I’ve never been so productive before. At the moment, I have a lot of energy and although I don’t exactly know where it’s coming from, I am very grateful it’s here. We continue to make things and do things to our new home and our garden, and in the evenings all I want to do is sew or paint or write.
I’m starting to wonder if I have finally got to a place where I don’t want to watch TV at all. We have never watched much TV, and after Ava was born we stopped watching anything that wasn’t specifically picked (streamed) by us. When we moved into this house we decided not to bother getting a TV license. And granted, all the good shows we stream have stopped for summer (Community, Game of Thrones, Parenthood..) but still, I have absolutely no desire to watch anything, at all. Even good things. I can’t shake the feeling, when I do, that there are other, more important things I’d rather be doing. Reading, at the very least. It feels like such a waste of time nowadays and I am overjoyed to have reached the stage where TV seems like such a tiny and inconsequential part of my life.
Days now, with Ava, are very full and very fun. There is so much play and we are at a stage where we feel really happy with her toys. We have simplified so much, and now she has a beautiful selection of really good quality, open-ended toys, which we shuffle around every week. We keep very little downstairs, and her playing has changed a great deal because of it. She gets very involved with whatever she plays with and can spend a great deal of time favouring one thing or another. I take this as a good sign. The simpler, the better, in every way of life.
As a child, I remember reading and re-reading favourite books, and I want Ava to have the same connection with her things – I want her to have one greatly loved, worn out, tatty old-doll that has been everywhere with her. It’s much easier to hope this will happen with fewer things (already her ‘baby’ – the Waldorf doll we got her last Christmas – is much cherished and covered in the good stains of everyday life). The toys we have kept are ones that emphasise role play and can be used in a myriad of ways.
I do feel like we are gaining a steady and reliable rhythm to our days, little by little. Hard as it might be to keep one particular routine going, what with an ever-growing, every changing Little, it is not as hard as I imagined to have a few daily rituals that somehow cement us, giving us pace, slowing us down when necessary. (Ava’s afternoon naps, for example, are still a treasured part of our days – she sleeps, and I snuggle into her and read or write, if possible)
Of course, there is still so much more I would like to do in terms of simplifying and gaining rhythm. We have still to find our own yearly rhythms, and I hope, as my dear friend suggested today, that having a garden to tend will help with that. Certainly we are still figuring out how we will choose to celebrate holidays and festivities, what traditions we have inherited and wish to keep going and what is ours.
Either way, simplifying has led to a subtle shift in our tempos, I believe. We seem much more productive as a family, within a more harmonious home. There is more time, and more good things to do with that time. It feels really quite exhilerating – there is something satisfyingly primal about homesteading, for me, as much as we can do in this house, with what land we have. Such a contentment and peace that comes from doing, perhaps because doing pulls you into the present. We tend, these days. To each other.
I am learning how important it is to start with yourself, to nourish and take care of yourself, and how much this affects everyone else around you. When I am happy, Ava is happy, and that’s really all I want. She climbed into my lap tonight, placed a hand on each of my shoulders, and told me something very seriously in Ava speak. Then she gave me kiss and went off to play. What more could I possibly ask for?