So it’s almost time for you to meet me and your dad. I can tell that these days you are aware of his presence, considering that you begin to stir when you hear his voice and just one rub and you are shifting all over the place.
What you may not feel are the soft good morning kisses he gives you before he leaves for work or the gentle goodnight cuddles and cradling when he falls asleep. But that’s your dad for you. He loved you from the day he knew you were on your way. And that love seems to be driving him slightly insane.
Right now he has bought you a play mat which you probably won’t use for a while. I randomly see him browsing on the internet for information on the stages of your growth when you arrive. And I recently saw him shopping online for 4-6 year old’s dresses😂
He is the sweetest guy ever and you have exposed a side to him that I never knew. It took us six years to have you and now I have to learn this man anew. Your presence has brought out deeper love and compassion in him that I may need a ‘dad tutorial’ soon.
For me your presence means a lot of excitement laced with a lot of discomfort. But those movements you make remind me of the little feet, hands, lips, eyes and fingers I get to see soon. The tiny face we get to pepper with kisses. The many moments of cuddles that you will notice and a never ending rain of love from grannies, uncles, aunts, sisters, brothers, cousins and people you will come to know, love and adore.
What you also don’t see is your Nanna fussing over me, not to strain too much, getting foot rubs and food at the drop of a hat. Aunty June giving advice like an expert on pregnancy and childbirth and Aunty Mandy constantly wondering and asking after you. Uncle Nico doing store runs for your every craving. Also every Thursday evening when you fall asleep after the meeting your sister comes and talks to you and threatens to sing. One of your brothers loudly announces himself but obviously you can’t hear him as you do not stir one bit.
So until you arrive, the belly kisses and rubs, cuddles and cradles from daddy will have to do.
Mom, Dad and a whole lot of others 💞
Have you ever noticed how pictures freeze a specific moment in time. Most of us make an effort to make the frozen moment a happy one. We look happy, smiling from our eyes and have a smile pasted on our lips. Sometimes it is so forced that the smile does not show in our eyes.
The point of a photograph is to capture a moment in time, where time is frozen still. Whatever moment it is happy or sad; that is the moment that we have captured.
Today, photographs are so common it’s as though we can capture every moment but we can never capture every single moment of our lives.
I looked at old photographs most had happy people, smiling faces and none were sad. These photographs captured a younger, tomboy character of myself, some captured a budding young lady while others showed the mischief wrinkled in my eyes and lips. There is one where I am laughing and not taking note of the camera but I don’t remember what was funny. The photo itself brings me no joy as what at that moment made me laugh. But it showed me the likely people who made me laugh and for them they warm my heart just by looking at the photograph.
Some pictures dig up old wounds, others remind me of buried grief and a time period in my life where contentment and joy sat in one set of arms.
My photographs from the past don’t come out often but when they do some freeze almost a whole lifetime that I want to relive again. Rather than bringing me comfort and joy some remind of a gaping hole that is not filled within me.
Freeze. Flash. Live
I found myself coming to a realisation that mothers are made from a totally different material of person. They are cut from a much finer cloth, that has super durable strength and never frays.
This all begins when a woman surrenders her body, from being a vessel of living to being a vessel of life. There are amazing things that happen to the female body as it prepares and creates a life chamber for a foetus.
While the miracle is often viewed from how the body makes way for the new being, there comes with it unnatural side effects that every physical attributes to pregnancy. There are bouts of nausea that are termed morning sickness that occur at any hour of the day. I recently discovered that name may be attributed to the fact that it is morning in a different time zone! The nausea turns the scent of your favourite perfume and body bar into the smell of putrefaction. But it doesn’t end there, everyone else around you dons the same stench in differing degrees. There are headaches that never end and are hard to soothe, yet the simplest thing can make them go away, yours is to figure out the art of guessing. Then there are the less graceful effects such as bloating and flatulence, which render you an active volcano – ready to blow at any given moment. And may force your spouse or family to be in serious need of gas masks! Then comes the sleeping beauty syndrome which allows you to fall asleep at the drop of a hat. You fall asleep in good time and wake up tired.
However, that does not take away the fact that there is a tiny miracle forming in you. Growing slowly but surely. I realise mothers are made from more than just woman, they’re made from love, struggle, sacrifice, pain and endurance.
This is for all mothers out there.
I watched a documentary of a young man who walked from Ethiopia to Libya. He lost four of his friends to the Sahara Desert’s heat but he made his way, to Calais, France. This man was in search of the illusive land flowing with milk and honey – the UK. He had been in Calais for almost six months and each day he attempted to make his way to the UK by any means possible.
This migrant is no different to any other migrants around the world. He has an objective and he is focused on fulfilling it despite any opposition that comes his way. Be it walking thousands of kilometres, sleeping in the bushes, bearing thirst and starvation, winter or desert conditions; even death has no hold on his objective. There is no shimmer of doubt in his voice or face that he will reach the UK, it is simply a question of time.
