turned into LET.I.STEAL.YOUR.LAMB. Pitch-perfect, we noted with pride.
There you have it, Field Report. Bet you never saw that one coming.
Easter in the mountains. This weekend has affirmed three things which I already knew to be true.
My soul breathes in the mountains. Mountains are my thing.
I am the worst over-packer. EVER. Rob calls me a bad mother packer, and I'm afraid he's right. I just can't argue.
The Armstrongs are not hikers. When you're heading into the mountains with only your Converse sneakers standing between you and the squelchy ground from an all-night rainfall - you're not geared for success.
The hotel was fabulous. Heated paddling pool with a tiny waterslide. Pony rides. All you can eat - all the time. Children's activities. Of course, the ubiquitous mountain chess. I hate chess. Rob and I started a game, and as soon as he said 'Check' I said I'm bored. Let's do something else. I find chess very stressy. All that thinking. I just move whichever chess piece happens to be closest to me at the time. Which is obviously why I never win.
She loved the paddling pool.
Oh. Those mountains.
Misty mountain walks. This sounds romantic. In reality, our socks got wet through our shoes and it started raining and we had to have our picnic back in our room. C'est la vie.
Pony rides. And the world's tiniest - and potentially cutest ever - jockey.
We slept. And read. And had long heart-to-hearts while she was playing with the other kids. Like Vlad. He was literally the boy next door, and somehow they hooked up. Next thing we saw, they looked like this. Apparently shower caps are essential when hunting for lizards.
She came running back in, Vlad forgotten, dragging me up by the hand. To show her mama the rainbow.
She's growing. Changing. Coming into her own. Which means, by default - so am I. This mothering thing, it pulls me, pushes me, changes me. Some days I'm better at it than others. Truth be told, I kind of fell off the horse this weekend. She acted out. Drove me mad. So yesterday I took a deep breath, and got down on the floor. 20 minutes of Play Doh, and a longer good night with more hugs than usual - and today she is transformed. She just needed a little extra love. Who doesn't, every now and then?
As for the Easter Bunny? He paid us a special visit. But that's a story for another day.