Another finish line

Cancer feels like it has so many finish lines and milestones – and each one opens up a whole range of feelings.

Tomorrow will be my last day as someone with a port.

I though this procedure would feel like an afterthought – but it’s actually hitting a nerve.

I was speaking about this today with my therapist, and she said that it seems like this is taking me out of limbo.

It does feel like closing a chapter – and it’s bringing up some many feelings.

I feel like I should be desensitised at this point – both physically and emotionally – but instead it feels like it picks up the echoes of everything that can before, both in my body and in my heart.

There is relief and gratitude – I still feel a certain sense of shock that I have made it to this point. I feel so lucky.

There is also fear – it feels really scary to be putting my body through yet another procedure. This is planned to be under local anaesthetic, so I will be awake. But even though it is comparatively minor to them, it feels like a big deal to me.

And as I discovered today, there is also a great deal of grief.

It’s opening the floodgates to release some of the feelings I hadn’t had the space or strength to work through just yet. There is grief over the things that have been lost – my breasts, my health, and a certain loss of innocence that I think always accompanies painful losses.

But I was surprised to discover that I also feel a certain sense of loss that this time is over, that this door is closing.

It seems absolutely insane to me that I feel this way, but it is the end of a season of my life, one laden with a huge amount of change and struggle. And even though this period in my life has been so hard, it has also had a lot of beauty and deepened my relationships with the people that I love most.

It feels strange and scary to be moving into an unknown future, aware that I have been transformed in ways that have not yet bubbled to the surface.

It is a peculiar thing to be getting this done during October, which as my Facebook feed constantly reminds me, is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Just as the world is shouting about this disease, I am taking one step further away from it.

48 hours from now, I will no longer be hosting a foreign device in my body.

I will no longer be tethered.

Will I feel free?

Photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash

Writing hack: setting an intention

This isn’t a hack I’ve experimented yet – rather something that might be a really good idea, and I wanted to capture it while it’s fresh.

Today, I did an online yoga video where the instructor encouraged us at the beginning of the practice to set an intention. She explained that this served as a helpful container for the experience.

And it dawned on me that actually, this might come in really handy for writing.

Earlier today, I’d read a piece on Medium from Jessica Wildfire that talks about how sometimes talented people get so bogged down that they don’t finish projects and move on. (Most creatives I know can relate to this at some point in their lives.)

And these two pieces clicked together.

I wonder – what would it feel like to use this practice of setting an intention in the writing process?

It seems that this would be a really helpful tool for a number of reasons:

  1. To make sure I’m fully engaging with the artistic process, as well as thinking about the product;
  2. To know when a project is done;
  3. To find the right direction to keep moving during the inevitable moments when I feel discouraged, or that I’ve lost my way.

For a number of years I’ve used the trick of summing up the heart of my current piece on one sticky note and putting it over my desk.

But that’s something different – that’s about the work that I am writing.

Choosing intention is about me as an artist.

What do I want to accomplish? Why am I making this? Why does it matter to me? Why am I showing up to do this work at all?

It’s not necessary to find clever, or original, or complete answers to these questions. Just picking something and using that as a container for the experience is enough: a way to make sure I’m growing as an artist, and a helpful tool to know when a project has reached its end.

Photo by Ahmed Zayan on Unsplash

Odds and Ends 6

How to Live in the Face of Fear: Lessons From a Cancer Survivor – an interview with Kate Bowler by Elizabeth Dias (from the NYT)

“There was a rhythm I got into with cancer that has served me well right now. Every day sort of has an arc to it. There’s a limited amount that you’re going to be able to face as you stare into the abyss. Being able over the course of the day to track your own resources will help you know how to spend them.

There’s just a minute where you know, OK, I’m starting to hit the wall. Time to turn the boat around. There’s only so much we can do, and in the face of unlimited need we have to not just wildly oscillate between sort of intense action and then narcolepsy.

How do we now feel the day and allow ourselves to be human inside of it? I think that’s really tricky work.”

ALSO:

“For me, part of the joy of prayer is having abandoned the formula. I have no expectation that prayer works in a direct way. But I do hope that every person, religious or not, feels the permission to say, “I’m at the edge of what I know. And in the face of the sea of abyss, someone out there please show me love.” Because that’s, to me, the only thing that fills up the darkness. It’s somehow in there, the feeling that I am not for no reason. And that doesn’t mean anything better is going to happen to me, but in the meantime that I will know that we all are deeply and profoundly loved. That’s my hope for everybody.”

