The Feral Children

I want to remember you like this. When I’m an old lady and I’m looking up our memories in photograph’s. I want to see how the wind blew your hair in the breeze but you stood firm, strong. I want to see that I tried to dress you nicely but your knees were grass stained and perhaps a little scuffed. I don’t want to see you smiling primly in every photo, I want to see your laugh. I want to see those faces that you make when you are deep in thought, pulling together your next batch of questions. I want to see you find yourself throughout your years. I want to see that you understand what the meaning of ‘human’ is.

Some people will think of the word ‘feral’ in such a bad way, but I can’t.

I grew up on a farm and as my mum worked with many other mums, picking fruit for the day in their rows… I went off to explore, play, climb, build camps and when I felt hungry, I ate wild fruit from the bush or tree. My siblings and I never really looked, well, clean. Of course, we were. We were scrubbed spotless and our clothes would be washed to try and rid of any strawberry stains on the knees. We just didn’t stay that way for long. Come the next day, we were too busy having fun, finding ourselves and figuring out the world that we knew.

That world wasn’t so scary as it is now. It’s not the same. It can’t be. And all I want is for you both to feel how I felt as I bolted through the trees, bright blonde hair shining in the sunshine, without a care in the world and feeling as free as a bird.

So sometimes I let you. Sometimes we run as fast as our legs will carry us, shout as loud as we can, sing our happiest songs, pick wild fruit and eat it, get down in the mud to see what we can collect, build camps, climb trees…And it’s very rare that you look neat.

It surprises me how much people stare!

The Feral Children

And I know other mums might not like it. I know other mums may stare and tut as we pick and eat blackberries along the roadside on our way home. They judge you when you run fast at the park. They don’t realise that you don’t have problems. You don’t have any disorders or behavioural issues…. You are just energised and happy. And. That. Is. All. Other mums find you too bold when you join in with their children’s games and you have the confidence to introduce yourself and have ideas. You just want to make friends. You just want to play together. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t sensitive, gentle, kind and sweet.

I know they think that you are a little wild; feral…Like they used to think about me. But that’s okay. I’m proud of the person I am at thirty (almost) thirty years old and I’m already proud of who you both are, so we’re doing okay.

This version of the world is so full of worry and sometimes it feels like all I do is teach you how to retreat, keep yourself safe and to ‘be alone’. The world is so busy teaching us how to be afraid of everything and each other…but I don’t want you to be alone. We aren’t meant to be alone. The world is too lovely. I just beg that you both always try and keep your eyes open, to see past the fear…and you will see what I used to.

The Feral Children

Of course I want to keep you safe. You are my most favourite people in the world. You are my world. And, if I try and define how much I love you both from my whole heart and the pit of my stomach…There will be no words. It is likely to come out as a tear, a laugh and a smile like you have never seen before. You both leave me speechless, that is what the overwhelming love that comes with being your mama, does to me.

Remember when I said that I want you to understand the word ‘human? You can only do that if you have the opportunity to feel everything that you are meant to. You are meant to feel freedom. Feel love, disappointment, anxiety, fear…hurt! From scraping your knee to having your heart broken, as much as that will hurt me too… These things will help you grow up with an understanding of your emotions and other people’s. Human. It’s what we all are. Despite where we are from, the colour of our skin, how we grew up…none of us better or more worthy than the next person. The beautiful world that I talk to you about… There is room in it for us all. We can make room.

Noah and Ellenah, The world is incredible…but it’s not perfect. So, you certainly don’t have to be. You don’t have to look flawless. You don’t have to be shy. You don’t have to be aware of how others may see you. You don’t have to care about judgement. You don’t have to be afraid to ask questions. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE AFRAID TO BE YOU.

And if that is a little ‘feral’… I’m okay with that. Perfectly okay with it.

Love, Mama x

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Happy Campers

The summer holidays started in the best way for my little family and me. As you grow up and older, knowing what makes you happy is so important, as is keeping things simple and smiling as often as you can. I don’t mean the kind of smile that is meant for anyone else’s benefit. I mean the smile that grows on your face because you are smiling from within. And I don’t mean the happiness that you are told to feel, I mean the kind of happiness that comes from knowing yourself, knowing what you like and endeavouring to always have it.

