There’s only one week of school left so we’re getting in the holiday mood here. Not that we are going on a grand adventure – we’re just visiting my family up north and later on we’ll take a short trip south. (My husband and I come from opposite ends of the UK.)
Still, his leave began today, and suitcases are now strewing around our bedroom and the landing. Far more suitcases than we will be taking with us, since we’ll be going on a tiny plane and in an even tinier car.
But we need every suitcase in the house out so that we can decide. I’ll have to take all my clothes out of drawers, lay them on the bed, and agonise over whether to take clothes for summer or for Shetland’s summer – which usually means the weather we had in April. “But you never know, it might get warm. We did have that glorious day six years ago, that time we went without sun cream and elder daughter got sunburned.”
Meantime, my husband (who views packing as a competitive sport) will throw three tee-shirts, a pair of jeans, six pairs each of socks and boxers shorts, his toothbrush and his electric razor into a suitcase, and then parade around for three days saying, “I’m packed.” Older daughter will agonise even more than I will, and younger daughter will say she’s done her packing, except that ten minutes before we’re due to leave we’ll discover she has no pyjamas, only one pair of trousers and no shoes. Or we might get there before we discover all those items are missing. (Once we were halfway to the airport when I realised she wasn’t wearing a coat. And it was winter. Luckily we’d packed one she’d almost grown out of, to take to her cousin, so she wore it for the visit and came home without it.)
Normally I wouldn’t admit that we’re going away until we get back – just in case a burglar happens to be interested in mindful parenting and so reads my blog! (You never know with burglars these days.) But this time we’ve co-ordinated everything so well (or not) that one of my sisters and her husband will be heading south for their daughter’s graduation as we head north, and they will be staying in our house. This was not intentional, but my husband has little say in what leave he gets. He will only be with us for a week, and then my sister will be back. Then I will get to see her, and meantime we’ll spend time with my mum and other sister.
So let’s see –what of this am I thankful for? Not the packing. I hate, loathe and detest packing. (Did I mention I don’t like packing?)
Och (good Scottish word) maybe that’s not true. It’s not so bad. I have a cool pink and black suitcase by some fancy designer brand that I bought in T K Maxx for next to nothing, and it’s fun to imagine I’m some fancy designer swanking off somewhere as I lovingly lay my bikinis – um, woolly sweaters – into it. So yeah, if it’s possible to love a suitcase, I do.
And of course I’m thankful to be going to see my mum, sisters, nieces, cousins, cousins’ kids and so on. Yet it’s bitter-sweet: the first summer holiday without my dad. We went in the dark of October and he was everywhere, and, honestly, that’s how it should be. Because I wouldn’t want to forget him, and it is possible to remember without pain. But, still, sometimes this business of people you love so much dying – it’s just not my favourite part of life.
Thankful, thankful. Remember, Yvonne, you were being thankful. And I am. Thankful for those tears that came a moment ago, thankful that they come much less often than they did a few months ago, thankful that I know how to treat myself kindly when they do, and that I can let the feelings pass. Somehow it takes me into a deeper sort of gratitude than the sense of fun I felt a few moments ago. It reminds me of a post I read this morning, a post by Jessica of Four Plus One Angel. The post was about her baby who died, one of triplets born prematurely. She writes about both the pain and joy of the experience, and of how her daughter’s short life makes her appreciate life more and made her a better parent. Do go read the post. It’s beautiful.
Of course, as I’ve mentioned many times before, our second daughter was born extremely early and had a few close calls. I learned early on in her life that children aren’t “ours” to keep; we have them on loan, and each day is precious.
I’m thankful for that lesson. Like Jessica, I believe it made me a better parent.
So I’ve been silly in this post, and philosophical, and now it’s almost over. But I do have two more things to tell you about, that I’m thankful for. After a few weeks weeks of indecision, followed by more weeks of incompetence (mine,) patience (tech support at various companies) and more than a little help from my elder daughter, my new author blog is up and running. I’m totally excited about it, and love the theme we finally settled on. So if you haven’t seen it yet, you are Welcome to My New Blog! Do go take a look. Here’s a sneaky peek. (If you click the picture, it should take you to the blog.)
Once you’re done there, hop over to Kenya Johnson’s blog where she’s doing an Author to Author: Pay it Forward blog hop, and … well I’m sure you can guess one of the authors she featured!
If you would like to join in the fun or read more thankful posts, click the button below