I’ve never been one for love letters…

My Husband…

I’ve never been one for love letters. Perhaps my heart is a little too big to wear on my sleeve, or the words fall over eachother clumsily when I try to bring them together. When I try to say ‘I love you’ with all the words it deserves.

But as time passes I realize that those three words can’t possibly contain it all, and that they tumble from me so often they blur into the other words that make up our days. They become like habit, comfortable and reliable, but not all they should be.

The truth is that life gets busy. It gets so busy at times that it steals whole days sometimes before we get a chance to really see eachother. We see the mess to clean up, the squealing kids, the work to be done. We talk about all the have tos and need tos but the wants… they hang there unsaid, stolen by all the stuff that distracts us and we forget how much we ache for them.

Sometimes I watch you when you don’t realize it. When you’re focused on work or when laughter escapes your lips. I drink in all the intricacies that make you who you are and I allow myself that moment to fall in love a little more. Sometimes it feels like a warmth bubbling up in my chest, other times like a comfort, a safe place to land.

The I love yours in marriage become mixed over time, and you realize now and then that the thoughtful moments say it as much as words. That the gestures and touches and private jokes blend in with the hard work to make this family whole and it becomes a bit of a tapestry together. It’s quite beautiful really, the dance we do getting through the every day, each move so essential to the other.

Thank you for the soft place to rest my head when I lay in your arms, thank you for the tingles when you kiss me, for taking out the trash when it’s too cold outside, for the way you rest your hand on the small of my back when we walk up hills to give me a boost. Thank you for making a space where I can be raw and honest, angry, passionate, crazy or sad and still seeing the beautiful in me.

I’ve never been one for love letters, but every day is my I love you.

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Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2013

The things you teach me

My babies,

Before me you are growing every day. Now and again I go a week or so without noticing just how much, then I stroke your head or hold your hand and the weight of it is different in mine, your hair wilder, your fingers stronger as they entwine with my own, your sigh deeper as you lean in for a hug. I wish I could take a snapshot in those times, photos I could feel back to, to remember your scent, your lopsided grin or the oh too many kisses you assault me with while the housework mounts just outside of our moment.

I am struck by so much about this time, and even with this I know there is more I’ll find later, like a treasure hunt you set up every day without me knowing. There is wisdom and laughter in this and it’s right there for years to come when the deepening of my perspective makes it obvious to look back on.

There are many things I’m learning from you now, from both of you. I’m learning that you are my mirrors – much kinder, wiser and more honest than the ones under harsh lighting in the bathroom. I am learning to accept the flowers and sticky fingered cuddles and whispers of “you’re my princess” like gifts, and to cherish that view of myself through your wide eyes. I am humbled by that love, and try to tell you the same every day with actions and laughter as much as the words I whisper into your soft hair.

I am learning that your bad moments are just as much of a gift to me as your good ones. That the hard is just as good as the easy, even if it doesn’t feel as smooth at the time. As I teach you about life you teach me right back. You teach me not to lose myself in overwhelm if you scream in a tantrum, you teach me to be aware of each moment so I can piece your preferences together like a jigsaw, and that more often than not, your state is a reflection of my own. Even when it isn’t, me being in a place of ease and happiness relaxes you like a hug you probably wouldn’t want me to give you at the time.

I have learned that minds are naturally hungry, but are picky as the eaters they are attached to, and that information, properly prepared can be just as sweet as your favourite dish. You teach me that mischief is actually curiosity, ‘getting into things’ is actually exploration, and that looking me in the eye while you do what you shouldn’t is actually learning the arts of persuasion.

You teach me to be patient, even when I’m not.

I see every day from you that we learn what we love, so love is the thing most worth fostering because learning follows impossibly close behind without fail.

I am discovering that the magic I find in words may be hidden for you in patterns of lego or the great outdoors, so not to try to force my own magic on you, but rather follow, heart in my throat, hoping to catch a glimpse of what I can learn of yours.

I am discovering that good and bad, tired and relaxed, stressed and happy can and often do coexist in the same moment, but that we choose which one we see. This is such an important lesson that we’re teaching each other a little of it each day.

