This week two posts have really resonated with the thoughts percolating in the back of my brain. The first is Rachel Macy Stafford’s article for the Huffington Post from June (discovered via Love Taza), The Day I Stopped Saying ‘Hurry Up’ in which she relates the sea-change brought about to her very busy very scheduled life by the arrival of a daughter who goes at her own pace, and the second is by Katie at Mummy Daddy Me, setting out the inspiration behind this very lovely linky, a celebration of our everyday ordinary.
They are both excellent reads (although if you’ve landed here there’s at least half a chance you’ve already seen the second), and together I think they sum up the reasons why this little corner of the internet exists, at least in its current evolution, when knitting and crafting has taken a little bit of a back seat to the immense pleasure and phenomenally hard work of parenting.
Every now and then I have a little bit of a blog wobble; my inner critic starts to creep around corners, jumping out at me with little stinging barbs, asking me why I’m putting all of this effort in to something so decidedly average, that I’m not saying anything new or different, or what I could possibly hope to achieve; one small voice shouting gently into the abyss. And every time I wobble, my H takes my focus and brings it back. To our home, to the two beautiful little girls currently sleeping peacefully all snuggled up in bed that we are so immensely blessed to call our daughters. I write because I can’t not; but what I write about is them and is for them.
I thought I would have my Mum to talk to about my babies; to discuss those moments when you burst with pride, or laughter, or both, and the flashes of intense and very particular frustration that can only come with mothering through toddlerhood. As the mother to two girls with a similar age gap I’m certain she would have remembered it all too well. But I can no longer ask, Dad’s memories of our babyhoods are weighted towards the baby stage not the toddler, and my memories are shards of light on a mostly dark haze. I remember going to meet my sister in the hospital after she was born, I remember getting knocked over by a wave on the beach one autumn and still recognise the music that was playing in the car as I warmed up in a swaddle of picnic blankets and spare jumpers, and I know from tales Mum used to tell that I asked for “babanas” and “tomatnoes”. But I don’t know what story I asked for time and again, whether I used to tuck all of my teddies into bed so that there was no room left for me like Kitty does, or whether I was as opportunistic as she is when it comes to adding a sneaky request for chocolate to the end of an otherwise reasonable request. I would love to know what our everyday looked like back then, to compare it to now.
And so I write. As insurance against fragile, faulty memories, insurance against the things that are so special and memorable now but which will fade with time. Our life together is very ordinary, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but I think it’s all too easy to forget to be intentional about it, to forget to treasure the tiny lovelinesses or to acknowledge the grind and the moments where you just have to count to ten as a necessary counterpoint to the day. It’s a point Rachel Macy Stafford makes beautifully, that need to stand back from the hurry, and truly see each moment good and bad.
This record of their everyday ordinary is part of that stopping and slowing down. It’s a record of the roses and a few thorns (although girls if you’re reading this, please know that there has been some pruning), the little fragments that together make up the mosaic of our days.
With that motivation a Sunday celebration of the Ordinary Moments is a call I couldn’t resist.
I’m trying to really focus on my one on one time with Kitty while Elma naps, rather than just trail her around after me as I hurriedly scrub bits of the house that can’t wait any longer, and it seemed like too long since we’d done any baking together which made it definitely time to make gingerbread men this week and google found me a really great recipe for spelt gingerbread when I realised that my preparations extended only as far as getting a packet of Smarties and not eating them, and not checking whether we had enough plain flour.
Kitty helped me to measure out each of the ingredients, reaching up on tiptoes to pour them into the food processor, and then covered her ears from the roar of the motor doing all the hard work.
Once the dough was ready she had the first go at rolling it out, and did most of the cutting out.
She greased the baking sheets and snuck a little lick of the butter paper whenever she thought she could get away with it; sidelong glances followed by peals of laughter as she realised she was rumbled.
And there was definitely some poltergeist activity around the Gingermen’s buttons as smartie after smartie disappeared in mysterious circumstances.
It isn’t the fastest way to produce five gingerbread men, one snail, three butterflies, a ladybird, a frog, a dragonfly, two Fs and an L, but then that was never the point.