An Exceptional Day

I really was there clinging to every transient moment just like that bee; desperate to suck every last drop from the day. And, it was an exceptional day.

A bee shouldn’t be able to fly and it certainly shouldn’t be able to hang off a delicate butter-yellow flower with petals as thin as silk. But I found this one yesterday evening, clinging to this little cup while it swayed in the breeze, determined to suck up every drop of nectar,

There was nothing particularly special about yesterday, but it was an exceptional day; the weather was balmy, we ate supper out in the garden, and my sons made me laugh till I was helpless with tears.

They are these gorgeous human beings, whose company I love. They are taller than me now, and have done more to shape who I am than I imagined when they were born.

I know it is the best job in the world, and I am so happy I’ve made an effort to be here every day with them. But, I wonder if I really spent enough time in those moments with them? Was I there, really there, or was I busy getting stuff done?

We looked out at the garden together as we ate and drank and joked. We remembered the hours sat in the tree on a plank of wood lodged between branches that we imagined actually was a tree house. We shook our head at the memories of the pirates that fought the seas from the climbing-frame. And I sighed over the plants that had to die at the hands of little dinosaur-hunters.

I remember my father building a tent from plant canes and sarongs with them when they were 2 and 6, and I served a picnic. I wish I could remember what the sandwiches and apples tasted like, I wish I could remember what we talked about, and I really wish I could remember going in to look at them sleeping that night.

Now they are old enough to watch the same movies I like, they are always showing me their favorite links on the Internet. They are not afraid of disagreeing with me; they call me out when I’m unfair. They think for themselves in utterly surprising ways, they are funnier than I am, and sometimes, just sometimes, I need them more than they need me now.

Yesterday, looking at them, I couldn’t believe how fast it has gone.

I know it’s the refrain of all parents but it doesn’t make it less true. I hope I can always taste the burnt chorizo from the first barbeque they cooked. I hope I will always remember the facial expressions as they bounced off each other in banter. I hope I can hear exactly what their voices sounded like saying, “I love you” as they went to sleep.

Already those memories are fading, but I really was there clinging to every transient moment just like that bee; desperate to suck every last drop from the day. And, it was an exceptional day.

A Feast Of Old Friends And New Mirrors

To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved, now, anyhow, is a stealthy gift. A little of yourself feels well fed.

 

It was the kind of weekend when you gorge on every exchange, every memory, every intimate story, and all you want to do is greedily sweep the buffet table of conversations into your bag so you can live on leftover moments for months and months.  A portion of time that melts new layers of colour into the sky, and you return home changed forever.

It was the kind of weekend when you gorge on every exchange, every memory, every intimate story, and all you want to do is greedily sweep the buffet table of conversations into your bag so you can live on leftover moments for months and months.

A portion of time that melts new layers of colour into the sky, and you return home changed forever.

I went to a college reunion, 23 years have passed and half a lifetime of aspirations and dreams. There is always a question of where are you now, will you like who you find at the other end of going back? It turns out I was at college with people who saw you with their hearts, who celebrated the best in you, who accepted you. Who saw you for you.

Who knew that at the time ..?

What we remember mostly are our insecurities and pain, all anybody else remembers about us are the funny bits, the ridiculous, the heroic, the amazing things. It is impossible not to come away from a weekend like that with a new mirror.

To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved, now, anyhow, is a stealthy gift. A little of yourself feels nourished.

I found everyone had kept the best of themselves and knocked the rest into shape.

The bits I knew, and liked, and saw in them, were still there. In fact the time has probably made us more ourselves. It takes a long time to become real. You can’t be fragile, or have chips, or need a comfort blanket to get through this life. Life has to have loved you a little around the middle, and worn your joints with work, and bruised you with loss to leave you with the real you.

The fact that someone saw me, the same me they saw 20 years ago and liked then, and insisted on me seeing she is still there, revealed another layer to me and I have no choice but to know it.

If someone can see the best in you and reflect it so you can not help but see it too it is perhaps their greatest gift. When they give it without expecting reciprocation they have the heart of a hero.

 Live with the courage to be this person to people..

I saw a hundred hearts light up this weekend as they saw themselves through the eyes of old friends, through an abundant spread of acceptance, celebration, generosity, kindness and, yes, reconciliation. It was the warm, generous, comfort food of a hundred hugs.

I felt love. As you can see, I suddenly produced work that demanded new colours seen with those eyes. The night I came back home there was the most incredible sunset – every window in our street was aflame. The metaphor did not escape me.

They say it is never too late to have a happy childhood ..