Family life is such a tricky balance; family life when there is such a weight of grief in it, when six people have got so many things to process and recover from and have such varied needs is, well, tricky at times. Grief, combined with the complexities of an important relationship in our family coming to an end at the same time, has been overwhelming on more than one occasion. The girls had so much to process in 6 weeks – not only the death of their brother but the separation of their grandparents. The only way to honestly explain that occurrence was to talk about relationships needing and requiring not just love but also effort and work and sheer ‘time’ – it was far less difficult to talk about that than to talk about love ending. What was unfortunate was that the girls already knew, because we have always talked openly about such things, that grief can tear couples apart too. I know they worry we don’t get enough time together – and in a way they are right to worry – we do need that and have lost our easiest way of getting it. But I worry that they worry about it; I don’t want to inflict that need on them, even though I need it to be understood.
The last year has been a balance of healing time alone, healing time together, closeness and space. Down time and up time. It is exhausting trying to get that balance right for everyone. Barely possible.
Max and I needed some downtime this weekend; him perhaps more than me even. I needed to work, needed to create some things and have some results at the end of the time spent being just me. The girls didn’t really need that – they needed to cling and be close. How do you balance all that?
Well, we didn’t do so well on Saturday really but we got through, with a certain amount of gnashing and grumping. But on Sunday we worked out some better ways of being, mostly that we did our own projects quietly, but close to each other. And the result was pretty good in the end.
Sunday morning they all drew pictures of the Jabberwocky, which I had read to them at dinner on Saturday. I gave myself a brief Cultured Family Point when I could reach for Alice in Wonderland from the dinner table, deducted it when I remembered that poem wasn’t actually in that book, but went double or quits if any of them could actually lay their hands on a poetry book with it in. Maddy could. I am a Cultured Mother
So anyway, we read it again and they drew quick versions.
They liked this (Maddy and Amelie made theirs into Pokemon Jaberwockys) and it inspired me to do a bit more of that type of thing. I particularly enjoyed their acting outs of whiffling Personally I think Amelie did the JubJub bird
This seemed to spark creativity; Amelie and Fran went off downstairs to design a Pokemon board game, which took all day and was a rare and delightful bit of them working together.
Maddy started off designing Groovy Girls clothes on paper
During all of that, I managed to make this little flower basket
along with a “How to make a Simple Fimo Flower Basket” tutorial and do various other things too, so I felt rested and creative. And Max had lots of down time too.
When I looked back on that, I was rather proud of all of us.