:: nostalgia ::

on the fear of having missed it in the blink of an eye

We had a difficult night yesterday. Although very tired, our Little Boy didn’t want to go to sleep. Kept running away, making a fight of putting his pajamas on. It might have been the heat, it might have been one of those weeks in the life of a toddler when sleeping is not appreciated… anyway, it was not the most peaceful bedtime ritual we ever had.

My husband was very irritated, feeling it as a kind of personal attack. He had done the best he could to be at home on time, only to find his son hyper and not very willing to cooperate. He was ranting about staying later, just to avoid that stress and that it would be our boy’s own fault. My heart broke a little as he continued how other couples had sweet children, not making problems about bedtime, sleeping in, or getting ready for school (our son loves school, but getting him there is quite a thingy).

He had a bad day at work. Temperatures didn’t help. And later that night I showed him some little movies I made a few years ago. Our toddler, not yet being able to talk, only a few words. That didn’t stop him from telling the cutest stories. Playing with his cars, babbling all the time, cute puffy cheeks and the most wonderful smile on his face. My husband looked at me, a bit sad, and told me he regretted how many of those moments he missed. That it would never be the same with a daughter, and that he missed quite a lot of those cute toddler years of his son. Partly because of work, partly out of ease and not seeing the need to invest time.

Time is precious and the only way to capture it, is to grab the moment with both hands and fully live it.

 

 

My heart broke a little again. It’s something I told him all the time. Not to blame him, but because I knew this moment would come. That at the age he felt he could really connect, like now, he would regret everything he missed. Time is precious, and despite tons of pictures and other possibilities to document it, the only way to capture it, is to grab the moment with both hands and live it.

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Today I’m watching my son. Yesterday he discovered a bag of marbles and today we are watching how they work on his train rails. I cut him a few holes in a cardboard box, he decorated the whole thing and he has already spent two hours playing with the marbles and the box. Outside it’s hot, but we might pick up some supplies and create something together. Maybe make some chalk paint and decorate the tiles outside, if it’s not too hot. He’s a very strong-willed boy, but he is very sweet too. As all kids do, he likes new things and he likes spending time with us.

I’m tired and I wish I could just sit back and relax. But then again, I know these moments, just before his little sister arrives, will matter a lot. Time is the greatest gift I can give him now.

:: home ::

When a house becomes more than just a roof over our heads.

 

Despite the very high temperatures outside, I’m curling up inside, only slightly cooler. Little Boy doesn’t feel like facing the heat either so we’re spending today quietly together. Watching him play with his cars and dinosaurs, occasionally putting on a favorite show on television, it makes my heart sing. And inside my belly, there is another tiny dancer, letting me know she’ll join us soon.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. I want to save these moments, turning them into a chronicle of simplicity and joy, documenting our life in words and pictures. I always keep coming back to this place, it’s why I keep it. My nesting happens here, rather than in our house.

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Once it became clear that we’ll share these last weeks of pregnancy with a very friendly builder turning our office space into a baby room, rectifying as many little building mistakes that came with the house as he can along the way, I’ve settled for this slightly chaotic place. My husband does the best he can, trying to get everything sorted out, but this messy state of things makes him nervous – he needs structure and a good amount of clean. I know he would want to move if the money was there. He thinks the house is too small (and I know he doesn’t trust these walls like I do). We don’t have the place to get as organized as he would want to. To me, it’s a question of perspective. The more room there is, the more stuff gets put away (and forgotten about). Mostly my kind of bad habit, but one I should be able to break.

So while he makes this work as well as he can, my mind is doing the nesting thing that all women go through at some point in their pregnancy. And it keeps going back to what I recently read on the beautiful, heart-written blog of Mr. Home Maker. : Houses are aplenty in our society but homes are becoming much thinner on the ground.