7 Unconscious Behaviours That Are Delaying Your Success in Life by Brianna Wiest (from Medium)

“We cannot control everything. But if we could find more little moments to live for, those little shimmering glimpses of ease, maybe it would be a whole lot easier to keep moving forward.

Maybe what we’d find is that success was never anything more than being able to appreciate what we have while we have it.”

3 lessons of revolutionary love in a time of rage by Valarie Kaur (for TED)

“And so the mother in me asks, what if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb? What if our future is not dead, but still waiting to be born? What if this is our great transition? Remember the wisdom of the midwife. “Breathe,” she says. And then — “push.” Because if we don’t push, we will die. If we don’t breathe, we will die.”

Hyperbole and a Half Creator Allie Brosh on Her New Book, Her Seven-Year Hiatus, and What the Heck Is Going on With Her Hotmail Account by Heather Schwedel (from Slate)

“It seemed like I needed to retreat back into myself for a little while. I was trying to write it at a stage in my life where I was, like, between. You know how there are pictures of you, like, between facial expressions? It felt like that type of thing, where it was this awkward transition where I was starting to have new kinds of thoughts and be new kinds of ways…

There’s a type of sharing that’s fun and feels like it’s like advancing your identity in some way, and then there’s a type of sharing that’s a little bit more honest and scary. I’ve been trying to learn how to do the second type more.”

The Dangers of Cynical Sci-Fi Disaster Stories by Cory Doctorow (from Slate)

“When the lockdown went into effect, the mysterious gun stores on the main street near my house sprouted around-the-block lines of poorly distanced people lining up to buy handguns. I used to joke that they were planning to shoot the virus and that their marksmanship was not likely to be up to the task, but I knew what it was all about. They were buying guns because they’d told themselves a story: As soon as things went wrong, order would collapse, and their neighbors would turn on them.

Somehow, I couldn’t help but feel responsible. I’m a science-fiction writer, and I write a lot of disaster stories. Made-up stories, even stories of impossible things, are ways for us to mentally rehearse our responses to different social outcomes. Philosopher Daniel Dennett’s conception of an intuition pump—“a thought experiment structured to allow the thinker to use their intuition to develop an answer to a problem”—suggests that fiction (which is, after all, an elaborate thought experiment) isn’t merely entertainment.*

That’s true. And it’s a problem.”

Does everything happen for a reason? by Kelly Corrigan (from Medium)

“And finally, we come apart all the time, but even an incomplete life story where the hero dies in the end can be beautiful.”

Photo by RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist on Unsplash

Chrestomathy

Everything familiar
Once started
As something foreign.

We nibble at
The unknown,
Chew and digest
Each tiny bite.

And gradually the taste
Of something strange
Or unpalatable
Becomes something
That we crave.

There was a time
When the things
That you love most
Were cryptic
And befuddling.
Can you remember?

Take a moment
To be grateful
To the ones
Who packaged experience
Into delectable parcels
Teasing us with the promise
Of bigger mysteries.

Reading choice fragments
Is not the same
As communing
With the original,
But beginners have to
Start somewhere.
And we are all beginners,
Peering through the doors
Of others’ curiosity and pleasure.

Note: I learned this word today and thought it was beautiful, so I decided to write a poem about it.

Photo by Jaredd Craig on Unsplash

Insomnia companion, part 3: falling

If you can’t fall asleep
Where can you fall instead?

Can you fall under the spell
Of your own sleeplessness?
Can you fall in love
With some tiny trace
Of beauty in the world
You had never thought to notice?

Can you feel the sensation in your body
Of falling?
Do you feel scared?
Do you feel elated?

There are places in our lives
Where our fingers slip
We lose our grip
And find ourselves plunging
Into something unknown.

Where do you find
The unravelling edges
Of your control?
Can you live at the border
And tolerate – or maybe even savour – the sensation?

Can you accept the state of falling
As a constant –
Rather than a means to an end –
As you keep your vigil
On the borders of dreamland?

Photo by Bronwyn on Unsplash

Tiny steps

Yesterday, you reached out for my hand,
Without even looking,
Sure that I would be there.

And for the first time,
Instead of stepping forward to reassure you,
I took the tiniest of steps away.

Your hand reached out,
But beneath it was air,
I waited, and watched, just out of reach.

You stood on the end of the playground slide,
Where you had climbed to survey the world,
Already planning your next escapade.

