Categories
Life

Changing Seasons, Finding Home

We had small children. Three and six years old: button noses, tiny hands. When my husband and I separated, we needed to because that was the next and only step we knew how to take. We’d forgotten how to breathe our own breaths, and breathing each other’s breaths had taken both our souls.

The first nights away from each other after 11 years together were strange. We said, ‘How are we going to do this?’ Neither of us knew. We didn’t belong together, anymore, but we still loved each other…we didn’t know how to be apart. Not from each other, and certainly not from our children.

The children. I was ripped into a million flimsy shreds of soul tissue. I admit, a part of me was relieved at the thought of the new found freedom I’d have when the children stayed at their Dads house. I’d have time to find myself. Time to learn who I was as a human being— I’d never truly done that before. The rest of me grieved for the half of my children’s lives that I would miss.

No one ever talks about that part when discussing divorce. No one ever presents the true reality of what ‘splitting the children 50/50’ means. It means missing precious moments, it means not being there to hold their tiny heads when they vomit, it means not being able to comfort them the way a mother needs to at a primal level. I was learning this new, startling reality for myself. It tore me to pieces.

A friend had mentioned how I might like to keep an open mind (and heart, perhaps.) That maybe down the track we might rekindle what we had—she had travelled a similar path and found joy on the other side of separation. A second chance with her husband. A new love for each other beyond the grey. They’d even gone on to have another child after the devastation had faded; which was lovely for her, I thought, but not a likely scenario for us. Our broken parts had solidified. There was nothing of the old us remaining to encourage us to remember the beautiful pair we once made.

Months passed and though I thrived in my new world, finding and learning to nurture new and beautiful parts of myself, I was depressed. My soul howled when my daughter cried for her Dad. Three years old. (I still ache when she picks up the photograph of him that laid beside her bed while she was without the real thing.)

Although there was no shame for me around the idea of divorce, I was crippled when it came to my daughter. My little girl is highly sensitive. I am too, and no matter which way I spun it: we would both lose if this separation continued. I couldn’t see how future good times would outweigh the depths of that kind of despair; it was a joint pain, mine and hers. We all know what empathy feels like, but my empathy goes to the extreme. I embody the pain of others, as if that pain is my own. As spiritually strong as I had grown in my life, even I wasn’t sure I could handle such a heavy dose of pain, every few days.

Then COVID struck. I couldn’t believe the timing. As if a marriage falling apart wasn’t enough pain and confusion to navigate, now the world was falling apart. Supermarket shelves were bare and people in the streets walked around with frightened eyes, wondering things they’d never wondered about others, before.

I’ll never forget the eerie feeling in the supermarket; shelves of silver I’d never seen beneath the normal abundance of household items, not a toilet roll in sight. It was a feeling of doom, is the only way I can describe it. A feeling of charcoal and cold-grey stone. Who had I been sharing the world with all this time? I thought I had known. Now, I was frightened by the realisation that I had no idea.

Fragile me both thrived and fell, during COVID. I used my skills in writing to entertain and help others learn more about books and writing while in lockdown, and this brought my life colour, confidence and inspiration. I became a version of myself I’d only ever dreamed of. Intelligent.Wild. Sexy. Empowered. Free.

Still, I was depressed. Divorce, and what divorce would mean for our family’s future, weighed so heavily on my mind. I tried to frame each negative I found with a positive, and yet always I would find myself back in the same place. Not home. Home, for me, was where my babies were. Where my family was. My husband was a part of that family, and divorced or not, I would be damned if I would allow us to become emotionally separate. So we started spending time together as a family, and though it was odd and uncomfortable at times, it was home. Both of us knew that, both of us needed that.

I sit here, perhaps eighteen months later, twenty-four weeks pregnant with our third precious babe: my two little ones in the next room, my husband at work. I often think back to that conversation with my friend, the one who told me to keep an open mind. It’s hard not to giggle, thinking of the absolute unlikelihoods that have come to pass. A healing marriage. A new member of the family on the way. It’s broken, beautiful life: messy and glorious, and it’s mine. It’s ours.

Is my whole soul entirely happy? No.Will it ever be? Perhaps not. I am, and always have been, as deep as the ocean, as free as a bird, as soft as a petal. Very few people, places, things have ever truly fulfilled me.

But there is hope and there is home. There is a beautiful, supportive husband, who truly is a magnificent human being and father. I adore him. He adores me. We are good.

And, of course, there are my babies, still so small, still so in need of their Mum.

And I am here.

Still so achingly human, I am here.

Photo by Gelatin on Pexels.com
Categories
Motherhood

A Beautiful Mess

This messy home,

an incorrectness:

something broken

needing to be fixed.

The wars we rage inside ourselves

just to keep control,

to maintain clean,

to maintain ‘right.’

It is a mistake of the eyes

and the heart

not to see the true beauty

of a home:

messy, chaotic,

beautifully lived in.

These crumbs on the floor.

They are not bad or wrong.

They are a reminder of my children.

How lucky I am to have them at all.

This beautiful mess a child does bring.

Mess is life.

And though a pristine home

is a gift to be treasured,

so is this mess.

This mess of sweet

imperfect

life.

Categories
Writing

Super Mum

She hides in the bathroom and cries.

She places her palms over her ears and breathes into her belly. ‘Don’t wish it away. Such a precious age,’ she’s heard it a million times. She smiles politely. Tells them, silently, they’ve forgotten. Blocked out the bad times, remembered only the good.

