It’s been one of those weeks when I’ve spent more time attached to my laptop than with the family, when I got to Friday and couldn’t remember the last time I’d taken time just for me, and not been parenting, working, or crashed out asleep. I forced myself to leave the laptop at work over the weekend and it wasn’t until at least half way down the G&T at my colleague’s leaving drinks that I stopped twitching about its absence.
I’ve been thinking a bit this week about my ordinary moments. Prompted a little by wondering what to write about this week, given that the weather has been grey and the dark has closed in around either end of my working day and I’m back in those months of very limited photo ops, and in part prompted by writing my Me and Mine post for September. Even though our photos were taken in our garden, on the at that stage unfinished playhouse, with a slide and a rather muddy looking paddling pool probably visible in the background, I loved them for what they represented, the joy in just being together as a five, and time that we’d had to fight for agains the competing calls of work and actually getting even a teeny tiny bit of sleep.
When push came to shove and I had to consider what was motivating me to bribe and corrupt a slightly unwilling and under the weather family to haul themselves outside, it was the yearning to record us, just us, just how we are, in the simplest possible way; the moments that feel like they are our everyday ordinary. Kitty practicing her jumping on and off the swing as taught by a new school friend; the way that Elma looks when she spots you peeking around the corner, or Pip and his constant and never-ending love for all things sport.
Except they’re not my ordinary moments. Not really. And neither are most of my pictures that I share here as part of the series of ordinary moments. If you wanted a picture of my ordinary moments, how I spend most of my time, most days of the week, it would be me at work with laptop, me on the train with laptop, me on the train telling someone that the train is late, me on the train home trying to stay awake, and me at home with the laptop. Now I like my job, don’t get me wrong, but it mostly involves me sitting at a nice brown desk doing my job, and occasionally falling over our nice blue files which blend in perfectly with our nice blue carpet tiles. Photogenic it is not.
I love and treasure every moment that I get to be parenting, and the truth is that the moments I share each week are the highlights of my week; the time I have snatched back from the busyness of the everyday to make sure that what I cannot give my children in quantity, we make up for in quantity. Perhaps they are everyday in the sense that they are rarely extraordinary (exceptions for MADs finals and meeting an Olympic Medal and its owner; neither of which will ever be anything but exceptional), just tiny snippets of family life, but few of them are truly everyday, at least not for me.
I see pictures and videos of what they’ve all been up to, and I hear from the girls about school and nursery, and from Pip about hockey, and when I work at home I can hear them all pottering about the house, and in an ideal world I would of course be both entirely present with them and able to feed, clothe and house them, but that’s unrealistic even by my standards of optimism.
This week’s highlight was spending some time sitting in the garden in the sunshine while all three little ones closeted themselves away in their playhouse with a packet of felt tip pens and a worrying aura of silence; cue lots of very colourful legs and tummies. We played hockey, the littlest two dug in the mud for a bit, and Kitty pulled a chair over next to me and cuddled up while we read Penguin and You Can’t Take an Elephant on the Bus. We didn’t go out anywhere, we didn’t really do anything special, even the promised plans to make ginger cookies were shelved because we ran out of time to both make them, and wash the mud/glue/felt tip off Pip before supper.
John came home while all three of them were making the most spectacular racket in the bath; the sort that has water all over the floor and up the walls. Kitty was singing Jingle Bells at full volume, Elma appeared to be eating the bubbles, and Pip was doing the biggest kicks he could manage and babbling with glee at the same time and it was a while before we noticed his head poked around the door. The kids shouted “DADDY!!” as one, and he had to duck back around the corner to avoid the volley of water that followed.
Tiny moments, ordinary maybe; cherished beyond measure.
Joining Katie at Mummy Daddy Me for The Ordinary Moments