Sometimes, late at night while Louis-James sleeps next to me, I find myself watching youtube videos of people doing seriously mundane things – like drinking a coffee in their kitchen. Ironically, before having him, I searched for videos like Day in the Life of a Newborn Mum while longing desperately for a child. All I thought about was this divine little creature who I would care for adoringly. I knew my life would change, a lot, but I didn’t mind because I wanted a baby more than anything.
What I didn’t expect was how much I would miss the small things: drinking a hot cup of tea, practicing yoga or meditation uninterrupted, sitting on the lawn while my chickens peck my legs, spontaneous trips to the beach at sunset, long breakfasts out with James, eating slowly or indulging in a daytime movie on days off. Mother guilt is pressing me to reassure you that of course I love my son more than I love some rascal chickens pecking my legs, and of course I would never swap him for a slow breakfast or a hot coffee (or I wouldn’t at the moment, but ask me after a night of very broken sleep when he’s kicking and screaming resisting the nap he so desperately needs and I might change my mind). Nonetheless these are the things I look back and long for. These are the things I wish my childless self didn’t take for granted.
Spending life in longing, however, is not how I want to live. I longed for a child, and I got it, and now I long for that childless time. I am sick of this longing for the slow and have decided to just have it now. I am integrating it into my day – even with little Louis-James in tow. Each morning we wake up (often at some ungodly hour much to the delight of my son and despite my utter resistance) and we let the chickens out. Yesterday, as I trudged up the path with the little one strapped to my chest, eyes struggling to open, I noticed a giant spiderweb spanning between a bush and a Japanese maple glittering with dew. It was beautiful, amazing, awe-inspiring. More incredible than any piece of jewellery or any human-made thing. How do they make these things? How can such a small insect be programmed to create such a phenomenal technology? As always, I was stumped by wonder at the intelligence of nature. As I posted on my instagram here, another morning we spotted two giant moths well, mating, but regardless they were quite beautiful sitting as a giant diamond in their velveteen cloaks on my peg bag.
And sometimes, if I remember to put my phone down or stop cleaning and just sit and be in the moment with Louis-James I watch this heavenly cherub learning by the micro-second, and if I join him I myself can stop to marvel at something as simple as a stick or the patterns in a rockpool. The other night James invited me to come watch a storm roll in and although we hadn’t yet made dinner and Louis-James had only just gone off to sleep, I resisted the urge to tell him I didn’t have time and instead sat with my husband on the edge of the water tank. In awe and wonder, I felt waves of wind on my skin while the clouds boiled magically over a red setting sun and flashes of lightening lit the whole sky.
So while I don’t have hot drinks or uninterrupted endless moments of nothingness, I have realised that at anytime I can stop and marinate in all the things this present moment brings, and so, really, nothing is truly lost.