I was writing about brick walls yesterday – the kind you hit during pregnancy. It was for an article on twins and triplets, and lots of people I interviewed talked about brick walls. It swirled around in my head for the rest of the morning and I wondered if I’m nearing a brick wall of sorts too – not that I’m pregnant! – just a regular wall.
I wondered it even more when I was Whats Apping thinly veiled cries for help to my husband. Well, messages like, “I’m running away” and “Help” so not really veiled at all.
You know those days and weeks when it’s all just too much – not in any really big way – not compared to people with real problems like sick children or serious financial worries. Just in that everyday, building-up, I can’t keep going like this kind of way. It’s the kind of thing that could be fixed by a morning off walking the pier, grabbing a coffee and hitting the shops. Or even just two hours – I know I could fit it all in. And the next time there’s a work-lull, I am absolutely, definitely going to take that morning off or those two hours and do just that.
For now though, it’s morning-work and afternoon-chaos and evening-work as usual, and on days like yesterday, when the brick wall is looming, the afternoon-chaos feels more chaotic than ever.
66% of the children were in cranky form and 100% of the adults were in cranky form when we sat down to do homework, and it was the worst kind of homework you can get in our house – colouring and word searches. So soon the crankiness went up a notch and someone’s book was covering someone else’s and then a glass of water spilled on everything and I knew I was close to my threshold, to my tipping point – to my wall.
I took a deep breath and promised myself I’d try not to get cross but I wasn’t sure I believed my own promise and things weren’t looking good. Then I had an idea. I asked them if they’d like to hear the six songs from the playlist of my life. Three curious voices gave me a chorus of yesses and I clicked into this post: Playlist of my Life
I played You Fill Up My Senses (Annie’s Song) by John Denver first, a song that always reminds me of my mum. Within seconds, my throat was tight, and then unexpected but not unexpected tears were streaming down my face. “Are you crying mum?” asked one little person. I smiled and nodded. “Are they happy tears?” she asked as she came over to hug me. Her big sister joined in the hug, and the small boy clambered up on my knee.
“Yes,” I said, but of course they were more than that – they were the happy-sad tears of nostalgia, tears for days long gone and people long gone. Tears for sunshiney childhood days that are blurry now in many places. And wondering what my own children will remember of theirs. What songs will make them think of today, sitting around the kitchen table trying to do word searches and colouring homework?
Or maybe they won’t remember this at all – they’ll think back only to the sunny ice-creams and the day-trips and the beaches and the birthdays, and this bit will just be the backing, the packing, the stuff that you put around the edges of the box to keep everything else safe. The bit that’s not memorable in itself but shapes the parts that are. The part that’s worth fighting for, every bit as much as the sunshiney memorable parts.
Perspective only ever lasts so long – until the next argument, the next impossible day, the next wall – but watching their faces listening to my songs, feeling their arms around me, I reminded myself to grab it each and every time I can.