Tuesday, 22 January 2008

three (or is it four?) weeks in one day

Strap in, we've got ground to cover.

There were some perfect beach days. Those ones where someone else is watching your kids playing at the shore line and eating sand and you are free for a moment. When the waves rise up before you like a three story building and you have a moment of panic that this one will be the one that pulls you under, dumps you, fills your nose with sand and your sinuses with sea water. And you want to make a run for the shallows but it is too late so you meet it head on, jump as high as you can and for a moment you are sailing high with just the very tip breaking over your head before you sail down the other side, floating, flying. Wave after perfect wave caught at just the right moment. The sun shining but not too burny, the water cold, the air warm. Everyone is happy. Packing up and feeling invigorated and yet exhausted. Covered in sand. Starving hungry you stop at the bakery for sausage rolls and lamingtons and cold drinks and last mouthful swallowed instantly the kids are asleep in the back of the car.

Love those days. Remember those days from other years. Years when I was one of the kids asleep in the back.

And there were other days, days too hot to go out in the sun. Days with quick beach visits early in the morning and afternoons of knitting and crafting and puzzles and card games. Days ending in barbecues and backyard cricket and post dinner beach walks and rolling tired sandy kids into bed at 9.30 with the fans going.

Lying in dark rooms trying to get a cranky baby to sleep.

Long mornings on cooler days when said baby catches up on sleep.

Projects planned and finished and old projects gone cold now revived.

New skills tried and practiced.
Complicated knitting cables, porcelain painting, shibori felting, mosaics, photography, Das clay modelling. First day of school outfit designed (by wearer) and sewn (by mother). New toys designed and patterns written up. Agreements signed for publications. Details in time.

Visits from family and friends, a rare stretch of time with my little brother who lives far away. Days with my mum, days with my sister, days with someone who gets the crafting thing.

Many many days without shopping or hanging out in flourescent lights or buying stuff I don't need. Living out of the pantry and tiny beach kiosk while D made purposive trips back to Melbourne.

And some days too when children wouldn't/couldn't/didn't sleep so grown ups didn't either and harsh words were said and tempers were lost and everyone wished they were somewhere else. Dark and sad days like punctuation through the tumble of other bright happy sunny days.

Reading a book. A book! From the very start to the very finish. Man I want more reading time in my life.

A few furtive visits to internet cafes, awaiting news and instructions for upcoming projects and not much liking being out of touch and feeling isolated. And feeling overwhelmed by the number of emails awaiting, and how little I could do with the information I had. Wishing technology would catch up with my needs.

Watching my baby barreling to the brink of toddlerdom. Fascinated by all things small and mechanical, exploratory, mobile. Playing at standing unaided. Hitting his head. Hard and often. Refusing to eat any form of baby food but gutsing down ham and cheese sandwiches cut into itty bitty cubes. Making new sounds which are funny and enchanting and sometimes horribly, ear damagingly loud.

And my big girl taking command of the beach (and camera). From timid and sand dwelling to boogie board riding surfer girl. Lecturing mum and dad on beach safety and life savers and signage and emergency procedures. Open water swim classes transforming her into a confident and mature and very brown little seal. And having her first ever non-family sleep over. Without a hitch of course. Painting her toenails and almost having her hair straightened by highly groomed teenagers. Which was kind of frightening.

While all this life stuff was going on there was also some cerebral activity, believe it or not. Some reflection, some thinking and figuring stuff out. Lots of writing of posts in my head I can no longer remember.

All thrown into high relief upon returning to real life. Walking into my house and thinking
Why didn't I make some kind of effort to tidy before I left?
When did my house get so small and full of stuff?
How much difference a coat of paint makes and the new room looks distinctly room like.
How can anyone find peace so far from the ocean?
How come I washed clothes all the time while I was away and still have seven loads of washing to do?
How are you supposed to know where to start?

I want to blog it all straight away so I don't forget this feeling, this transition when normal life seems totally unreal and the fantasy life of summer holidays seems so utterly real and what is usually invisible and unconscious is hitting you between the eyes and it is all so meaningful and interesting but I can't blog since I can't push past the mountains of stuff in the hallway that is blocking all the doorways. Boxes of toys and books and project materials and sewing machines and pushers and boogie boards and foam mattresses and doonas and pillows and piles and piles of sandy towels and dirty sheets and wet washing and porta cots and kitchen stuff and bikes and suitcases and newly acquired school bags.

Even that seems important. That it's always a fight to get to where you want to go and when you give up on trying to jam it all in nice and tight, when you pull back on the jammin', everything starts to stack up.

But I'm trying to learn a bit of balance too and live a bit more of the holiday life in real time. Not in the slacking off sense, but in the containment sense. Trying not to let all the little pulls and tugs of the environment dissipate my focus.

Amy starts school next week and I go back to working soon after, both in my straight job and my craft teaching. I know the year long scheduling nightmare commences very soon, but the holidays cleared a lot of stuff off my desk too and that's cause for celebration if only because there should be a few less of those funny shaped little tetris clusters hitting me over the head.


JACKet said...

Yeah its about to get real busy. Sound like you had a great holiday, and made the "pin up boy Hat' tricky. Jacky

kirsten said...

welcome back. when you nail the trick to the "life" juggle, just let me know - i could do with some of that...

Jodie said...

Great post- just so full of all of it -thankyou and I spied those exciting little words hidden in there and can't wait to hear more about it when the time comes.

Suse said...

That was kind of exhausting Sooz.

Di said...

Sounds like a great time was had (even with small hiccups in between it still sounds great). Welcome back!!

I agree with Suse - I feel exhausted just reading it!!

manda said...

ohhhh how can anyone live happily so far from the beach? i agree.
welcome back to the crazy world.

Brad said...

Sooz, just so on the whole thing! Hints of memories from long ago, weather, people, salt, sand, mayonnaise(!) and the whole damn thing! The return was the same for us too when we got back last week! A great post!

AnnieB said...

lovely post, so lovely. Brought all the feelings of my own summer holidays (in July/August) as both adult and child flooding back...I too have a boogie board riding surfer girl now - great aren't they?!