Friday, 13 March 2015

Highlight reels

Putting together this blog post, I was reminded of something I read earlier this week about the danger of comparing our lives to highlight reels - the perfect photos, messages, relationship statuses and achievements that people post on social media that make you feel like everyone else is living the dream while you're trying to coax a sleepy 5-year old out of bed for school, picking up the cat's vomit for the third time in a week, making sandwiches and fresh popcorn for school and trying very hard not to trip over your feline-wrapped ankles - all at SIX IN THE MORNING.

It's autumn. All of a sudden - literally overnight - the mornings and evenings are cooler, and darker. The air has that slightly melancholy feel to it, as if summer is breathing it's last with a sigh. The leaves on the trees are falling, and I am already thinking of ways to ward off the cold and bring in the cosy this winter. We're making do, using up, giving away the things we no longer need, or love. I've put a moratorium on buying a single new thing this month. It's amazing the things you find you already have when you just stop buying new stuff and get creative with using what you've got. Books that I haven't read, art supplies that Immy hasn't used, the sheer happiness of afternoon bicycle rides and ball games and hours and hours of colouring in. Normally I dread winter, but this year feels different. I'm looking forward to weekend mornings wrapped up in bed with Immy, reading. Cups of hot chocolate with tiny marshmallows, candlelit bubbebaths, scarves and boots and soup.

I digress. This post - at the end of a worrying, stressful week - is definitely a highlight reel. An emphasis on the good, with the bad and the ugly temporarily pushed to one side for another day.

Saturday playdate. Time suspended, the magic of two little girls chatting, and giggling, and sharing. Here are our moments.

A bouquet of sharpened pencils. Old made new.

And a brand new paint set, discovered in the craft cupboard. 

They painted. I couldn't get enough of their artists' hands, the rhythm and cadence of concentration, conversation, moving around one another to reach and stretch.

Popcorn, paint, pinwheels, pink lemonade. The words themselves sound like colours, and the colours feel like all things good. A celebration of detail.

It started raining so we headed inside to bake. They each cracked an egg, stirred the batter, closed their ears when the mixer was on, licked out the bowl with sticky spoons and finger and faces.

It went by so fast. But the happiness in our home, it stayed for a long while after. I still get sad that we couldn't give her a sibling. Some days more than others, but especially now when it seems that being an 'only' is presenting us with a set of unexpected challenges.

For the first time, I find myself doubting my parenting. Wondering if I've done the right thing so far. It's hard, and worrying, and makes my heart ache. But when I look at these photos, I think: she's happy. We're okay.

And we'll find our way the best we know how: hand-in-hand, one day at a time. Focusing on the good, celebrating the small, keeping the hard things in perspective.

It's Friday at last. Happy weekend.

~ m

Monday, 2 March 2015

Words to live by

Monday. I was looking for a little inspiration. A little poetry. A little wisdom. 

I found this. My words to live by for this week.


This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

-- Rumi
Reminding myself this week that mindfulness matters because moments matter. A single square of dark chocolate. A warm, fragrant bubble bath. Lying nose to nose with Immy, watching her eyes close and her breathing slow down as she falls into easy, untroubled sleep. Sunday afternoon rain, and a good book. Best of all, long-lost packages that all turned up in the post at the same time today.

Happy Monday. Did you know it's March already? When did that happen?