So last week we decided not to “travel” this Saturday and give ourselves a ‘break’, Truthfully? I hated it. No structure, no plans, lots of moping, lots of time to think, lots of time to consider doing household jobs and then not do them, or do them and see them undone in ten minutes.
Once more, I need the busy days more than the kids do!
Looking forward to Mexico next week…
Worse than yesterday. Much worse.
Another family are leading All Age online, which is great as I am in a foul mood, but also bad because I have no motivation to get up or get dressed. The hormones are still weighing heavy, like an actual physical force, and the pit is a dark one. The political climate is starting to bother me; I’ve read too many news headlines and opinions on social media this weekend.
Thankfully, at some point in the morning, God manages to break through the track, as all trains pull in at, “Bless. Bless and do not curse.” So, I listen to The UK Blessing again and lay as many irritations as I can before the cross and leave them there. Which is liberating… but also somehow exhausting. I don’t contribute much else for the rest of the day.
God… this isn’t normal, is it?
Monday’s events are so pivotal they have their own blog post: right here. If you want an encouraging story about God’s faithfulness- and attention to detail- I encourage you to give it a read. It is still bringing a lot of joy to my week!
In the afternoon the Eldest’s teacher rings to check up on us, which is lovely and also very reassuring. I almost burst into tears talking about the proposals for June; my worries about her safety, but also my sense of failure about her education. Miss F assures me that attendance from June is optional (and also unlikely anyway), and reminds me that my primary job is to be a Mum; to keep the children happy and healthy. “I can catch them up if they return to school happy; it’ll be a lot harder if they’re not.”
I really needed to hear that healthy dose of perspective this week!
Still feeling physically and emotionally low today, but yesterday’s events have definitely lifted my spirit and given me hope. They’ve also helped me to regain a bit of perspective and remember what is important.
The kids are tired this week. We manage a few Maths and English games on the laptop, but otherwise there’s a lot of complaining and sad faces. So we skip to Art! This week is about making pictures with natural materials… which is therapeutic… for all of us! Thank you, Andy Goldsworthy.
In an interesting discovery, it turns out that is across the road from our house!
A little cut hidden between two houses, not accessible by pram (which is my only excuse for not discovering it sooner), leads to miles and miles of this!
I really can’t believe I’ve only just realised it is here! Only three years after we moved in… still, it’s a bigger blessing for being new to us this week!
We spend the rest of the day reading Gangsta Granny and then watch the film. I try and get the Eldest to write a book review afterwards, but you’d think I’d asked her to walk the plank! I get the feeling this kid needs a break as much as I do.
In the evening I get a lovely video call from the one and only Mrs H– checking in, catching up and of course, insisting I see a blimmin’ doctor. Maybe the last few posts have been a little on the dark side…
Finally! Finally, this morning, I wake up and feel lighter. The darkness has lifted, we’re on our way out! However, in a daring move I decide to defy Mrs H and don’t actually call the Doctor, you know, because of Covid and all that… when, rather unexpectedly, the hospital rings me! The Women’s Unit is back up and running, has a clinic tomorrow and would I like an appointment?
Back to the present… This morning the Eldest looks the saddest I’ve seen her all week, (month and year. Well, except for the Shakespeare thing). I mention school work and her face crumples. “My brain hurts. I don’t want to write. I HATE it!”
“Woooohooah… do you know Mummy writes for FUN?”
“No-one writes for fun.”
Ha! She’ll learn.
But not today.
“Ok love,” I tell her. “You have a day off. I’m going to do a messy lesson with your bother and sister… just join in if you want to. It’s up to you.”
Oldest trick in the book.
Today, we mess about with landforms. There’s glaciers and forest, jungle, desert and a tropical beach, all layered out from the equator. (I know, right… I’ve redeemed my sorry self and I’m showing off!) The Eldest squeals with excitement when she sees it and then gets a box of toys to place the animals in their habitats. Of course, as soon as everyone else catches on we’ve got giraffes at the south pole and a Ninky Nonk in the desert but hey… everyone is happy!