She wants to say to them that every coin has two sides; every story, multiple themes running at once. And love. Even the love of a parent has two sides, always. When it’s easy, and when it’s hard.

Bathroom days are hard.

She counts the hairs stuck to the bathroom tiles. She won’t have time to pick them up, piece by scraggily piece. Too busy being an excellent mother, not wishing too loud for peace and quiet to find her once again.

She belongs in the bathroom.

They belong in fresh-white homes, lovingly tending to their overgrown toenails.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Categories
Life

Deeply

I think about her, sometimes, when my heart turns to sun. Nan. Her heart used to shine like that, too, which is why I can’t help but think of her when I feel intense love radiating from my own chest. As an off shoot of the kind of love she gave to me (and, let’s face it, probably genetics) I am who I am. And I love, as deeply as I love.

We fluff our ways through life, bothering about the silliest of things: when really we should hold the beauty, longer. Feel the love of our loved ones, longer. Express our love to others, without fear: give them the beautiful gift of sun that Nan gave to me.

I often think of Nan, and when I do I wonder why I loved her so deeply, why I still feel her today just as beautifully as I did when she was here. I loved her because she loved me. I loved her because there was never a question when I felt her energy how much it meant to her that I was alive. What a gift to be given by someone. What a gift: to know that you have touched their life, that you have meant something to their moments.

I shine when I look at my children with the same kind of love my Nan did when she looked at me, and I can only hope the depth of that love sinks into them as deeply as it has me.

I’m waffling a bit today, and that’s okay. I’m in my love place. I’m in my world of grateful and I intend to make the most of it and spread Nan’s sunshine, while I’m here.

She would have loved that.

She would have loved that I’ve given her sweet sunshine to you.

Photo by Edu Carvalho on Pexels.com
Categories
Life

Awake

Sweet bloggy friends. ☺️

How are you all? Well, I hope, and if not: that’s okay, too, because even rain is beautiful when you look at it a certain way.

I’m so sleepy but I wanted to say hello. I’ve been a little disconnected from here of late, and though most of you may not have noticed, it’s been weighing on my mind. There are some busy, happy reasons for my disconnection, which I’ll share over the coming months, but for now I’ll just say this:

I’m here when I am, and I’m not when I’m not. (Those of you who’ve been with me a while will know I’m a bit like the wind. Full on one day, not so much the next. This is a bit of a quiet season, I think. I hope that’s okay with you all. xx)

Anyway, I’m about to fall aslee…

Sorry, where was I? Oh, that’s right, awake. Good. Okay, good, I’m awake. But not for long so I’ll say goodnight.

Until we meet again. (Which may be soon, or not for a while, says the wind.)

xx Brooke

Categories
Poetry

A Moment

There it was, quietly mine.

A moment of the greatest love: a Mother’s love.

My love.

For them.

And I know they tire me senseless,

and I know I wish them away

(too often for my heart to understand)

but they are the precious hands

I long to hold

a lifetime.

Those two small ones.

I choose their little arms, forever.

Categories
Life

Sitting Up Here

Maybe I’m sitting in a tree, somewhere, looking down at it all. I’m sure my feet are dangling, and I’m probably whistling in harmony with the wind through the branches.

What do I see when I look down at my life? I see myself sitting quietly at a little white desk, typing away, visualising a peaceful version of myself up there.

Peaceful me would look down at the small children running circles around the house, see me wincing at the too many seconds of loud for comfort and she’d send a little caring my way. An invisible hug, maybe. Whatever I might need to soothe me.

She’d also look down and see me laughing to the point of holding my belly. The six-year-old. The most HILARIOUS trick anyone has ever played on me. He’s managed to pull it off, and I highly doubt he’ll be able to top such brilliance in both wit and execution again, but I’ll remain on guard, just in case. Peaceful me would know that’s the first time I’ve laughed like that in a long, long time.Then she’d send a great big smile my way.

Peaceful me would see the good and bad of it and whisper to me: it’s all good.

It’s all good.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com
Categories
Life

Grateful.Tired.

Life is busy and overwhelming at the moment. I’m better for the tools I’ve found to bring me back to softness (walking, gratefulness, meditation) but it’s a mammoth slog I’ve been through.

And a mammoth slog that lay ahead.

My husband and I are merging two houses into one. House work must be done. Small children must be both survived and parented beautifully, given the monstrously high standards I set for myself.

And I need to write, or create (more than I have been) or I might die. No one is dramatic here. No one at all.

I’ve never been through a period of life that has been so truly exhausting, from all angles, for so long. A million different balls hover in the air around me and I do not know which one to reach for in order to catch it and bring it down.

Not only that, but my spirit is quite literally breaking free from my body, shouting (well, more buzzing and glowing, really) to be let out, to be set free. From something. From everything. The energy that moves through my body so often brings such beauty to my life, but I can also hear it asking to be apart of something more. I wish I had the time, clarity, and grit to give it what it is asking of me.

I’m grateful.

I’m tired.

And it’s tough. And it’s oddly beautiful.

Photo by Kristina Polianskaia on Pexels.com
Categories
Poetry

Parents

To the parents.

Sometimes it is hard.

It is.

It just is.

Always remember the storms do pass.

Always remember the softness

and the sweetness,

the rose beyond the grey.

And we will grow them

perfectly

horribly

beautifully.

And all will be as it should.

All will be as it should.

I see you.

Photo by Josh Willink on Pexels.com
Categories
Life

Quite Frankly

What is love, you might wish to know.

Love,

quite frankly,

is you.

Photo by Josh Willink on Pexels.com