The here and now

 

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I have plans to transform that shed… It needs some new boards and a lick of paint. A weekend project coming up soon.
The French beans are finally moving up the poles.
The French beans have taken a munching from the snails but they’re finally moving up the poles.
Gladioli – they appeared out of the blue from soil we brought in. Very pleasing.
Gladioli – they appeared out of the blue from soil we shipped in last year. Very pleasing.
This rose is a climber we rescued from beside the old back door. It was in a wooden barrel and very leggy. I chopped it right down then replanted it here. It's covered in bright orange flower buds.
This rose is a climber with small, bright orange flowers. It was in an old wooden barrel when we moved here and was one very tall main stem with leaves and a few flowers at the top. I chopped it right down when we replanted it and I’m delighted that it seems very happy.
Erigeron on the steps.
Erigeron on the steps. We have to tread carefully.

I’ve been feeling rather wistful today, thinking of the days when the children were small. What started me off was listening to BBC Radio 4’s ‘Four Thought’ yesterday evening about a couple who sold their house, gave up their teaching jobs and went to live in a caravan with their two young daughters. Their aim was to do what’s most important in life – to spend proper time together. They’d felt that their lives had become completely unbalanced. (If you’d like to listen to it, it’s here.) It’s something I wish we’d been brave enough to do when the children were small. They’re too old now. I don’t think they would countenance being whisked out of school and away from their friends. And, anyway, the boys wouldn’t fit on caravan beds.

I know everyone tells you – when you’re in the thick of small children with toilet training, broken nights, toddler tantrums – to try to enjoy it, that it goes so quickly. But it DOES. I’d so love to pop back for a while to soak it all in again – the cuddles, the sitting on your lap while you read a book together, the small hands in mine – which is ridiculous and self-indulgent (and a bit greedy)! What I should be doing is enjoying them Right Now because they’re still wonderful and they still need us, just in different ways. And much sooner than we’re prepared for they will leave home.

My eldest came into the kitchen as I was cooking dinner the other day, ‘I’ve had a really productive hour, mum’, he announced. ‘I’ve sorted out my rucksack, tidied my art folder and had a power nap!’ Ah, 15-year-old boys. Aren’t they great?!

 

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13 thoughts on “The here and now

  1. I know exactly how you feel about toddler nostalgia (that’s what I call it). My boys are 28 and 25 now, both are much taller than I am. I enjoy their company, but I miss the days when I could sit them on my knee and read them a story.

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  2. How sweet is your son! Just so fun! And I am with you on the growing up fast…mine are still small but I can feel the time just flying by already…how I wish I could stop it for a bit! I can’t wait to see what you do with your shed…such a great focal point in your garden! And how awesome are your steps of blooms! That is such a stunning sight! As is your gladiolus! And that rose as well! So much beauty to take in friend! Wishing you a lovely day! Nicole xo

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  3. It does go by quickly. I’ve always tried to savor each stage – easier with some stages than others – but I find myself missing the baby stage a lot already and my younger child is only six. Your garden is looking great. I love seeing the beans climbing the pole. They’re going to be delicious, nothing like fresh beans from the garden. I hope you have a good weekend, Sam.

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  4. I read the article on the BBC website and couldn’t agree more with their views on time being the currency of life itself and that the real measure of success is the amount of disposable time you have. Let’s all go and live in a caravan (in France!) x

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  5. Those steps! That looks stunning!!

    And your thoughts on how quickly our children grow up, I couldn’t agree more. I started my family quite young, and now my older daughter, who is older than I was when I had her, has a baby of her own, and yet it feels like only five minutes ago she was as tiny as he is. The years just whizz by don’t they.

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    1. Thanks Annie. Yes, I’m sure time has sped up since having the children. It must feel a little like a timewarp holding your grandson.

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  6. Your garden has good bones Sam. I wouldn’t worry about trampling the Erigeron, it is as tough as old boots and will self-seed with abandon. It grows on steps at Wisley and there are no ‘keep off’ signs. I’ve always enjoyed the here and now with my children, every age has been wonderful and I feel so lucky that I’ve never missed a moment. Even the very worst times like my son needing 10 stitches in his knee have their funny side now – I almost fainted and we had to go for hot chocolate and Jaffa cakes before driving home! My son phoned me yesterday for some of my rhubarb recipes. Apparently they’ve discovered a clump of rhubarb growing at the bottom of the garden of their rented student house. How great is that!

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    1. It is important to savour every moment. I love that your son is thinking of cooking with the rhubarb – how many students would even notice it was there. You’ve obviously trained him well!

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  7. Yes to all you said about disappearing childhoods. I wasn’t brave enough to break out of the System and wish I had – especially the tyranny of homework and holiday projects. I deeply resent the amount of time I had to spend policing those. I do wish Erigeron would grow for me. I resorted to buying some plants but they just shrivelled away. I think they have to choose their spot and then they flourish.

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    1. My younger son once had a teacher who didn’t believe in homework. She had to set it but didn’t mind if it wasn’t done. Needless to say she was his favourite teacher. I’ve loved Erigeron since we visited Coleton Fishacre in Devon (wonderful 1920s house owned by the National Trust) and saw masses of it growing. I couldn’t believe my luck when we discovered it flourishing here.

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