Monday, 19 August 2013

Honest thoughts on changing perspectives ...

... they change all the time, by the day ... hell by the hour at the moment.  One minute things are lollipops and rainbows the next minute I'm on the verge of screaming banshee mama because for the uptininth time  something or someone has happened or done something or not listened to me AGAIN ad infinitum!  It feels like groundhog day each and every day.  And though I love my kids so very very much and have all these wonderful ideals and ideas about how to raise them often I feel like I am floundering, helpless, hopeless, like a proper shitty ass mama.  The trouble is you see, from the outset, long before they were even conceived,  I signed myself up to raise free spirits and  as authentic to my true nature as this is - when I stop and realise there are now two extra people in the house - maybe smaller than I, but who are now just as stubborn, passionate, creative and free and strong willed as me I think it is no wonder I am emotionally exhausted by it all before 9 o'clock each morning!

I was at work this evening, responding to and caring for adults with hight complex needs - not in control of themselves, much like children I guess but in different ways and for different reasons.  Non the less things happen, accidents happen, lots of wailing and moaning, non verbal screaming and bashing things about, ignoring what they are asked and told, basic needs to be met and I deal with it all and do it all with unlimited patience a smile and a kind word.  I thought to myself tonight how this is just not fair.  Not fair that I find it easier to cope with a house full of grown ups with complex needs just as capable of chaos than I do my own articulate offspring who I grew and birthed and continue nurture.  Forget the fact I am being paid to do that job, that at the end of the day I can 'give them back', that it is only a few days a week - when you strip it down it just shouldn't be!  I LOVE my children like no one else on the planet so why can't I go through the day with the same aplomb and patience, methodology and compassion as I do at work?  Is it noble to think I could or should or is it just a pointless comparison?  It is food for thought and inspiration if nothing else.

And then as I was cycling home I thought of all the heartbreaking mornings I begrudgingly dropped my sweet boy off at nursery at the tender age of nearly three because I had a normal day job back then.  I remember acutely how he stood alone, face down cast, sucking his fingers, chin wobbling, tears starting to flow, silent, alone, ignored by staff, most likely heart broken himself, possibly scared and sad ... oh it was horrible.  Then I think of how angry and frustrated I've been at him today and I berate myself, rebuke myself and kick myself madly.  God damn it Rose I shriek within ... remember all this next time you are about to launch into a tirade or send him to his room.  Would it make any difference?  Do I ever remember any of that in the throws of frustration?  Is it possible?

I know I'm not the only one who struggles, I know this isn't an easy gig for anyone so I am at least human but I just expect of myself that I should be able to do it all so much better.  Each day is a chance to be a better person than we were the day before and this is really the only thing that keeps me sane.  This and their unconditional love.

I just wanted to write these thoughts down for authenticity's sake, for perspective before I slept, forgot about them, woke up thinking I am super mum again and that today WILL be the day that everything changes and is all lollipops and rainbows for real - as I do most mornings for a split second before the chaos starts.  Bringing a light heart to a situation never hurt anyone either so here is me doing just that.

Off to meditate

...then to attack the library and the blackberry and elderberry bushes.

And look what I found when I got home last night ...


be.still.my.melting.heart.  


Love & light X

Friday, 16 August 2013

Going Home

 ... by home I don't mean my Mama's house or any man made structure I've ever lived in before.  I mean the home that never ceases to lift the weight of my troubles from my shoulders the instant I arrive, the one that my soul belongs to, the one that sings songs as I shrug off a heavy coat of stress - the songs I noticed today that my boy hears on the breeze and the whispers in the leaves too.  It's the one place we 3 are all guaranteed to behave ourselves and play nicely together!

Some places demand that I fall in love with my kids all over again however much of a bat-shit-crazy kind of day or week or month we've been having.  Free from distraction and drudgery.  The Woods ... The Mushroom Tree.  It was a Beech tree exquisite in it's precision structure ~ the way it's branches have grown to form a curious curvaceous cap that makes it look like said mushroom and underneath these branches, almost definitely on purpose, an ethereal hide out waiting for just the right size pixie ... how I wished I was 6!  A branch, the perfect height for little legs to climb to, the perfect ledge to safely recline on and boasting leafy emerald framed windows from all aspects.  I saw my boy start buzzing, high on woodland vibrations.  I heard him buzzing, articulating, using words and tones he's not used before in perfect context and I saw pure happiness radiating from his face.  '

