There are two special people here in my immediate life right now. They’ve travelled the world to see me and my family. They are my parents. I am so grateful they made the long journey, from England to New Zealand, to be with us and share six weeks of our crazy family life.
My love for them is, and always has been, deep and strong; though when we’re apart I try to brick up my emotions to cope with the separation. Right now, with them half way through their stay, my heart feels both whole and happy, as well as open and vulnerable. I have realized, painfully, how much of myself I hide in order to function every day. I have cried tears that I’d forgotten how to shed. I have, for the first time in two years (since the last time we were together) felt able to talk freely, openly and honestly. Having them here, to gently advise, guide and support me is overwhelming.
Seeing my children bond with their Grandparents also makes me catch my breath and tears spring in my eyes afresh. My dear Mum shares her music and art, her caring nature and cheeky smile, her cuddles and love. My dear Dad shares his wisdom and humour, he’s so attentive and caring, funny and active (he also winds the children up something rotten too, hee, hee!).
I can’t help but imagine what it would be like to live closer to them and for them, as well as other dear family in England, to be a regular feature in their growing lives. It’s so healthy for them to feel the love of more than their parents and to learn to listen, respect and truly appreciate the magic of having a loving extended family.
It’s been wonderful to share with them the joy of seeing young Alice being such a water-baby at our local swimming pool this week – as well as having a ball playing in the pool with Charlotte and Sophie! It’s made me smile to see Charlotte venturing out on a special bike-ride with her Grandfather, to see her ask her Grandmother to braid her hair. It’s made me feel relaxed to have Granddad head down the bay with Dan to watch the girls on their boogie-boards – whilst Dan has a go on his paddle board. I’ve felt encouraged when I’ve felt useless, I’ve felt supported when I’ve felt exhausted, I’ve felt loved when I’ve felt tired of giving all I have to give.
I would be telling a lie if I said I’ve never been tempted to return to England to live. If it wasn’t for my husband’s business being here – where he is also very happy and content – I would have pushed to return many, many years ago. Yes, we live in a stunningly beautiful place and have incredible facilities on our door-step – but where I grew up – Fleet, in Hampshire, is such a friendly town, surrounded by beautiful rural English countryside and steeped in history. In testament to what a wonderful place it is – many, and most, of my closest school friends still live there. Some are teaching at the schools I went to or have children going to the schools they went to.
I know I would be happy living there again – but I’m not sure my children would be – though eventually they’d adjust – and I really can’t see my husband being happy. So, I must keep strong and focus on my immediate family and their well-being and happiness. That’s why I call this blog ‘Catching the Magic’ – it’s what I try to focus on each day. When I sit down to write a post, long after the children have finally gone to sleep, I focus on the highlights of my day or week. In writing down the highlights I am capturing them in my heart and mind so that I can fall asleep happily and wake feeling strong and positive.
I’m feeling so emotional this week – in part it’s the return to ‘normality’ after a wonderful week away with my dear family. My hubbie has had a really tough first week back at work and all of us have missed him being around after such a relaxing time together. The changeable weather hasn’t helped either (but we’re promised some settled sunshine starting soon!). Today gale-force winds hit Wellington. We battled with gusts of up to 110 kmh in central Wellington and felt completely exhausted and deranged! In fact the whole year of 2011 was one of extremes, as reported here. That also explains my state of mind!
As I write tonight, the two most important men in my life are out enjoying some well deserved ‘man time’ – sampling Wellington’s finest establishments and drinking some choice ales. The girls are now all asleep, as is my dear Mum.
My biggest wishes for this year are more sleep (Alice sang herself to sleep tonight, without comfort feeding from me, which will hopefully be the first of many slow, but steady, steps to her sleeping through the night)….
Dan to enjoy his business as well as having some time for himself – as he’s such a dedicated father that he rarely takes time just for him and for me to make some time too – even just an hour once a week – to do something for ‘me’ – be it yoga, an hour in a cafe alone, a walk or taking a moment to paint (instead of facilitating and cleaning up after my little darlings!).
More than anything else, I wish to stay open to these strong, overwhelming feelings of love reawakened. It hurts to feel so deeply, but it’s real. I’ve been shutting down, it’s time to wake up and let all the emotions of my heart out from behind the brick wall I’ve been building.
Like the Pohutukawa blooms that I see from my bedroom window,
I shall open with bold fullness and let my tears shed like the crimson flowers in the wind.
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