I am learning to stretch, with you, because of you and for you. And I am better for it.

That the best example I can give you is to be the best of who I am, which doesn’t mean being perfect, it means being wildly curious, joyful, playful and kind.

You show me the absurd in the world around us, and the fierceness in myself as I rise to protect you from anything less than you deserve. All the while we find the good together in places we often didn’t expect.

You are both so whole and fascinating before me, and I am relaxing into seeing you with the richness of now, rather than the hopes, pressures and fears of the future. I do not need to see the men in you in right now, that’s not my role, my role is to see the spark in you right now and let it light something of your future each day.

So thank you, little boys, for the muchness of all that you are.

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Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2013

The Paradox of Positive Thinking

We read a lot these days that our thoughts create our reality. I believe that. But I also believe that the positive thinking concept has got it a little backwards.

Our thoughts are born of feelings. They flow from where we’re at, a silent dialogue of the emotion that birthed them.

Moments of peace create peaceful thoughts, moments of joy, joyful imaginings and moments of anguish naturally give way to darker wanderings of mind.

Trying to change the natural flow of this dialogue while you’re amongst it is like standing in the rain and affirming that it’s sunny. It is wholly unauthentic to where you’re at.

Maybe, instead of pushing to think positively we should allow our minds to quiet for a moment instead. We should take a walk outside or a hot shower or drink a warm cup of tea and just breathe. Maybe we should meditate and watch our breath and let our feelings ease.

It’s from that place of ease that we come back to ourselves. We come back to the best of us, the place where we think better because our feelings naturally create the dialogue we were pushing for.

From that place of ease we can choose our thoughts authentically, or just explore where clarity takes them. This is allowing, and all you need is that moment of silence within yourself to make it happen.

Positive thinking naturally evolves from positive feelings. So next time you feel down take a breath – don’t struggle to get away from where you are. Just ease into a better feeling place however works for you… and see where that takes you.

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Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2013

Wanderers of Mind

Before us, we have this day. This moment. And we are told, over and over, that it is in this precious moment that we find joy. We battle, most of us, with distraction, procrastination, daydreaming and, well… facebook, that keep us from the fullness of the present.

What we’re told is true – this now is what memories are made of, it is fleeting and beautiful and the only thing that is ever really our own. Its flavour is worth savouring.

But a lot of us find that difficult sometimes. We vow to try harder, do better…. to be here more.

The thing is, we are natural wanderers of mind.

Today my toddler tripped – running in circles with both hands down his pants threw him a little off balance – and despite landing somewhere soft he screamed as teething toddlers do, with rage at the insult of it. All the while my five year old HAD to tell me, right at that very moment, a remarkably long Lego related tale. The frustration of being talked over sparked a tantrum mid screaming fit – much flailing ensued – which my Lego enthused boy responded to by talking all the louder. Apparently as a parent you’re not supposed to hide in the cupboard at these times. Nor in the moments when you’re cleaning out the pantry with the kids and turn around to find said kids feeding each other between their mouths like birds do.

Life has moments of exquisite muchness and it also has moments when it’s a bit much. The scrubbing toilet moments, the kitchen dirty again moments, the folding laundry moments, the moments when you’re tired but there’s no time to be.

And it’s normal to want to wander when those things happen. Presence is effortless in the joyful times, the easy ones. The sound of laughter is grounding, a hug from someone you love holds you where you want to be… but other times, you drift a little.

Maybe we need to be more at ease with ourselves. Maybe we need to aim for presence, but acknowledge the preciousness of escape. Maybe the impossible standards we set for ourselves cause more problems for us than our wandering minds.

Perhaps we can acknowledge that life in all its beauty and madness doesn’t captivate us sometimes, and be ok with that. There is so much richness to be found in the moment – whatever that moment is – but there is richness to daydreams as well. There is connection in social media, ideas on the internet, other worlds in books.

Without the “should be’s”, we can venture there for a moment or two, then come back with a new perspective. One of gratitude for our kids or our work, our partners or homes. We might find new ideas, or the urge to question.

