Friday, April 16, 2010

The little things

The warm autumn sun had woven its magic and enticed her outside. The woollen blanket, that had once belonged to her Grand Mother was spread under the Alder tree, softening the grass, and providing somewhere for her to sit and do nothing more than enjoy the sounds of her children chattering as they played.

She ran her finger over the tiny blue stitches, which until today had gone un-noticed, thankfully the rug had been mended by loving and practical hands in years gone by. She remembered this rug, memories of a distant childhood, memories of homes that her grandparents had once lived in. Happy, comforting memories.

A couple of cherished books, on loan from a friend, lay stacked neatly alongside some sturdy picture books, their well loved pages slightly worn where they had been turned over and over by each of her children as toddlers. Her camera was also near by, ready to capture precious snapshots, recording forever the memories of these precious little moments that might otherwise be forgotten.

The little one climbed onto her lap, and together they explored the pages of one of the stories, naming the animals and laughing together. They would be distracted every now and then by the voice calling out "look at me Mummy" as he whizzed past on his bike, or pretended to be a bird flying around them. Eventually he joined them and they all read together, the pages transporting them far away to the farm where all the animals lived.

As they finished the story, something caught his eye. From under a near by bush his small hand grasped a piece of wood. It had most likely fallen there the previous winter, as the wood had been unloaded and stacked for the fire. It was weathered and slightly curved, maybe it could be a hill for one of his treasured cars she suggested, but he wasn't ready for it to be anything. He continued to fossic around, finding small sticks that had fallen from the tree in the recent storm, their leaves curled and brown. The little one couldn't resist joining in the fun, collecting more of the crunchy brown leaves, and carefully placing them around the greyed edges of the upturned piece of wood.

By now he had lost interest in this game and was off running around, pretending to flap his wings and fly like a bird. She offered a suggestion to the little one, a doll from the dolls house in her room. With a smiling face, she clambered to her feet, her jeans were rolled up several times to stop the length dragging on the ground, and the waist pulled in tightly to stop them falling to the ground.

She hurried inside, careful to avoid the few driveway pavers that were cracked and wobbly, she returned with not one, but a n armfull of the little wooden dolls, all ready for an outdoor adventure.

Her chubby toddler fingers sat them on the piece wood, sprinkled leaves on them and layed them on the grass.

She tried in earnest to take off the black felt jacket that one of the dolls wore.

It took all of her concentration and skill to remove it.

Then she tried to wear it herself.

As she sat watching her little one play, a contented smile crossed her face. How sweet it was to watch how her child's mind was working. To her child it mattered not that the jacket had just been painstakingly removed from a doll no bigger than her hand. The little one saw no reason why she too could not put it on. As the realisation that it was too small, and would not fit her like it had fit her tiny friend, crossed the little ones inquisitive mind, she smiled again. She knew that from this point on her little one would build on this experience. She would know that the dolls jacket was to small, just like she knew already though her play, that her Daddy's boots were too big, and that the bags her big brothers carried to school each day were far to heavy for her to even lift, and that even though she could put her brothers shoes on her feet, they just didn't fit quite right. She was finding her place, discovering what it was to be her, and how she was part of a much wider world.

He had been zooming up and down the road on his bike. The new found freedom of being able to ride with out training wheels was thrilling to him. His legs were, somewhat uncontrollably, going faster and faster as he gained momentum riding down the gentle incline. As he hopped off and asked her to undo the clip on his faded blue helmet, he noticed the dolls. The little one had strewn them on the ground, in an attempt to regain the attention from her Mummy, that had turned momentarily to him. He gathered them up and began to play.

His play was very different to hers She was only two, but he was four. A big kindy boy. He stood the sticks up, they were to be tall trees surrounding the house, he arranged the family, some were to sit, some were to stand, the tiny baby was to be cradled by its mummy as it was tired, and one man was to stand at the back - he had just returned from work. All the while he was describing what each of the family were doing. He wasn't really talking to anyone but himself.

She felt a slight chill in the air as the sun moved lower in the sky, and the heavy shade from a nearby tree inched its way closer to where they were sitting. She savoured the last few moments of the suns warmth. At that moment a look of pure excitement crossed the children's faces as they heard the sound of their Fathers ute pull into the driveway, timed perfectly to provide a natural progression from their play time to packing up and moving inside.

As she gathered the children's playthings, tossed the unassuming piece of wood back under the bush for another day, shook the leaves from the blanket and put back on her shoes, she felt content. She reminded herself that she really was blessed, she had a wonderful loving family, and it was so easy to take that for granted in the everyday rush through life. She treasured afternoons like this, time spend together doing nothing but enjoying the little things.


Nat said...

Oh Nic, that's just beautiful. What a beautiful picture and mood you weave with your words. Makes me want to sit outside in the sun and while away the hours like you did. Gorgeous.
Nat xx

Shazz said...

OMGoodness Nic - what a beautiful piece of need to print it out and keep it handy for those days that things don't go so great...just to remind yourself of days like this.

Nell said...

Oh Nic, way to make me teary! Isn't it great to have that EC background to fall back on - I love rediscovering all of that play theory/scaffolding stuff with my own children :)

The Patchwork Apple- Jane..... Visit said...

That was lovely and brought a tear to my eye. I loved the days of being home with my children and wish more mums would do it. Go without a few 'luxuries' and spend time with the kids. Its precious!