Happy Campers

Happy Campers

When we bundled in to the car with our battered, outdoorsy clothes and very minimal other things for a few days away, I couldn’t wait to get on the road and make our way to our happy place. The place with the white cliffs that overlook the sea. The place where you can fall asleep around the fire, that crackles from the wood that you found for yourself. The place that when you look up into the sky in the black of night, you can actually see the stars. The stars that go on for days and mesmerise you.

Happy Campers

Happy Campers

The place that isn’t glamorous, it isn’t exotic or in any way luxurious…but it is where we fit! It is where we are happy, truly happy. It is where we are away from the strains of routine, away from the lives that we are conditioned to lead and away from all of the ‘busy’ that sometimes conceals what is most important.

Happy Campers

Happy Campers

Happy Campers

Happy Campers

Happy Campers

Happy Campers

‘Tent Life’ isn’t going to be for everyone and back in my early twenties, before I became a mother… It wouldn’t have been on my radar at all. I was busy bouncing around different countries and places during annual leave. My passport, suitcase and best clothes were my favourite things. The life I lead now, my reality… It is so different from life back then. I’m not saying that I never want to step on a plane again, I do! I want to see as much of the world as possible, I want to show it to my children. I’m just saying, I’m glad that I am someone we are a family who can find peace, excitement and joy in being outside. We can find the humour in showering under droplets of cold water, hair lathered and standing in the cold, waiting for the water to come back to our cubicle. We can feel true delight in the high pitched whistle of the kettle, once it has boiled after about twenty minutes (way longer in stronger wind)…This means it’s time for our morning brew. Up to half an hour to make and three seconds to drink so it doesn’t get cold. We can feel good about sharing our bedroom with a variety of insects, even seeing the opportunity to whip out my nephews new microscope to take a better look at the ones we didn’t recognise. We can feel right at home in our tent, we can sleep well and we always feel sad to go back home, to the ‘real life’ one.

Happy Campers

Happy Campers

Happy Campers

I know that I’m probably not selling it to you and I’m not sure that I’m trying to if I’m honest. I’m just sharing something special, something responsible for many happy memories, many smiley faces and a freedom for my children that this scary world doesn’t always allow them.

Happy Campers

Happy Campers

Happy Campers

Happy Campers

Camping is what it says on the tin. Especially where we go. It is basic. But… what more do you need when you are spending time, quality time with the people that you love. You are not ruled by the ticking of a clock. You are not a slave to technology. You don’t have to tell your children to ‘wait!’ because, well, for what? They have you, in the moment, in the now…They have everything that they need. Your time, fresh air, space to run and to breathe and to laugh…To hop and skip if they want.

Camping might not be for you…but believe me, your fingernails might get dirty… your mind, your soul and your spirit however, will feel nothing but clean.

Love, Ria x

Happy Campers

 

 

 

 

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SATS And Snails

Dear Noah (My Beautiful Boy),

The sun has been shining lately and there have been blossoms on the trees. The world has started to look so beautiful after a long winter. This morning after a splash of rain, a cool release from the heat over the weekend, Ellenah and I walked back from the school run without you. We walked quite slowly. Ellenah because she is small and wanted to look at the snails which were on the move. Me because like every week day morning, I miss you. I especially missed you today. I missed you because while Ellenah crouched down low, taking all of the time in the world to look at the snail which I held in the palm of my hand for her, it hurt my heart that you were not there. You would have loved that snail. You would have made up a story about it. You would have wanted to keep it. You would have said it was cute. You would have been so intrigued by where it lives, its family…its life so far and where it is going.

And I thought to myself about this moment.

This moment which wasn’t dictated by a clock, elsewhere’s to be… we had time as we crouched down in the rain with the world passing us by.

Moments like that are few and far between with you right now. Our moments are scheduled, organised and not quite so raw.

I have to steal those moments with you. Like at the weekend, on the bridge in our garden. The sun beat down on us and you sat on my knee like you did when you were much smaller. And my heart felt warm. And you will never know how much those few minutes of perfection meant to me.