Oh mummy this is the bestest feeling I've ever had, this is the bestest I have ever felt.  I'm telling you this is irresistible, I have all these windows, I feel like a pixie, I have the best view of you from here' 

 This Beech sister seemed to have spoken to his wild little heart and he wanted to sit, just sit and sit, looking out of his pixie windows, feeling every inch a pixie, absorbing joy like a sponge.  Ah it made my heart swoon and though I immortalise it here in words and pictures I shall remember in far more clarity for the whole of my life.  He gets it, weather he realises fully or in the same way I do, consciously or not, he gets it.  I mean  the life force, nature magic, that feeling we perceive exuded by the sacred untouched places of mama earth.  He must be listening some.  At least he's listening to something because it certainly isn't me!



 


The fallen Oak and the feel of it's wisely old bark underneath bare feet is my own irresistible.  I went prepared, certain that the imps would invent some wild game for a while so I sat in the tree reading Mary Oliver's poetry smugly watching from my vantage point the surprise of passers by to see a mama up a tree too.


 


 






Unmistakably, I can feel the turn of the wheel of the year.  In mornings and evenings though sunny there is a crispness that can only herald autumns slow return.  Blackberries are plentiful now and we have been making bramble jelly for the first time this year.  It is so much easier to make than jam!  The wheat in the garden is golden and the pears on the trees still ripening.  So tempting to the imps but this year we have avoided any pre-ripe stripping of plants and trees, they are that bit older and probably remember my spectacular tantrum last year after they stripped every last tomato off the vines, every last pear off the tree and made silly soup with them before I'd had chance to eat even one.  Gaia is truly involved with the things we grow.  She likes to just walk up to the veg plot and sit and look for subtle changes - if the tomatoes have slightly more blusher on today than yesterday, she'll notice.  If the leeks are a millimetre taller or fatter, she'll notice.  They both see the cucumbers hiding on the vine that I from my adult vantage point miss.  They notice the shiest most promising clusters of blackberries that remain hidden to adult foragers.  There is so much we miss from our fully grown height - I should crouch more when we visit the woods - see how the trees grow when I shrink, as surely as when I grew they shrunk.  I should sprawl on my belly more whilst hanging out in the garden, see the minuscule magic I once knew so intimately as a child myself.


 


    


 

They may be a complete pain the ass but how could I not love them with all my heart!

Always with love X

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Adventures on the Island Of Wight

So we went on holiday last week to the Isle Of Wight and as soon as we started packing down the tent I started the mental de-brief ... the joys, my successes, the challenges and the things that I will learn from for next year and all the years after.  Always the freaking de-brief ... life as a mama is a bit like that every day!  But holidays in particular.

In my defence the weather was dramatic and not on our side really which makes camping challenging and expensive with small people bouncing like highly charged electrons off canvas walls and inflatable beds making this mama more than a little twitchy and despairing at times!  As is the way of these things, now we are home these challenges are fading fast leaving photo's to pour over and joys to re-count.

The single thing I love most about camping is watching the children making friends, hanging out with other kids and lighting up as we offer them more freedom with their comings and goings than we do at home.   They couldn't quite believe it when we started letting them go off together without us.  It was a tense transition for me because whilst wanting them to experience the rush of a longer leash I am so crazy protective over them and all too aware of the dangers our wider world holds.  The good feeling that indulging them brought me mostly outweighed the terrifying moments of 'what if'.  I had to tell myself repeatedly that we are in a sort of enclosed community here - full of families, there are no roads they can access and there are other kids and adults on high alert as well.  As far as places to let them of the leash go, this is probably up there with the best.  And this time it worked out and I tried not to cramp their style yet show a loving and responsible interest in them.

And something special happened.  I witnessed two souls, two kindred spirits - two halves of the same clay perhaps, recognise one another in one magical instant.  I wasn't expecting it to be Gaia and nor that the spark would be between her and a boy double her age.  Honestly as the week drew on and the strength of their bond and fondness for one another grew I was slightly in awe.  She has only been Earthside 4 years this time but carries an old soul and I'm certain it's their souls that felt some deep old recognition.  All week they were like this old married couple.  They played, they hugged, he tousled her irresistible curls and made sure she knew the rules to games and was given a fair chance and empowerment and she followed him everywhere and evoked smiles and enthusiasm from him each minute they were together.  They danced together at the disco, they ran to greet each other after separate days out and he rallied a fan club together for her when she sang in the karaoke on the last night.  Dude that's another thing, she did karaoke!  I mean it was her idea to get up on stage and sang baa baa black sheep watching an auto-cue she couldn't even read to a pub full of kids and grown ups, showing not a drop of fear!  Man! she's going to do big things in this world if her confidence knows no bounds at age 4.



