Five days seems like a lot; three days was definitely enough last year. I relished those two days we had at home, playing in the garden, catching up with friends from the neighbourhood, cooking and making together. I'm a little nervous about the new regime we're about to embark on, but I also know that my eldest is ready for more, she wants to learn, and I can't teach her all that she needs to know while taking care of her two little brothers. We're going to need some quiet weekends; time to just be, and so there will be no extra classes this term, no overloaded weekend schedules. This evening, I read the children this gorgeous book, Today We Have No Plans, a gift from a friend, and it sums it up perfectly:
"The busy days go in a rush
Time moves fast as it can
But the days I like the best of all
The ones that stretch out long and tall
And no one seems to cry or fall
Are days that have no plan."
I'm excited about her going back to school, but I'm going to treasure those days with no plans.
I am a maker of lists: check the back of any of my (many) notebooks and you will find pages of them. I have a cluttered and busy mind, and lists are my way of gaining some control. Once I have a list, I feel calmer; it's not impossible, I can overcome this problem. I obsessively listed baby names during each pregnancy. There were pages and pages of variations, as I searched for the "right" one. Then not so long ago, I found a shopping list from my before-children days. I think I'd recycled it as a book mark. It read:
That was once my idea of the perfect Sunday! Maybe it still is... Anyway, I'm going to join Pip from Meet Me at Mikes, and post a list every week. I'm a bit behind, so here are the first two:
And here is a photo of me, wearing my hair in the only way I can tolerate in this heat. Is 32 too old to have pigtails?!
This summer holiday, we've spent a lot of time doing things like this:
Towards the end of the year, we were all in desperate need of a break. I am most definitely an advocate of less is more when it comes to small children, so I've been trying to keep things slow. Quiet days full of creativity, exercise, delicious food, plenty of books, and a little rest when the heat gets too much. However, we did venture into the city last week, on a ridiculously hot day, to visit the museum. For at least a year, I've been saying: "We should catch the train into Perth and go to the museum some time...", but my enormous belly and sore hips last summer stopped us, and then the arrival of the baby...and well, it never happened. The kids preferred the train ride and the cookies at the cafe more than anything they saw at the museum, but it was so great just to do something different and remind myself that there is a world beyond the suburban, domestic one I inhabit. Plus air-conditioned trains are pretty damn nice when it's pushing 40 C!
A few months ago, a friend of mine wrote an interesting post at Little Piece of Pie about how few photographs there are of her, since becoming a mum. It struck a chord because there is most definitely an absence of me in the family albums. I tend to be the one behind the camera, taking endless snaps of my children doing silly and adorable things. I also tend to avoid the camera because, let's face it, there isn't a whole lot of maintenance going on here. Clothes get thrown on, hair scraped back, sunscreen smeared over my face. Mascara is a rarity. The lack of sleep is taking its toll. Anyway, I had this idea that I would post a photograph of myself, with or without the kids, each week, thus forcing me to step in front of the camera on a more regular basis. So we messed about with the camera this afternoon and took a few photos... and, oh my god, I look so tired and ragged: is this really a good idea?!
But, this is me. This is the reality. I'm exhausted; I have hardly any time to myself. I'm no yummy mummy, that is for sure! But I'm not a martyr either; I'm nowhere near perfection. I'm just getting on with it, trying to do the best I can, and not screw it up too much. It is really hard work right now, and most the time, I look like crap. I wish it didn't matter to me, but it does. I'm hoping it's going to get a bit easier soon, and I'll find more balance in my life. We'll see. So here it is: me.
It's almost 8 years ago, but I think about her every single day. I see her in my girl's passion and determination; in my boy's dreaminess and intensity; and, in particular, in my baby boy's readiness to smile and laugh at all the wonders of life. I am the age she was when she had me. I wonder what she would think of me; of my life and my choices. If only she could have met these little people that rule my world. It may not hurt like it once did, but I still miss her.