SATS And Snails

Sometimes I hate myself when I ask you for ‘two minutes’ until I can read to you or for you to ‘wait until after dinner’ when you ask to build lego with me. I know that you want those moments with me too and I know that you hate waiting for them as much as I do. I hope you know that I am trying my best to be everything that you could ever want or need from a mother. I hope you know that when I ask you to ‘please wait’… that doesn’t mean that my love for you is paused.

Noah, isn’t everything so busy all of the time? Do you remember when we walked into the hills of the woods that time and as we stood on that bank and looked out upon tree tops, wasn’t it lovely? Do you remember what we did? When I said ‘Let’s think of all of the busy in our heads, all of the things we need to do, all of the things that worry us, bother us… let’s put it all in a ball in our stomach’s and shout our loudest until it’s gone!!!’ And we did. Do you remember how much we laughed, even though our eyes had tears in… It made us feel much better didn’t it?! Shall we do that again this weekend? Will you come with me?

Noah, I know that you feel nervous right now. Next week you have your very first SATS at school. Each day is taking a little chunk out of you and a little piece of your spirit. I can feel it! I’ve never seen you sweat anything before. I’ve never seen you try and rise to pressure. You have never needed to. You have always been so confident in the fact that you are good enough… because you most definitely are! Sometimes when I catch a glimpse of you, deep in thought… I can almost see you treading water, trying to keep going and all with a smile on your face. I can see you trying to figure out what you are feeling and why you feel strange about a little test. A test that doesn’t say anything about you and one that certainly doesn’t define you.

Noah, you know how special you are, right? You know that you are such a wonderful little boy? Do you know how you make people feel when you smile at them? Do you know how much that matters?

Noah, Do you know that I don’t care what a piece of paper with some numbers on tries to tell me about you?

I don’t care because you make the world better. You make it better with your beautiful eyes and the way that you see the world around you. You make it better with your laugh and ability to make others around you laugh and feel joy. You make it better because you see the good in everyone and you say such heartfelt things that make people feel good about themselves.

You are love, courage, enthusiasm, confidence and good.

You are happiness.

And you are small. And I am your Mother. And in this life, you will know everything that you are meant to and need to.

You will know that the sun will rise and the sun will set and everything in between is all that you make it. And, it is beautiful.

And you will know that your best is always good enough.

And you will know that ‘I Love You’, no matter what!

-Mama x

SATS And Snails

 

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Katie Fay's Bridal Shower

This afternoon, Ellenah and I walked to pre-school together. The sun was warm, radiant and beautiful as it shone over the gorgeous pink blossoms which are standing strong in the transition between seasons. We held hands and talked about life through her eyes. Her doll with the purple hair who she calls ‘Love Heart’ was poorly today and she had spent the morning nursing her better and sharing her strawberries with her. I was asked to check on her as soon as I returned home. I was asked to hug her and make sure that she wasn’t hungry or thirsty. Of course, I agreed! What mother wouldn’t play along with such a pretty little game and one that brings out such a sweet side to her littlest child? She hasn’t always played like this. In fact, her imagination and ability to dive in to role play or the make believe, well…this is new territory.

As we walked, I couldn’t help but compare Ellenah to the blossoms that we shimmied past.

In my bag were the documents that would confirm her place at school in September. In my bag were the documents that identified me as her mother and Ellenah as my child… because her having the same hair as I once did, the same love to dance, the same stubbornness or the same smile wasn’t enough proof. In my bag was my signature which officially decided her next steps, next chapter… her path. And once I had handed her over to her lovely key workers to join in with ‘Rising Fives’ (school preparation)… I would walk the few steps to her future school reception and enrol her into the system, in to her school career.

It was a quick process, we made small talk about over subscriptions and what I will do without any children to run around after throughout the school day… and I could feel a surge of emotion burn my chest. I could feel how badly I wanted to cry. I could feel how badly I didn’t want to think about it or face my reality. I could feel how badly I wanted to change my mind and be selfish. I could feel how badly I craved a little more time.

