What I’ve Learned: Summer 2018


The days yawn, seemingly endless. My vocabulary becomes reduced to a screech (‘Door!’) as forgetful bodies traipse in and out, bringing the oppressive air with them. We relax the rules, stay up late, toss and turn in tangled sheets under a whirring fan. Pages turn, words transport us to worlds that beckon. It is a season of celebration, of constant change, day by day living and water spraying.

I’m linking up with Emily Freeman to muse over six things I have learned in this riot of a season.

1. Front steps can make a world of difference to a facade

Dave has been trying to convince me for a while now that we should organise for a set of steps to lead to our front door. I put him off for a long time, convinced it would make little difference and just result in the spending of money for little gain. I was wrong. When the last plank was laid and the dust washed away, we both surveyed the scene with pleasure. It really made the whole house look better. Since then we have had many a guest haplessly drive past thinking they must have detoured down the wrong street before circling back and marvelling at the change.

BEFORE (Admittedly a very old shot, but the only one I could find from a similar perspective)

AFTER (Okay, so a garden, a letterbox and a driveway also make a difference!)

2. Tea tastes better from a proper tea cup

When Ivy turned three, we marked the occasion with a tea party fit for a princess and my mum launched herself into the spirit of the theme by scouring opp shops for charming tea sets. We now are the proud owners of a quirky mismatched collection and Ivy refuses to drink her tea from anything else. I have little choice but to join her and I do marvel at the ability of a simple, slender ceramic vessel for transforming the experience into an occasion of presence and rejuvenation. Of course, a slice of cake (or some chocolate) never fails to lift the mood either!

3. Pain shared dissipates more quickly

If you know me well you know that one of my greatest fears is putting people out or having people think ill of me. I once got a speeding ticket because I was hurrying to get out of the way of an incessant tailgater. On the second official day of school I distractedly scraped the side of another lady’s car as I was leaving the car park and absently wrote the noise off as one of the kids’ drink bottles hitting the floor. When a whole school email highlighted the incident and I went to check my vehicle I had the stomach-dropping realisation of what I had done and I wished the floor could have opened up and swallowed me. Reaching out to close friends made such a difference when I was in the throes of woe as they knew exactly what to say to make the pain fade a little. It also turns out facing up to my wrong and making amends set the stage for a valuable way to connect with my eldest son, however, when he made a mistake at school and had to make it right.

4. Parenting Gets More Complicated

I have heard the wistful (and potentially slightly patronising) sentiment many a time ‘Oh, how I wish I could return to the days when my kids were younger and sleep problems and potty training were the only problems I had to worry about.” I’m still firmly in the grip of these younger years whilst navigating the transitioning reality of a boy who is eager to grow up but unsure exactly how to do so without getting burned. I think the nostalgia of ‘going back to the past’ is a little overplayed, but I can identify with the heart behind the notion that everything was easier when a kiss from Mummy could solve everything. My eldest is only in Grade 1, but there is an unwieldy looseness to his emotional scars now that I can’t cuddle away even if he would let me. If this is a taste of the complexity that is to come, I’m a little apprehensive…but hopeful that somehow we will be able to navigate the tricky waters together.

5. Great curry is only a book away

If you haven’t discovered the cook book ‘The Curry Guy‘, I would be so brazen to suggest you haven’t truly lived. If you have ever had the disappointing experience of trying to create restaurant-style Indian curries at home only to find them to be a bland and insipid version, look no further (and I promise this isn’t even a sponsored post!). Dan Toombs breaks it down into manageable parts and you can make the experience as complex or simple as you wish – with recipes for a base curry sauce batch (that made no less than 10 family size curries), spice mixes, sides and accompaniments. I watched the kids shovel mouthfuls away and ask for more without having any idea of how many vegetables they had just consumed.

6. Taking a holiday before Christmas is a winner

Arriving home the night before Christmas Eve may not seem like the smartest thing to do with the crazy rush, but somehow it really re-centered our family. The plan to escape to an historic converted schoolhouse forced us to have everything organised before the last minute and while it felt a little exhausting to be packing and unpacking a huge car load just before we did the same thing with mountains of presents and food, it was worth it. We visited splash parks and the Discovery Center in Bendigo, read lots of books and lay under the air-conditioner willing it to cool us. I think it could even become a family tradition.

What have you learned over the Summer season? I’d love to hear from you!

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