When I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s back in 2007, I did what everybody does. I bought the Micheal J Fox autobiography. The thing I have always carried with me since then is the story he tells of his wife reminding him that there was no point in being cautious in his career choices because there was no ‘shoe to drop’. Basically, bad things happen and they happen to you sometimes, not just other people. So get on with LIFE.
Scroll forward to today and the global wake up call that is Covid19. What does it mean for humanity? Will we realise it is a chance to redirect ourselves? It’s very very hard to change your life priorities and focus. It’s very hard to start to distinguish between received habits and what we really need and want to be doing. I have seen so many declarations about getting back to core values. They are straws in the wind. Light and disposable. They do however, show us trends.
So I am thinking at the moment. Just thinking really. Trying not to scoot into a complicated action plan that involves a complete home organisation regime, shiny sinks and homemade dishcloths. Plenty of time for dishcloths later. Now is the time to really contemplate the enormity of the current position and the advent of the New Normal.
And counterintuitively, this is a time where I find myself grateful for the Parkinson’s diagnosis all those years ago. I have had my ‘shoe drop’ epiphany already. I have changed my life as a result. It’s all here in the blog. But it is no time for an update. Normal 2.0…. a
How are you doing? This world is a little strange these days and I am still trying to work out which way is up. But then i guess there’s plenty of time to work it out. The basic rule is to watch the bubbles. They always rise to the surface. So that’s my plan such as it is. Take stock, find what gives me joy, focus on that, repeat for my loved ones. Easy….right????
So, i wrote that paragraph yesterday morning. So far so peachy. But life isn’t like instagram folks. Sorry. I have fissures of failure and crevices of crises running through me. Yesterday some of them opened a little more. Like cracks on my hands from all that washing. And,sigh, washing up.
I was going to go on and be perky by suggesting i start a joy list but today i will not be so presumptuous. Today i will lie here in bed as my fingers react to the Parkinson’s drugs and slowly come to life, allowing me to type this post. I will listen to the boys being instructed in how to make me toast and jam for my Mother’s Day breakfast. And i will be happy for that. And that’s it. No grandiose perfect lifestyle statements today. No too high standards. Just small steps for today. And that’s the hardest thing for me. Reality hasn’t always served me well. Sitting with it a while is today’s challenge.
The schools shut in the UK yesterday. I went to the gates to collect my younger son. I was worried i would cry. But, as i got there i saw the daffodils bobbing in the breeze, their petals escaping around the green iron bars of the school fence. They were peeping out, saying ‘can we come too?’….normally its so busy i don t ever see the yellow trumpets but yesterday they struck me. I stood there and wrote this poem . It helped articulate the jumble of feelings i had inside.
Back from 8 nights’ camping in North Devon with the children and Lovely Man and his son. Two tents, five pillows, three bodyboards, umpteen tent pegs. All crammed inside the car, speeding down the M5, eeking out Haribo. How to start a holiday…
Here’s my take on it….
Your knee is in my back.
To move could you just Shift that rucksack
to your right
And then squash down that camping light
A little further…
All impediments to my view have gone.
We have our bags,
We know the way
I think we could safely say
That every tiny space is filled
With bags or boys
and we are skilled
Enough in packing to achieve
Space for us all…
If we don’t breathe.
Today my poem must be swift
A rhyme instead of sonnet
As I have got to do my chores
So four lines are my Limit
Having Parkinsons means I have to learn patience….one day….
Wait with me
While I tremble
Wait with me
While I falter
Wait with me
While I regroup
While I reset
While I restart
Wait with me
I will be here
Until I can walk
This one is about time and it’s value
Every waking moment
is different and unique
It will never come back and we can never peek
and relive our time
It runs quicksilver gone
But always leaves it’s legacy
It’s echo and it’s tone.
We may lose every minute yes
But each supports the next
So shadows do not darken
They add depth and context.
Is not to ignore life.
Is not to place priority
On chores that eat my time.
It is to teach my boys to fly
and be young men with grace.
And watch them as they soar away
To take their rightful place.
It's October, the air is crispier and so is my life. Stitch Towers is under new management (mine) and life is both challenging and stimulating. I am middle aged, I admit it, but I have never had to fend for myself until now. It's not a barrel of laughs but I'm not drowning quite yet. I am unhealthily interested in household organisation tho. I admit.
This whole experience is making me realise that despite the plethora of domestic bliss/homemaking blogs, books and advice, what goes on behind closed doors will remain a mystery until we choose to disclose. And most of us don't choose. So, the stories I have been hearing recently from friends who have trusted me will in the main remind hidden. And that means that the perpetrators of domestic unhappiness will continue unhindered and will never truly understand the impact of their behaviour. I come from a quite well healed area where middle-class guardian readers like to drink their Pinot Grigio wine sitting in their beautiful gardens. But that image is just that, an image. Such unhappiness and frustration can lie underneath it all.
I am choosing to walk away from unhappiness. I hope this blog will become happier and more frequent as a result. I have missed you guys.
Porridge tastes better in the dawn
As water drips off my wetsuit
a chorus of chatter, of laughs and faint screams
and make mine a chocolate and don’t hold the cream.
the sun slowly lighting us up as it lifts
and time is so precious
So relish the gift
and soon we’ll return to real life – The rat race
But this is my bubble
A bright shiny place.