Wandering is inevitable, it is part of our journey, but we come back to the present so much easier if we don’t make baggage part of it.

Perhaps, instead of aiming for total presence, we should aim to create more moments that keep us here effortlessly. To infuse our days with more silliness, sing to the radio more, dance in the kitchen, add a little fun to the work we do.

I wish you a beautiful day today – a beautiful now. One that captures you easily and allows you to marvel in all that makes up your present moment… but I also wish you beautiful daydreams and escapes that bring laughter where you wouldn’t have otherwise found it.

Enjoy the journey, wanderer.

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Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2013

Let’s be honest….

I stuffed up today. Not in any remarkable way, just in one of those everyday parenting moments that we have a tendency not to notice until we look back on them later.

I overreacted to something and snapped at Bodhi in the process. He responded with harsh words and upset. In the heat of the moment I started to get annoyed… I started to say something back… then I stopped myself. I took a breath, sat down and opened my arms to him. I did what I try to do whenever I don’t get it quite right -  I owned it. “You know what?” I said, to my red-eyed, angry boy. “I can understand why you’re feeling frustrated right now. I messed up didn’t I? I didn’t handle that well, but I’ll try to do better next time. I’m sorry.” And my boy, like he so often does in these little everyday honesties, wrapped his arms around me and said “No, that wasn’t nice. But I’ll help you do it better next time. I really love you. Mum, do you think you could help me respond nicer too?”

Sometimes I sit down at the end of a day and I reflect back on what we did. I think back on the moments that worked and the ones we didn’t, and I find that every day, every single one, has both. Along with the moments we’re proud of come the ones that we aren’t. I’m facing the fact that they’re likely to stick around. But the thing that makes some days better is when I remember to be honest with my kids – to own my little stumbles, even as I help them with theirs.

Bodhi struggles with emotional maturity at times, but when someone else lays their own struggles before him he steps up in a way that never fails to surprise me. It might be me just “needing a minute” (after intense toddler wrangling or general madness) and little hands bringing me a cold glass of water and a kiss as he slips away to build some lego, or me saying “Sorry I rushed you kids, I should have gotten us ready earlier.” and him replying “That’s ok Mum, remember you can ask me to help next time.”

An old idea lingers that for our children to respect us we need to be in control all the time. The thing is, no one is, not you, not me, and not our beautiful kids.

I want my kids to respect me not because I’m perfect or always in control, but because I’m authentic and kind. I want them to know that they can trust me to own my mistakes as much as I expect them to own theirs and that my advice means something because I’ve earned my lessons along the way.  I want them to know that their advice is just as important.

Bodhi and I talk about a lot of things together. We talk about space, dinosaurs, lego or what’s happening around the world. We skip down the street together sometimes and have ‘evil laugh’ competitions in the kitchen. But we also talk about the bits we could have done better. I want him to know that the obligatory stuff ups don’t take away from all the good that makes us who we are.

I find that when I’m a truth teller my son is more inclined to be too.

Shaming children is slowly becoming a thing of the past, but we forget that if we hold onto guilt or shame they learn to do it to themselves.

Today I have done a lot of things right. So have my kids. And we have all, at one moment or another – been jerks. That’s ok, because we’ll do it better next time. And even when we don’t quite get there, we’ll respect and love each other for trying.

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Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2013

The Push – a homeschooling post

(I am part of a beautiful homeschooling community that is based on mutual respect as well as a love of our kids. What I’m about to write is my opinion, yours may differ, and that’s ok. I respect you for the path you choose, and I trust that you feel the same xx)

I often hear in homeschooling circles the idea that children should never be coerced to study. That learning should only happen when, where and how, the child chooses. Tied in with this is the idea that we should never teach, only provide opportunities for learning. Apparently, this is trusting our children.

The thing is, we need to trust ourselves too.

