Sunday, 19 February 2012
This half term James' family settled themselves into a holiday cottage just 20 minutes down the road and we spent a week with the Gordons.
It's been a strange and mixed-up sort of week. There have been busy all-together times full of feasting and chatter and there have been quiet times when I've found myself all alone, working hard in an empty house.
There have been high-days when we've donned our smart coats and driven out to enjoy ourselves in the fresh February air and there have been low-days when we've pulled on paint-splattered jumpers and come together in the dust of the upstairs room to build ourselves a bedroom.
There have been noisy times when people have come and gone busily throughout the day and there was even the longed for luxury of a quiet night out with my hubby.
And even though I was dubious about the idea of a whole week with James' family on our doorstep, and even though my natural inclination is always to cry out fiercely for family time alone, this week has been good.
It's been good to have people to cook for; it's been good to have help with the ironing; it's been good to send John off, hand in hand with Grandma, and it's been good to watch his shy smile as he returns and tells me sleepily about the choo choo's; it's been good to watch cousins becoming friends and it's been good to watch uncles and aunts and grandparents all busy loving my boy.
Most of all it's been good to share our family with a network of people who care for us - to feel the ebb and flow of a family life that's bigger than just us three and to see how much simpler parenting can be when you're not doing it alone.
I love this place that we've settled in and I love the life that we've carved out for ourselves here. But it seems to me that parenting is meant to be done as part of a network and now that the Gordons have packed up their cars and returned to the North I can't help but feeling a little mournful for the rich tapestry of family life that we're missing by living too far from our families, and wishing, just a little, that I had someone just down the road who could lend me a hand with the ironing.