A rather surprising, poignant illustration happens when the ice cubes at the north pole start to melt under the sun and run down into the other layers… prompting quite a meaningful conversation about climate change.
“But what will happen to all of these Polar Bears Mummy?”
“What will happen to the bits that aren’t meant to be wet?”
I suppose, THIS really:
In the afternoon, we’re back to our happy place, and finally, the darkness has fully shifted and my heart is overwhelmed with thanks again.
Well… what an unexpectedly exciting day!
I mean, first off, the famous ice cream arrived:
Then came the afternoon appointment. Gosh.
I feel an odd sensation of stage fright mingled with giddy excitement as I put the keys into the ignition and prepare to drive- for the first time in two months- to ANOTHER TOWN.
How do I drive again?!
How do I put the coins in the metal machine without catching covid?!
Am I supposed to wear a mask?! Gloves? A helmet?!
(Should I have “prepped my area”?!)
I make an embarrassingly poor show of reversing out of the drive an inch at a time and then creep slowly down the dual carriageway, overtaken by absolutely everybody and not caring less because, wow, it’s actually a wonderfully liberating drive! I arrive half an hour early and find that of course, there are bags over the ticket machines because remarkably, someone else actually thought of that first!
And so off I go, like an alien in a foreign land, putting my mask on and then off again depending on the facial expressions of passers-by, squirting hand gel at every station and then picking at the sample bottles like Mr Bean with a broken hand. Get into the loo all elbows and then plonk down on the seat without even thinking. Should I have sat on the seat? Can you get Covid from a toilet seat?! This toilet is way cleaner than ours… in fact this hospital is way cleaner than anything I’ve seen for months!
Straight into the examination room and I find a male doctor wearing what looks like a technologically-enhanced Blitz-style gas mask. I also find that actually, three pregnancies and three messy births later, I have absolutely no sense of shame or decency. I can’t wait to show him my vagina!
It’s an interesting experience to say the least; making small talk with a hero-nurse in a plastic apron and disposable mask, with my legs in stirrups and Darth Vader breathing down my crotch. But not unpleasant. I realise with amusement later on, as an ultrasound technician struggles to find my ovaries with a big stick, that I’m actually enjoying all of the attention and having quite a nice afternoon out.
NOW we’ve DEFINITELY been in lockdown too long!
I exit the examination room after an extremely thorough investigation, to find an almost empty waiting room… save the open-mouthed horror of my next door neighbour!
“Fancy seeing you here!” We both wince.
Driving home, I feel good, actually. My mind is at rest; a huge source of anxiety has been scanned away to the point where Dr. Google can no longer interfere with it. I’ve had a “solution” fitted, and am optimistic that it might help to illuminate the darkness on a permanent level. I’m also glad, really glad, actually, that I shared my stories this week. A few people prayed for me; people who normally wouldn’t, about something I wouldn’t normally be so open about. But in doing so, I not only had the boost of an out-of-the-blue appointment and a quicker-than-I-thought-possible procedure; but also got to share that somewhat private joy with others and find them ‘boosted’ too!
Stories are powerful.
Stories about our powerful, yet acutely personal God, even more so. This week has been a rollercoaster; the lowest I have felt for a very long time; nevertheless interjected with piercing glimpses of God’s dazzling light- and finished off with the lightness of living a life with Him, for Him, and in community with His people.
I pull up to the drive and realise that today I know who I am and Whose I am. I am a strange creature; the child of a most limitless Creator. I am dark and brooding, yet light and mocking; silly yet serious, imaginative and irritable; I am fearful yet faithful; dreamy yet resourceful; I am an extroverted introvert, (or an introverted extrovert, I’m yet to work that out!) Either way, I have been carefully crafted, dodgy hormones or none. Flawed and yet made in the image of God.
I am a woman. I am a wife. I am a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend. A broken jar of clay, shedding light through the cracks.
I am a storyteller.
And I’ve only just begun.
So thanks for sticking with me- I believe there’s more to come!
Peace be with you.