Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Nothing lasts but nothing is lost

There is a richness to life that you feel when surrounded by solid friends that you've know for time. Friends that are really more like surrogate family. Friends you've shared nights that became days with, friends that you shared sunrises that became sunsets with. Blissful moments between worlds and the real ones - bitter and sweet - you held hands through in this reality too.   The crazy hazy days of young youth seemed wonderful, vivid and infinite but when the family eventually separates off into different factions, to different places to pursue different dreams like any nuclear family would, where is the richness of community then?

Such is the naivety of youth and perhaps the seemingly irrational impermanence of life.  I guess I took it for granted we'd all end up having kids together, raising kids together, living out our lives together - such was the feeling of infinity.  But the cessation of family life as we knew it is somewhat isolating in the cold light of day.  I thank the gods then that I am no longer shy and lacking in self esteem and confidence as I was when I met said surrogate family over ten years ago.

As a woman I need strong bonds and friendships around me.  I need my girlfriends, my mamafriends, my sisters and my soulsisters.  Women are social communal creatures and isolation is conducive to nothing, it does not allow us to bloom.  Interaction allows us to develop our ideas and iron out creases.

In that spirit and with one of determination I'm setting out once more, putting myself and my children in the company of new people who I hope will become more than acquaintances, dare I dream good family friends one day.  This is what our past week has mostly been about - sowing and tending the seeds of friendship.  Realising that, in the words of William Blake, nothing lasts but nothing is lost.

And seeking new places to hang out in springs warm embrace, on the prowl for natural space you don't have to pay to get into or park at.

It feels rich in a different way to be empowered enough to take a chance and go seek these new friends, to hype them up to my kids and see what happens.  I know it works and this is where my determination and faith comes from for I have several friendships I've been propagating the last few years in the greenhouse of love.  It's a warm and sunny feeling when you sit back and think .... you know what, this one is going to make it, we're not just doing it for the kids anymore, this is friendship, this has value and meaning, this warms my heart. 

And there is always the everyday magic between us four that warms it too; like this second hand old fashioned educational game set.  It saw Zander completely forget he wanted to play his Starwars PS3 game ...

This will help me learn my numbers mummy won't it, he observed

Inaugeral pigtails, a rite of passage for any mama with a baby girl.

you know what I call it when we do stuff all together ... a team, he pronouncedAnd we were; all four of us digging and clearing, making way for mother earth to do her spring thing. There really is nowhere like the veg patch for sumptuous wholesome conversations. It seems to come so easy for Zander to just talk to me there - and not the usual incesant slightly inane set of why's and how's but genuine curious knowledgable conversation about the world around us. I've noticed this before, always the veg patch.

 The way my boy draws me with flowers in my hair now.  And the perfect pair of green tights.

The bracelets baby G makes me.

How he loves her.

Grubbing about on the warmest day so far this year.  And pull along friends.

Finding self seeded wild violets in my front garden.

And the laughable predicament I found myself in having written off my own bike with my own car on my own driveway - seriously - for that week each month I shoud not even be allowed out of the house!

And now bed beckons, along with a strong cup of valerian tea and some poetry to see those dreams are sweet.

Blessings X

Tuesday, 21 February 2012


Memories are the only truly immortal things we have, the good ones are as warm as sepia sunbeams that cast golden dappled light over us as we reminisce.  Some of the most golden memories of my childhood are those where the extended family gathered together.  Grandparents, great grandparents, cousins, second cousins, aunts, great aunts and uncles - I can still hear the symphonic cacophony of bantering adult voices and the bubbling squeals of excitement from our own small band of mischief makers.  There was a vibe that came from many of us being together re-affirming bonds and entertaining one another, a heightened energy like you feel at a festival of thousands.

There were the mini-breaks my brother, sister and I would take - staying away from home with grandparents or sometimes with our aunt and cousins in London during the school holidays whilst mum and dad took a chance to breathe.  I loved those breaks, each with their trademark activities, visits and traditions that built up over the years.  We felt loved and happy.

Knowingly, I sometimes mourn the fact that my children will not know identical experiences.  Things are different what with there being a distinct shortage of grandparents able to offer such retreats - Cliff's mum died shortly after we had Gaia, he never knew his father, my dad has an acquired brain injury and my mum has her own struggles.  The numerous rifts that have occurred in the generations that preceded us has left the extended family we knew fragmented and silent to one another, so I know some things will not be possible for this generation of small people.  But all is never lost.

As the children and I spent time with my sister and her boys this weekend in her delicious country cottage we talked about our family and the importance of gatherings - big and small, arranged and impromptu.  We talked about the importance of sibling friendship and familial solidarity.  And having both danced under the same rainbows as small girls we now incubate homogeneous visions for our own families and our extended family as one.

