Today, I am enjoying some quiet time at my computer whilst the boys are making the most of the sports camp at our local school. I feel grateful for this opportunity. I have been blessed with a work-free Summer, so made the most of every day with the boys. Today, things are a little different as torrential rain waters my garden, I feel grateful that they can run and play with friends indoors and I can focus on my own projects for a little while. All is well.
Last week, we headed down to the Cornish coast… me, my boys, Mum, brother, his dog and our luggage, all squashed into one (medium-sized) car. It was a squeeze, but we did it and made the journey from Barnet to Newquay (stops included) in around 5 hours, my brother (in spite of a bad back) at the wheel, Mum in the front and me, sat on the high spot between the boys, Ivy (the dog)’s nose poking over the back seat on occasion, just to remind us she was there. We all stayed at The Blue Room, which was perfect for us and became our home from home for a few days. We felt settled and welcome.
I have few immediate relatives; Mum and my late father were only children, so time with Mum, brother and my boys is precious to us all. Many happy memories were created last week. On Monday evening, a coastal walk at Constantine took me back to memories of being there the previous year and I re-staged a photograph taken then, marking the passing of time, the changes in one year and the relationship between by children. I realise, more and more, how the photographs I take encapsulate things, moments and people I am grateful for.
On our second day, rocks were climbed, crabs were caught, and we met up with my ex-husband’s cousin and her gorgeous little son, not yet two, who I hadn’t met before. They suggested a fabulous place for us to meet… sea views, good food, Pimms and space for the children to play. One of the greatest joys was seeing how big boy interacted with the little one and they instantly connected. Magic moments. One of the pleasures of meeting people in the place where they live is that they often share with you the very best of their home town and we were gifted with gorgeous evening skies whilst the kids played table tennis and other games, birds and bats swooping overhead as the sun set.
On day three, we met with some special friends. My Godmother Jane, her husband Martin and her hundred-year-old father. Never before had we all been together and I felt so grateful that “Uncle” Wynford was able to come out in the rain and I could tell by big boy’s gentle way with him that he was in awe of this centenarian. Wynford’s conversational skills and knowledge of current affairs put me to shame and I learned so much in the moment from his willingness to address subjects other may have skirted (it’s not everyone who asks you how your ex-husband is) and this was very much appreciated.
By day four, my brother’s back was so bad it was time for me to learn how to drive his car, so my first lesson in an automatic commenced as Mum took the boys off for pancakes. Just as well those who told me it was easy were right as I was the one who drove us home on a journey which started on Friday morning and lasted for eleven long hours. It may sound hellish and yes, in the toilet of one service station I did briefly contemplate the fact that I could probably have left my North London home, caught a flight to Greece and be sunning myself on a yacht by now, but in spite of the length of our journey, there was much to be grateful for and I was able to look on the bright side. Whilst we cannot control situations, our power lies in the way we choose to react to them and gratitude was easy on this occasion. Firstly, I had more experience driving an automatic than I bargained for and this gave me confidence. I often feel incredibly tired whilst motorway driving, sometimes even after half an hour and this time I didn’t. Not even once. I had good company, we were all together, all safe and plenty of time for conversation. Being the driver, I was not wedged between boys and bags. Mum coped admirably. The scenery was beautiful… layers of cloud between forest looked so lovely. I felt so grateful to my brother for inviting us with him.
Towards the end of our time in Cornwall, big boy asked me “what do you miss about home Mum?” and I could think of nothing as I had all I needed right there. Oh, I could so happily live the simple life and I do, as much as possible. How little we need to be happy really.
As I begin this week with gratitude, my head is filled with happy memories and I feel excited about the things I intend to share with you in the coming days and weeks. I will soon be sharing a series of gratitude interviews with people who have a gratitude practice and were kind enough to share their thoughts and experiences with me. I will also be sharing more about how I am choosing to live my life, the books I am reading, the action, my approach, my influences and how it all plays out. Thank you for being here with me.