All posts tagged: birthday

Postcard from last week: the weeks/the years

I think that the weeks are rolling by. Then I start to think that the months are rolling by. The weather is cold, mostly grey, and it’s hard to reconcile with the fact that it’s May. There are still flowers on the magnolia, hiding behind the soft flush of new leaves. The wisteria, which we planted last spring, unfurled leaves of copper-tinted green which were all frazzled in the heavy frost last week. The budding leaves of the hibiscus too are curled with frost damage. The lawn, each year narrower than the year before, has been bolstered by new turf along one edge. The other side is patiently waiting its turn. The new grass is growing thick and lush, several shades darker than the rest of the lawn. We went to France for Easter. Early one morning, I climbed out of the bedroom window & down the stone steps to the garden to go for a run. As I left the thick walls of the house my emails came through and I found myself looking at the Pip-Pop’s school acceptance. …

Wildeve in frost | edge of evening

Four

I sometimes find myself thinking the strangest things. One of these thoughts, which occurs somewhere towards the end of every school term is, it’s always some time of the year. It sounds like a complaint, and in some ways it is, but I take comfort from it. It’s true, if it’s not nearly the summer holidays, then it’s Harvest Festival, or Easter, or someone’s birthday, or it’s Christmas. And though each of these things means that cakes have to be baked or presents wrapped or costumes acquired or fashioned, they’re also the rhythm to our year, the seasonal beat to our children’s childhoods. I just looked back at this time last year. Once again, it’s the school Christmas Fair tomorrow. We celebrated the Pip-Pop turning four last weekend. Earlier in the week one of his pre-school teachers heard me calling him Mops (Popsy/Pops/Mops — all still in use) & laughed. And I thought, oh, yes, he’s C to you. He sat down at the table earlier in the week and declared that he was going …

Moon sky | edge of evening

Postcard from now: moon in blue sky

It was -3ºC when we woke on the Moose’s 6th birthday last week. But, still, he wanted to go to the beach & so we did. A sunny morning, a picnic lunch, the shelter of the Isle of Wight across the Solent. The moon was high in the sky. Later, in the play area at the top of the cliffs, the clouds crowded in & the cold reached my core. He was such a beautiful birthday boy, playing at the water’s edge, watching the sea snails on a rock. I think I’ve had this thought before, but six seems to be so much more about them. It’s enough time that my stories of the day he was born are at once distant and preposterous to us both: What? Once we were without you? Once, I didn’t exist! We’re coming more and more into a new phase of parenting: everything now is easy in a physical, logistic sense. It’s hard to remember it being otherwise. I have little else to bring you today. The sky is blue this morning and …

37

Age doesn’t necessarily bring anything with it, save itself. The rest is optional. The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson Last week mainly took me to places I didn’t want to go. It took me to being 37, the age that for the longest time I have not wanted to be because at some point being 37 will mean being older than my father was when he died. I used to be suspicious of people who were 37. They were never as grown up as I thought a 37-year-old should be. They didn’t have all the answers any more than I had all the answers, but I knew that they should have them because they were 37. Then, once I was in my 30s, I realised the impossibility of being as wise and sure and grown up as a 37-year-old parent is to an eleven-year-old child, which is, of course, wiser and surer and more grown up than any 37-year old — or at least this 37-year-old — actually is to themselves. The day after I turned 37 I found …

Garden blues

The eighth birthday party has come and gone. Eight girls and two little brothers sitting round a table stringing beads onto bracelets, sandwiching their pictures between glass cabochons & pendant backings, gluing pink plastic roses to hair clips. Eating pizza, followed by scoops of vanilla ice cream swimming in chocolate sauce and hundreds & thousands. Running in the garden. Playing pass the parcel (commonly known in our house by the Moose’s name for it: parcel parcel). Chatting about their dreams (this particuluarly funny to listen to); discussing their creations. It seemed to be a good one. We remembered her at two — how excited she was when her first guest arrived & she thundered along the landing to peer down the stairs & see who it was. And now Monday lunchtime (or at least it was when I first wrote this). The older children are at school. The Pip-Pop, who at almost two and a half is resisting napping more and more, is sleeping after a morning swim with his best friend. I’m looking over …

Solitude

“It is in a house that one is alone. Not outside it, but inside. Outside, in the garden, there are birds and cats. […] One does not find solitude, one creates it. Solitude is created alone. I have created it. Because I decided that here was where I should be alone, that I would be alone to write books. It happened this way. I was alone in this house. I shut myself in — of course, I was afraid. And then I began to love it. This house became the house of writing. My books come from this house. From this light as well, and from the garden. From the light reflecting off the pond. It has taken me twenty years to write what I just said.” Marguerite Duras, Writing Still thinking about these words, which I first read a few weeks ago in a car full of sleeping children. Yes, we create our own solitude. Or — and how to stop doing this? — we prevent our own solitude. Of course, I was afraid, …

Presents to myself

Like the Queen, I now seem to have two birthdays. The real, a day just like any other, and the official, on which I open cards and presents and we celebrate. For the last couple of years, the real — full of kids and routine, with B at work from very early to very late — has been a slightly sorry affair. But this year it was lovely. A sweet birthday note from T outside my bedroom door when I got up. Friends for coffee & cookies, all unaware of my birthday. Lunch with the Pip Pop. School pick-up, twice. A couple of chapters of ‘The Borrowers Afloat’. Then the usual rush of ballet class & tea. Pizza and the first episode of ‘The Killing 3‘ with B. Simple but lovely. It’s always reassuring when you actually enjoy your own real life. It helped that I’d taken the precaution of buying plenty of presents to myself. Then on Saturday, my official birthday, I felt very guilty when it turned out that B had also bought …