“Can we make ice blocks, mum?” she pleads, in that way to which I can’t say no. Her eyes are ablaze and I pause for a second, taking them in. It’s in these moments I realise I hold the Matriarch Torch I so cherish. I am – for now – central to lighting the way towards togetherness and tradition, belonging and fun and – ultimately – memories which will shape her for the rest of her life. In these eyes-ablaze moments I don’t see an activity request, I see an invitation to build her childhood tall.
And my answer, always, is yes.
Maybe it’s because I didn’t get a childhood like other kids did. Maybe it’s because I find the kind of silly innocence she has somewhat intoxicating – a second chance, perhaps, for me to dive deep into the joy of childhood on my own terms. I take these simple memory-making moments of being together – excitement sparked by the smallest, most innocent of things – for all they are worth and I let them make me as happy as they do. I’m aware in these moments that my children are giving me the chance to redefine what childhood can be. I’m aware and I’m grateful for it.
“Sure, honey.” I say. “Let’s make ice blocks.”
And let’s just say that if you give a mouse an ice block, he’ll raise that glorious seasonal flag from half-mast to peak and officially declare a Summer’s Coming party. Think ice blocks for breakfast. Think windows down in the car, hair whipping about. Think trips to the waterpark, newly re-opened for the summer. Think No Clothes Day (the kids made up that one).
So far they’ve been exceptionally joyous participants, especially the small one who would move to a nudist colony in a hot little heartbeat if he knew he wouldn’t miss his dadda so much. And his sister. Today, my dad came to pick Ella up to take her for a putt around the driving range and Billy sat on the stairs for ten straight minutes wailing for her. Every time I tried to console him, he pushed me away and cried Ey-ya even louder.
Bless those two and their love.
I scoured the internet for cool activities these school holidays, rattling some off to Joel who gets on board the full enthusiasm train when it comes to family time. Throw in the words tinsel and Santa, his dial drops a notch but hey – he’s getting better. He told me this morning it’s twelve weeks until Christmas and he only grumbled a bit when I asked him to build me a few things for our annual Halloween pumpkin-carving party.
Grateful for this torch I hold, for this family of mine, and for that little mouse and his cookie. Summer’s a-comin’ y’all!
I’ll be popping back on Friday with a gorgeous photo session I did recently. Happy Hump Day!
Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. — Ralph Waldo Emerson