Thursday 7th September
And just like that …
Summer was over, the kid turned four, started school and now I’m sat back at my desk.
How do you like them apples?
It’s very quiet all of a sudden and I’m evaluating how to use my time now there’s a bit more if it.
I’ve had a few daydreams about sitting down with bowls of sugar filled contraband and watching back-to-back Game of Thrones. Or maybe now might be the time to take some of those ‘nap while they nap’ naps I never took?
As I begin to crank myself back up to full speed (that is when I finally stop looking at her baby pictures and asking ‘why we can’t be more like Sweden and let them start school aged 7?’) I’ll soon be throwing my time into Letters To Loved and see what the future might hold.
Whilst I haven’t been totally AWOL over the summer period I have been a lot less involved than I thought I was going to be. I think I had some cockamamy idea that I would be able to keep everything going, entertain a small child every day and get some down time for myself.
But I have learnt a valuable lesson taking my foot off the gas.
Nobody really gives a shit.
It doesn’t matter. You don’t blog, you don’t post on Instagram and everything is still fine. It made me realise this self imposed regime of posting regularly and then the need to tell people when you need to take a break from life online or apologising for your absence is actually a bit bloody strange and unnecessary. Whilst I’m aware the moment anybody gives their opinion on sharing stuff on Instagram you run the risk of polar opposites feeling the need to defend why they do what they do, I think whatever your choice it’s simply worth checking that what you say about why you do what you do online, is actually reflective of what your heart and soul feels. And most importantly what that commitment to sharing means to your wellbeing.
A Summer to get stuff done
So whilst the summer holiday wasn’t a particularly productive time online for me or Letters To Loved, it was however, a summer full of getting stuff done. First on our list was to landscape the garden and reclaim our territory back from a family of aggressive ASBO squirrels we seem to be in a turf war with. We’d left the work for summer but inevitably the Great British weather stuck a spanner in the works and after being pummelled with rain for a good couple of weeks we were left living in the centre of a quagmire. The neighbours thought we were digging a moat. But through determination and some really hard graft on the gardeners part, it was finally finished and all the effort, mud and dust was absolutely worth it. This summer we finished the final piece of the puzzle that has been a complete renovation of our family home. It’s taken us 5 years (and like The Forth Bridge the first bits already need re-painting) but for now we’re calling it DONE.
*There were no squirrels harmed in the making of our garden.
A Summer of adventures
Now when I say ‘adventure’ … I may be using the term loosely. What I mean is that in the absence of an actual holiday, we hyped up all our days out to the cinema/museum/park/summer market/country fair by taking pictures, creating maps and taking ‘treasures’ we’d found home with us. We then reclassified these into ‘adventures’ worthy of her then spending at least and hour cutting and sticking her memories and photos in her scrapbook. The great thing is when we actually take her somewhere good now it’s going to blow her mind.
In the beginning I felt a bit guilty that we weren’t doing something more exciting. But I realised that the most important thing was that I was fully present when spending time with her. I stopped and did one thing at a time. If I was with my daughter I was with my daughter. Not one hand on my laptop or an eye on my iPhone. It may have only been the hyped up days out, but we had fun together and I know that she felt the difference.
My Summer experiment
I started journaling over the summer which I’ve written a more in-depth post on here. Not to wax lyrical about it again but it has been such an eye-opening exercise and something I will absolutely be keeping up.
We ended our rainy summer holiday on another rainy day with Leeds based photographer Tim Dunk. I’d bid for a session with him in Ned In The Cloud’s AUT:CTION earlier in the year in aid of The National Autistic Society. I’ve loved seeing Tim’s photos of other families and as someone who is always taking the pictures rather than being in them, I was really looking forward to having some pictures of me with my little gang.
So it wasn’t really the summer I’d imagined. It was actually much better. I guess come rain or shine your summer holiday is always going to be what you make it?
What’s next for Letters To Loved
Up to now Letters To Loved has been a part time, small income earning, passion for me and something I work on around being a mum. Now my daughter is at school things will change and I’m looking forward to seeing how the shift affects the site. I’ve got lots of letters that people have shared over the summer as well as a few interesting collaborations and projects planned. What I know for sure is that I will always keep everything as close to my original reason for starting the site and hope that it will continue to be a place for parents to share words of love and wisdom to their children in the hope that it will inspire and help others parents to do the same.