I often think it’s true. I march into a room with every intention of collecting some much needed item and then I stop and wonder. My mind is blank. What was I going to get? If it’s so important why can’t I remember what it is? What have I lost?
I retrace my steps to my previous location in the vain hope this will jog this failing memory. Yeah nah – that didn’t work. I start to worry that I’m really losing my marbles. Is this the first sign that aging is catching up with me?
Apart from the arthritic knees and streaks of grey hair, I usually pride myself on still being switched on in the cognitive department. I cease trying to remember, take a few deep breaths and re-enter the room. I spy them immediately.
My marbles are right there where I left them. In the bottom of that glass. It’s such fun trying to capture images of their splashes with my camera and flash.
I sigh with relief as I reassure myself that photography is such an excellent way to keep these mental muscles active.
I’ll just linger here in my makeshift photography studio and play with my marbles.
Again I start writing
Because I can better
Desires by using words that
Energise me to
Feel differently about these
Grand ideas although
How they find form
Inside my mind by
Purpose yet still
Random thoughts are
To be heard and
Understood despite that the
Volume of my
Down at the bottom of the garden there are crunchy creatures. Have you seen them?
Hidden amongst the textured green weeds, they suck the sap and snap the seeds. They lay their eggs in the cracks and crevices of hidden corners. Secretly these creatures weave their nests and webs to lure smaller insects into their tiny world. Hatchlings emerge and feast on the bugs entrapped in these silken threads.
Ever vigilant for telltale signs of invasion, those creatures are rooted out and crushed. Sticky webs are removed, the insect inhabitants destroyed.
Watering and weeding are two daily tasks to remember. The wilderness of weeds is tamed. There is space for the young plants to spread their roots in the cool, moist earth.
The stakes are high, the tomatoes are tied. The pea vines entwine through the tomatoes and the beans are bending their stalks. Spring onions and radishes push up through the gourmet lettuce plants. Herbs mingle together and a simple touch releases oils which stain the green thumbs of this gardener, bringing a sense of calm to my senses.
Bees buzz as they visit each flower. A love affair exists between the flowering plants and the bees. Pollen is exchanged and shared across the plants. Honey is the bee’s sweet reward.
Meanwhile, the nurtured vegetables continue to thrive and create protein, vitamins and fibre bites encapsulated in sugar snap pea pods, crisp stalks and leafy greens. The garden grows.
I find peace and quiet amongst the growing plants. Spending time in the garden is healthy for mind and body. Exercising my body whilst expelling negative thoughts from my mind Time to cultivate ideas and healthy food.
Nurturing a garden is a bit like creating a piece of oneself – crunchy bite by crunchy bite.
And those crunchy creatures? They no longer lurk at the bottom of the garden.
Green thumbs have won the day. Salad days are here to stay.
Twice or three times a week, I would drive the ‘mom’s taxi’ to the practice grounds. Armed with study guides, notebooks and highlighters, I would sit in the car parked up alongside the football field for an hour or two. Whilst my three sons slipped and slid over the muddy ground I would sip from my thermos mug of black coffee, as I read and highlighted the important bits of brain research theory. Reptilian, Limbic, Neocortex. Which part was which and what part of our body did each control?
Does the release of cortisol into the body boost our adrenaline to support fight or flight? Can we control our fight/flight reflex at all? What enables the brain to function the best? How and why do we think and how does that make us feel? What are the neurons for? And just what is the synaptic gap? So many questions to consider.
With the light quickly fading and the evening mist arising, it was already a cold winter’s evening. Engrossed in a wordy piece of research about brain theory, my own neocortex was replicating the weather which was becoming foggier by the moment. I struggled on with trying to understand the difficult words and the configuration of the brain.
The end of practice session was signaled by a piercing whistle which alerted all the soccer mums to the imminent arrival of their hungry and muddy kids. I sighed and snapped the study guide shut. The next two hours would by far be the toughest and most chaotic part of my day. I briefly wondered which part of my brain would win the battle.
I had to rush home to get the dinner started, bring in the days washing – if it had actually been pegged onto the clothesline that morning – supervise the homework, sort out the silly sibling squabbles, walk the dog, kick the cat off yesterday’s pile of washing, feed the cat, dog and the kids, supervise the hot showers or baths of muddy kids and throw another load of laundry into the washing machine.
The joys of being the ‘soccer mum’ and the ‘paid to work’ mum. Both roles have their own rewards. One financial and the other emotional. Sometimes I struggled enjoying either of these rewards. The financial rewards of the one very quickly became the emotional reward of the other. At least I could pay for those soccer fees and the purchase of the ever-increasing sizes in football boots.
After a tough day in the office, I had to make the best of a bad bargain. Although it wasn’t exactly a toss of the coin it seemed like it was always my job to pick up the boys from school and get them to soccer practice on time. The coach’s standard rule was any player turning up late to practice. had to sit on the bench for at least the first half of the Saturday game. Such a responsibility – but what else are soccer mums for? Oh wait – there are soccer mum rules? How did I miss that memo? Soccer mum sideline support rules:
Don’t be a sideline critic. Remember those referees are volunteer parents too. They may not be as dedicated as this ‘soccer mom extraordinaire’ but they are an essential part of match day. Who else can you blame when your kids are losing….?
Be the grand provider of the oranges when the Saturday morning half time whistle was blown. How many times did you cut those oranges into quarters ready for the slobbering grins of the thirsty players?
Make sure the kids have all their gear especially those football boots and shin pads
Get them to the game on time.
And at the end of the muddy match, there is the inevitable ‘post-mortem’ commentary from the father figure forgetting that he was not the actual coach. Meanwhile, I just loaded those muddy kids into plastic rubbish bags tied up just above their necks for the car journey home. Once home they were hosed off before they were allowed to enter the house. They were of course allowed to have hot showers but the first ritual was the cold hose-off in the garden to rinse off the worst of the mud. What other soccer moms did this cruel thing, I wondered?
Rummaging in my desk drawer for a couple of AA batteries for the tv remote, I glanced longingly at my expired passport. “How long has it been since I had enjoyed the freedom of the young traveler’s lifestyle,” I pondered. Fond memories flickered through my mind and blocked the sound of the tv blaring through the living room door.
In an instant I was back there, sitting in the dappled shade of the river bank, sipping from a champagne flute, giggling as the bubbles tickled my nose. I could hear the babbling of the water as it trickled it’s way downstream. I stretched my toes out and wriggled them into the long grass. The picnic blanket was crumpled beneath the remains of our feast. The soft cheese mingled with the grape stalks and the breadcrumbs. The discarded bottle had rolled onto the grass. My traveling companion was passed out on the rug. I was basking in the summer warmth. All was calm, everywhere were happy people relaxing and enjoying summer. Time for a little snooze time, I thought …. and yet, I felt something was missing. Something was wrong. At the edge of my mind, I could hear something. And I lost focus.
Once again I was back into my sweet chaotic world. “Mommy, mommy, he hit me…!