There is a focus on being child lead, and rightly so. My son and I regularly explore his random questions to their conclusions, and we love learning together. Going on the treasure hunt for answers together is one of the joys of homeschooling, along with education fitting in with life’s adventures, rather than the other way around. But part of my respect for him is respecting that he is a child, and just as I have learned what he needs when he’s hungry, tired, or sick, it’s also up to me to learn what he needs when it comes to education.

Sometimes that’s freedom; other times it’s a gentle push.

You see my five year old is as beautiful and complex as any other kid out there, and part of that is that new things scare him. He is not the child who will find the workbook and begin trying to figure out the exercises, or the child who will pickup a notepad and try to write, just as he’s not the kid who will try to master a new skill at the playground or to figure out his bike. For him there is joy in learning something only when he feels like he can do it.

He also possesses a unique laziness. He’s proud of it, so wouldn’t mind me telling you that. Be it a long walk or writing a letter it is often ‘work’ best avoided. The other day at the zoo he walked joyfully for three hours before reaching the car, when his face dropped and anger filled his voice “Oh no!” he breathed, as though about to deliver terrible news “I just exercised by accident! I hate exercise.” Exercise too, as you can imagine, is ‘work’.

So if left entirely to his own devices he would avoid school work all together. He’d also avoid brushing his teeth, making his bed or exploring new places that he now adores. He is my gorgeous boy and his positive qualities are endless, but get up and go and mastering the new are not amongst them.

That’s why I’m allowing my child to lead me to what he needs. He needs a Mum who will tell him to make his bed and go and brush his teeth, he needs a Mum who sets rules and boundaries, and he needs a Mum who will tell him it’s time to sit down and do school for a bit – even if he’d rather be playing LEGO.

There is the myth that homeschooled kids live in a perpetual bubble of joy about learning. Life is learning, and they get more time to explore the richness of it so in a lot of ways they do, but they’re still kids, and there will likely be days when they tell you school is BORING, or RIDICULOUS, or RUBBISH and that it should be thrown in the BIN.

This is not an idyllic world and it’s unfair on each other to pretend that.

More often than not my son runs to his desk when it’s time to do his school work, he sits down and he giggles and he focuses and he tries hard. He has a ball. But other days it just doesn’t go like that, and those are the ones when I need to dig my heels in a little. We don’t do as much on those days, but we still do school, and it’s because of that that his enthusiasm for the rest of it grows. It’s because of the consistency that he’s finding reading and writing and spelling and math become easier – he likes easy.

The more he learns, the more he wants to. He’s bubbling with ‘I can do it!’ But because of who he is I will probably always have to push a little from time to time. I will probably need to take a deep breath here and there when he decides he HATES his books one day and ADORES the very same ones the next.

My son is very lucky, not only because he has the better part of his days to follow his passions and interests and explore the world, but because he has before him the gift of an education. And it matters. Don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t.

Around the world, hundreds of thousands of children would give anything for the opportunities our kids have. Some walk for hours to sit in dusty classrooms just to gain a little of this precious gift of knowledge and the skills that make it possible.

This reading and writing business? That’s the access code for everything they could ever want to know. In giving them that you’re opening up a bit more of the world for them that they couldn’t have accessed otherwise. The grammar matters, the spelling matters, the vocabulary allows them to wonder a little more vastly than they could have otherwise.

This maths business? Those are the numbers that underlie our finances, our sciences and the schedules of our days. They are not only useful, but exciting, and our mastery of them can lead us to places we can only imagine.

When you give your child an education you give them a gift that is probably too big for them to unwrap right now, so don’t be surprised if they don’t always appreciate the magnitude of it. They will in time, just as the skills you help them build and the virtues you encourage in them will help shape their world.

By all means give them opportunities for self-learning, but don’t be afraid to teach any more than you’re afraid to be taught.  A child needs to learn the value of listening, of focus, of gaining knowledge from another. You don’t go to a language class and have the teacher sit down and say “Ok, now you figure it out.”

Being taught is a skill, just as self-driven learning is.

I’m not saying I’ve got it all figured out, but I am saying that I’ve been there. I’ve been an intelligent child in an environment that went out of its way not to teach (I attended a democratic unschooling style school for four years as a child) and as smart as I was there was a MASSIVE amount I missed out on learning before I moved to a more structured approach at home.

