The Little Things
Everyone knows the saying “It’s the little things that count”. It always seemed a pretty innocuous and intangible line that is bandied about and I never paid it much mind, until this weekend.
But first, some background…
The last few weeks I have been falling further and further into a rut. First I got a mean case of man flu (it’s totally a thing you guys!) that I just couldn’t shake, and on the back of that my (fully immunised) son got a full blown case of the chicken pox. Unsurprisingly, part of my role as Stay at Home Mum is to actually stay at home when the kids are ill, no gym, unable to keep my own 3x per week medical appts, no real human interaction. The day after my son returned to school, my daughter came down sick so I have been pretty much housebound for the better part of 3-4 weeks.
While some (including me) may have thought this would have given me more time to get organised, it did, in effect, the opposite. I became so overwhelmed by all the things I needed to do, both inside the house and out, my response was to pretty much stick my head in the sand and not do any of them at all!! Mature, I know.
Instead of getting out to the gym, I was home eating shit. Instead of keeping on top of dates and commitments, I was trying to store them all in my head. When the (rest of the) kids got home from school, I might have started to drink a little too redily. I was starting to become aware, for the first time in my life, that it was something I might actually have to start to curtail.
On the weekend we were scheduled to go to Warrnambool (on the coast in country Victoria), where my family is from, for a family function. I used to hate going there as it was where my Grandma lived and I always had to go there. Plus, Grandma and I pretty much despised each other which didn’t exactly make for a pleasant experience, but since she has departed the Earth I have actually come to appreciate the place.
We booked ourselves a cabin at the local caravan park. When showing our accommodation to the kids online, my husband reported my son said he had “hoped for something a little more luxurious”, and my youngest declared this would “be the worst holiday ever” (seriously, spoilt much the little buggers!?!). Not exactly the greatest start but we packed our car and off we went. A three and a half hour drive filled with more “are we there yet”s than you can maintain your sanity with, and we arrived safe, if not entirely sound of mind. But from there on in, we had SUCH a good time!
The weather was kind to us so we were able to hit the beach, enjoy boat rides on the lake, mini golf, and adventures along the breakwater. We had no kids sporting events we HAD to get to, no dinners to make or lunches to pack, no kids parties to rush to and no fights over the xbox/computer/other ridiculous thing. We even went on a family WALK. Normally this would be my idea of hell, but we had the time and space to be able to enjoy it. It was weird!
On the last day I was sitting on the beach (I normally HATE the beach by the way…effing sand just gets everywhere) watching my kids play in the water, laughing and screaming their heads off as they were hit by the waves, and I was indeed feeling very weird. I began to try to figure out exactly why I was feeling so odd, and what it could possibly be when suddenly I realised... I must be relaxed, and happy!!! It alarmed me that those emotions would feel so alien to the point where I had to consciously figure out what was happening!!
I realise now that I had become so bogged down in the daily grind, the things I “must do” but didn’t want to, the things I did want to do but couldn’t, pounding away on the groundhog day treadmill, that I didn’t even recognise how crappy I was feeling. I had just taken it for normal.
If not for this family function we would never have taken a break like that in the middle of the term. But I’m so glad we did!
Going back to the little things counting, this small break showed me - really for the first time - that if you don’t take that time out to experience the smaller joys of life, the drudgery of the everyday can end up ruining your bigger picture. I can see for a fact it had done mine.
In hindsight, that's a pretty sad lesson to be learning after 10 years in the game! Hopefully it may make the next 10 a little lighter.