I sit still and listen to the rain fall. I had almost forgotten its sounds: The tap-tapping on skylights, the swoosh of passing cars, and birds’ muted chirping.
After a scorching and full-on visit, it feels as though Summer has suddenly departed – no time for good-byes.
My Summer actually felt both insanely short, and lavishly long, busy and quiet, intense and relaxing, joyful and tinged with melancholy.
I dipped my toes in the Neckar river in Heidelberg with a colleague (and a glass of chilled Condrieu wine, if you please), in every fountain of Madrid with a dear friend, in the silky waters of the Mediterranean near Montpellier, and in the Orbieu river, near Lagrasse in France, where tiny fish pecked at my legs – a bit like in of those trendy mani-pedi places, only less spooky.
I built elaborate sand-castles, grilled marshmallows – and subsequently found sticky gunk in my daughter’s hair for about three days, made sauce with my very own garden’s tomatoes (yes, huhuhu, how remarkably domestic goddessey of me…), beat my son racing down water slides – he was gutted, I’m just heavier, don’t tell him, and tried to explain the concept of shadows to my daughter.
I also sat in the shade of a very old tree to read the very new book everyone’s talking about on a guy who is meant to be fifty shades of grey (to be honest, so is my old, shapeless, underwear, and no-one raves about it), but hello, all it really was, was a cross between a totally worn Mills and Boon intrigue and a very, very long Cosmo article. I read The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks, which was good, although uncovering all sorts of complicated questions about ethics and American history doesn’t make it your average beach-read – and it was quite a shock to my brain after fifty shades of old underwear.
Anyway, most precious of all, this Summer gave me time.
Time away from the frantic, and quite frankly absurd race that is the everyday life of every working single-mother (ok, granted, of every working mother full stop to an extent, but still, trust me, I’ve tried both sides of the coin and know which one I prefer), with the added bonus that I rarely ever get a break from being a mother at all.
This Summer gave me time to do nothing at all, and to do things for myself. It gave me the head-space I needed to truly enjoy my children, to be more than an empty, dark circle-eyed and shouty shell.
Finally, this Summer gave me some pretty serious clues that some pretty seriously good news is in the making: I think that T and the new Ms have become old news. To be confirmed…
Alabama shakes – Hold on