Friday, 29 July 2011

Before They Fly The Nest....

Thoughts of a Mother when she spies her chicks testing their wings.

Has anyone ever noticed how easy it is to blog with small children in your ether? How the tiny, busy hands just beg to be photographed? The little tousled heads bent over a treasure, a wondrous find? Oh, the ease, and the countless magic moments that present themselves each day if we pause and look up for a minute.
It has been on my mind lately how the years are racing by, just a breeze glancing past my ear at times, and suddenly our small ones are not small but big, and we have two teens in the house who, because there are still two more small ones here, often escape my camera and I seldom blog about them any more.

For what do they do but sleep and lounge and eat, with no interests other than friends and music, no concept of a world outside their own, and a social life I am rarely privy to? Oh we are in the midst of someone else's Age Of Unreason. Remember that? Not the unreasonableness of a toddler. That is sweetly endearing. Most of the time.
No, this is the teen version.
I have no doubt many of you reading this are fantastically familiar with this?

And while it is the most natural, gradually evolving process, so subtle for the most part you barely notice it creep into your household, still, one day you find it is there, has swelled to fill hidden corners you never saw, is now like a presence right there with you, these people whose passage out of the green scented bowers of childhood is fast approaching, who are no longer completely immersed, but are treading water, heads glistening, excited faces turned towards the sun, about to strike out for shore, so sure of their way.

And while there are times we disagree with their methods and means, can see how difficult they make it for themselves, still, we have to stand back and let them figure it out, (with the occasional firm guiding hand when inexperience is a danger!) for let's face it, they have yet to realise that their previously held, and now somewhat doubted, belief that we, their parents,  know everything, may not be that simple and straightforward, but is nonetheless still kind of true. 

And do you know what? So far, I have been nothing but heartened. Heartened and reassured. By their choice of friends, and the way they are with one another, by the tales that have come back to me via other parents of their thoughtfulness and, at times, their courage to stand up for their friends, to stick to their principals and say 'Now hang on just a minute!' 
So I am happy to stand back, to let them test their boundaries, test their wings, but in doing so provide a place they can come back to, a place they want to bring their friends, and that their friends want to came to.
For I am not yet ready to let them go.
Not just yet.

Monday, 18 July 2011

The Art Of Unbeknownst Frittering.

Off chasing sunshine wherever, whenever we can. Between showers, bursts of sun. We race to catch them, one by one, sure of it's wondrous powers. A pinch of happiness to pinken our cheeks.

At night rain on the rooftop, the house smelling of woodsmoke, the damp green air through the window that sits ajar. Awakening before dawn to a goldenorange moon spilling in flaming splendour down upon the mountains.

In the morning the house is full of moths, the garden sighs and heaves up, pushing up the green, and quickly we gather our things, a hurried shuffle out the door, driving away from our own lovely beach in search of sand and safe swimming.

For we have found ourselves in the midst of it, the holidays almost halfway done. Where has the time gone! We have frittered it and not even known!
And startled, we call to one another, spurred on by the sun that travels across the mountains, finding a different spot to rest each night, just a tiny bit further along.

We call and cry to one another, a new urgency upon us, Quick! Quick! There is fun to be done! 

Sunday, 10 July 2011

The Tides Of Summer Rolling In.

Like an old friend, Summer has arrived again. Arrived and shaken out her bag, and we clamour round to peer in expectation, revealing a sparkling array of gatherings, of friends and family and celebrations.

And so we have been busy!

Making the most of the warmer weather, we have been shindigging and sharing, gathering and convening in all manners, spending time with family and friends.

We celebrated the arrival of summer, and the arrival of My Only Sister and her Darling Cherub all the way from the US, with our Annual Summer Solstice Party, a gathering of particular meaning and importance to me. And to be honest, what I would write here about that night I could not better what I wrote last year about it.

What is it? What is it in us humans that drives us to come together and share food and swap news and smooth out the wrinkles of time that have accumulated between us since last we saw one another until there are none? 

For all my pre-party stress I would not give this up. Even if I find that I miss out on actually speaking to some who come, for sheer want of just sitting down for a spell! This Gathering Together, this reconnecting, or indeed forging new connections, is the beat of my heart, is what fuels my passage through this blessed life I have been bestowed with. It is the oxygen in my blood.

Photo by Líosa.

And as I said before , if ever I need an affirmation, if ever I need an injection of wonder, of heartening wonder at the circle of life, then this annual event is just that. 
To witness, by virtue of this One Day a year, the passage through life of all these children as they swarm around us momentarily, and then fly off into the distant sun, they're wings outstretched in joyful anticipation, this is what gives me wings too.

So, as the air grows milder in this temperate isle of ours, as we brave our mediocre summer, we will, in true stalwart Irish fashion, make the most of it and carry on as though we basked in hot sun, regardless. We will take ourselves off to visit friends, and call them to visit us.

We will break bread and touch our glasses together, salute the long days. Give thanks for the bounty of friendship, more than anything, and the means to celebrate it.

And in doing so, I like to think somewhere, deep in their bones, our children will find these threads are woven tight, and so will continue this weaving and pulling together of family and friends, of holding tight.

For in the end it is in the weaving together we find our cushion in life. That which in turn holds us.