It was just a small gap
To reach the ground;
A tiny step.

Sometimes those are the trickiest.
But I had seen you step down
From this slide on your own.

You didn’t need my hand
To help you down.
Not anymore.

I waited to see if you would notice
That the support you counted on
With such certainty
That you didn’t even need to look,
Was gone.

You reached into the empty air,
But kept your eyes ahead.
Together, we hovered on that precipice.

Would you stop?
Would you leap?
Would you fall?

You nimbly stepped down,
Without giving me even a glance,
Unaware of the moment that had just passed.

I watched your back.
As you ran off, with wild, gleeful abandon,
Alone.

I wish I could tell you
The love that it took
To step away instead of reaching out.

It goes against every impulse
In my body,
Even though my heart knows it is right.

There are so many things now
That you can do on your own,
You just need to remember it.

It’s a joy to watch you learn
To trust your own strength,
Even if it means my own hand is left empty.

For how can you ever truly adventure
If you are too scared
To let me go?

Because I won’t always be there
To steady your gait
Or help you down from the high places
I know you will reach.

But just because you feel air
Beneath your unsteady hand
Does not mean you are alone.

I’m ready to catch you if you stumble,
And cheer you on with every try.
For now. For always.

Whether you look for me or not,
I will always be right beside you,
Just a bit out of sight.

I am only a tiny step away.

Note: I cried writing this. It’s so hard to find the way to put into words the love we feel for our children. It’s so deep, and so powerful. Somehow it’s the little moments that feel like they matter most of all.

Looking backwards

Today, I was going back through old emails to check for any stray receipts as part of the process of preparing my US taxes.

My inbox currently has 5,568 unread emails in it. When I worked in office jobs I was able to maintain inbox zero. But in my personal life, my inbox doubles as a sort of to do list, and so much more, and things just tend to pile up.

Reading these, I moved backwards in time. It felt a bit like excavating a former self. It really hit me just how hard the past couple of years have been.

Normally, it all feels a bit surreal, or as if it were someone else’s life. Things are so different now. But when I see the emails, it almost feels like I am right back there, in the thick of it.

There are emails of flat hunting mixed in with receipts for baby clothes. Notes to self about chemotherapy side effects jumbled in with reminders to buy birthday presents. The amount of life – and challenge – that we faced was unbelievably overwhelming.

My email inbox is essentially a snapshot of my mind at the time, and dipping into the past brings it all back.

Those aren’t necessarily easy feelings to process.

Today, I started a course on Mindful Self-Compassion with Breast Cancer Haven. This is something I hope to share a bit more about later, as I get to grips with it. However, the general premise is that mindfulness, connection to shared humanity, and self-kindness help us operate more compassionately in our lives – both with ourselves and with others.

In the workshop, we did an exercise today where we laid our hands on our own heart, feeling the warmth and comfort. Looking at the emails, I needed to do it again. An inbox feels like a private place – I’ve never been consistent with a journal, so this is the catchall for where I write notes to myself. Looking at what was on my mind, all the pain and struggle it represents. Thankfully, getting in touch with my own heartbeat felt calming and grounding.

I’ve started trying to whittle the emails down bit by bit. It’s the right thing to do to let them go.

But I find it hard.

There is so much grief I still need to process about what has happened over the past couple of years, and seeing the fabric of my daily life takes me right back to those challenging times.

It is painful to look at those moments, but there’s also a perverse kind of pleasure in it. There is something magical about being able to step into the mind of my former self. It may not have been so long ago, but I was in a completely different place a year ago. I couldn’t even walk confidently without my cane. We were still fresh off a chaotic move. I was prepping for a trip to NYC, making little lists of packing reminders. It all comes flooding back.

Part of me worries that by deleting those old emails, I’m also discarding the truth of how my reality felt at that time. Yes, I have memories, but it’s not the same as encountering emails as written artifacts. (This reminds me a bit of my play Broken Pieces, where I was playing with this theme many years ago.)

There’s a part of me that always yearns to hold onto the reality of how an experience felt at the time – what were the emotions? The elation, or the pain? It feels like how it felt in the moment is somehow more real than the memory.

And while that may be true, I don’t think healthy to try to stay in that place where the past feels like the present. Our memories are designed to be burnished by time, to age and grow as experiences take on new meaning as our perspective grows and changes.

If we are so focused on holding onto those experiences from the past as if they were still the present, it creates a kind of emotional clutter that keeps us from living our lives right now.

