Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Calm, joy and dinosaur mittens

My first moment of levity, most unexpectedly, involved my four year old daughter brandishing scissors and asking to do some cutting. It may seem odd that the sight of a toddler wielding scissors could bring me peace, yet the other night it did.

What started out as a large, blank, dark sheet of paper was, in the space of ten minutes, vigorously and methodically chopped into ever smaller and smaller snippets of paper. The hacking process only ceased when the tiny irregular scraps that remained were too small for her to hold.

Cutting done she looked down at the mountain of paper shards, smiled with mischief in her eyes and blew at them repeatedly like the storybook wolf who huffed and puffed to blow down the little piggy’s house of straw.

It made one hell of a mess, but (uncharacteristically) I smiled too (before later getting cross as I tried to instigate tidying up).

My smile was the result of seeing in her actions a parallel of my own. At the most basic level she had taken something big and broken it down to small irrelevancies, much in the mould of chunking up the insurmountable, proverbial elephant into bitesize chunks.

Since I last wrote I have been able to move forwards from my intense fear and doubt.

For me, the act of writing out what is circling in my head allows me to break down the component thoughts into rational fragments that can be processed. Once written out openly those big thoughts and questions lose their power over me, and once sent out into the world at the click of the button, they are shared and spread…much like those little paper snippings that covered my kitchen floor.

With the fear shared and therefore reduced I have felt unexpectedly light. Free and light. I have felt that ‘devil may care’ and ‘nothing to lose’ sense of urgency to accomplish whatever I fancy, create and savour positive memories and have felt increasingly attuned to the joy all around me.

As many of your will know, getting kids to put coats and shoes on to exit the house in a timely manner is normally a chore, scarves and gloves add to the complexity, which is usually a cause of great stress and frustration. But I could not have been more thrilled by the chilly winds earlier this week.

My son (grudgingly) donned in a ridiculous robot woolly hat complete with antennae, accompanied
by dinosaur mittens that feature eyes and spikes. His little dinosaur mittens hands then roared at each other in innocent play for a full 5 minutes in ever greater volume and vehemence on the streets of Shrewsbury, it made me wish for eyes and spikes on my own gloves. For what simpler joy could there be in life than to have roaring dinosaur mittens?!

In reflecting on and noting such simple joys I considered titling this post, Ode to Joy, but that caption would put me in competition with Beethoven and Schiller, intellectual heavyweights whose genius feels somewhat at odds with dinosaur mittens.

Beyond those dinosaur mittens I have been lucky enough to enjoy some fantastic moments of levity; I have revelled in getting glammed up for a night of carousing and dancing with my husband, sister and many wonderful friends. How rarely these days does when get to drag out a ball gown (or several), try them all on with, drink champagne whilst getting ready with ones sister, and eventually dance til the wee hours with my husband and friends.

A further source of elation, was that prior to my partying on Saturday night I somehow managed (genuinely not sure how) to smash my Park Run PB by a further 40 seconds, taking me down to 22.21. This does of course beg the question of what I have been doing these last few months, but I will credit my PT Ben Booth who has been helping me crank up my fitness lately along with a genuine ‘nothing to lose, won’t be doing this for a while’ attitude.

And so today is my 35th birthday. My bag is packed, the kids are up and I’m off to hospital. Thank you for all your lovely messages of celebration and support and I will see you on the other (hopefully stoma-free) side.

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