You wont harm the thirst for knowledge in your child by setting a little structure for an hour or two a day, you may even spark more of a thirst in them, or give them more tools to explore their wonderings. A child who knows little of history cannot find their passion in it, a child who knows nothing of geography may miss out on fascinations about the world.

A child who picks up a book and teaches themselves how to read is remarkable. But so is a child who needs a bit of encouragement to give it a go. Both will have strengths, weaknesses, challenges and joys. It’s our job to help them navigate those.

When you home educate your child you are taking on something amazing. I commend that. And I admire anyone who trusts their child to guide their education… but more so those who put the same trust in themselves.

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Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2013

Logically Illogical

Sebastian has always been quite logical. At 18 months he is entering the tantrum stage, but views them more as a planned expression rather than an emotional outburst.

Like this morning, when he burst into tears, stamped his feet, balled his fists by his side and screamed at the top of his lungs…. until he realized that his audience wasn’t paying quite enough attention. At that point he stopped cold and all anger *completely* disappeared while he said “Mumma, tantrum. Look. Watch tantrum.” then like a switch was flipped he thrashed around in fits of rage once more.

This one’s going to be interesting!

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Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2013

Sweet Tooth

I usually eat healthily except for the occasional block of chocolate or packet of potato chips that force me to eat them. Oh, or the times when I get busy, or lazy. Then I eat hot chips sometimes. Ok, a lot. And toast. Toast is a meal isn’t it?

Anyway, I’d gotten into the habit of eating too much sugar lately. It’s kind of unbecoming, not only because it’s unhealthy for me, but because it makes me put on weight and gives me zits. On my forehead. Gross. Then because I feel fat and zitty I reach for more chocolate… or chips. You can imagine how that turns out.

So I’m trying to cut out all junk for 21 days… after which point I’ll hopefully be back in great habits so wont bring it back. It’s going well, aside from my husband who hopefully checks the pantry around 15 times a night just in case cheezels have magically appeared.

So far I’ve swopped my lazy/busy lunches for rice cakes with hommus and salad, I’m juicing more and am doing my best to avoid anything fried. Fact is though, I’ll always have a sweet tooth, so today, when I had a little kid free time I got into the kitchen and prepared some treats ahead… they might even distract hubby away from the cheezel hunt ;)

Choc Vanilla Fudge Protein Balls

DSC06540These are all kinds of awesome.

They’re dairy free depending on which protein powder you use. I used Phyto Protein Pea Protein Isolate in Vanilla flavour. Tastes nothing like peas (phew), and it’s great if you want to avoid the whey that’s usually in protein powder. It’s organic too. If you don’t have this one, or you’re fine with dairy you could use any other.

This recipe makes about 8 balls. If you want more, just double the quantities.

  • 4 tablespoons almond meal
  • 1 heaped tablespoon vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon honey (a big gloopy one, don’t try to make it flat and neat!)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon cocoa powder (I use organic dutch press as I find the flavour is nicer)

Combine ingredients in a bowl then roll into balls and chill in the fridge. Done!

Healthy Coconut Rough

  • DSC065414 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3-4 tablespoons honey (depending on how sweet you want it)
  • 1-1.5 cups coconut (I used dessicated, but shredded would work too. Use 1 cup if you want more chocolate around your ‘rough’)
  • 3 tablespoons cocao powder

Coconut oil is usually firm at room temperature, so if you want to soften it do so by placing your bowl ‘floating’ inside another bowl filled with boiling water. It softens quickly. I wouldn’t suggest heating it on the stove because it tends to make it separate a little as it cools, so the coconut oil sits on top. Tastes fine like that, but doesn’t look great.

If you have a food processor, or you’re just less lazy than I am there’s no need to soften it, just mix ingredients in a bowl :)

If you haven’t softened the coconut oil then you can shape your ‘rough’ pieces on a tray and pop them in the fridge to set. If you have softened it then best to pour it into a lined plate or tray and break it up when it’s firm. This one will keep for several weeks in a sealed container in the fridge, so, like the balls, it’s easy to make ahead.