Tonight, I cleaned out about a hundred emails.

But I still feel torn.

What I want to remember most about my past is generally not the big events, but the small moments and the quality of how the fabric of my life felt at a given time. Seeing things like Amazon receipts and reminder emails makes the past feel present again.

It’s a kind of time machine transportation that no polished journal entry can ever emulate.

Even though I know I need to let go, it’s so hard to actually press delete.

Photo by Stephen Phillips – Hostreviews.co.uk on Unsplash

Visibly pregnant

I belong to a Facebook group of ‘Mothers Who Make’, and someone shared this inspiring post from Paloma Faith:

𝖨𝗍 𝗂𝗌 𝗐𝗂𝗍𝗁 𝖾𝗑𝗍𝗋𝖾𝗆𝖾 𝗉𝗅𝖾𝖺𝗌𝗎𝗋𝖾 𝖨 𝖺𝗇𝗇𝗈𝗎𝗇𝖼𝖾 𝖨 𝖺𝗆 𝗉𝗋𝖾𝗀𝗇𝖺𝗇𝗍. 𝖨 𝖺𝗆 𝗀𝗈𝗂𝗇𝗀 𝗍𝗈 𝖻𝖾 𝗋𝖾𝗅𝖾𝖺𝗌𝗂𝗇𝗀 𝗇𝖾𝗐 𝗆𝗎𝗌𝗂𝖼 𝖺𝗍 𝗍𝗁𝗂𝗌 𝗍𝗂𝗆𝖾 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝗐𝖺𝗇𝗍𝖾𝖽 𝗍𝗈 𝖿𝖾𝖾𝗅 𝖿𝗋𝖾𝖾 𝗂𝗇 𝗆𝗒 𝖻𝗈𝖽𝗒 𝖺𝗌 𝗂𝗍 𝖼𝗁𝖺𝗇𝗀𝖾𝗌 𝖻𝖾𝖿𝗈𝗋𝖾 𝖺𝗅𝗅 𝗈𝗎𝗋 𝖾𝗒𝖾𝗌! 𝖨 𝗅𝗈𝗏𝖾 𝗆𝗒 𝗃𝗈𝖻 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝖼𝖺𝗇’𝗍 𝗐𝖺𝗂𝗍 𝖿𝗈𝗋 𝗒𝗈𝗎 𝖺𝗅𝗅 𝗍𝗈 𝗁𝖾𝖺𝗋 𝗆𝗒 𝟧𝗍𝗁 𝖺𝗅𝖻𝗎𝗆 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝖨 𝗐𝗂𝗅𝗅 𝖻𝖾 𝗈𝗎𝗍 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝖺𝖻𝗈𝗎𝗍 𝗉𝗅𝖺𝗒𝗂𝗇𝗀 𝖺𝗌 𝗆𝗎𝖼𝗁 𝖺𝗌 𝗍𝗁𝗂𝗌 𝖼𝗋𝖺𝗓𝗒 𝗍𝗂𝗆𝖾 𝗐𝗂𝗅𝗅 𝖺𝗅𝗅𝗈𝗐 (𝖺𝗅𝗌𝗈 𝖺 𝗍𝗈𝗎𝗋 𝗇𝖾𝗑𝗍 𝗒𝖾𝖺𝗋). 