Mama's Unplugged...

IMG_0006I know it's been quite a while since I've posted anything. I'm not sure what started it. I think I began with a modest spring clean that just gathered momentum, spurred on by the desire to live differently. Somehow quieter.

I got rid of a lot of my stuff. Culled the embarrassing number of a 'certain kind' of black dress and gave my  high heels to charity so that others might suffer the way I have. I ditched the bloody wicker baskets all over my house and even thinned out my bookshelves. I tossed toys and tearfully gave away my children's tiny clothes.

Then, when the house finally felt spacious, I turned on the 'time wasters' in my life. I wanted my days to feel spacious too. I closed my Facebook account. Instead of writing here, I wrote poetry and recipes and plans for the garden.

I spent time in the vegetable patch. Desperately trying to tame the tomatoes that threaten to take over the entire garden. The vines hang heavy with fruit, we pick kilos, trying to save them from the mouth of my lovely girl. She wraps them in fresh mint leaves and devours handfuls.

The zucchinis have taken up the call and given up a bounty of fruit. What to do with ten thousand of these babies? Fritters, salads, muffins, cakes and slices. With lemon, mint, feta, and chocolate. They've forced my creative hand and yet they're still producing new growth everyday!

IMG_1393

With my days expanding I baked bread and made fresh pasta. I make meatballs with the kids and made sauce from the tomatoes grown outside the kitchen. No basil yet? That's ok, we'll add chilli and fennel seeds to the meat and pick some oregano from underneath the stairs. We find one with a love heart mark, my son squeezes me tight and he smells like fresh herbs. It's all about slow pleasure and anticipation as it bubbles away for the afternoon. By dinner the boys will defy their biology and consume mountains of fresh spaghetti slathered in the rich sauce. We talk about girls and ebola.

How strange it is to be a kid these days....

 

IMG_1475I read mountains of yoga books and meditate everyday. Suddenly there seems to be so much time for nothing. I feel still inside, like this moment is all that requires my attention. I walk around my house. The aquaponics is bubbling away, ready for new seed. By summer we will pick greens and golden beetroot for salads. I've planted heirloom tomatoes and cucumber.

I sit with the chooks. We have beautiful new hens but they're still learning the ways of our bossy Squirrel (weird name I know! She's the boss). She pecks and pushes them all around. The eggs are warm and chalky and fit beautifully into my palm. Nothing makes me happier than pushing through the rosemary and finding a half dozen for breakfast. I no longer watch the news so the only soldiers I see are smothered in butter, awaiting their delicious fate.

cropped-img_1378.jpg

I'm amazed at how this land I own can still surprise me. I take my shoes off and walk barefoot at dusk. I am aware of every step, the softness of the lawn compared to the rocky earth as I get closer to the bush behind our property. I check for snakes, none to keen on that kind of surprise! I find a bumper crop of tomatoes hiding down the hill. I threw old clippings here last summer and they've fought their way to fruition. I tuck handfuls of the little gems into my pockets and then fill my hat. This would cost a packet at the farmers market!

Sometimes I think about that young girl I used to be. All long hair and heels, heading off to this or that, champagne in hand. The latest clothes and seventy pairs of shoes in her wardrobe. I marvel at how I ended up in this quiet life. More amazing is how happy I am, elbow deep in dough or cleaning out the chooks. Curling up with three gorgeous children that I (somehow) haven't damaged.

I realise that it's all for them. That somehow they gave life to this new me along the way. I couldn't boil an egg at twenty! Their love has transformed me into this mama I've become. Not fodder for social media or gossip, but a full person, living a full creative life. Many thanks to my small people.

I am thoroughly saturated in simple joy.

(and I've no desire to post it on Facebook)

 

A pause

The older I get the more grateful I become. I have more of those moments where you pause to notice all the good stuff this life throws up.

Just because.

Gratitude is a bit of a 21st century movement with social media making us aware of things like The Gratitude Project and Project 365. It's hip to give thanks for tumble down kids and green juices and funny goats and stuff. Things that make our hearts full and remind us that it's not all doom and gloom.

Hit 'Like".

It's wise to remember that the world doesn't turn because of what's on the six o'clock news.

To be aware that there is brilliance abounding through the fabric of our daily lives. People can be insanely kind and are often possessed by unnatural goodness. Children are in fact manifestations of perfection (even though they continue to leave their dirty soccer clothes on their floor.) Goats are ridiculously cute. There are in fact some ingredients that when paired together produce a pleasure that is palpable, a feeling of nostalgic ecstasy, even an audible hallelujah (or an amazing photograph on instagram).

All moments to be grateful for.

But can we dig a little deeper?

Can we find scope in our minds to be grateful for our experiences of heartache and loss? Those times that leave us feeling broken and bruised and that remove us from our Facebook loving fever. The things we wouldn't 'post'. Shameful, hurtful ugliness that scourges through our sunny days and darkens our sleepless nights.

The things that threaten our openness.

And tighten our hearts.

Can we be grateful for this?

I wouldn't 'post' my fears and sadness, nobody wants to see my catalogue of hurt and shame. I've had my share, but it's behind me and I'm better for it. All of it, not just the stuff I pick and choose. The older I get the more I see the lessons. The more I'm grateful for the learning hidden deep with the devastation. I wouldn't change any of the days gone past. Any change I need, I put ahead of me. The past just contains a record of hurts that shaped my heart.

....and the sweeter it is when the kids are laughing, my love calls and there's something good in the oven. Your friend has good news or someone sends you a photo of a baby hedgehog in a tiny hat. It rains and the world smells washed anew. Simple stuff that feels like magic.

Michelle xx