Well that essay took much longer to write than expected. Not longer than it should have, just longer than I had allowed.
It is safe to say that the Spring school holidays have been semi-disastrous... for me. I say "semi" to acknowledge that I am faced with the insanity of first world problems. The term "disaster" is relative. My mental state has been messy. I've had uni work looming over me, with the uni semester recess only slightly overlapping with school holidays. So most of the time, as I've been trying to read academic journals on human geography and natural (real) disasters, I've had kids fighting/playing at my feet, making mess, requiring food, requiring taxi services etc etc etc. There's one buzzing right behind me right now. We've had friends come to stay, rugby presentations to attend, sailing days, and on and on and on and ridiculously on and on. All very full lovely living. All of which keeps me from focusing on academic work, which is becoming increasingly important to ME! For ME!
Oh I know. Don't worry, I've been told. A family member, who shall remain nameless, pointed out to me that my sole purpose in life is to mother. Let's just call him "He of the older generation".
"Bad luck girl, you had 'em, you look after 'em."
But I still do, I said.
"It's not enough", he said.
But I focused solely on them - in the home - for nearly 9 years, I said.
"Well it wasn't long enough!" he exclaimed. And on, and on, and on.
Well, sisters and brothers. Fuck it. If this is selfish, then selfish I am. I want it! I need it! I'm going to have it! And my children will learn from it. Who knows what they will learn? That's for them to figure out as they process the world for the rest of their eternity. What do you think they will learn from me staying solely focused on them for the next ten years? Well... we're not going to find out.
Finally, after many days of headache and vomity sensations and incredible tetchiness and tension, my essay was submitted, 3 days late. It felt quite liberating really.... letting go like that and accepting my circumstances. During this school holiday period my mind has run like a mouse on a wheel. I'm not willing to let go of any of it... of my studies or of my family. In one week I'll be adding a day of work, with a 3-4 hour commute, into the mix as well. And that too shall be ok. Because it's only one day. And it will be a day of something different, something with new people, new purpose with old knowledge and re-fired up passion. A day of something different.
So, with the illumination of all that rambling... here are two stories of happy family moments. Perhaps the only happy family moments to have occurred in the last two weeks but still... they happened.
The first was my Noah-Noo's 9th birthday party. Nine! I'll save my nostalgic Oh my God, nine? Where did all those years go moment for another day. This year we opted for a party with all the boys and 3 girls from Noah's class, and all of their families, at our favourite family picnic place... a clearing surrounded by water and bush, about 10 minutes upstream from us. It feels wild and free and special. The perfect place for a celebration of 9 years of life.
I love Whole Family birthday parties. They highlight the rich community that we have around us as all of our children grow together - indeed, as we all grow (if we're lucky). Rather than being a chore, just another event to ferry our children to, the Whole Family birthday party can be a beautiful day for everyone.
Soon to come... a visit from a fairy.