Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Learning to Fall

"When will it be Oscar's birthday Mummy?"
"When all the leaves are back on the trees Alannah".
"But I've been waiting ages" (mega sulky face)

This time last year I was as impatient as the blonde bombshell. Every twinge, every that it? Is that the baby coming?? So I can't fault the three year old for being impatient for his first birthday to come around, especially not at the prospect of cake with sprinkles and icing and jellies and smarties...and and and...and all the things important about birthdays for the single figures people. And then it came around and happened, and now we wait for something else to happen...with more sprinkles :) 

Daily Stumbling Ground

I guess I felt like I had been waiting ages too. Almost a year since the little man (not so little anymore, weighing the same as the threenager) came into the light of day, just over a year since I stepped off the threadmill of the day job and a full year since I surrendered to the world of full time mother/householder/domestic goddess (note to husband and children: all three role titles loosely applied and open to debate/reward negotiation). 

There's something magic that happens when you give birth to your baby, something magic that changes your heart and your mind and stays with you through the constant attention and devotion that a newborn requires and the challenging (some might say debilitatiing and soul crushing) broken sleeps and nighttime waking. Not forgetting the buckets of nappies and snot. The magic of course is nature's wonderful way of sustaining the mother through all of this, and endorphins are wonderful. Over time however, the magic gradually starts to fade and mother must learn to sustain herself through a sense of humour (preferably a good one) and quiet acceptance of the work at hand. Add a threenager that's going on sixty four, into the mix and that's when things really start to stretch and that seemingly benign word - challenging - takes on a new meaning entirely.

It's been an interesting year. And so many times I thought of my own mother and how I am in complete awe of her. And I tell her, even though she left us five weeks before Oscar was born. She would have fallen head over heels with him though, I know this.

What did I learn? Many things. Many things that I could never have imagined were there for the learning. Like, how much conversation a three year old can fit into the waking hours of any given day. Like, you can't reason with them either. Like, you can't expect to win an argument with them. Like, you are very likely to regress to their level of reasoning with lack of sleep and continued erosion of your inner calm (think: no inner calm). Like, you need to maintain perspective and get outside on your own every day. Like, be open to no planning other than manoeuvering between dawn and dusk with all bodies intact. Like, being grateful for each of those mornings and evenings that we are all together (even though we may/nay - probably -  spent the day squabbling over b***s**t - and that we are growing and changing together as part of our own unique, quirky and  family unit). Like, how getting an afternoon nap even just once a week can be the one thing that saves your soul. Like, how much I absolutely relish the precious, natural rhythm of it all.

I often thought that it was the right thing to try to 'find the balance' - the elusive, exclusive, evasive balance in life. Some seemed to have it. Shouldn't I be going for it? Find it and hold on to it smugly like it was the life bouy to my existence. Find it, grasp it and never, ever let it go, and then tell everyone else how to find it too.  

What fool was I? I wisely gave up on that. Now I stick with what works to stop me from falling over, as much as I possibly can.  I still fall over - for sure - daily. I lose my temper with the threenager, I wallow in self pity after I've had an epic night from hell with a teething baby. I lose heart.  I crumble. I feel lonely and isolated as I'm building lego houses with the threenager and the bouncing boy at 5.30am in the morning (an every-morning ritual - somehow strangely meditative in those silent times). I didn't get my annual performance rating, I got puked on instead. I fall down.

And then I find my way back up....crawling, hobbling, flying, powering forward, on good days maybe even straight into a headstand and a mind-bending scorpion pose. And then I fall, again. 

And then I just breathe. And then I am balanced. A walk in the woods, a hug from the man, a smile from the boyscar, a tummy rub from the blonde bombshell, time wangling with an overgrowing garden, a text from a friend - somehow it gets delivered. I don't find it or grasp it or cling to it, or stick my nails into it, it finds me. If I let it. 

So the last year has been interesting, to say the least. And I am grateful for all that the journey has given to me. Instead of finding balance I am learning how to fall, with grace. And how to pick myself back up again, and again, with humble gratitude and hopefully some more grace. Instead of that elusive 'finding of the balance', I am loving the realness of falling and I embrace it. 

Of course, if I need any reminding, I just watch the boy stepping his way from chair to fridge, and table to floor with the cutest and plumpest of un-shoed feet...and I bow to the immense beauty and fragility, and yet strength and steady force of it - his learning to walk, by learning to fall.

P.S. The Holly Cottage garden is amazing right now - as is the magnificent/awesome Irish countryside - some updates on the way, soon.

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