 

‘Caramel’ Biscuit Slice

DSC06531Sooo good. And super quick to make. This one was inspired by this recipe on PaleOMG blog http://paleomg.com/caramel-pecan-bars/ which I made a while ago. I wanted to try out my own version.

Base

  • 1 cup peacan meal
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 egg

Topping

  • 10 Medjool dates
  • 10-12 tablespoons coconut milk or cream.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence.

For the base just combine ingredients in a bowl then press into an oven tin. I used a loaf tin for mine. Cook it at about 150-175 until it’s feeling a little crispy to touch and is coming away from the sides. It’ll be browning a little, but not too much. Mine took around 30-40 minutes, but yours might take more or less depending on the tin you’re using, your oven etc.

While that’s cooking take the seeds out of the dates and soak the dates in hot water (freshly boiled) for about 10 minutes. Just enough water to cover them.

While that’s soaking get yourself a nice cup of tea and ignore the dishes ;)

Drain water from the dates and pop them in the blender or food processor with the vanilla essence and the coconut milk/cream. You might need more or less than the amount I suggested, depending on the consistency you want and how big the dates are. Blend until smooth. This might involve a bit of shaking/hitting the blender and swearing… or you could use a spoon to push it down when needed, but the swearing works too. If you have a food processor you probably wont need to swear at all, but feel free to if you want.

Cool the base then apply the ‘caramel’ to the top. I chopped some nuts as a garnish but you could use any garnish you like. Or nothing. This will keep in the fridge for about a week, unless you eat it sooner ;)

Chocolate Coconut Rice Pudding with Berries

DSC06537Okay, I admit, I came up with this one to use up the rest of my coconut milk. But it’s still delicious. It’s best served warm or at room temperature. If it’s left in the fridge it tends to thicken more, so if you do plan to chill it increase the quantities of water and coconut milk a little.

  • 1 cup rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 3/4 can coconut milk or cream
  • 1-2 heaped tablespoon cocao (you could use more if you want it stronger)
  • 2-3 tablespoons honey (depending how sweet you want it)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2 heaped teaspoons cornflour

Put rice and water in a saucepan and cook until rice is becoming tender. Add coconut milk, cocao, honey and vanilla essence, and continue to cook on low until rice softens and liquid begins to reduce. Dissolve the cornflour in a few tablespoons of water and stir through, keeping it on the heat until it thickens nicely.

Serve with berries (or anything else you want) and a drizzle of maple syrup <3

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I use raw honey in these recipes because it works for me, but if it doesn’t agree with you, or you’re fully vegan then substitute it with the sweetener of your choice. I’d just advise reading up on agave before you reach for it…

I hope you enjoy the recipes. Let me know if you’d like to see more food posts like this on the blog in the future <3

 

Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seeing the same things differently

Yesterday I was flat. Flat for a whole number of reasons that I couldn’t quite place. I had to think about what was missing even as its absence gnawed at me.

Connection was missing, between myself and my husband, which came down to busyness and tiredness rather than lack of love.

Variety was missing, or at least I couldn’t find it under the piles of mess I was sure I’d cleaned up yesterday.

Exercise was missing, in amongst all that needed to be done, I felt sluggish, and that sluggishness kept propelling me towards chocolate.

Chocolate was, sadly, not missing.

I felt, when it really came down to it, that I was missing. Like I had misplaced myself somewhere amongst the “to do” list of every day, and the nightly preparation for it to start again.

You see, every day, mothers and fathers do something quite remarkable… they care about someone else more than themselves. They find themselves noticing things that their kids would like, preparing things to make them smile, finding things that will help them feel fulfilled. They hide wonder in every day and help their child find it.

There is so much joy in caring for others. SO MUCH. There is a gift of perspective in it, of patience, of belonging. It’s a role without comparison and it gives me immeasurable happiness. But sometimes, just sometimes, I miss the days when I was only looking after me.

