I posted this picture online, and I wanted to write the word ‘perfect,’ but I held back. I have so many problems with that word. Is it something we should aim for? Is it realistic? What does it look like, how does it feel, will I make others feel awful even as I feel suspended in the aftermath of a good day?
But you know what? There are perfect moments. And my children are lucky, perhaps, to not realise how perfect their childhood is.
Today we went to a friend’s house, and another family met us there. Three families, seven children, a few big fields and some time around a kitchen table. If that isn’t perfect, I don’t know what is.
My children have the freedom I felt every day after school and on the weekends, except I was mostly alone or with my sister. My children are mostly with other lucky children. And on this day, they strode through purple grasses taller than they were. They befriended caterpillars (and mourned unintentional caterpillar deaths), they climbed trees, they threw grass seeds at each other.
Of course there were small moments of drama, but there were these larger moments. Like the one in the picture. There they are, these small children in the picture, free and exploring and happy.
Today was one of those accidentally perfect days that reminds you how great your life actually is. There was nothing extra special or out of the ordinary; just a lot of nice moments strung together.
So much of the niceness in our life lately is bare feet, sunshine, playing out for hours even though it is still chilly when the wind blows. Even though we got caught in a hailstorm yesterday, even though one minute you’re in a t shirt and the next you shrug a sweater on.
There is mud, and there is that creeping fullness of summer, the feeling that days are long, lazy, full of whatever you want them to be. Everything feels a bit cheerier, a bit more possible.
I sit here just now, home after being out all day. One kid is upstairs waiting for pictures to print so they can be coloured and added to our treasure hunt. The other is sitting outside in the front garden, chattering away in what seems to be an exciting narrative. We spent all early morning outside, running in socks on the damp grass. Then the biggest chunk of the day at a friend’s house, and the late afternoon outside at a farm playground with friends. It was all sorts of casual, I had a chance to really talk with my friends (the kids and the grown ups!), M and S got to spend some good time with their friends, and I spent the afternoon laughing with the sun in my eyes rather than sitting indoors eyeing the clock. We went out for a ‘sneaky dinner,’ and came back to this resumption of individual projects and peace.