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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Solitude of Small Things

*photograph by mslume flickr

“You and I can turn and look at the silent river and wait. We know the current is there, hidden; and there are comings and goings from miles away that hold the stillness exactly before us. What the river says, that is what I say.”

Stafford


30-Days of Happiness have flung themselves past me with rude haste. It has been a mammoth month of family, friends, birthday's, anniversary's and the run up to Christmas. I have barely had time to take a breath, let alone a full pause for reflection. Hence the almost month long absence.

This morning as I sat in our sunroom, curled into my golden armchair, letting the (soon to be too hot) sun warm me and drinking tea, I allowed myself to relax. The invisible tension that normally holds me seeped away as the room got warmer. I allowed myself the luxury of silent, unspoiled, uninterrupted moments of nothing more than tea and sunshine. I even read a few chapters of a charming book I'm reading by Louise Erdrich. Her prose lulls me into a deeper contemplation of life and pulls up from the deep, the sensual pleasure of the solitude of small things. I am at ease. I am awake. I am present. It is delicious.

So many things have happened these last two months. We had October, the months of weddings. All of them beautiful, all of them enjoyable but only one of them truly mine. The beautiful Sol-y-luna married her lovely ging and all was well with the world.

Me and My Sister - in true form

November became the month of celebrations and family. My sister arrived from England for a month and, as I always find when we spend this much time in each other's company, our relationship opens and deepens. I have so much respect for my sister. Her life is not an easy one and she seems to have to fight for every inch of space and relief available to her, but she is still full of the life, the joi de vivre for which she is famous. Her youngest child (one of six - four of them an adopted family) is autistic and approaching the very difficult rite of passage that is puberty. It is difficult for most but even more so for children with autism. As she tries to negotiate his needs and desires and ensure that he gets the care and attention he needs in a mainstream school, she must also be on the lookout for those complications that come with puberty - things that can severely offset his health and happiness, like Epilepsy, to which autistic children become prone to around this time. Obviously, her month away from her child has been an adjustment for him too and it has shown in his increasing meltdowns. But this is her life. She is enured to it and he is the main focus of her existence right now. Such is a mother's love. Such is life.

What takes my breath away is that she does it all largely unsupported, with no-one to hand over to at the end of the very long day. There is no man at her back. No-one to crumple into when it all gets too hard, as it often does. There is no-one there to share the burden of her child's difficulties, our aging mother's infirmities and our brother's mental illness. Too much has been loaded onto her plate and it starts to show through the cracks in her armour. Strangely, I welcome the cracks. I love the parts where we start to break apart, to become real with one another. Not that the indomitable willed woman you are most likely to meet is not the real her, believe me it is. It's just that when the soft underbelly is exposed, that's when I love her most. Because I feel her pain, I share it and I understand it. I want to help. Even if it is only in the holding of the moment with her. I am grateful for these little insights into another's life, particularly when that other is my sister.

The hubble embracing Movember in style

November was also the month of my 40th birthday. And what a week that was. My gorgeous man showered me with love, affection and a beautiful white gold and diamond encrusted 'Eternity' ring. There was the surprise party (which was a total surprise!) which included being serenaded (for the first and only time in our 8-year relationship) by my husband, with a song he wrote just for me and which was as funny and sweet as a ditty from Flight of the Conchords. Then came the night in the swanky hotel, the date at the cinema followed by the sharing of very messy Nachos and much talking. It was, without exception, the best of birthdays.



THEN came the wonderful transitional event planned and executed brilliantly by the gorgeous Sol-y-luna. A red tent extravaganza which I can barely even begin to describe. I was massaged, bathed in rose petals, fed bowls of berries and nourishing teas. I was escorted down my own candle-lit stairs by my closest friends, each offering spirit gifts and blessings along the way and finally, I was smudged and shown into a red tent suffused with candle light and filled with the love and the generosity of the suprising and inspiring women in my life. It was enchantment.

