Observing life...

posted on: Monday, 31 March 2014

What to say? I have ahead a week of being in my son's company as he has broken up from school before his sister. I love these times as frankly, there is very little in life more endearing than an eight (nearly nine) year old boy who chats about everything from dinosaurs to becoming a chef when he is older. That or a professional rugby player. His take on the world is a tonic and I enjoy this one-on-one time so much for that reason. Absolutely precious.

via dust jacket
And then my daughter...there's nothing like having a near-teen daughter to remind me of the passing of time. It's like when a song is played on the radio from ten years ago and you feel like it was yesterday that you last heard it. There are subtleties; I see myself in her. She has the same physique that I did, although she's stronger and more confident in her body than I ever was. I write about her less here than I used to as I am conscious that she could read this - although I doubt she does. One day she might...

My observation at the moment is that she is so full of the promise of youth; that unique time when the whole world stands before her and it's almost overwhelming to know where to take it. I have to say that in the years of parenting that I have experienced (and I am a novice compared to some, I know) the pride I feel for her just grows. There can be confusion though as her actions now don't always invoke unequivocal pride, whereas when she was younger they did. I guess the point is: I feel pride despite her actions and maybe that is what unconditional mother love is all about.

It's funny how reaching a school holiday would normally prompt logistical planning to rival the military - but now it's more like a lovely free fall from the rigour of term time. I used to fret and schedule and generally 'get through' the holidays whereas now, significantly less so. They will have nearly a month off so I am sure by the end I will be longing for some time alone (without dinosaur questions) but for now it feels like a treat to have their company. I guess as my children get older the time they spend alone with me will dwindle. We now rarely go away on holiday without a pack of friends as it works better that way. We are skiing next week with three other families, for example.

I am reading this book of short stories 'Dear Life' by Alice Munro, who at the ripe age of eighty-something was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature last year. The book is so achingly good in a truly subtle way; she writes what she knows and there is a lot of autobiographical detail about Canada that I really enjoyed. What I love the most about her work though is that it's not always jazzy; it's gripping and human and real. It doesn't always have spark and that is exactly the kind of honest writing I aspire to. Sometimes life is quiet and sometimes it is loud and I am fine with either. I hope my readers are too.

Meanwhile I saw this quote and thought I should take a leaf out of that particular book. I admit I have devoted way too much time lately pondering my age and what it all means; milestone birthdays do that to you. I am going to stop now and just get on with things.

One enduring point of age-frustration remains however and that is what to wear! I still spend a disproportionate amount of time considering if I am the 'right' age for something or other and fervently wishing that I had made more daring fashion choices in my younger years. Was it that the 1990s/2000s were a dry old time for fashion? I look back now and think what a missed opportunity; my college wardrobe consisted largely of Levi 501's, a shirt and Chelsea boots. I'd wear the same now (except that skinnies rule my jean world). I never embraced the bohemian surfer chick. Or the preppy New England girl. Or really anything. Maybe this is why I love the 1980's? Madonna's like a virgin phase was my one sartorial rebellion. Ah well, I can now try and perfect the elegant 40 year old; no mean feat but I am endeavouring.


  1. Just returned home from a day out with my daughter as we couldn't spend it together yesterday on Mothering Sunday. So need to sit down quietly and read this post thoroughly, it has SO much in it I want to comment on. Lou, you really are a natural writer, where is that book?! X

  2. I know I've already sent a text to you tonight but I have to say it again....you are SUCH a good writer, I love what you do with words. What you write is always so well thought out, you have a knack for selecting the perfect word.

    "We want a book, we want a book!!!" LOL!

    My personal view is that there is nothing like having a teenager to make you enjoy an 8 year old even more ;) My little one sat out on the garden bench tonight reading his book wrapped in a duvet with a hot chocolate & a hot water bottle....claiming it was summertime LOL! I let him stay out there as long as I could :)

    It's interesting that you holiday with friends....maybe it's because we only have one big holiday each year, but I guard that time so privately, I don't even like making friends on the beach! Mind you, I have friends who ski in a large group so I do get that skiing works very well like that.

    Bring on the holidays I say, we are so ready....even though I cannot believe we are almost into summer term!

    Love the sound of the book you mention, I am making a note of it.

    My daughter listens to a radio station that plays mostly 80s & 90s, isn't that funny?! The other day she was listening to "Maniac" & asked me what "Flashdance" was!! She appears to be developing your love of the 80/90s ;)

    Lovely post Lou Xx

  3. I love the way you write Lou; every word just seems to flow naturally and authentically. You are very gifted x

  4. You will rock the elegant 40 year old I am sure. I have that book on my "to read" list ~ if memory serves me correctly I believe she won an award for it. Happy Monday xo

  5. There's not much better in the world than a little boy. They're fascinating creatures, aren't they? So simple, loving, sweet, curious...

    That book is on my to-read list as well, happy you're enjoying it.

    And funny how quickly we've moved on from the whole "being 40" thing. It was all about the anticipation. Now....eh. Whatever. I'm 40. Life is still beautiful. :-)

    Have a wonderful time skiing! I'm going to stare out the window at the tips of the tulips just starting to poke up out of the ground and look forward to warmer days.