Houses are aplenty in our society but homes are becoming much thinner on the ground

 

It’s what I want for this house. I want it to be a home, a good place, where there is always someone available to listen to stories. I want it to be a place where those stories are created and fully lived. I want it to be warm and cosy because of the people who share a life together. I want people that pass by to feel the warm welcome of a place where they are safe and appreciated. I want there to be food on the table and music in the souls.  There are probably plenty of toys and books, but I mostly want my children to play and to read and to be happy doing so. I want them to go to bed, knowing that their parents love them dearly and they mean the world to them, whatever has happened during the day. I want my husband to come home after work feeling happy to pass the doorstep even if there might be some chores to do. I want to come home after work, see the place and instantly wear a smile because I know: this is it. This is home.

 

:: and things will change forever ::

 

A smile fled over her face when she noticed he had fallen asleep against her arm and she was careful not to move. It didn’t happen all that often anymore that she could feel the soft rising of his chest against her side, despite too many honest attempts at the wee hours of the day, when she tried to get him to sleep again, by curling up around him.

She had enjoyed to read another chapter, just like that, not in the least disturbed by anything that yet had to be done. Unfortunately, a sharp pain in the back and a few rather well-pointed kicks on her bladder helped her remember she couldn’t doze away unpunished in any position she’d like.

It was exactly for that reason she had chosen to stay home today, vaguely bothered by a feeling of guilt, partly because she was actually longing for the moment she really didn’t have to think about school again. This pregnancy had proven to be so different from the other one. The seemingly everlasting morning sickness (that lasted all day) and now that excruciating pain in the back that made her nights a lot less refreshing than they should be. Her daughter already manifested herself as a very lively little lady and she was curious and nervous at the same time to meet her in September.

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#tiny #fmsphotoaday

A few days ago she had been crying at the view of a series of images showing mothers saying goodbye to their eldest, just before they gave birth. She thought it was heartbreaking – her son didn’t ask for all of this and even if she felt confident about things turning out just well, she cringed when she thought about how his world would be upside down in only a few months and how things would change forever.

An exercice in letting go. Already.

 

Learning curve

While I first half-heartedly realized working in the evening hours wouldn’t be very doable anymore, I now try to embrace the calm of not working for school at night. It puts my mind at rest, I feel less hunted and the moment it turned into an active decision, rather than a desperate impossibility, it became doable. I now try to use every spare moment available while I am at school, alternating classes in which I teach actively with classes that are more oriented on self-discovery and reflection and don’t need my constant supervision. You might call it cheating, but it is showing to be rather efficient and I felt rather on top of my stuff last week.

It does a lot of good for me. I can give my full attention to cooking, to cuddling with my little boy, to have a chat with my husband before I go to bed really early, just to doze off with a good book and waking at dawn the next morning. If necessary, I can pinch in half an hour of correction work then. I am a morning person, even if I sometimes would prefer to sleep in. My best hours are in the quiet around sunrise, with birds singing their lungs out, and the freshness of dawn on the garden that seems to envelop the house.

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Our house, where there is still so much to be done. With all its inconveniences and errors. The house we fell in love with, naive as we were as first-time-buyers. Yet I still love it here. I just wish we both would be a bit more handy, feeling the drive and the confidence to attack certain matters ourselves, shifting between what we could do and what we had to outsource. But then again. There is so much to learn in this life and it’s one of my favorite things: to read, to dive into a subject, to let it soak in, to dream about what that knowledge can do for me.

A whole new world in every page, in every article, in every news item, in every story. One would want to live a thousand lives to discover them all…

Spring has sprung

School life has begun again and fatigue and different priorities kick in, as always. Luckily, it’s the last part of the year, leaving me then two whole months to enjoy the last weeks of pregnancy, quietly preparing birth and an addition to our family of three in September.

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Spring is also making its way into our home, garden and heart. Cold and rainy days are still there, but every now and then, sun shows her shiny face and warms my chilly mood. I let Little Boy potter in the garden as much as he wants and it forces me to go outside too. He know how to play on his own, but likes to show me his finds and his activities, so I’m not allowed to hide inside constantly. So we prepare little picnics when weather is warm enough, and I do my kitchen work while looking through my window and seeing my love play and enjoy himself. On those days, life is good.