It's a butterfly, ok? Just look at the hair - its fabulous!

This event was an opportunity to revisit my life, to share the steps that had led me to this place - this gateway into the afternoon of my life - and a chance to bless it all and release it all before continuing on my way. It was an opportunity for the women in my life to be present, to hold space for me in a sacred and timeless way and to offer me a container into which I could pour myself over and again. Plus, there were pressies! We danced, we laughed, we shared and the love and gratitude overflowed like good wine. It was an extraordinary few hours and a thing of enormous beauty. I have been held in that beauty and grace ever since. And I am very blessed by the women who shared that time with me.

We also shared two anniversary's. The first, our own. The hubble and I have been married now for five years. The second was the first year in our own house. Both were poignant, both were happy, both make me smile.

So, you can see why I may have been less than present in cyber-space, no? It has been a crazy time but a beautiful one and I'm not likely to forget any of it any time soon.

Plus there were these precious moments:

The evil pleasure of watching small children trying to eat doughnuts with no hands...heh heh heh (dress by the lovely and talented Nettles)

Looking for Puffing Billy (the train)

What's snorkelling mummy?

Fossicking around in rock pools - glorious beach days.

Roo Love.

And so, now comes the stilling of the rapidly beating life heart. As it settles into its usual casual (if slightly erratic) rhythm, my inner life can once again come into focus. I can sit and listen and write. I can prepare. I can acknowledge the fiery, spirited women who comprise my family and friends. I can hold my fears and my failings up to the light and know that I am loved no matter what. I can take a deep breath, fill my lungs with the air of silence that now pervades and allow it to take me where it will. I can pay attention to the life that nudges inside of me.

Bellycast

Today I am 17 1/2 weeks pregnant. I feel the baby roll inside me from time to time. The delicate touch of its little hands or feet on my womb that radiates a smile of pleasure through me. The reassuring little knocks and pokes that lets me know all is well within. It has been tiring and will no doubt continue to be so. I have a wired, active, busy and demanding toddler to love, cherish and grumble at. I hit these walls in the middle of the afternoon that have my feet taking me towards bed and sleep, even while my head screams 'Can't!' and my toddler seeks out my hand and my awareness. I am rarely alone with this new life and there is some small sadness in that. But so it is with the second and probably third and fourth children. We are not able to give the fierce attention to the second that was the right of the first. We are not able to sit with the little life inside of us and imagine the perfection of each little finger and toe. We are occasionally reminded of its presence through the miracle of movement and then, for a moment, the grace of motherhood peeps through. The rest of the time its business as usual with small children and of course, life as we know it. So I am grateful for these rare moments alone. Or rather, not alone but with child.



Today is likely to reach a horrific 39 degrees. It is a day of Extreme weather warning which means bushfires are likely. I am spending the day sweating and moaning in the city sharing a Christmas lunch with one of my beautiful women friends. My Beanie is spending the day in the air conditioned goodness of her nanna's house and the cat, I'm afraid, is on her own. No doubt under the house lounging in the dirt, which is the coolest place around here, even now at 9am in the morning.

My 30-days of happiness has passed and, though I didn't have a chance to record it all here, consider this a mini roundup of all the bestest bits.

2 comments:

Suse said...

I'm glad you had a lovely and special birthday. You are absolutely glowing in that red tent shot!

Nettles said...

Ah petal! Twas so wunnerful to be there wiv ya in The Red Tent and wiv all those gorgeous women.

Are you really 17 and 1/2 weeks already? Really??? Gasp!!

Hope the heat wasn't too horrid. I took drastic measures for that one and escaped to Tas-wegia for the duration. Open fires and toasted marshmallows an' all that. Highly recommend it.

Your bloke's mo was spectacular. He looked like some cricket-playing porno-star...or at least what I imagine one to look like. Not that I would know or anything,

See you an the bump tres soon!
xx