I know I have been a little quiet recently.
I’ve been busy, you see, with raising my family, struggling with bouts of sickness in one or three at the same time, helping my son with his burgeoning enthusiasm to learn to read, guiding my daughter in her burgeoning sense of autonomy and growth, and generally feeling a little helpless to do anything.
I have been mindful of keeping the radio off around the children; not wanting my curious child to ask ‘why did they shoot those people?’ or ‘why are they going to bomb those people’ or ‘what does poverty mean?’. I want to protect, as far as I can, my children from the wider anxieties of our society. After all, emotions internationally have been running high; the Government has been cooking its books in the run up to Christmas; and, for many reasons, people here and abroad are hurting.
So, really, I have struggled with finding anything to say. Anything at all. Not even a Friday Funny. Because I’m not in a funny mood. I’m just in a mood.
But I want to share something I have written recently but have sat on, busy with life, busy with the children, busy trying to make time with my husband, and busy trying to set aside time for myself which is free from writing, reading, studying or worrying.
And it is this.
It was John Lennon who said that ‘life is what happens when we are busy making other plans’. Well, nowadays, the attitude in our culture seems to be that ‘life is what happens while you are otherwise busy raising children’.
For mothers who are ‘at home’ with their children, the message can feel stark: you are missing out, sisters. Life’s out there – out there in the ‘public sphere’, where you get to be respected as a fully formed, adult human being, rather than sneered at as some snot and vomit wiper-upper who sings Baa Baa Black Sheep all day and wastes her potential.
Well, for me, my time raising my young children has been the most intense ‘life’ experience, the hardest work, has fostered the most ‘life’ changing attitudes and outlooks, and is – at heart – the result of the fact that I brought and sustained life in two little human beings. And I get to share this time with them. These wonderful little people.
So, actually, I feel that it’s the other way around. Life isn’t just what happens when we are busy working ‘out there’, or making plans for something else. Life isn’t just what happens when we are busy making money or building a career.
When people suffer, as many have, they think of the people they love – and plans go out the window.
Reflecting on this for the past few weeks, and struggling to get back to clarity or motion in my writing during this period of haziness, I was led to the feeling that being with my children has been the time of my life.
I want them to know that. In time.
So, perhaps it might be just as fair to say that life is what is happening when you are with the ones you love.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/44529998@N03/8217086384″>life’s all that colorful because of you!</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>