Archive for January, 2013

Who stole the holidays?

January 28, 2013

We have just had six weeks of school holidays.
Or so I’ve been told.
Tonight I feel strangely as though I have just woken up and time has passed but actually it is the next day. Like the thing they do in movies where they say “don’t worry, she won’t remember a thing” after a series of crazy events befalls the main character. I think it’s called “time jump” in the Men in Black movies.
How can six weeks have gone so fast? They have never gone this fast before, so what is going on? I know we went to see a couple of movies, did some swimming, went to the beach several times, watched some tennis, and even crammed in a quick family getaway, but this could have all happened yesterday.
And yet, why do I feel so… tired? Plus this strange and complex combination of emotions: sadness that the time is up so quickly; dread at having to get up early tomorrow and start it all again; and relief that I won’t hear those mangy whines of “I’m bored” for at least another ten weeks. Tiredness, sadness, dread and relief: and so ends another summer school holiday season.
I’m sure as a child I got bored once in a while. Everybody does. But now, as a parent, I am clearly living in denial as I find it hard to accept that my children get bored. HOW CAN YOU BE BORED? became a familiar holiday refrain. Our brief family getaway was tacked on to the end of the compressed-almost-non-existent six week school holiday and as there was no ipod iphone wii computer wifi within coo-ee the kids had to make do with Lego, Cluedo, hide-and-seek and the beach and they so barely managed being so…  analogue… I was practically gouging out my own eyeballs in frustration. It was almost like we had a couple of junkies at a rehab retreat, climbing the walls, scratching their skin, jittery with irritation: “What do you mean there’s no wifi?!?”
There were some great moments – crabbing, icecreams and yes, hide-and-seek – but we also asked ourselves several times why we had booked the holiday, and upon our return, promptly switched on the computer and logged them in to Minecraft.
Holiday? What holiday?


Whatever makes you happy

January 3, 2013

Finally I have an answer.

If someone had asked me months or even weeks ago what made me truly happy I would have had trouble answering. Not because happiness eludes me – although it may try to sometimes – but because it is difficult to pin down precisely what things or experiences in life are guaranteed surefire happiness bringers. I could say things like: going to the movies, or eating either of my two favourite foods (chocolate pudding or lemon meringue pie), or smelling the perfect rose, or watching an awesome fireworks display, or going to bed when I am truly dog tired and have nothing to do the next day. All of these experiences bring pleasure, to be sure. They’re warm and fuzzy moments. But they only scratch the surface.

They make me happy from the chest up, not from the toes.


This summer holiday season, with it’s beach weather, happy children, good health, and well-being vibe has clarified the obvious for me and at last I can give a definitive answer to the what makes you happy line.  

The sort of happy felt from the toes up the legs to the torso and arms and onward to the very top of the head. Hair happy. Skin happy. Bones happy.

It took an argument to crystallise it. Friction, tension, anger within my family. Fighting. Nasty and brutal, if only momentary. So soul destroying it depressed the hair, the skin, the bones. For half a day I felt the gamut of the bleak spectrum: depressed, angry, disappointed, forlorn. 

But then it was over. And we were back again. And I found myself on a warm beach, at sunset, watching my family – my darling, beautiful, precious, complex, unique, boyish little family – frolicking, zesty, alive, and happy! and there they were: those buttons, being pressed from the tips of my toes to the top of my head. Like a multitude of miniature lights turning on. An internal fireworks display. 

Not the first time, but the clearest time. The purest time. It had been there all along: so THIS is it.

What makes me happy? My family being happy is what makes me happy. As simple as it is profound.