Today is the last day of the first half of the spring term, so we have a week’s holiday before the run up to Easter already. As somebody pointed out to me yesterday, that means that we are halfway through the academic year already! How does this time fly away so quickly? We are galloping through time and whatever I do, I am not able to slow time down and halt the approach to Joshua’s fast-approaching adulthood.
So rather than resisting it, I must face time’s inevitable passing, and simply try to make each moment count. I certainly try to inject fun into our lives, with holidays, short breaks, trips to the theatre for instance, but of course there are also the everyday activities – school, work, supermarket shopping, laundry..- and it can be tougher to make these fun on occasions. But Joshua gets his joy from people and their reaction to him and so even our weekly visit to Tesco can be an adventure for him : he loves to push the trolley with me, and can really get some speed up. He enjoys interacting with other customers and he often likes to snack on a treat as we walk around. He will , on occasions, sit beautifully at the end of the tills while I pack and pay for the shopping – more often than not he finds it hilarious to accost other people’s trolleys or to run off when I have my hands full!
My point is , however, that Joshua sees most activities as an opportunity to interact with someone or to enjoy some food, both of which he loves. We both collected him from school yesterday and my husband wanted to stop at a garden centre on the way home, whereas I was intent on getting back. Initially I suggested that we waited in the car and then we agreed to come too, but under protest. We started to walk towards the plants , when my husband asked ‘would you rather go in the cafe?’ With that, Joshua heard the magic word and instantly put his brakes on and spun around, the decision was made. That detour became a treat where he enjoyed a glass of orange juice and a slab of chocolate cake. and he consumed both with great relish, while waving at the other customers.
Joshua is somehow able to turn the mundane into a fun treat and that is a great skill that he has there, and one that I am going to try harder to achieve too.
It is well known that carers tend to be bad at taking care of themselves and I am no exception. I often fill my Fridays off work with appointments, telephone chasing for appointments and volunterring at school. But yesterday I planned to be more kind to myself : In the morning , I booked myself in for a pedicure so that I could sit and have my feet taken care of and it always feels luxurious and decadent and seeing my painted toe nails gives me a little thrill when I see them.It takes about an hour and it is a time when I have to sit and be pampered, no multi tasking is possible. I know that not everyone enjoys letting someone touch their feet, but it is a treat for me.
From there I went to school for a meeting and I brought Joshua home, via Donalds so that he could have his treat too. Then it was a quick bath, before getting ready to go out. Yorkshire Grandma came at 6pm to baby sit. Unfortunately Joshua had seizures on the way home from school and so he was curled up on the settee, fast asleep when she arrived and when we left. We joined three other couples for a Christmas party – a meal and dancing to a live band. Our nights out together are pretty rare and so last night we were defintely treating ourselves. I drove us home so it was not a boozy night out for me, but I had fun, enjoying the chat and dancing. It was after 1am when we got home, which considering I am usually tucked up in bed for 10.30 these days, was a big night out!
Yorkshire Grandma reported that all was well at home when we got back, so I was able to slide into bed and I must have been asleep within seconds of my head hitting the pillow. So I feel as though I am topped up on treats now, so will that enable me to be a better carer today I wonder? I do not underestimate the value of ‘me time’ but to be honest, I feel as though I get that every morning by waking up typically two hours earlier than my boys. I have the luxury of some time to myself before the day begins, to potter about, maybe bake, perhaps go for a swim, to write letters or emails, to watch something that I choose on Netflix , to play with the dogs, to practice some mindfulness and to write my blog. This has become an important part of my day and my routine, and I have to admit to feeling put out if either Joshua or my husband wake up early too and invade my space!