How do you celebrate the fact that you’ve existed for thirty laps around the Sun? Take all your friends to a remote location in Wales with their children seemed like the appropriate answer. Best to lure them with the smell of Champagne as a thank you arrival drink for making it off the beaten track late on a Friday evening post work. It’s lovely being a parent, most of the time but it’s even better when you can enjoy parenting while still celebrating with friends. That was what I was attempting to achieve and I think mostly it worked out well.
The majority of my friends now have their own children and when deciding on a plan for my 30th birthday celebrations I wanted to incorporate family as much as possible. Child friendly but still fun and luxurious was the vibe I was going for and I hope I hit the mark with it. In a surprise turn out both my children were well and healthy as we set off on our way to Wales, stopping over at my parents house to break up the journey. Stored in the back somewhere was my tower of Champagne glasses, a bag full of frozen canapés, two bags full of stuff for two children with our things crammed wherever they will fit, a double pram. This was pretty light packing, Sebastian was thankfully using his carrycot still and would be sleeping in that – I’ll be writing about the Bugaboo Donkey2 shortly it’s really impressed me. Ariella was going to be transitioning into a single bed with blow up Hippychick Dream Tubes, although she did fall out of bed once they worked very well for her and didn’t take up much space at all in the car.
The house we had rented for the weekend was screaming Hygge inside and out, from its several log burners, candle lit lanterns, books scattered around to its outside pizza oven, star-gazing wooden hot tub and it’s tree swings. On arriving I quickly assigned rooms before everyone else arrived and set to getting the buffet table sorted. Once both children were fed and asleep I could really appreciate the beauty of rural Wales up in the Brecon Beacons, the only sound to be heard was of sheep just outside. I really recommend visiting if you haven’t before, it’s absolutely wonderful. We were very lucky with the weather, the entire duration of the long weekend the Sun was shining on us and the clouds very clear which made for excellent star-gazing at night.
Half of the group the next day went gliding, which I’m told was fabulous and the other half turned part of the old cottage into a spa with our own personalised therapist. The weekend was full of good food, nice drinks and lovely cocktails – topped off by a private chef cooking a three course dinner the final evening.
I want to talk about a change in mentality since turning thirty. Three weeks have passed since my birthday weekend and I’ve pondered on many things, how could I have used up thirty years already for one. But also reflecting on where I am now, parenting and the everyday stresses that surround it alongside the additional stresses of the last few months, of coeliac disease, global developmental delay and epilepsy. The screaming has returned a little the last couple of weeks and on top of this Ariella is going through the typical twos, she wants to be doing one thing but time demands we do another. The social communication delay makes it at times difficult for both of us to understand each other. It occurred to me last week while becoming frustrated with the constant screaming (we have building work going on at the moment which means lots of noises) that I’m fortunate to not have somewhere crucial to be on a day-to-day basis yet; I’m always trying to rush Ariella along, getting ready to go out the house, getting down the garden steps to the car, in the car, to the final destination once we’ve driven. I was sat in the nursery car park watching all the parents in the morning drop off their children, rushing to get to work when it dawned on me that I don’t need to rush and what would actually happen if we just slowed down to Ariella’s pace.
There are few things that are critical, hospital appointments yet but everything else is just a nicety. If Ariella doesn’t mobilise herself because she’s focusing on something else, or stops in the middle of the path to look at a stick then it’s less stressful for all of us if I just let her get on with it. She is lucky that we can do that, why not take advantage of it. When you are being screamed at daily, for long durations is easy to lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel but the bigger picture is there. We have two beautiful children, a wonderful home, two fluffy cats (even if one of them does like to have a wee on a tea towel) and time. We have all the time in the world, I appreciated the time my own mother gave to me as a child, forgoing work to stay at home. A true luxury these days to be able to do so, to be able to take Ariella to all her therapy sessions, her hospital appointments and ultimately watch her and her brother grow.
I also have decided that from now on I am going to invest into others what is invested in me, embrace shorter hair and try to appreciate every single day without worrying about what is around the corner.