Reflecting on Repeal

imag0887I took this photo a year ago. I clearly quite like it, because I’ve posted it before.

It was a time that will always be a weird mix of fuzziness and absolute clarity. I was pregnant, I had complications, I was emotional, I was tired, I was restless, I was nervous. I didn’t know how the vote was going to go and I had passed by some pretty obnoxious posters and people on a near daily basis.

I’ve only just started processing the past year properly. I’ve been listening to some podcasts about the campaign and the result and it feels like the campaign only happened a short time ago, but also like I’m hearing analysis of another time and place entirely.

I’m still elated about the result and I’m still really angry that we had to go through this at all. I’m angry that the legislation isn’t perfect but elated that people are getting the healthcare they need. I’m angry that a local election candidate who left his political party because the absolutely minimal legislation in 2013 was too extreme for him sidles past our repeal bumper stickers to look for our vote in a constituency which voted yes by a landslide.

I feel guilty that I didn’t do more and wonder if I was too lazy, and then I wonder if I needed to do more given the result. Then I feel guilty for trying to absolve myself of my guilty feelings. I’m not sure if feeling this guilt is good or bad at this point.

I look at my children and  that makes me happiest of all. All the marches and the chats and the donations and the support and the GIFs and the funny moments and the sad moments and the whole of the 25th of May 2018 when I barely functioned because of the knots in my stomach and the all over shaking when I thought about what might happen. I don’t want to say it was all worth it, but it happened and I can look back on it all in a slightly less garbled way than I would have even a few months ago.

I’m glad I have these memories; they’re part of me now. I’m equally glad that this morning when I moved my box of repeal stuff aside to get at something else in the attic I was able to tell myself that the box is a relic of another time already.

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Reflecting on Repeal

The Greatest Gift I Ever Got…

assorted books on shelf
Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

…was learning to read. I started reading “real” books at the age of six and I still reread some of the ones I enjoyed at that age to this day. Reading has always been one of my favourite things to do and I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t read any more. I was in our local library picking up a book I ordered and the ban on women reading in The Handmaid’s Tale popped into my head. I physically recoiled at the thought that could ever happen to me.

I’m currently reading Unsheltered and not particularly enjoying it and I’ve given myself permission to return it unfinished to the library later this week. I picked up a book on growing fruit and vegetables and another on editing life which is probably going to tell me nothing I know already but might kick start some organisation in areas I’ve been avoiding.

Rereading a Jane Austen collection is something I am very much looking forward to this summer. Some of my favourite holiday memories since I got married eight(!) years ago are reading outside our holiday home with my husband as the day turns into twilight. I’m always torn between revisiting old favourites or taking a chance on some new reads for our holiday. Last year I did a mix of old and new, which is something I think I’ll try again.

The Greatest Gift I Ever Got…

Under the Lilacs

img_20190424_145709There’s an important scene in Marjorie Morningstar, where the book’s eponymous heroine has a kiss under some lilac trees. When we moved into this house just over three years ago, I had no idea the large garden contained a mature lilac tree so it was a very happy discovery.

The blooms don’t last for long and I’m always torn between picking them to enjoy while I can and leaving them fluttering on the tree where nature intended them to remain until they turn a scrubby brown colour. These ones got picked and were a nice centrepiece for our dinner.

Under the Lilacs

Minimalism, When You Love All The Things.

img_20190424_115835We’re out of the hellishness that can be the newborn to sixth month baby stage. I’ve been sorting and packing and bagging all the equipment we no longer need so it can go to a new home, back from whence it came or into what I’m calling a “memory box” but in reality is an old storage box that is stuffed to the brim and which will require editing at some point. The nice thing about getting stuff on loan is that you can send it back with no guilt whatsoever. There’s no thought process telling me I should sell it and recoup some of the cost or serious, deep rooted emotional attachment because in the back of my head it was never really “mine” in the first place.

I do, however, love ALL THE THINGS. I struggle with what my head tells me I want, namely an organised, minimalist home free from all the crap that comes with children clutter, where every single thing is useful and beautiful and can be returned to its assigned place with ease, and the reality of my life right now.

img_20190424_115830Above are two bag of baby clothes and a breastfeeding pillow. If I wasn’t being strict with myself I would keep all of it, every single scrap. And I can’t really explain why. I didn’t have a breastfeeding pillow with my other children, but this one was offered free via a Facebook group while I was pregnant last summer so I picked it up, washed it and stashed it with my “going to the hospital stuff”. I love this pillow. It has a lovely tactile, neutral cover, it is soft yet firm and it was bliss to use in the early days. It has a lot of memories wrapped up in it, but I no longer need it and my conscience is telling me to send it off to another home seeing as I got it free in the first place.

Some of the babygros have been worn by all my children, others were bought new for this arrival because I felt he should have something new, regardless of the fact that we had everything a new baby would need and a lot he wouldn’t but we kept anyway. I’ve kept a few favourites and the rest have been folded and packed into bags for a new baby.

img_20190423_112153

I don’t know why, but the moses basket my baby was too big for at four months is the hardest thing to let go. I picked it up in a charity shop for very little money and told myself I could just donate it once I was finished with it. I know we won’t use it again. I know someone else will. I know I don’t need the stuff around to keep the memories. I’m telling myself I’m a minimalist, even though I love ALL THE THINGS.

I’ve realised the enjoyment I get from a home with less stuff is greater than the joy, and, to honest, work of keeping ALL THE THINGS. Therefore, it is better to let most of these things go. I don’t really have an emotional tie to this stuff. It’s all been part of the baby stage, so I’ve thanked it and I’m ready to release it and embrace the next phase of life.

Minimalism, When You Love All The Things.

A Good Friday

img_20190419_202544The Easter weekend kicked off with a very good Friday. Lunch in Yamamori was delicious and the seafood bento box was fantastic value. We followed lunch with ice cream and I can highly recommend the apple and balsamic one. The weather was extremely co-operative too. I ended the day with a bottle of wine from our holidays in France last year and the TV all to myself. Bliss.

A Good Friday

Tiny Sparks of Joy

img_20190411_091553Patio progress in action. Something we have had near the top of our house to-do list since we moved in.

Finding something we needed close by and at a good price, and having help to get it upstairs. It’s not perfect but it’s fine.

Pastries from our local amazing bakery and good coffee after a gym session.

A loooooong weekend, which is sorely needed and which, we hope, gives us a chance to get more stuff on the to-do list done.

Planning a day out. It feels good to plan ahead rather than plod along.

 

Tiny Sparks of Joy

Little Luxuries

img_20190411_135430I am thankful every single day of my maternity leave that I can enjoy this time at home and out and about with Baby Orchid. Yesterday I had to meet someone in town and after lunch I had enough time to have a stroll around the National Gallery. I love the stained glass section, the colours are so vibrant and the lighting shows the pieces to spectacular effect. I’m also thankful that I live in a country with free access to so many museums and galleries, so seeing beautiful things like this isn’t limited to those with money.

Little Luxuries