Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Small Big Reminders

I got this fancy schmancy gigantic Orla Kiely canister, and now I mostly feel motivated to keep my kitchen clean. I say mostly because today I was not motivated. I was out of the house. But it's the absolute truth that having something nice in my kitchen makes me want to make the rest of it look nice enough for this thing to reside in. I'm not sure if that's problematic or not, but I'm going to say it's a good thing.

The story of this canister is kind of funny. I saw it, fell in love with it, and assumed I couldn't afford it because the small canisters cost £25, and I wasn't willing to spend even that much. The price wasn't listed anywhere that I could find it, and I assumed that it would be more than the smaller containers. So I walked away. But then I couldn't stay away, and walked into the store the next day to ask someone how much it cost. And what do you know? It was on super duper last chance clearance sale for £15.80. I had that amount to spend without putting us into a minor financial crisis, so I bought it. It's meant to have teff flour in it, but I've been spending so much time keeping the rest of the kitchen clean that I haven't had time to wash this out and put the teff flour in it. So it just sits there, looking pretty.

I think that's fine. Don't argue with me; I will just disagree.

But I do find it interesting that something small like this can be such an inspiration. Well, it's large, but still. It is not a big deal to have this - or is it? Here is something that I thought I would have to forego in the interest of stable family finances, which I assumed was out of reach to someone like me. But then it wasn't! And this, above all else, gives me hope. Hope for the day to day and hope for the bigger things I'd like to happen but that seem entirely out of reach. This canister is a reminder that sometimes, we get what we want, if we will be bold enough to ask for it. That doesn't mean it isn't still a gift, of course. But the asking was important.

So much of what I have wanted, I have gotten by asking. Surely I have heard some firm NOs, but overall, I am living a charmed life. And as silly as it may seem, this canister is a visible reminder of that. Maybe I have to wait to order my dream shoes, maybe we can't yet afford to purchase a house here in London (oh, but I'd love to be able to buy the one we are currently living in), but here we are in the city where we always wanted to live, in a house that is more than I could have hoped to afford, and my children are learning and growing and loving one another. We travel a little. We have three cats and lots of friends and everything we need, plus a lot of things that we simply want.

At this moment, I really couldn't ask for more. Because I already did, and I got it.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

The Joy of the Everyday

It is Sunday afternoon. I've just added about thirty books to our homeschool wish list, because I just get so excited about how many things we could learn. Z reads for pleasure, both to herself and aloud to E, and I cannot tell you just how thrilling I find this to be. If you can read and enjoy it, you can learn anything. We may have our challenges related to working memory difficulties, but oh! It doesn't impede the delight of learning new things!

Today I am rekindling my joy in the work I am doing. We have been far busier than I prefer to be, and that makes me forget how satisfying this work is. But today we are at home, and I am looking back over the photos I've taken this month of our everyday antics, and I am so pleased with the good work we have been doing. The house is a mess in most of the photos, but there's a photo of my children playing their ukuleles, a snap of them reading together, a mirror reflection above of sitting on the stairs, drinking tea, and giving Teddy the love he deserves.

We are so fortunate to have the life we do. That my children can learn in a way that brings them pleasure is something that is not afforded to everyone. We have been reading Helen Keller's autobiography, and when we came to the part where she talked about her early learning being a joyful endeavor, Z and I grinned at each other. We get to do that, too, mostly.

Oh, we have things to do that are drudgery. Absolutely no one enjoys correcting spelling. I am not awfully keen on teaching my children to read. But the payoff of these everyday tasks, well - that is all worth it. It won't be long before I've got two children who can read whatever they like off the bookshelves and learn something new from it. Their minds are breaking wide open with possibility, and it's because of these things we do every day, that are in and of themselves not very enjoyable. But put it all together, and here we are, in the midst of joy.

And all these other little things that I do to make our life work out, that I sometimes grumble about or scowl at, they make this joy possible as well. All those little tasks that seem like drudgery are the things that make this life the life we get to have. I write this not to boast, but to remind myself. Every time I adjust the budget, each time I repair something instead of getting a new one, every time I get up early to pack a lunch so we don't have to buy one out - I am making this life possible. This is good work, and it can be joyful work, and this post is really just a reminder.

We are living the good life. There is joy.