Swings & roundabouts

This week I found myself in a town with a spare hour on my hands as I waited for the garage to put two new tyres on my car. I look at that time now as an opportunity.  Previously I would have been frustrated at this ‘waste of time’.

Myself  and the pooch wandered around the historic town and made our way to the local park. It’s a park that I took both my kids to when they were little.  Afterwards we’d go to the cafe around the corner for chips. The cafe isn’t there anymore. Replaced by a rather snazzy Indian restaurant. 

The park is very pretty with luscious drooping trees, a playful stream runs under two small bridges and there’s a glistening lake home to an array of wildlife.    

As I walk towards the swings area a blonde woman with a pink jumper runs after her two little ones. A boy and a girl about 3 and 5. There’s a higher ledge in this park and I remember mine doing the same. They’d climb to the top. It was only about 4 ft high but I guess they’d feel tall for a change and they’d run up and down chasing each other, refusing to come down until they were ready.  

The little girl ran to the slide.  She had some crisps in one hand. I could hardly look as she walked the steep steps only holding on with one set of tiny fingers. I remember it well.  Watching with my heart in my mouth waiting for them to get to the point where they stood up. On top of the slide.  She stands and wobbles and I have to stop myself from shouting.. hold on! Sit down!  After a few more crisps and seconds she does thankfully  sit-down and of course merrily slips down the shiny slide giggling.  At the end she gets up to do it all again. She is completely innocent of the ridiculous worry around her. 

Throughout this moment of ‘terror’ I’m reminded of the hundreds of moments where I’ve worried… about slides and roads and ‘strangers’ and grapes and rashes. As they get older it changes to cars and heartache and careers and how to get them to eat a melon rather than a Mars bar.

Parenting is the funnest and the scariest time of your life. 

I keep walking and sit on a bench at the park looking over at the lake.  I sit thinking and reflect on the fact this week will mark the third year that we lost Tes. It now feels like a very long 3 years. The pain hasn’t changed.  We’ve just had to build a different life around the pain .  I long to be able to worry about her. I ache to see her. I miss her so very much. The loss has no words. It’s still indescribable. I’m almost overcome as I sit there but I’m not.  I manage to control it.

I sit for a while with my thoughts.. . I take things in these days. It probably sounds corny. I look at the trees, properly. I study the ducks as they pair up and swim in lines.  I enjoy the sight of a young woman throwing the ball for her excitable bounding lab.  I smile at the man who has got a deckchair out,  no doubt celebrating a day of sunshine despite the fact it’s barely above 10 degrees.

With some prodding from pooch I get up and leave the family of ducks.

The blonde woman in pink now walks towards me and the two children are playing with sticks in the river. They smile at me as I walk back and as the sun shines on my face I smile at them too and walk on, keeping going. 

I reflect on our worries big and small and also on the life ahead that we know nothing about.  All we can do is stand on top of that slide, take in the view and make the most of every imperfect day.

Happy Sunday everyone xx

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