While it may seem like a simple concept this actually turned out to be a lesson in living flexibly and going with the flow. We didn’t set out to forage a wildflower bouquet. The plan was for Julia, of chocolate torte fame, and me to hit our local Greenway, collecting basketfuls of elderflowers as we walked and head home to whip up a seasonal cordial.
But clearly, as this post is not about elderflower cordial the plan went to hell fairly quickly.
Though some may imagine us to be impeccably organised business ladies the reality is we’re actually just a couple of scatter-brained hippies who could barely beat our way out of a wet, paper bag. Luckily that stands us in good stead when things don’t quite run smoothly. Like when there are, for instance, barely any elderflower trees on the Greenway and the ones we did find were entirely encompassed by nettles.
As we laughed at our failing mission, Lucas ran alongside us regardless, basket in hand shouting about picking flowers. And who are we to disappoint such a cute tiny human? It was, in fact, a genius side-step by him. It forced us from our original trajectory into something much more special. An afternoon of teaching, listening and learning. On both parts. Blowing dandelions and avoiding nettles, appropriately renamed ‘White Fluffies’ and ‘Nasty Nippers’. The simplicity of kids’ minds is so refreshing.
Getting outdoors brings with it the opportunity to do something which can get a little lost amidst the slow churn of laundry and the Groundhog Day feeling that can creep up on you. As well as some much needed fresh air it offers the chance to devote your full attention to the kids. They’re perceptive little sponges, soaking up everything around them; the good, the bad and the disinterested. So it’s vital – for both of you – to dedicate even just a few hours where you hide your phone, disconnect from your workload and really look them in the eye, listen to their babbling stories and respond wholeheartedly.
We walked slowly, holding hands, taking it all in and following his lead. Getting down to his level. I’m not saying his choices made the final cut – mostly because his choices were all orange and 1 cm long – but that doesn’t matter. He doesn’t care about the finished masterpiece yet. It’s the adventure that he’s interested in. Moments like this show kids that they’re included, that they’re wanted and encourages natural, mindful play.
There is also something magical about watching people you adore pour love on your kids. I met Julia at a tough time in my life. I had lost two babies in as many years and I was struggling emotionally. Despite being a waffler with written words I am not a talker and, if anything, am painfully private.
Julia arrived like a nuclear explosion of energy, told me she liked my eyebrows and we’ve been creative kindred spirits ever since. She’s walked this journey with me. Propped me up, bought me groceries, witnessed the sleep deprivation and the subtle changes in identity while helping me retain my sense of self.
Motherhood can be an isolating experience and the road to it is not always as simple as you imagined it might be in your formative years. Even one person is enough to break that seclusion. Now, with the newborn bubble a relatively distant memory, I still find it so reenvigorating just to take a walk, chat about everything and nothing and share the load of the kiddos for a while.
Whatever you do and whoever you do it with, it’s important to talk.
Coincidently what is also, if not equally, important is establishing which wildflowers will smell of wee once picked and inside your home. Try and suss this out before you style it or your fabulous bouquet will remain outside, taunting you with it’s glorious, botanical beauty.
Until next time, lovely folk, don’t be a stranger – come find me on Instagram.