Strawberries. Sunlight. Our favourite clearing in the woods, where people rarely ever come and the trees are so thick that they almost drown out the sound of the cars whizzing through the town nearby. This is where we come to spend time together, with the grass for our table and our toddlers insistently spilling the picnic across it. There is a routine: first, we eat and then, we play.
This is where we come when we need to be alone together, to talk together. This is where we lay on our backs with the warmth of the sun on our eyelids and the children using us as climbing frames, as platforms from which to launch themselves, joyous and laughing, into the air. We are relaxed; the trees form a protective circle around us and the toddlers cannot get far. We hold hands. We think about how far this journey has taken us in so few years. We hold hands. We watch them chase each other through the clearing, collecting sticks and stones and digging in the dirt. The boys venture quite far but the babies stay closer. Olympia, the bolder of the two, chases after them in circles or stands, exhausted and wobbly and overcome with laughter, as they finally include her in their game. The dog plays too; this was her favourite place years before it was theirs. She begs cheese and cucumber from our plates and snuffles around in the grass for remnants of the babies’ meal.
It is easy to be lighthearted here. It is so easy to laugh, and to remember how lucky we are. When I think about it, when I try to rationalise it, I have no idea how I managed to climb the ladders and dodge the snakes and find myself here, the other mother in Kirsty’s motherhood experience and mama to them, to Zaza and Sasha and Emmy and Pol. And I get to sit in the sunlight with my family and eat strawberries.
Are you all well? I’ve taken a bit of a break from blogging recently but I’d really like to get back into documenting my experiences and our family adventures so if you’re still reading this I’d love for you to say hello, and to tell me what you would like to hear from me. Is anybody there..?