When I would wake early to run on the beach and swim even in the winter, when I would have a clean house and car free of popcorn and stray socks, when I could safely pee without a toddler dismantling something in the next room, when my nights would be spent laughing with friends, lost in books or dancing the tango. When I had enough spare time to read textbooks just because, or to write endless emails in languages I didn’t quite understand.

I missed that me yesterday, because from where I was in my flatness the grass back then seemed so much greener.

Then late at night, with my babies in bed, I watched a clip called “This is Water”. It was about perspective. And I needed it. Because it reminded me that the ‘me’ I was missing that day, used to ache for everything I have now.

It reminded me how much I wanted this gorgeous family, this wonderful husband, this beautiful house. How much I wanted these messy, smelly dogs and the couches now piled with the washing of the people I love. It reminded me how much I wanted to grow and learn, and how I had learned more from these past five years of motherhood than I ever learned in a book or a yoga class.

The frustration at my son’s cranky mood faded, when I remembered how I had always thought I wasn’t a patient person. And here I was, being one, even when I’d rather not be.

I woke up this morning with the pile of washing still to fold, and the dishes still in the sink. My husband and I were still busy and my kids still did their best to push my buttons.

But I wasn’t missing anymore. I was back here in the thick of it. Frustrated and happy and inspired and wanting more. I’d made a decision to make more time for the things that mattered, but also not to worry so much about all the stuff that didn’t.

Because we’re like chameleons, all of us. We might not look the same as we did a week ago, or a year ago, or as we will in the future. We might not have the same things to say or the same group of friends, but that’s kind of the point. Because we change to fit in with where we are, without ever really changing at all. We are us, vibrant and whole, and able to take this day before us on with gusto.

It cannot make us less.

And every bit of ourselves we have given our children, every ounce of patience we have earned, every mess we have cleaned up as though this time it will actually STAY clean, has given us more perspective, more richness to the colours we can wear whenever the situation calls for them.

There is a story in every day, and every one has a moral, every one has a challenge, every one has humour and every single one has a happy ending hidden in there somewhere. Sometimes it’s easy to see, and sometimes you need to try a little harder… but you can. The days that have come before it have taught you how.tomorrow

When I Grow Up…

She was bubbly and giggly. “Oh you’re so cool. I want to be just like you when I grow up!” she said. She was 25, to my 32. And my first reaction to this compliment was to feel old.

Then I thought about it.

The term ‘grown up’ infers a completeness, and I consider myself gloriously incomplete. I hope that I will continue to be. As we grow up, all that we are comes together. We are the sum off all our parts, all our experiences, our achievements, our flaws, our skills… but we continue to want… it is that wanting, that niggling incompletion that makes us hungry to keep on growing.

I like that hunger.

When I was younger I had a list of things to do by the time I was grown up. I would speak three languages fluently, I would have written a couple of novels, I would be this perfect being that I had dreamed up when I got there.

With the blessing of growing older my goals have changed, because my mind has too. I have realized the importance of the little things – the enormity of patience, of thoughtfulness, of being humble enough to put another’s needs before your own while holding onto who you are. I have found satisfaction in a well dug garden, and reward beyond measure in the smile of a child.

Through motherhood I have realized the superficiality of my teenage worries, that my feet were too big, my breasts were too small and I had freckles. FRECKLES dammit!! This was enormous stuff.

Isn’t it an exciting thought, that one day today’s enormous stuff will feel just as small? That one day the goals we have, fulfilled or not, will look so very different from where we’re standing?

That there are new goals just around the corner? New revelations to be found? New experiences to be had that are just waiting to blow the old ones out of the water?

I still want to speak three languages one day, and I will write those novels, but the perfect being I had dreamed up will probably continue to elude me. Not because I’m not good enough, but because it’s meant to. As long as I keep reaching for it I will keep growing… and the sum of my parts will be greater for it.

I try not to ask my children what they want to be when they grow up, we aim for happiness every day instead. I will teach them to set goals, just as I do, but the most important thing I want to teach them is to not see any age – any achievement – as the place where you’re “done”. It’s the doing we’re here for.

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Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2013