Keeping the Love Tank Full

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“I love you, Mama. You are my best friend.” It’s a sign that all is well with Isaac’s soul. We are walking home after a lovely sunny day out and about, and his hand slips into my pocket (both mine are engaged with pushing the pram.) I agree with his sentiment; life feels good. It’s a crisp autumn day, with not a breath of wind, and the sun feels warm and toasty on our faces. Evie is placated and dozy after being allowed to sit in the pram, and Judah is asleep.

I treasure these moments during the half-term holiday, when I have all three of my children with me and we have the leisure to do as we please. No school runs, no deadlines to meet, no uniforms to clean or book bags to think about.

Too often I bump into people on the street or at the children’s centre, and they roll their eyes saying, “How’s the half-term going?” as if to say, “How’s your root canal?” or “How’s your involuntary week of slave labour?” I always smile and say, “We’re having great fun!” or “I love half-term!” And they respond, “Oh, right…” (awkward pause)… “Good for you!” I guess I’m lucky I don’t have to worry about the pressures of an office job, or how having my kids at home all day for a week will inconvenience my busy schedule.

That phrase, “I love you Mama, you are my best friend,” is one which presents itself at particular times in Isaac’s repertoire of amusing/heart-warming utterances. Usually after I have made him “egg and bread with mustard and ‘mato sauce”, or pesto pasta, garlic bread or hamburgers. Or letting him watch a couple of episodes of his favourite TV show, The Octonauts. Or even just giving him a good back scratch. It doesn’t take much to fill his little love tank.

I do think kids should come with a built-in fuel gauge that you could check – “Hmmm, meltdown occurring, let’s see – ah, yes, love tank light is on, it needs filling.” If the love tank is full, everything is happy, even a trip to the doctor to get routine immunisations.

As we walk across Duke’s Meadows, a lovely open space that allows the wind to blow more wildly and strongly than in our cosy little cul-de-sac, our eyes sting slightly from the breeze and our faces are feeling fresh. Isaac might be feeling sore, but his heart is happy.

I think about all the simple things that we enjoy together, and the moments that bring life and sunshine into my life in the middle of all the busyness and stress. Autumn leaves; trips to the park to feed the ducks; beautiful music (see previous post Rediscovering Tchaikovsky); a phone call from across the seas; a glass of wine cuddled up on the couch watching a movie with Simon; coffee with a friend.

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Isaac’s hand in my pocket is a good reminder to me to keep my own love-tank full.

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