𝖨 𝖺𝗆 𝗇𝗈𝗍 𝖺 𝗌𝗄𝗂𝗇𝗇𝗒 𝗉𝗋𝖾𝗀𝗇𝖺𝗇𝗍 𝗉𝖾𝗋𝗌𝗈𝗇 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝖨 𝖺𝗆 𝖺𝗅𝗌𝗈 𝗁𝗂𝗀𝗁 𝗋𝗂𝗌𝗄 𝗂𝗇 𝗉𝗋𝖾𝗀𝗇𝖺𝗇𝖼𝗒 𝗌𝗈 𝗐𝗈𝗎𝗅𝖽 𝗅𝗂𝗄𝖾 𝗍𝗈 𝖺𝗌𝗄 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝗆𝖾𝖽𝗂𝖺 𝗇𝗈𝗍 𝗍𝗈 𝗋𝗎𝗇 𝖺𝖿𝗍𝖾𝗋 𝗆𝖾 𝗍𝗈 𝗀𝖾𝗍 𝗎𝗇𝖿𝗅𝖺𝗍𝗍𝖾𝗋𝗂𝗇𝗀 𝗌𝗁𝗈𝗍𝗌 𝖺𝗌 𝖺𝗇𝗑𝗂𝖾𝗍𝗒 𝗂𝗌 𝖽𝖾𝗍𝗋𝗂𝗆𝖾𝗇𝗍𝖺𝗅 𝗍𝗈 𝗆𝖾 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝗆𝗒 𝖻𝖺𝖻𝗒. 𝖳𝗁𝗂𝗌 𝖼𝗁𝗂𝗅𝖽 𝗂𝗌 𝗌𝗈 𝗐𝖺𝗇𝗍𝖾𝖽, 𝗂𝗍’𝗌 𝗆𝗒 𝟨𝗍𝗁 𝗋𝗈𝗎𝗇𝖽 𝗈𝖿 𝖨𝖵𝖥 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝗐𝖺𝗌 𝖺 𝗌𝗍𝗋𝗎𝗀𝗀𝗅𝖾 𝗍𝗈 𝗀𝖾𝗍 𝗁𝖾𝗋𝖾. 𝖨 𝗁𝖺𝖽 𝖺 𝗏𝖾𝗋𝗒 𝗍𝗋𝖺𝗎𝗆𝖺𝗍𝗂𝖼 𝖿𝗂𝗋𝗌𝗍 𝖻𝗂𝗋𝗍𝗁 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝖨 𝖺𝗆 𝖺𝗅𝗌𝗈 𝗉𝗋𝗈𝗇𝖾 𝗍𝗈 𝗉𝗈𝗌𝗍𝗉𝖺𝗋𝗍𝗎𝗆 𝖽𝖾𝗉𝗋𝖾𝗌𝗌𝗂𝗈𝗇. 𝖡𝖾𝗂𝗇𝗀 𝖺 𝗆𝗈𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗋 𝗂𝗌 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝗀𝗋𝖾𝖺𝗍𝖾𝗌𝗍 𝗍𝗁𝗂𝗇𝗀 𝗍𝗁𝖺𝗍’𝗌 𝖾𝗏𝖾𝗋 𝗁𝖺𝗉𝗉𝖾𝗇𝖾𝖽 𝗍𝗈 𝗆𝖾 𝖻𝗎𝗍 𝖨 𝗐𝗂𝗅𝗅 𝗌𝗐𝖾𝗅𝗅 𝗎𝗉 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝖨 𝗐𝗈𝗇’𝗍 “𝗀𝗅𝗈𝗐”! 𝖨 𝗂𝗇𝗍𝖾𝗇𝖽 𝗍𝗈 𝖻𝖾 𝗏𝖾𝗋𝗒 𝗋𝖾𝖺𝗅 𝖺𝖻𝗈𝗎𝗍 𝗍𝗁𝗂𝗌 𝗐𝗂𝗍𝗁 𝗒𝗈𝗎 𝖺𝗅𝗅! 𝖳𝗈 𝖺𝗅𝗅 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝗈𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗋 𝗉𝗋𝖾𝗀𝗇𝖺𝗇𝗍 𝗐𝗈𝗆𝖾𝗇 𝗈𝗎𝗍 𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗋𝖾 𝗐𝗁𝗈 𝖺𝗋𝖾 𝖺𝗌 𝗂𝗇 𝗅𝗈𝗏𝖾 𝗐𝗂𝗍𝗁 𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗂𝗋 𝖻𝖺𝖻𝗂𝖾𝗌 𝖺𝗌 𝗆𝖾 𝖻𝗎𝗍 𝗌𝗂𝗆𝗎𝗅𝗍𝖺𝗇𝖾𝗈𝗎𝗌𝗅𝗒 𝗌𝗁𝗂𝗍𝗍𝗂𝗇𝗀 𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗆𝗌𝖾𝗅𝗏𝖾𝗌, 𝗅𝖾𝗍’𝗌 𝖽𝗈 𝗍𝗁𝗂𝗌.