It gets harder when I have to go to school. While I like teaching, a lot, those few months of having my own rhythm and pace, focusing on home, family and myself, have given me a taste of what life could be like too, and I find it hard to integrate that into the day to day schedule of school days and teaching. Big part of it is because I have started in January, when school is already settled and routines have formed. For me, it was hard to get myself involved and care about the students the way I did before – starting to build a bond halfway the years is not the easiest of things and it’s mostly because I did/do not put enough effort into it. Pregnancy has to do a lot with it of course – those three months of everyday sickness and feeling horrible didn’t help and after that… well it just doesn’t seem worth it for the few weeks that are still ahead of us.

Oh well, we’ll tackle it day by day and in the end it will work out, as it always does. In the mean time, I try to get my thoughs refreshed by things that inspire me – getting in the kitchen, building routines and reading everything that catches my attention. Which is a lot.

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And feeling contentment with the soup bubbling away on the stove, made with bits and pieces I have found in the pantry and the fridge, sprinkled with some curry powder, knowing that it will warm us up in no time, nourishing our bodies and minds. It’s what I hope to find in the whole foods kitchen course I signed up for.

Hike – Moulin du Bayehon (Longfaye)

Sometimes, my husband has great ideas. Not very well thought through, sticking to a concept and waiting for me to work it out (or waiting until the very last minute because I refuse to), but great ideas anyway. Yesterday he took a day off, because he wanted to go for a hike. Weather forecast was rather ugly, he had no idea of where to go, our Little Boy has no hiking shoes, only boots (which are nice in the mud, but not very good for climbing rockes), and he decided the minute before we left, we should take a picnic. So I was rather grumpy, making sandwiches while a bouncing little kid couldn’t wait for us to pack everything.

Finally we left. We had decided on a hiking spot (I found someone who described the exact hike we did and took even better pictures), and said to each other we would walk for an hour to see how far we were and to turn if necessary. It was a 90-minute drive there, and I had estimated we would only be able to walk for two hours without Little Boy getting completely annoyed and crying and wanting us to carry him. It meant we would be in the car for longer then we were outside. Oh well. Sometimes my husband and his ideas…

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The closer we got though, the more I was looking forward to it. Little Boy was extremely sweet in the car, entertaining himself with a few toys we had packed for him. Landscapes were gorgeous. Sun was shining. Traffic was smooth. It felt like we were on holiday.

Once there, the hikes were very well indicated, there were only a few people on the road and after only five minutes we got to cross al little stream, using a wooden bridge alongside the rocks. Little Boy was sold on the spot and hiked his guts out, splattering through the little streams of rain water on the path, impatiently going for the next bridge and super excited to see that after a while the road would climb and the path became rocky. Problem is, the kid always wants to go first and sometimes that was just not safe. He often tripped too, mostly because he was running or preferring to stand on the most impossible stones he could fid. We had a blast and walked for three hours.

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His father was, in the meantime, getting completely warmed up to the idea of having a hot chocolate and a crepe after the hike. To his huge disappointment, all Little Boy wanted to do was  get in the car. Even the promise of chocolate wouldn’t help. Poor husband… devastated! I promised him we would all think of it as a funny story in a few years.

Actually, in my opinion, it already is.

Threads of wool and love

My grandmother will soon be 85 years old and is still as creative as I have always known her. When I was a kid, I once stayed with her for a week, and I have very fond memories of those days in the appartment. She instilled in me the love of making cards, cutting and gluing things, seeing the possibilities for every scrap of paper. And she learned me to appreciate onions.

The last few years, with a growing herd of great-grandchildren, she took up knitting again. Every now and then, she calls me to ask how much our Little Boy has grown, and what colors he likes lately. And then she knits her heart out.

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The very idea of it warms my heart. It feels like she puts herself in a long tradition of knitting grandmothers. It’s not how I knew her as a child. She was a bit of a special type in my eyes. She couldn’t cook (she always tried, but it didn’t taste good actually), she was not into wool, she smoked like a chimney (still does) and she has the most contagious laugh ever. I don’t even especially like what she knits.

But the love and attention that go into her work, feeling how my Little Boy is part of the family (we didn’t see that side of the family very often, due to the distance – which is nothing in comparison with distances most families in bigger countries have to face, but still – in our country it counts as far away), feeling how we are all connected through threads of wool and love.