Me and the boy, we played chess.  We played chess with the set my Grandma and Grandad gave me when I was just a year older than he is now.  He concentrates, he remembers well but he is a terrible looser!  Chess is teaching him not to be such a terrible looser as he must learn from mistakes to get better and more savvy.



























And he was tamed by the sea.  He shed his cares and dissolved the attitudes acquired in the last year at school.  He was respectful of the sea's immense power and gradually integrated himself with the shore and the water like his Mama whilst Gaia of course went blazing in with bold confidence and defiance ... just like her Pa and those irresistible sausage curls dreaded tight in the salt water, she doesn't want to keep them though so I'm going to have a job tonight with the conditioner and a comb!  We waded in shoulder deep each carrying one of the children and waltzed round and round in cool cleansing waters to my humming some waltz or other I played in the orchestra of my childhood.









     
 


We went rock pooling and found crabs and shrimps on Bembridge Beach where the waters are still and weirdly warm (Gaia's words!) and where forest abruptly and romantically meets the channel of water between mainland England and the 'Island Of Wight' as the kids called it.  If it weren't for the mainland and the yachts in the distance it could so easily have been mistaken for a dessert island.  Tiny shiny purple shells filled our pockets from that trip, shells we'll polish up and make into some sort of keep sake.


 

 




























Then there were the evening walks just me and the kids ~ behind the land we were camped on in the valley where rolling hills generously colonised by Prussian green forests that come evening became consumed in low ethereal mist.  Cows were grazing the public byway so we just had to drop and play ring-a-ring-a-roses a few times before we investigated hawthorn dens and rabbit holes, as we do.



































And a spontaneous picnic Zander & I enjoyed outside the tent after a long day at the beach whilst the others slept the sun off ... it's just the little things we do that fill my pitcher up with joy.  


 


It's the little things they do too, like writing love notes to Muvr Nachr (mother nature) for the Birch sister who gave us dappled shade and somewhere to string a washing line up




























And mother nature tipped her hat right back as she put on the most fabulous last night show almost immediately after I tucked the bairns up after the karaoke in the shape of a proper south of england electrical storm, I mean like the ones we had when I grew up.  I love me a good thunder storm, one that is so loud and and bright that it demands your unwavering attention.  Tree splitting, world shaking, bass-bin booming thunder and theatrical strobe light displays, so much damn energy all around us out in that tent in the valley I was totally wired by the charged air and could not sleep a wink nor wipe a stupid grin off my face for hours.  It took some conscious careful breathing techniques to get myself to sleep and had there not also been marching torrents of rain accompanying it I'd have been outside dancing in the storm I dare say.

I wouldn't say camping with two highly spirited imps is relaxing, no not at all.  I'd say Cliff and I are still shattered, that the car isn't fully unpacked though we've been back 6 days now and I'm still working on holiday time - by where the sun is roughly in the sky rather than by what my clock says, meal times are up the spout and regular bed times are still nowhere to be seen.  We have always camped so you would think we would be seasoned pro's by now.  I love the idea of camping - the romantic vision of managing with less, living lightly in nature and the delusion we might all interact harmoniously this time surely ... but that isn't the reality.  I'd say very soon we'll be purchasing a camper van!  I wonder reflectively, as always, how the imps will remember this trip ... will it be the rain?  the balmy beach day? the friends they made? the freedoms they were permitted? or me loosing my cool after the umpitninth time of asking for something to be done or not done?  Will they remember camping fondly and insist on taking their own families in years to come?  Who knows, what I do know is this; that perfect daydream family and holiday does not exist ... I need not cuss myself for the challenges I faced.  I was not the only mama to struggle at times, I wasn't the only one to raise my voice or rebuke my children we are all in the same boat it is just that some of the crew are more experienced and capable at navigating the tides than others and thank goodness for that fact because it means there will always be someone there to inspire me to reach a little higher and push a little further and I love that.









I'm feeling a whole lotta love!

X