Learning Gentleness

I awoke today at – I actually have no idea. The Little Paddler was in the bed and perma-latched on. She hadn’t been well lately but thankfully is recovered now. Yay for breastfeeding providing antibodies, nutrients and comfort all in one big milky snuggle. But our milky snuggles have somehow turned into marathon sessions in the morning. I know this can be par for the course with a toddler but some mornings, it feels like torture when all I really want is to be alone, starfishing in my bed with the radio on and a pot of fresh coffee and maybe even a good book by the bed. A girl can dream.

But back to reality. My usual tactic when I need a break is to get up with her and make the coffee while she plays with her blocks or reads her books (upsidedown) or climbs over and under furniture with the occasional (OK. Frequent) pitstop with me. It works after a fashion. Today though, I needed more. I found the bobbing on and off frustrating. And how does she always manage to lean her not inconsiderable weight right in on top of my bladder? So today I hid in the shower and cried, trying to collect myself. I came out freshly scrubbed but no less frustrated and announced I was heading to Mass. Mass is where I go to get my alone time. Just me and my God. Mr. Fairweather, (bless him) said, “You go. We’ll stay. You take as much time as you like. Go and get a coffee afterwards and sit and read a book or do a crossword or whatever. We’ll be fine till you get back.” I knew I loved him for a reason.

posh coffee (photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)
posh coffee
(photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)

Off I headed. Today was the feast of All Souls. It’s when we, as Catholics get together to pray for all the dead who have gone before us. Specifically for the Holy Souls who are in Purgatory on their way to Heaven. I like this feast because I love the idea of Purgatory. Catholics are unique in having Purgatory – a place where the Holy Souls atone for venial sins until the are squeaky clean for Heaven. Let me tell you, if there’s no Purgatory, there’s no way I’m getting into Heaven. It’s my only hope. So I and all Catholics pray for the Holy Souls, especially those that have no one left to pray for them, that their time in Purgatory is swift.

its a numbers game (photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)
its a numbers game
(photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)

Lately obviously, when I pray for the Holy Souls I pray more specifically for my dad. I know that wherever he is on his journey, he is praying hard for me. I was blessed that when he was sick we had the time to have conversations; the big ones and the little ones. When he was in hospital, I used to go in and we’d play Scrabble – he’d wipe the floor with me – or he would teach me how to do Sudokus. It was often during these games that we would have some of the bigger conversations. He was a really gentle soul who never made you feel like he had anywhere else to be except right there chatting to you. I could do worse than cultivate just that one trait.

November is a funny old time of year in the garden. Everything snuggles down for a sleep. Plants die back. Leaves fall. Animals settle in to hibernate. This is when I should be tidying up my garden, cleaning out the tunnel, digging over beds – the list goes on. But let’s face it, I have a habit of making the list too long and then beating myself up because I didn’t finish it. So this month, I’m going to be gentle and give myself permission not to finish the list. Madness altogether I know. So this month my list looks like this.

1 – Clear out my tunnel. Little Paddler was given spades and buckets from her cousins that they don’t use anymore. I’m going to bring them with us into the tunnel and get her to help me. Little Paddler loves helping. Sometimes that help involves pulling tomatoes off the plant to bite into before chucking them away. Sometimes it involves filling a bucket with dirt and emptying it out again. Sometimes it even involves attempting to open the wormery and climb in. It always involves giggles and chats. And sure, where else would I want to be, but sitting in the dirt building memories.

a glut of green tomatoes (photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)
a glut of green tomatoes
(photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)

2 – Make more chutney. I have a glut of green tomatoes and am experimenting with chutneys, cakes, bread and soup. I forgot how much I loved being able to preserve my own produce for the winter. Again, my Little Paddler insists on helping. She has her spot on top of the kitchen counter where she gets to supervise and stir. More than occasionally, she’ll decide that I am doing it all wrong and proceed to move everything from one bowl to another – or her personal favourite, pick one thing to hide in the teapot beside her. I have learned to check for hidden plums, tomatoes and eggs before scalding the teapot out.

3 – Plant more flower bulbs. I am currently negotiating the purchase of flower bulbs with Mr. Fairweather. Here’s hoping negotiations are a success because who doesn’t love spring flowers.

4 – Finish my wildlife stack.

posh coffee (photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)
posh coffee
(photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)

5 – Sit and drink coffee with my love and spend time with him; go for walks in the woods and watch the leaves drift down off the trees; stand on the beach all wrapped up while the wind whips around us and listen to the waves pound; curl up on the sofa in front of the fire; make him feel like there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

6 – Starfish in the bed


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