Sunday, 24 May 2015


Today was one of those ordinary days, the type of slow lazy day that isn't always possible in the day-to-day rush of getting-stuff-done.

It wasn't a day that changed the world. But it was a day in our world, one worth remembering. Sometimes it's the ordinary things that elevate the minutes and hours to something extraordinary, if we just take the time to stop and notice them.

Enjoying pinwheels, 

and hopscotch,

and sunbathing,

slanty sunlight and pretty candles with happy names,

and - eek - a build your own soft-serve. Luckily for me she is more interested in the actual building of it than the eating of it, so I didn't have a gremlin bouncing off the walls afterwards from sugar overload.

Instead, she slept curled up with me on my bed, and I got some downtime to read.

The last cupcake. She baked a batch yesterday with her daddy, and then sold all of them for a school task. Except for two, which we let her keep for herself.

And after the sleep, and the cupcake, we laced up our shoes and went for a 'run'. According to my Nike running app, we covered a distance of 2.62km in 26 minutes. I thought that was pretty good, given that we had so many stops along the way to run through leaves (because I love how they crunch and munch, mama), blow dandelions, scoop up a handful of sand at a building site, and then rinse the hands off in a sprinkler we passed. We're not exactly gearing up for the Comrades here, but we are getting ready to do our first 5km Parkrun together. One run and a handful of dandelions at a time.

She's upstairs asleep, the cat curled up next to her. And I am dreaming, planning, saving for a 2016 Robinson Crusoe adventure. A week on Mumbo Island, swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, hiking and rock jumping in beautiful Lake Malawi. Memories to be stored up, put away, treasured until such time that they are dusted off and relived.

(photo credit: Kayak Africa)

Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.

-- William Martin


Saturday, 23 May 2015

Circles in a Forest

A couple of weeks ago, Immy and I joined my parents in Knysna to rest, relax and catch up on some family time. It was a welcome break from criminally early morning school wake-up times (mama - it's still the middle of the night!) , and strict 7pm bedtimes. Relaxed, unrushed, the biggest question each morning: what should we do today that's fun?

We explored. Forests, beaches, reserves, restaurants, bird parks, train rides. We found new places, and revisited old favourites. If there's a beach, she's thrilled. Rocks - even better. Any place where she can climb, run, jump, splash, dig, walk or run is her happy place.

We took a scenic drive to the Dalene Matthee Big Tree. And ended up following the Circles in a Forest hiking trail on a whim. We greeted and smiled sheepishly every time a person passed us, all equipped with hiking boots and backpack and bottled water and walking stick and hat and protein bars (or whatever) and flint (ok  - maybe not flint. But you get the picture.) Me and my mom in pumps. Immy in her sparkly glittery gold high tops. My dad with his scarf and pullover and hat. Urban meets jungle. In our defense - we didn't KNOW we were going to end up hiking through the forest. Eventually the mud got the better of us, and the better of Immy's sparkly shoes, which led to Immy losing her own sparkle quite quickly after that. We called it a day and trudged the 1km uphill to get back to where we started.

But next time I am determined that we will come well prepared. People will be astonished at our well-equipped-ness. Those boots! Sturdy sticks!  Bags of trail mix!  I've already promised Immy we'd walk the whole trail. I have about six months to mentally prepare for it, at least.

New watering holes...

The Bell Tavern in Belvidere

Totties Farm Kitchen along the Rheenendal Ramble.

A trip to The Book Exchange followed by lunch at Harry B's.

... and a miniature train ride. The Knysna Society of Model Engineers is really a cute excuse for grownups to play with trains. I'm not sure who enjoys it more - the kids or the men.

A broody old church one overcast afternoon. Immy explored, and I followed with my camera. I felt like I was in a Jane Austen novel. All purple heather and smudged clouds and autumn leaves. My reward for not being a killjoy mom and calling her back - this picture. I would never have gotten this shot if she hadn't led me - literally - up the garden path.

Our usual haunts. Lunch at The Lookout Deck, lemonade at the market and the beach at Leisure Isle.

Beach daisies and splashes of colour in unexpected places.

A rare moment of quiet, sweet contemplation.

And this. My mom and my dad and my girl.

I am writing this with a heart full of thankfulness tonight. Parenting paradoxes - fierce independence balanced against a warm body curled into mine at night, legs draped over me and fingers linked through mine. Moments of quiet contemplation, and loud shrieky games of tickle tickle. Sheer willfulness, and a small hand on the side of my face, eyes looking into mine - I love you, mama.

It isn't always easy, and I worry sometimes about the mistakes I make. But then I know there's always I'm sorry, and let's try to do better next time, and tomorrow is a new day.

Hand in glittery-nail-polished hand - learning, growing, changing, adapting.

Oh. I forgot to mention trumpets. We made and ate them for breakfast every second day on holiday.

I call them trumpets, mama, because I can't say CRUMPETS.

Happy weekend!