Life with two young children is, for me, characterised by extended periods of intense predictability, followed by rapid change.
The transition from winter to spring is something of a metaphor for this state of being. By the time February rolls it feels hard to believe that in a few short months the mornings will be light, the days mild and pleasant, and the garden, woods, allotments and fields will have sprung from bleak and bare to abundant, joyful life.
It almost seems impossible to believe that such a dramatic change can happen, in so short a time. Even today as I planted a peony in the garden part of me was wondering, will this actually grow? Will this cherry tree ever blossom and bear fruit? How can life spring from what looks like dead wood? Will I ever get rid of this sinusitis - a condition I have very fortunately never had before and am deeply not enjoying, not least its longevity.
It's the same with my children. At times it feels life has been and will remain the same forever. This is partly very comforting as I know when my children are older I will miss these days, this time when they are so very innocent and so very very wanting of me. One day I will be chasing them around asking 'do you want to watch a movie with me?' and they'll be all 'oh go away Mum, we've got ACTUAL LIVES y'know' and I don't want to look back and wish that I'd watched Nemo or Jungle Book or bloody Frozen with them a bit more.
I don't ever want to wish I'd cuddled them more, spent more time with them, given them more attention, been kinder, been more available. loved them more.
I don't think on my deathbed I will look back and think 'I wish I'd spent more time working and tidying my house'.
But it's partly frustrating because of course my own self prickles and pushes at the back of my mind. Hello, she needles. I'm here too. I want to write, run, ride, sit, drink tea, do yoga with you - I want some time and attention. I want some space. And a good night's sleep wouldn't go amiss either.
And at those times I feel I am rather trapped here at home with my young children, with ideas and motivation buzzing around my head with nowhere to go. Last night I had a dream that felt significant and important and as I woke up I knew I should record it before I lost it. But instantly I was ambushed by two wriggling bodies, yelling their adorable infectious excitement that 'Mummy's awake!' and by the time I was able to get to a pen and a piece of paper the details had faded.
I wrote down what I could but I know there are huge chunks missing. This happens frequently, with dreams and with concrete ideas.
I'd say about 5% of what I conjure up in my imagination makes it into actual form or being.
Other times changes hammer in hard and fast, one after another, like dominoes falling. When this happens part of me freezes a little with fear, because often these changes are a step into the unknown.
And each and every one brings with them a bit of fear. What if it doesn't work out?
What if it - what if I fail?
What if Violet hates the preschool she will start attending for two short morning sessions a week? What if she can't cope without me - not realistic, not rational, but no less a fear that lurks in the back of my head.
On top of, am I being selfish? Sending her now, at just two and a half, instead of waiting for her to turn three? Is it for her benefit or for mine? And if it is really for my benefit, would that be so bad?
What if I don't get the volunteering opportunity I have my heart so set on? So very, very set on - I am beyond excited about the possibility of spending one morning a week at a local wildlife shelter. To do this I need to put myself first, I will need to organise getting Cherry and Violet dropped off at their respective preschools and I will need some help for one morning a week in the school holidays. None of this is impossible or even that difficult, but it will take some planning and it's not like I can justify it to myself with 'but I'm getting paid!'
This is something I want to do purely, entirely and solely for my own self and nothing and nobody else.
What if I don't manage to set up a nature play group? What if I'm just not the right 'sort' of person? What if I do it and nobody comes?
What if I can't cope with the allotment we are taking on?
What if Cherry hates school in September and transitions badly?
I find that however longed-for, change is so much scarier than the status quo. Unless it's a change like Violet suddenly and unexpectedly sleeping through the night like she did this weekend. That kind of change I am ALL OVER and she can make that a permanent fixture ANY TIME SHE LIKES.
Maybe I find it so scary because it often comes all at once. Or maybe it's just because I'm a mother and a human, and worrying about stuff is what we human mothers tend to do. I need to get all the fear and worry out of my system then I can be all 'I'm a leaf on the wind, watch me soar.'