Saturday, 30 March 2013

Aeroplane Party

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I don't know where he got the idea for the aeroplane party, but I do know that it was entirely his. "I really, really like a aeroplane cake" he'd say, every time we talked of his birthday. "I really, really want a aeroplane party."
 
For months, I waited for him to forget. I offered him tractor cakes and dumper truck cakes, and I hinted at pirate parties and building parties and pretended to forget about the party altogether. But this boy would not forget. He really, really wanted an aeroplane cake. He really, really wanted an aeroplane party.
 
And so the aeroplane party was planned.  
 
The house was strung with paper plane bunting, party passports were made, sky blue jelly was concocted, a giant aeroplane target was painted, party banners were strung, party bag tags were printed and party bag gifts were bought. Balloons were blown, biscuits were iced, a giant aeroplane cake was created. For a week I awoke to the thought of nothing but aeroplanes by day, and when I slept at night paper planes flew about my dreams.
 
And then, on the morning of the party, we awoke to thick snow. It lay a foot deep on the branches and glistened on the untouched road. It smothered the cars and buried the daffodils and for a few miserable hours I thought all the effort was for nothing.
 
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But despite my fears, they came. Slipping down the lanes, with shovels in their cars, sliding carefully up the drive and stamping their boots at the door. Little girls in welly boots and party dresses, and little boys in snow boots and hats. Friends with snowflakes in their hair and relief in their shivery smiles.

And as the house filled with friends, presents were ripped open, food was consumed and laughter tickled the aeroplanes hanging from the ceiling, I was so very glad I made the effort.

Because friends who come out in thick snow to be with me and my boy on his birthday deserve an aeroplane party. They deserve little aeroplane biscuits and party passports and all the aeroplane cake they can eat.

And the boy who wanted the aeroplane party so very badly for so much time? Well, he deserves it all and so much more besides. And his shy little smiles made every minute spent folding paper planes and icing aeroplane biscuits far more than worthwhile.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

A Fort

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What do you do at the end of an unbelievably long week full of sickness and sadness and struggle?
 
Well, you build a fort, of course, and then decorate it with sparkly stars.
 
Sometimes it's the longest weeks, the hardest days the bleakest hours that force me become the best sort of mummy.
 

Monday, 4 March 2013

Being There

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He's sick. His little body burns with fever and when he wakes in the night he screams in feverish fear until I kiss his cheek.

By day he lies listlessly on the sofa, his eyes empty and lost, and by night he tosses miserably in his bed and calls out for his Mummy through the darkness.

And all of a sudden my whole world once again revolves around just being there.
 
I hold him and rock him in my arms. I lie in bed and sing to him whilst he gazes silently up at me. I scoop him up in my arms and carry him whilst he buries his face in my neck. I wipe his tears and kiss his hot head and run my hands over his clammy little back. I cradle his head on my lap as we watch cartoons together. I stack the stories on the sofa and read them until his eyelids begin to close.
 
And for as long as he needs me I'm there, just as I was when he was a babe. A warm presence. A comforting whisper. Two enfolding arms. A constant.
 
Soon the fever will pass and he'll chatter and laugh and run once again. But just for now, I'm holding him closer and savouring the weight of his body in my lap. I'm reliving an echo of his babyhood and waiting for wellness to return. I'm just being there. For as long as he needs me to be. 

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Will It Always Be?

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Will it always be this way? That I miss him when I wake in the night and he's still silently sleeping?

Will it always be? That I stand in the darkness of his room and marvel at the soft sound of his breathing and the gentle curve of his neck?

Will I always plant stealthy kisses on his head and cheek every time they come within reach? And will I always try to clasp and cuddle him whilst he ducks and wriggles from my arms?

Will it always be this way? That I miss the closeness of his baby body with such an aching physical intensity that I have to wrap my empty arms around my chest and squeeze the hollowness away?

Will it always be? That I, who once thought myself one complete person, feel absent and part missing whenever he's away?

And if it will always be this way, how ever will I bear it when he is grown and gone? How ever will I bear it?

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

That Day

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Yesterday was that day. That magical February day. That day when the heavy, oppressive cold of winter dissipates into a clear blue sky and the sun breathes hope into your heart.
 
That day when the air is light and clear and your body no longer has to fight for survival but can relax into the rhythm of being and notice the faint scent of Spring. That day when you first close your eyes and lift your face to the sky. That day when you first take your hands out of the warmth of your pockets and touch the rough bark of the trees. That day when the hours first pass easily beneath a distant but steady sun and the world feels ripe with hope.
 
And on that day, nothing in the world is more important than getting out and soaking it all up. Nothing is more important than letting your spirit unfurl in the sunshine and your mind wander up into the clear blueness of the sky. Nothing is more important than planting your feet on the awakening soil and becoming part of the magic.
 
And if, on that day, you happen upon a sea of snowdrops nodding and blinking in the sunshine, and have all the time in the world to linger and look at them whilst the sun sinks into your scalp and your boy hops happily about amongst them, then that is a blessing that you neither expected nor deserved and you must smile to yourself and count yourself blissfully blessed by the wonders of that day.
 

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Lucky

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"He's shouting quite a lot" she said quietly. "He swears under his breath. He gives me no support. Our home is not a happy place at the moment."

I looked at my friend whose sadness had settled on her and sucked the joy from her cheeks and all I could think was just how lucky I was.

Because my husband never shouts and he never swears under his breath. He gives me unending support. In fact, he is something of a saint.

And even though I sometimes shout a little and swear under my breath (I am no saint, and sometimes life is hard, even when you're married to one,) I can honestly say that our home is a happy place.

A place full of laughter where kisses and cuddles, tickles and snuggles are given and shared three ways. A place full of silliness and craziness and good romping fun. A messy, half-built sort of place, where nothing is quite as it should be, but where we smile and work and play through all the mess together.

Many times I take this togetherness for granted. Many times, I fail to notice it at all. But this Valentines day, when my husband came home with flowers and chocolates and made us all smile, just as he always does, I took a moment to notice. I took a moment to say thank you. I took a moment to remember just how lucky I am.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Castles

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From time to time, a day comes along that is entirely free and empty. No groups, no visiting, no obligations, no particular jobs, just a long stretch of hours at home with my boy.

Sometimes, these days come around but rarely, and sometimes they flock together in a long string of emptiness. And if the truth be told, these are the days that I dread. Because there are a lot of hours to fill in a day, and a lot of minutes to survive in those hours.

And so on these days, it's important to have a project. Like building a castle out of a cardboard box.
 
It's important to watch with wonder as your little boy spends a morning painting, ever so seriously, his face set in concentration, his brush scratching carefully against the cardboard. And it's important to realise when you're on to a good thing and to add flags, a moat, trees, and fields, and really anything else that you can think of.

It's important to get out into the bitterly cold sunshine and feel the icy air cut through your skin as you run across the ancient stones of a the castle that's just on your doorstep, and it's important to catch the excitement of a small boy who can't wait to get home to finish piecing together his own castle and adding indispensable features such as a ghostly knight.

And at the end of a day, it's a good idea to bake cheesy pretzels, enjoy them with vegetable soup, and sit back and think what a good mummy you've been, without for a second letting yourself wonder what on earth you will do to fill the hours tomorrow.
 
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