Wednesday, 29 July 2015

A big small world

Cherry and I spend a lot of time talking at the moment. She loves it when I share anecdotes, thoughts and feelings from 'when I was a little girl' and it has surprised me how many of them I had all but forgotten, until now.

I have begun to notice that it is in the raising of my children that I can rediscover, and continue to discover, what I love to do.

I can grow.

Before children there was work and socialising, but it's been a long time since I had any real 'hobbies' outside of riding my bike.

When I tell Cherry what I did as a little girl it hits home just how much I used to enjoy, that I gradually let slide, for one reason or another.

How small my world became, when I thought it so large.

Now the reverse is true. My world could seem so very small, but it's bigger than it's ever been.

As I tend the garden at home, grow plants, flowers, herbs, fruit and vegetables and think about how great it all is for my children, it suddenly occurred to me how great it all is for me too.

I love gardening, I always did. I love going for long walks, the kind of walks I go for with Cherry and Violet now where we just dawdle and take our time and look at things and play with things and get absorbed in things and ask questions and think and learn.

Caring for our guinea pigs has rekindled my love of all creatures great and small, as has going out with Cherry and Violet and stopping to pet every dog and talk to his or her owner to find out all about them and spotting woodpeckers, squirrels, foxes and little robin redbreasts in the woods.

At gymnastics classes we all take turns - myself included - to vault over equipment, balance on beams, swing from the bars and tumble on crash mats.

When they paint, I paint too. I loved art as a kid and loved to draw and paint even though I knew I was 'no good' at it. Now our walls are covered in pictures painted by the children - and even some by me.

I've been thinking a lot about my identity lately. Enmeshed as it has become with my children. A small part of me feels a little bit of a letdown for becoming 'that mum' who has picked up that she is starting to live vicariously through her children.

It hit home when I looked at my Instagram feed and realised that I was sharing picture after picture of Cherry and Violet doing things that I love to do and want to do.

The much bigger part of me is glad I have noticed, but tolerant. With two such young children there was never going to be a huge amount of time and space left over for me.

But I have remembered just how much I loved - still love - to ride horses and chuck myself around on crash mats and it has occurred to me that there is no real reason why I can't do all of this too.

This time last year I was feeling reflective as I prepared for Violet to turn one. My overwhelming feeling was that I was just not ready.

I wasn't ready emotionally to leave the bittersweetness of the newborn days behind.

Now I can see what lies ahead. I can see it in glorious technicolour, moment after ordinary moment. I can see that it's not just my children who are blossoming, learning, growing.

I am too.

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