The land of milk and honey; every continent has one. This land seems so attractive with prospects galore of wealth and untold treasures for travellers who successfully face their labours or feats like the ‘demigod’ Hercules. My opinion: it sounds all too Rumplestiltskin and Cinderella like.
Are these places really lands flowing with milk and honey? My take: Those who successfully make it to the rich lands find the milk is owned by a farmers corporation, who runs a tight organisation. Where the cows are well fed but never spill a drop. The apiary is a large area where few have shares and each bee and its honey contributions are accounted for.
Those who tend to the cows and bees are paid in watered down soya milk and artificial honey that sweetens as they are promoted. The rest of the labour force is driven by the scent of freshly milked pots and sweet honey combs. Those who are young are educated in managing dairy farms and apiaries that do not exist. Local labourers wait at the gates of the farms and apiaries, for an opportunity to work their way to being shareholders or farmers. Those who come from outside the farm are met with an already long waiting list to get in line for a chance. While the labourers wait they are showered with raindrops of sugar flavoured milk with the scent of honey, which drives their longing to work.
While the allure of milk and honey is a-calling the reality is it never really is attainable, just like Pinocchio never really got to be a real boy, but his hope to be one spurred him on.
At close of the documentary the migrant is seen sitting at a Calais beach, with Dover in view – so near and yet so far.
Being in the passenger seat, staring out the window watching the trees speed by. Wondering what life is led in that pretty cottage. Seeing the sheep and horses graze in the field. For one reason or another it has a calming effect. As though your mind has shutdown for the holidays and has skeleton staff in place. As if you have opened up a little crack in the wall of your brain to a place of wonder, curiosity, deductions and color.
Sometimes we all need is to checkout of the lives we’re living. Take a break from being the CEO, secretary, receptionist, maid, bookkeeper, doctor, husband, waiter, mother, etc. and take a moment to be fully focused on something other than ourselves or even something mundane. Even that car ride that allows your mind to wonder about anything but what you can see before you.
One car ride to Yarm sent my mind on an amazing tour through winding roads, huge modern day windmills, a black sheep in a flock of white ones, a farmhouse built like a mansion, two horse riders taking their horses for stroll. All these painted pictures in my mind of life around there, so serene and relaxing. The very scenes I watched through the window slowed my heart rate, put my ever racing mind on pause. And for the duration of that drive I heard nothing of the conversation going on in the car neither could I hear the music playing in the background; it was just what my eyes could see and what my brain interpreted. The effect was calming.
I’m no psychiatrist or doctor but I definitely know how I felt and I strongly recommend it. Take some time out of your busy life and get front row seats to watch the world outside pass you by.
I took a walk through Stokesley, along a street of cobbled stones. The winter chill was in the air but it painted a beautiful picture. On the grey backdrop were beautifully colored leaves falling from trees. In shades of brown and gold, slowly gliding through the air to land on a silently running stream. A group of ducks silently paddled against the current with ease. Their plumage giving the silent stream life.
The stream, the winter, the leaves and the Ivy Cottage both give a warm feeling despite the icy wind. England, Britain, United Kingdom; so many names for this beautiful place. Its unity has come into question (Brexit), the beautiful silence in these small villages and town has been broken (tourists). the peacefulness of this stream seems so unreal and so out of date. Amid the iPhone and MacBook, the Ivy Cottage seems like a fossil that has outlived its presence.
Someone asked if I would consider moving to England, and I paused for a bit. Wondering how magical and paradisiac the Moors made me feel. I remembered how walking in the North York Moors National Park made feel revived; breathing in all that fresh air bouncing off the pine trees. Soaking my grey Ugg boots in gold colored mud. Overlooking the beautiful dam and wondering at how silent it was. My response: I feel England is a land out of time. Lost in the old and the new, clinging on for dear life as development creeps in. It is no lie, England is a beautiful country and nothing takes your breath away than the sight of the old terraced houses; which are soured by the presence of cars parked on every inch of the curb. The serene streets and market days laced with the beautiful array of dialects of the English language. With the hills that are known as banks and farm lands that stretch for miles on end and the horses that wear coats in the winter. Where good morning and hello are replaced by alright? Oh England.
The home of the cheerful good mornings stained by the generation of earphones, headphones and loud music. The warm conversation curdled by the foul language that may accompany it. The beautiful nature walks and pedestrian lanes that are riddled with dog pooh. The tales of days when newts filled streams and ‘our Jim’ was still alive.
Would I live here, maybe, because the rest of the world has lost the paradisiac feel and look to it. But I fear England is out of time and may very well have the old slip off the edge of the cliff and the new refurbish the cliff into a five star hotel.