Paloma Faith, Facebook 2020.09.24

I really admire her openness in sharing her pregnancy – and also in sharing that she doesn’t expect to feel or look glamorous in the process.

I also did not feel the pregnancy ‘glow’ – I was too busy feeling, and being, sick. But even so, throughout the experience, I felt such pressure to somehow keep up the act of seeming like my normal self.

I have marvelled at the women who seem to do this so effortlessly. Getting to watch my sister and close friends go through pregnancy, I’ve realised that some women can do this because they just have an easier time. They look like advertisements for maternity.

Some people keep up a good act. But some people genuinely feel pretty great and normal.

It feels like there is an unspoken expectation we should all be this way. I felt like I was somehow letting down feminism by having such a hard time functioning when I was pregnant (oh, the irony!). I took on way too much. And I suffered for it.

Yes, willpower can accomplish amazing things. I pushed this as far as it could go. And I know I had easier pregnant circumstances than many people. (Something I beat myself up with repeatedly while I was expecting, thinking I shouldn’t be having such a hard time, or should be doing more to keep up with other people.)

But bodies don’t follow rules. And willpower has its limits, especially where medical issues are concerned. While for some people things are very smooth, for others it is an intense and demanding medical experience. It takes energy just to get through the day with the demands on our bodies – and our minds.

The most embarrassing part to me was that it didn’t just affect me physically – I felt a mental fog from the hormones that really impacted my ability to focus and function. It made me feel so stupid and embarrassed.

We are often tempted to hide this women aren’t labelled as crazy or nonfunctional. But things like forms were absolutely beyond me, which was a huge challenge to my identity as someone good with detail-oriented work.

I realise now that I hadn’t suddenly become stupid, my brain was just focusing me in a different direction. But I felt so ashamed that I couldn’t handle as much physically or mentally when I was pregnant. It was quite depressing to feel less functional in the ways our society values because of changes in my body that felt beyond my control.

I wish I had the confidence at the time to adapt my art to suit my changing life and body, instead of trying (poorly) to keep up appearances.

Hats off to Paloma Faith for letting herself be visible and vulnerable in this process. And to have a non-glamorous journey to motherhood, without feeling that needs to be hidden away. This is great example to women/mother artists out there who want to be their whole selves, without the pressure of performing a perfect pregnancy.

The best advice I ever got on parenting

Back when my sister was expecting her baby, one of the things they did was get everyone to share their best piece of parenting advice.

I still find myself thinking about this on a regular basis.

The best advice I got came from a taxi driver. He had a young child who he loved deeply, and was so proud of.

He said, ‘You can never take too many photos and videos. Ever.’

He was right.

They grow so fast, and when the moment is gone, it’s gone. Even if it feels like overkill, err on the side of more. It’s even more precious to capture the ordinary things, or the low moments, as it is the special occasions.

It’s those little things like the mispronounced word or funny habit that was so precious is suddenly gone.

I try to take lots of photos, but when I look back in my phone, I see that some days, I only manage a snapshot or two. It’s hard to know when to interrupt the moment to photograph, and when to just live it. But looking back at the images and videos from when she was a baby, they are unbelievably precious.

I think it’s important to document some of the hard times as well as the good ones. Sometimes you’ll look back and wonder, was it really that hard?

Last week, I took a video of my daughter having a borderline tantrum. I was present and engaging with her at the time, but I realised I only had photos and videos of smiling and laughing. And that is definitely not reflective of our full reality. I wanted to be able to remember what it sounded like and felt like, when she was furious her daddy wasn’t home because she wanted a cuddle.

It’s always possible to delete things later if they feel inappropriate, but we can’t go back in time.

The good news is, there is always a fun new stage around the corner.

Still, I try to remind myself to document as much as I can.

I never saw that taxi driver again, but his advice has stuck with me for life.

As I wrote to my sister, it’s a way of making a very ephemeral process (i.e. being in the moment with a small child) feel real, and it will be a gift for you and your child as you create the story of your family.

(PS Digital backup system is a must!!!)

Photo by Lavi Perchik on Unsplash

How do we heal?

How do we heal?

When we are torn,
We know that invisible forces
Work to put us back together again.

We look at the changes
And think it is just the magic of time,
When really, a million microscopic moments
And tiny actions have come together
To create a web that holds our bodies together,
To repair what has been broken,
To restore and renew:
Our cells and ourselves.

It seems to happen so slowly.
The changes are so small
We cannot see them unfolding.
It is easy to make the mistake
Of thinking nothing is happening.
But our bodies reach towards life
Whether we ask them to, or not.

This is important, detailed, complicated work.
And important, detailed, complicated work takes patience.
Every scar is a labour of love.

Do you have the patience
To let your body do its work?
Do you have the patience
To let your soul heal its wounds?
Or do you wrap everything
In a slapdash bandage,
Concealing and constricting,
To protect the most tender surfaces
As you rush on with your day.
Do you have the patience
To wait for the healing that is your birthright?
And the wisdom
Not to get in its way?

Photo by Roman Trifonov on Unsplash