Did you know that June is the month for roses? Yup. If you look out for them, you’ll see them everywhere. Blooming. Showing off. Being wonderful. It’s this time of year, every year, that I remind myself I must plant a rose bush – they’re just so bloody gorgeous. So queue some mild self-loathing (just what I need!) that for another year I never got around to that particular job. We get wild roses in abundance in the ditches and roadsides around the Burren. They are all shades of pink – briared, quaint and pretty. Owning the hedgerow. They make my heart sing.
Apart from smelling roses ad hoc, and as permitted by somewhat controlling little ones that like a buggy to keep moving forward, uninterrupted by indulgent perfume inhaling, June has also had me taking a stock, of sorts. It’s not an obvious month for that sort of thing – however, for me at least, a few things are colliding. My first born turned four this month, so we’re approximately 48 months, 1,460 days (is that all?) into this thing called Mamahood. A ten word synopsis of same? An insane, emotional, life-exploding journey of very happy madness.
Play school is out too and so begins a few-weeks return to the chaotic bliss of the love-it-sometimes-cant-take-any-more-of-it role that is full-time parenting. I can’t wait really. Joining our local playschool in January for two three-hour days every week (we added a third in May, he likes it so much) has been a great addition to all our lives. It’s been lovely seeing him enjoy something that’s all his. He’s made some friends. He’s learned new things – often surprising me with a song or a phrase or a game he could only have acquired there, outside our small circle of home. For our family it’s brought about the beginning of a real integration into the local community where the pre and national schools are a genuine heart-centre and hub.
I will love, however, having him all back to myself, under my wing. Long, un-binding, plan-less days for quiet and play and small adventures. What is it about the Summer school break that still excites even me, a (somewhat) responsible, non-school-attending adult? There’ll be fighting, boredom and nervous breakdowns too, obviously, but isn’t that the beauty of home life? It offers the full range of emotions. I know myself these slow, time-drenched Summers are dwindling. Every year brings more independence, more integration and more individuality for the small man. And soon his sister will be following suit. I welcome and want that. But I also acknowledge the gradual passing of our insular and insulated lives together. I know it’s just the next step – but time is flying!
There’s another next step. This Summer, all going well, we will have a new baby with a few weeks under their tiny belt by the time a new playschool year comes knocking. So just as the wee man’s dependence on me dwindles, a new person will blur with my person – as the process demands – and we’ll start all over again. It makes me so, so excited and joyous and happy. It makes me feel overwhelmed and daunted ahead of the sleep deprivation and relationship/self/other-child juggling and sheer hard work involved. It makes me want to smell the roses all the more – to enjoy the now, and to take a minute to imagine how our family will stand next June, when the roses return after another busy year.
Today is our calendar’s longest day – our fantastic Summer evenings have reached a mighty crescendo. I always find it a melancholy day too however as, light-wise at least, let’s face it, it’s all downhill from here to Christmas. (Yes. I did just mention Christmas). Just as when a rose is at it’s peak, it’s on the way out. The Summer Solstice reminds us that everything is part of a cycle, has it’s allotted time, comes and goes.
Making and raising kids is like a juggernaut – a juggernaut that doesn’t slow down for anyone. However, I’m hoping that the school holidays – and their associated, unavoidable joy – can implore it to pause a little longer, to at least make time appear slower. Just let us enjoy the luxury of Summer days full of freedom and baby kicks and family time before it’s time to move on yet again. I feel like I need to draw my breath and just press pause. Is there a slow-motion app thingy available for my life? It’s all good and hand on heart we want to keep moving… it’s all just going so fast and I’m not sure I’m able to take it all in.
Maybe for now, the best I can do is just keep smelling the roses…