Celebrating Summer (and the End of EMDR)

We had a lovely summer. We’ve spent time together as a family and although three of us caught the dreaded lurgy and had to come home from our camping trip early, we had some moments that we will treasure. We explored the English countryside and rediscovered our ‘green and pleasant land’. Most of all (for me, at least) these few months since I finished EMDR have been a time of continued renewal and healing. Everyone says how well I look and those who know me well have commented on how I am interacting with people better. I’ve even been horse riding, which I don’t think I would have if it hadn’t been for EMDR. I’ve been so much more able to give of myself to my family, too. A great burden has been lifted that I’d been hefting for years. I can’t tell you how wonderful that is. I am so, so thankful!

A few highlights: Fluff won an award at school for attainment. There were 11 of these awards handed out to a year group of 130, so she was thrilled. This is the same little girl whom I was once told was below average. I always knew she wasn’t – it was just everything that she’d been through, and we’d been through. Frank and I have fought hard for her to have the best education, and to support her in all her learning. Little Chipmunk did her first ever dance exams and gained a Merit and a Highly Commended. Yay, Chip! My girls and I have taken up horse riding, and I have fallen in love with a beautiful gelding called Balthazar ❤  I’ve also taken up Pilates, which is far more difficult than I’d anticipated. Muscles ache the day after in places you never expected to even have them… Praise the Lord for ibuprofen!

We’ve been blackberrying and made jam for the first time ever. We’ve enjoyed picnics and walks in the woods. We visited:

 

FLAG FEN

3,500 years old!

a 3,500 year old archaeological site,

The castle had a bread oven. On the roof. As you do...

The castle had a bread oven. On the roof. 

an 800 year old castle and a 600 year old manor house. On visiting the castle and learning its age, Prince commented, “This place makes our house seem quite young, Mummy…” Quite so!

 

Enormous slices of Bakewell tart for Daddy and Prince

Enormous slices of Bakewell tart for Daddy & Prince

GRAFFITI

Century old graffiti in the castle

Our little archaeologist

Our little archaeologist

A green spider on the train one day

Fluff insisted on taking a photo of this green spider on the train. Wonder where he was going?

GIRL GARDEN

Little girl explores an English country garden…

Little girl let loose with a camera in the English country garden:

 

 

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So how about you? Have you anything to be especially thankful for? Have you done anything special over the summer (or winter, if you’re in the southern hemisphere)?

Happy Families

I used to love the game Happy Families as a child. Do you know it? It’s a card game where you have to collect all the different members of the ‘family’ and the one with the most complete families wins. You can collect the Butcher family, the Grocer family, the Baker family, etc. I used to love all the different characters and imagining them living their untroubled lives happily baking or grocering or – er – butchering.

Anyway, I don’t know why I was reminded of that while looking at the tents pitched around the field, but I suppose it’s because everyone is relaxed and happy and all the children, even if they’ve only met this morning, are playing together as if they’ve known one another their whole lives.

Did I mention we’re camping? This is kind of our ‘thing’. It’s a relatively cheap way to explore the countryside and to spend quality time together as a family. We arrived on Monday. You know you’re in the 21st century when you can blog from the middle of a field. I’ve spent the past few days rather poorly, with concurrent bouts of cystitis and a cold. I’ve either been running to the loo or blowing my runny nose. Too much running for my liking. I’ve also been sleeping during the day, which I only do if I’m unwell, so Frank’s been lumbered with the childcare and the cooking and all the campingy things. I prayed this morning that God would help me to be a better wife and a better mummy, and now I’m feeling a bit brighter, which is a prayer answered. So I thought I’d share with you a picture of the glorious view from the tent. It’s quite marvellous.

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Summer, Age 12

We waved off our middle child today,

All pink and rosy and full

Of bounce.

Or, not so much bounce, what with carrying a backpack

Cram-jammed full for a week of fun

In the sun and the dirt and the green.

And in

A week we’ll pick her up again,

Sunburned, dirt-scarred,

Still, no doubt, rosy

And smiling.

Seven nights under canvas,

Seven days filled end-to-end

And top to bottom

With climbing trees,

Building rafts and making friends.

This is the stuff lifetimes are made of

In the height of summer,

Aged 12.

Just a poem I wrote after Fluff went off to camp this morning. It’s not a great poem, but it has within it what I wanted to say and it’s a start on the road back to writing 🙂

You’re Little for a Little While

 

The end of the summer term brings numerous school traditions. This morning was, once again, Prize Day at Chip’s primary school, and I was invited once more to the ceremony. As they read out the title of the award, followed by the names of the children, I reflected on whether my little Chip would be likely to win any particular one. I didn’t think she’d win ‘Exemplary Behaviour’ like her sister the year before. She’s a little too – er – bouncy for that, by which I mean she occasionally forgets to be considerate in her eagerness. I joked with her beforehand that she ought to win ‘Most Like Tigger’. She just grinned.

The teacher continued to announce the various awards and when it came to ‘Most Improved in Confidence’ I nearly snorted. Chip was definitely not going to be eligible for that one. Any more confidence and she’d be dangerous. Like I say, our very own little Tigger. So which award do you think she won? You might have an inkling. It was ‘Most Enthusiastic Learner’. Bless her, the teacher said that she approaches everything, even the subjects she doesn’t like so much, with enthusiasm and endless curiosity. I was proud.

Next week I’ve been invited to Fluff’s school where she also has won a prize. It’s good to know, as a parent, that you must be doing something right if your offspring continually achieve well. It’s good to know that, despite all the horribleness and ugliness and darkness that we’ve been through as a family, we’ve not only come through, but come through strong. Even this past year, while it has been the best year of my life so far (hallelujah!), has not been easy. EMDR was nothing if not gruelling and it had an impact on the whole family, not just me. My biggest lesson from EMDR, perhaps surprisingly, has been to learn that being a good mother is good enough. I don’t have to be the perfect parent to somehow make up for the past.

So I shall spend this lovely summer’s day enjoying being a Very Proud Mother, and giving thanks to the God of all things good.

The greatest in the Kingdom of heaven is the one who humbles himself and becomes like this child. And whoever welcomes in my name one such child as this, welcomes me.

Matt 18:4,5 (GNT)