Squiggly

Life sometimes feels very squiggly when you are in a period of remission.  You’re busy trying to rebuild life and pick up old threads but there is messiness in trying to find your equilibrium.

Recovery_reality

I used to feel quite scared of the scribble, the days when out of nowhere I don’t feel like getting up again or I find myself mind-busy and frazzled.  But as you look at the featured image for this blog don’t you think that in some ways that the messy line is actually quite beautiful?

Quite a few things have been squiggling me lately (but I’m learning to accept them as part of the beautiful tangle of life and recovery).  I was offered an ongoing role facilitating mums’ mental health courses from September this year.  In many ways it’s the role I have been dreaming of – but I knew I had to turn it down at this point in my own life journey.  I felt torn between guilt and relief as I sent off the email to say no.  No is a hard thing, but a precious thing too.

Little One has been providing us with some very tangly challenges.  The shift from winter to spring has really unsettled bedtimes and we have had more than a few nights of really screaming at the top of her voice “It’s day not night! I don’t go to bed in the day!” There have been moments of parenting genius like digging out the ‘Sunshine at Bedtime’ poem from Shirley Hughes Out and About collection. There have been many more moments of wondering what on earth to do and the pain of listening to an angry, crying child behind the bedroom door who is so very, very tired but doesn’t understand.

Eldest is going through her own messy time at the moment too and I’m there helping her to untangle some of it. There have been many cups of tea and slices of cheese on toast at the end of another upsetting day at school.  Friendships for pre-teen girls have always been challenging and fraught, but it doesn’t make it any easier knowing this when your precious girl is in tears as she tries to be her authentic self and gets knocked back.

I had something of an epiphany in the midst of the tangles.  I’ve been searching so long for that time I go “back to work” and I’m healed, whole, a functioning member of society again.  That time when I’ll have the career success I imagined when I headed off to University back in 1994.  But the thing is I already have a career.  The most important, draining, fabulous, meaningful work I could have imagined.  I’m a mother to Little One and Eldest.  The paid work is going to have to continue to take a back seat, as much for my wholeness and well-being as theirs.

Glorious mess

An after-school mini adventure

Eldest is hanging upside down by her knees with a tumble of golden hair touching the ground.  Little One is throwing leaves, wood chippings and beech nut cases into the air with glee.  It’s the start of the Easter break and I’m determined that, though there may be fog following me around, we are going to have a little adventure anyway.

Like all good adventures should, we start with sustenance.  Plate-sized pancakes with cherries for me and an assortment of gooey sauces and tiny sweets for the girls.  Then off to a village play park with the best swings in the world.  Huge long chains just made for stomach-twirling heights and hanging backwards to look at the trees upside down.  A wooden fort with ropes, ladders and bars for acrobatics if you happen to be that way inclined (and Eldest certainly is).  We have the whole field to ourselves and though there’s thick grey cloud above, seeing the girls get into the spirit of mini-adventure lifts the clouds within.

On the way home Little One chirps ‘lovely day’ and I have to agree.

Rockpooling

I love the hope and longing encapsulated in Noah and The Whale’s First Days of Spring.  With my own story in mind I love the song’s answer to the feeling that we all have one chance to f*** up our lives; Like a cut down tree, I will rise again
I’ll be bigger, and stronger than ever before.

The first day of Spring.  Someone’s turned up the brightness on the colours today.  Acid yellow daffodils, a slick of cobalt across the turquoise of the sea.  Burnt sienna and bright orange on the back of the tiny crab we find in the rockpools.  On days like this all feels right with the world, and the colour is turned up in my heart.

Eldest wrote this poem which sums up our day beautifully:

To feel the sand between my toes, and see the sea as it goes

Barnacles, anemones and sea snails plenty

A couple of ice cream cones empty

Little sisters having fun, playing in the golden sun

Driving home to see a fox, hiding in amongst the rocks

How I love going rockpooling

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