Anyway, back to the blossom and my little girl. Just like the beautiful flowers that pop up when we least expect them, I hoped that Ellenah would do the same. She has always been beautiful but for a long while I had worried about her readiness to face school with the other children her age. Her interest in anything learning wasn’t where the parenting books thought it ‘should be’ I suppose. I feared that she would be behind and she would struggle. Her speech was delayed…which was no problem to me, I knew that (just like her brother) she would get it when she was ready. And suddenly, out of nowhere she did. Much like the blossom, Ellenah popped up out of nowhere and astounded us all with just how much she knew, how much she was keeping in, holding back and just how ready she is.

And quite sadly, like the pink blanket of surprise around us right now, this time will pass and I will have to send her to school in September… And It will be exactly what she is ready for. She will have her hair in two braids on her first day, pleats in her skirt, sensible shoes, a book bag and her lunch box. She will smile nervously while her big, blue eyes will be wide with excitement…and she will wave me goodbye at her classroom door. I will cry once she has gone. I know this because I could cry right now. I will feel like a little more of me is missing. And…my little heart will ache for a while.

And…over the years I will remember this day, the blossom and my little girl. As she grows and continues to surprise me with all that she does, all that she is and all that she grows to be.

Blossom And My Little Girl

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On Thursday, it was Miss Ellenah’s 4th Birthday. It was an emotional day for me. Four just feels so much bigger than being three years old. Four year olds like to say ‘But, I am four!’ a lot while they pout and put their hands on their hips. I’m waiting for a finger wiggle from my ‘Miss Sassy Pants’ over here in the next few days. Seriously, I’m waiting for her to start singing ‘R.E.S.P.E.C.T’ to me if I so much as dare ask her to eat her carrots. Ellenah has suddenly become so much more independent, just in the last couple of days. It’s amazing to watch but bittersweet.

Ellenah from Maria Noell

I already miss her needing me so much. I wasn’t ready for her to be four. My youngest child is growing up just too quickly for me now. As if by magic she understands reasoning just that little bit more and she is a proper little girl, her face has changed and everything. She is still beautiful but she is losing the ‘baby girl-ness’ about her. She doesn’t like it so much when I call her ‘Baby Girl’ anymore either. She is rising up to her new age and I feel like I’m gripping her by the toe just to keep her from floating off too soon. Honestly I miss her already.

Ellenah from Maria Noell

It was quite sudden really. That feeling on the night before her birthday, that one day… rightly or wrongly, she will be making decisions on her own. Making the call about how she wants to live her own life. Making the mistakes that go with such great responsibility. Mistakes that I can’t protect her from. My need to wrap her in cotton wool will no doubt be brushed off with a hair flick and grab of her bag while she lives for the weekends and drinks too much cheap wine with her friends. Just like I did. Just like we all did probably.

It may sound like I’m getting ahead of myself, which is obviously true. That’s years away. The poor thing hasn’t even started school yet and I’m obsessing over the teenage in to early adult years. It just hit me that she is a real person with this incredible mind and unstoppable will. And, it got me thinking, hoping and wishing. All for her to always share her life with me, no matter the stage, no matter the phase, no matter how much she thinks I won’t like what she has decided upon, no matter how much she wants to cry, no matter how scared and especially when she is so happy she could fly, so proud of herself, so excited for what is to come… Damn it, I want her to ask me one day what shoes go best, what bag she should take… what lipstick she should wear to prom. I want her to talk to me always. She has to know that I will always care. She has to know that I will always love her. Boy trouble, friend trouble… life trouble. I want her to know that I am hers… Her mama… on her side… no matter what…forever.

Ellenah from Maria Noell

Her birthday was beautiful. It saw her take part in her first nativity play (she was a black sheep!) and even though it was the first time ever, I had to share her with pre-school events, I got to put out a little tea party for her, buy balloons and birthday bunting and celebrate with her that night. She blew out the candles on her birthday cake… and as her face lit up in the light from the little flames, I couldn’t help but feel so very lucky to have her, my sweet little diva who radiates light…and love for all.

With Love,

Ria

xoxo

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