Now we are the matriarchs, we are the ones to organise and host many family gatherings,.  We pull in the stray wisps that get loose in the breezes and as we romp on through life we need to keep this pendulum swinging, gather more momentum, more wisps in - more of the time even when it feels like there is no time.

Our children might not remember staying away with Grandparents in the summer holidays whilst we catch our breath but I realise that really isn't the be all and end all.  They will remember different things - like seeing their aunt and cousins regularly for lazy lunches and afternoons now Mama got wheels. 

They will remember going for lunch quietly (?) with great-grandad and inviting themselves to lunch with Grandma when it takes their fancy to stay longer than anticipated.  They will remember sleepovers and picnics and they will remember going on holiday with their aunts, uncles, cousins and grandma as for the first time this year we join a tradition that has been nurtured the last few without us.  There really is so much we can give them that will be just as special so I should really stop the mourning and get on with the living, being, breathing life into these visions and dreams.  What we do now counts if we want them to remember dancing under rainbows and in and out of sunbeams.  And of course, these memories we're so hung up on creating for our small ones ... are new sunbeams for us as well, we play different parts (if all the world's a stage) see from different perspectives than before and that is good.  We get the satisfaction of seeing our plans come together, giving each other a pat on the back and doing little happy dances when we see we nailed it.

And there are the myriad everyday heart warmers - sacred to me and who knows ... maybe they will remember them too one day...

more and more big brother is helping his little sister out ...

dappled light ... first fire of the year

Springs warm breathe sweeping back bonfire smoked hair.  The smokiness lingers long enough that  later I bury my face in and drink deeply that distinctive scent, as I did when they were newborns and smelled of angels.

Delicious ... those eyes I mean

When out running.  Quintessentially Cambridge.

Ask the girl what she wants for lunch and what she wants she will have; homemade pizza two days running.

This one wild and precious life is all that we have, is everything that we have ... may there always be ordinary magic and special occasions, sepia sunbeams and rainbows to remember.

That is all. 

Blessings X

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Letting us off

So I ponder and wonder ... why is the day after the night shift before so chilled and a little bit non-time like?  I let us off having a schedule and we run on holiday time with holiday spirit in the knowing that my reserves are somewhat depleted.  There is almost a celebratory air about our casual proceedings ...  I'm home! hooray! I'm back in the nest where I belong!  I feel slightly invincible.

Celebratory, as in having a cheeky baked Camembert for lunch...

As in lots of tea drinking, a whole heap of chain-tea-drinking, chain-chai-tea-drinking! 

As in enthusiastic bake offs. 

As in the urge to drink a glass of wine when I get back in from work - the only thing stopping me is the clock - I can't be drinking wine at 8 in the morning night shift or no!

As in the hour long soak in a hot bubbly tub with my girl round about midday, tea parties in the bath...

As in the mother daughter yoga sessions...

As in settling down in front of a tear-jerking Disney movie. 

Or woodland capers - the kids totally unaware of their flagging mama, who herself - rejuvenated by natures breath has forgotten she's not slept. 

Then there's the moment when I pour that much lusted after glass of wine and two glasses later drift and doze in red wine slumber, snuggled under blankets on the sofa with my bairns. 

See, there is a certain strange something about the day-after-the-night-shift-before, it has to be said.  Weird huh?  I'd like to live every day a little more as if it were the day after the night shift before, let myself off structure and schedule and replace with a more arbitrary balance.  It feels so good to simply drift on life's tide, being, living.

There are some things that have warmed my yawning, stretching heart this week ...

The hoards of blue tits, sparrows and robins visiting our bird feeders and gettin' fat on my home made bird seed and peanut butter cakes.

My boys significant leap in reading ability - he looks at words and knows what they are, not always having to spell them out.

Running - feeling totally at one with my body as our feet pound the pavement, our breath comes even and confident as we press on through stitches, snowy meadows along the frozen river.

The threading theme...

natures stillness ...

 loving the skirt spilling out from under Buzz Lightyears's space suit...

This walk ...

Whispering Beech gold

'It's like jewellery mummy' Zander said of this glassy ice.

She moved her collection of creatures and props from space to space, blissfully happy to arrange, dismantle and re-arrange.

Zander was on mushroom watch this morning, he discovered these.

The children are like dogs I've decided.  They need walking daily, twice preferably otherwise all that boundless energy knows not where to go.

With it being half term here I need to step up a gear with secret plans and clever tricks to keep their minds and bodies occupied.  School is so hyper-stimulating for Zander that he doesn't know what to do with himself if he's at home for longer than a weekend where our pace is somewhat softer. 

Here's to a good one.  And to one more hard week of night shifts before a less frenetic second half of the month.

Blessings X