Since my last post, I have parented in a particularly full on way. Let’s call it Extreme Parenting. For weeks of the summer I travelled, slept, drove, walked and breathed in the company of my brood. Intense goes some tiny way to describing it. I lived them every second. They were undiluted by friends, by school, by extra curricular activities. Their dad and I were suddenly, mercilessly, responsible for their entertainment, for dispensing with their relentless energy, for ensuring their emotional and physical wellbeing. All The Time. It was awesome. It was shocking. At times I was frightened by their combined energies. At times we simply stood back in awe and shook our heads in horrified wonder. At other times it was beautiful: we had a blast, we hung out with them like we never do at home, we laughed till our bellys hurt, and made amazing memories that we hope they’ll hold on to.
I have no idea what I learnt yet. I’m still reeling from it. I’m still floating down off the cloud of crazy I’ve been on this summer. At times I disliked their behaviour with an alarming intensity. The relentless demands were overwhelming. And the noise – oh my goodness – the noise that seemed like it would never ever end…
But when I hugged and kissed them goodbye the other day as I left them with Grandma for five days, the love was still there. The need to tell them, to squeeze them tight. It was absolutely still there. And right now, in my quiet house, I sit with a weird lightness on my shoulders. A sense of space and opportunity. A chance to process the summer. To breathe in an out and let my brain subside – to come down from wherever the heck it’s been in their company – their heightened, exaggerated, noisy, energetic company.
Without them I am being quiet, slow and grown up in the most non-parenting of ways. There’s space all around me. I might spin around in it. I might relax a little and deal with myself for a change. I might finish a thought or two.
When we got in from a work today – my husband took a nap. I stretched out on the sofa. We unwound. For once we didn’t hit the override button and push through. For once we didn’t have to hit the parenting ground running while our heads were still trying to process the workday.
For five sweet days I will not need to intervene, or tell anyone not to scream so loud. I will most certainly NOT break up a fight. I won’t sigh when I hear the word “mummy”.
Instead, with the space to do so, I will think about them with love. With a smile. With fondness. I will think of their individual smiles and their charms. I will not think of them as a noisy, slightly unnerving whirlwind of energy, but three amazing bundles of potential who have changed my life beyond measure. Who have changed who I am, and who I want to become. Who have pushed me to limits of endurance I never even knew I had. Who have forced me to let go in so many ways, and seek better ways of being in the world.
I was asked today if I felt lost without them. I don’t. A little time apart is a very good thing.