Thursday, 20 August 2015

The Middle Years

I've just dropped the girls off at a drama workshop in town. 
They skipped down the road, greeting friends. Happy chatter, and dance steps all the way.
Now I'm home, Vanilla Chai steeping on my desk and dog curled up on my bed. 

Morning debris litters the floors and surfaces; odd socks, bits of felt and lavender from a sewing project, toast crumbs, felt tip pens, crayons and half read books.
I should be tidying instead of writing but I've got my priorities straight.

When the children were tiny, people used to tell me to treasure every moment as before I knew it they would be all grown up and independent.
I did treasure their little years. 
Through the fog of sleep deprivation and squirming bodies pushing me off the edge of the bed I found a truer, humbler, simpler me. 

People often say you loose yourself when you become a mother but I think that perhaps you find a deeper, truer self. A part of you that is not reliant on a certain fashion or hairstyle or external thing to define or realize it. 

I remember those stark, bright and luminous mornings staring into the eyes of a sweet smelling, milk filled baby wondering whether this might be the most precious moment of my life. 
I remember those magical afternoons throwing bread to ducks and sticks under the bridge and digging up mud pies in the back garden.

For some reason I always assumed life would get less complicated as they grew older. 
And life is far less emotionally and physically intense. The sense of anxiety and vulnerability is not as strong. Even if worries only change rather than disappear. 

When they were small I lived from moment to moment. Hopping from pebble to pebble across the stream of days. 
Breakfast, Laundry, Play, Lunch. Rest, Walk, Teatime, Bath and Bed.
Embracing the moment fully allowed me to find peace and center. 
Living in the fullness of the moment stopped me from seeking distraction or diversion that would inevitably be frustrated by a daily round of  routines on repeat.
These days I'm far more in the inane, chattering, part of my head. It is akin to trying not to loose your footing whilst paddling in fast, flowing shallow streams rather than having to hold your breath while diving into endlessly, deep oceans.

It's not always a good fit for my personality.
I'm an introverted type that likes to dance to a gentle, simple, familiar rhythm. 
The hustle, bustle and general randomness of raising a gaggle of kids approaching teen-dom is at times, a little overwhelming.

When they were tiny, we would gather around the table to do an activity. Huddled like duckings, we'd complete our daily tasks and although I was the only one who could competently clean up afterwards there was, usually only one mess to clean up at a time.

Saying all this it is truly a wonder to watch the girls develop their own art, craft, baking projects over the holidays even if it has also involved a LOT of simultaneous mess making.
While one gets out ingredients in the kitchen another will be making handmade cards using every last item from our arts and crafts stash.
And another still, will be sewing homemade lavender bags upstairs or practicing dance routines at full volume in front of the mirror.

This is wonderful for Nola. Older siblings provide a wonderland of entertainment for a four year old. She is exposed to so many different ideas and resources. 
She soaks it all up like a sponge and more often than not comes up with her very own variations on themes.

I love the sparks of creativity that explode around the house.
I love the energy, the evolving dynamics and the long, debates and conversations about  obscure and fleeting obsessions. 
I love the way they still snuggle in my lap to watch "The Great British Bake Off" yet can easily make their own cheese sandwiches and cups of tea.

Now that Emmy is moving into her own apartment, working and going to college I realize how very precious each Summer is.

All the crumbs, clothes and toppling book stacks are really just the signs of a life well lived.

Sharing with Little Things Thursday


  1. You have your priorities 'straight' as they say.

    And you state them, in such lovely words...


  2. This is beautiful. I spent the first year of my oldest daughters life trying to keep my head above water. I was so worried about doing everything right and being the perfect mother.
    All these years later, and each child has shown me how to slow down, enjoy the moment.

  3. I loved reading this! I think we can all relate! You really write very eloquently!

  4. I really enjoyed this post. My favorite line: People often say you loose yourself when you become a mother but I think that perhaps you find a deeper, truer self. I tweeted it. Thanks for sharing your heart-felt words. :)

  5. This is so wonderful and it's timely that I came across it today. We just dropped our son off at college and I have been crying ever since. Your words really speak to me. It's hard to grasp 'treasure every moment' when they are little and your life is a whirl-wind. But before you know it, you are leaving them in their dorm room. You can't get the time back, so make the most of it.

  6. This is such a wonderful description of what it is like to mother, and learn to let go a bit as they enter the teen years. I'm right there with you. I have a teen, a tween, and an impending tween. I often wake up and ask, "when did this happen?". I'm finding beauty in it as it is less of a just making it stage of life. But, oh how I miss the early years, too. It all goes too quickly. People said it would, but somehow I didn't believe it.

  7. Lovely post (and the two that followed as well - I won't enter your giveaway but how interesting to read about doing a mandala each morning!). I have often reflected on how, when I was so desperate to have children, I really thought that the early years were the most difficult, though I knew that teen years were challenging for all. Having just about brought up two children (albeit with my son only since he was nearly four when we adopted him), I now realise that each stage has its rewards and challenges, and that in some ways you never stop worrying. Letting go as they grow is particularly hard, I think. I also agree with what you say about finding yourself through motherhood. Our children teach us so much...

  8. oh my, i'm in tears, so very lovely and well said. thank you


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