We had bought a camper trailer two weeks before, and we were now on our first camping expedition to try it out. We thought it wise to go somewhere more populated for our first trial so we could smooth out the bumps before we went off road camping.
So here I was at a caravan park with my three year old tugging at my arm as he was bursting to go and try the jumping pillow again.I was tired but I didn't mind. There was a beautiful shady spot under a tree that I had my eye on and I have this new found love of 'tree watching'.
I have to confess I was also looking forward to 5 minutes of not hearing "Mummy, Mummy, Mummy" called out every 20 seconds. I could feel my muscles already starting to exhale their tension as they too were anticipating the rest to come under the shade of the tree.
I kicked off my thongs and stretched out on the soft cool grass. I waved and smiled as I watched my boy show off his highest jump. My heart did that mushy melty thing where it is trying to figure out a way to contain all of the emotion I feel when I look at my baby. How did he get to be 3? Nearly 4? How did he become so kind and generous? Tall and able? Confident? Sigh. Heart well and truly mushy and melty.
Another little boy arrived and joined my son on the jumping pillow. I rested my head back knowing now my son's attention would be held by someone else for a little while. I looked up at the beautiful tree leaves with the sun trying to poke its rays through. I took a deep breath in and slowly exhaled and was thankful for this little snippet of time.
If you are a mum, you know what it is like. We don't get much time to ourselves anymore. It can feel like a big adjustment. I know it sure felt that way for me. I am the kind of person who NEEDS time by herself to recharge and regroup. Motherhood is not always considerate of our already existing personalities! So I have learned to be mindful of the snippets of time I get and savour them.
That's when I heard the question, "Hi, do you like my tank top?" I refocused my mind. That was not my son's voice. There in front of me stood the other boy who had been on the jumping pillow with my son. He looked a couple of years older. I responded to him saying I liked it very much. The conversation did not stop there. I was then given an explanation and a physical demonstration as to who each character was on his tank top and what they did.
Ahhhh, I know a chatter box when I see one (as I am in the process of raising one!). I knew there was no escape! I also knew there was no other mum around. I chuckled to myself. She was probably sitting somewhere very quietly taking 5 minutes to herself and thanking God above she HAD 5 minutes to herself.
I never met you fellow Mum, but I had your back. It is said that it takes a village to raise a child, and today I was proud to stand in your village and listen to your darling boy natter away to me.
These days our 'villages' can be hard to find. Less people know their neighbours names, speak face to face or can let their children run down to the park by themselves to play. Life has changed and it is different.
I encourage you to BE a village for someone. Have a think about what ways you could have another mum's back today.
**Note: The playground area was a completely safe place to leave a child of that age to play independently.
I'm a first-time mother and I've found that I can't go out with my son without somebody giving me advice on how to raise him. There seems to be a general assumption that new parents have no idea about children, and it is everybody's duty to share their wisdom.