It’s been a little over three weeks since we returned from our holiday to the Gold Coast, a vibrant, glamorous (if a little hectic) region just south of Brisbane. Our expectations for the holiday had been realistically set; this was not a place for relaxing but there would be plenty to do, the weather would be divine and the beaches glorious expanses of white sand. It reminded me of Florida; a bit of Destin with a splash of Miami.
A good friend who grew up on the Gold Coast gave us a spectacular lowdown, the stuff we really needed to know – best coffee, super parks and the top places for a family meal. The big things we worked out for ourselves but those tips were invaluable, saving us precious ‘hit and miss’ time in a much needed family week.
And so we returned to life in Sydney – work for Mister, school for Miggins and lots of fettling for TJ and me, not least in starting to plan his pirate birthday party and, two weeks later, a BBQ for 25 of our friends and 25 of their littlies to celebrate our first anniversary of landing in Sydney.
The pirate party was a huge success – 7 pirates, 1 Captain America, 1 who didn’t do costumes, 1 Rapunzel, 1 fairy and 1 princess. An eclectic mix but it worked and it proved a fantastic rehearsal for the massive BBQ that was to follow. It was hectic, though, in its preparation and execution (I know 3 year olds don’t care if the bathroom mirror is windexed and the inside of the microwave is clean, but this 36 year old does…) and we kept going afterwards, clearing up, grumbling over England’s loss in the rugby then straight to swimming lessons and before we knew it, it was Monday morning again.
It struck me as I was dashing about over the following week that I used to look at mums (and dads) like me and think “What do you do? What do you actually do? If you’re not working, can’t you just sit around and take the day as it comes? How can you be so ‘busy'”. And some days, despite his huge respect for me in my newish role as a full time mum, I know Mister wonders the same thing (sometimes, forgetting himself, he wonders this out loud, then immediately tries to suck the words back in, as my old courtroom persona revives itself and constructs a bulletproof defence). I won’t regale you with a blow by blow account of my average day (I save that for my closing submissions in the aforementioned courtroom drama) save as to say that it is unfathomably busy; that single four letter word describes it to a T.
So in the midst of ‘busy’ I was thrown a curveball, which is a regular occurrence in the pockettpause household and one that usually only changes the direction and purpose of the day rather than its pace but this time TJ was poorly and that means brakes on, blankets out, any whiff of franticism expelled. Slowing down. Slowing right down.
Characteristically, I still find it hard to just stop. 5 years ago, when I was 29 weeks pregnant with Miggins, I was told by my doctor that I would need to be admitted to hospital for a week of strict bed rest. Having been assured that medically, if I rested, the baby and I would be fine, I tentatively asked if I could bring in my work laptop to finish a crucial statement that needed to be filed that week. I promised to type lying down. My request was met with a curt “No”, a scribble on my medical notes (which I later deciphered to read “advised patient to refrain from working whilst on bed rest”) and a relieved look on Mister’s face. “You just have to stop, just stop”.
Back to last week, still battling inertia and fighting to keep TJ’s temperature down we whizzed off to the doctor’s surgery only to be told “No, it’s not an infection, he doesn’t need antibiotics, just plenty of fluids, Panadol for his temperature and rest, plenty of rest”.
So we pottered home and sank into the sofa, feeling like we’d both take the doctor’s prescription of rest, just rest. And although I might have sporadically reached for my trusty phone to google ‘party hire’ and ’10-day weather forecast’ in anticipation of our upcoming shindig, I figured we’d had a good enough rehearsal with our pirates and misfits party and really it was just a BBQ with our lovely friends who didn’t give a hoot about the inside of my microwave. So I stopped; we stopped. And it felt good.
I’ve got no deeds to do,
No promises to keep
I’m dappled and drowsy and ready for sleep
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me
Life, I love you,
All is groovy