Turn on, tune in, drop out

Music is becoming an increasingly important part of my gap year preparations.  In the transition from CDs to streaming and Spotify, I’d kind of forgotten how much I enjoy pottering around the house with music on and how relaxing it is to cook or do the packed lunches with some tunes.  I’d also forgotten how much I love to sing.  Last night I took to the mic for the first time in about ten years, and sang some folk songs with Gallant Grandpa at Boston Tea Party’s Play On.  It was great to sing about feisty young women of the 17th century, and I tested out my red lippy again which was fun.  It definitely is like putting on an instant slick of confidence (thank you YSL!)

Going to see live music was a massive part of my teenage years in Leeds, and I had the privilege of seeing both Madonna and U2 outdoors at Roundhay Park.  I now have two live music events to look forward to in the gap year – The Dixie Chicks at the O2 next year and Farmfest in August.  After singing last night, GH and I watched a brilliant BBC documentary about the evolution of music festivals and it really inspired me about the heady mix of hope, politics, fields, music and dancing (Bad Brain means no recreational drugs on my menu!)

For the last few months I’ve been challenging my vocal cords and sight-reading skills in a local jazz choir, Harmoni.  It’s so much fun practising discordant harmonies and lots of “doo-be-doos” as we work through the arrangements together.  I’ll be getting out that red lippy again for our performance at the local community centre in July.  Using the musical side of my brain is so relaxing and such an antidote to busy days of writing as I finish my contract with Action on Postpartum Psychosis.  If music be the food of love, let’s play on.

Mumma

Little One calls me ‘mumma’.  I love to hear her say that word, it took so long to come in those months when we were hanging on every syllable.  Today has held real joy in the simple moments with my girls.  Watching Little One splash around, full of delight, at the swimming pool.  Seeing the water jets tickle her legs and tummy and watching her jump and twirl in the fountains.  Watching her grow in confidence with each soaking.

I help Eldest with her underwater handstands.  She asks me to twirl her around by her hands like a ballet dancer in the water, just like we used to do when she was small.  I find myself marvelling at the graceful, tall young person she is becoming; I remember so clearly her clinging on to my shoulders in the pool as a little girl, now she is a confident mermaid.

Back at home, Little One loves to cook with me.  She peels the leeks, cuts up the green beans with scissors and we peel carrots together.  She’s so content in these moments.  I need more of this in my gap year, more time to simply be ‘mumma’.

Reality bites (and we bite back)

Monday, heavy lids and limbs start the day

Screams and thrashing as I change your clothes

The windscreen is dotted with teardrops

The sky is cloaked in grey

You spill your milk, I rush my coffee

I’m not giving up on today

Mahler on the radio, I catch sight of you making ballerinas with your hands in the air

We venture to your dance class

Your joyfulness lifts me like the chiffon scarves twirling around your arms

We bite into gyoza

You shout “YO!” at the top of your voice, and everyone breaks into a smile

We’re not giving up on today