Saturday, April 12, 2014

Letting the light in

Yesterday morning, my husband and I awoke at 6.30am to the sound of "ZZZT ZZZT". We groggily stared in the direction of the noise to witness a blazing light outside our window. And then our power went out.

Turns out, the power line connected to our fuse box had become exposed and it was sending out sparks like fireworks in the pouring rain. Thank goodness we had a safely switch.

I had big plans for yesterday. My daughter was spending the say with my Mother-in-Law. When my baby son napped, I planned to spend the day online, ticking off items from the To Do list, catching up on emails and getting ready for a wee something I am planning to launch here next week.

I also wanted to post some words that had been niggling at me all week. I had a couple of posts pretty much teed up word-for-word in my head. One about how I managed to turn "arsenic hour" into "magic hour" one evening by putting my unsettled baby in a sling and going for a walk around the neighbourhood with my camera. Another about how my son's arrival had multiplied the love in our house, including self-love.

The truth is, none of these words felt right. It had been a tough week, with my baby displaying much more unsettled behaviour than usual and me feeling flat and dispirited. It somehow felt untrue to be waxing lyrical about motherhood when I'd had some less-than-stellar moments and some super-cranky days. Which is partly why I hadn't posted them. (The other reason being, I was knackered and tended to crash out at around 8pm!)

But I planned to unravel all of this yesterday.

And then, it seemed, the universe had other plans.

I won't bore you with the details other than to say that the power was restored at 4.30pm and it was, in the end, a relatively simple fix. None of our food spoiled in the fridge and none of our appliances were damaged in the surge. And, most importantly, nothing caught fire and no one was hurt.

In the meantime, I was not quite sure what to do with myself. Once I convinced the little dude to nap, made the beds, washed the dishes... what were my options? Everything I had planned required electricity. Even my iPhone battery was below 20 per cent.

When my son woke up, I decided to make the best of it. I had a hot shower (thank goodness we have a gas hot water system!) and took us around the corner to our favourite cafe for lunch.

Then, when I got home and he finally settled again, I got out my long-neglected journal. I put a new cartridge in my also-neglected fountain pen. And I wrote. Just spewed out everything that was bugging me. From the power outage, to the frustrations of not being able to settle my baby, to the mean-spirited behaviour of someone in particular, the whole boring whiny lot.

And after the purge, I started to get a sense of when that flat, dispirited feeling started to descend. I wrote some more about that. I realised that a number of small things had seeped in under my skin. I hand' really given any of them much thought as, individually, they didn't seem all that significant. And I was rather hoping I was more robust than that by now.

I also saw how I felt like, after the feeding and the settling and washing and the tending to everyone else's needs, there was very little of me left.

It's funny, isn't it? How little things start to chip away, compounded by disrupted sleep and the constant demands of life with a tiny person. How I think I should be more on top of things than I am, and how that serves to compound the situation.

How it takes a moment of forced self-reflection to see what's actually happening. How robustness is not so much about not letting little things get under your skin but about acknowledging that they do and working out how you're going to deal with it.

It was not the day I had planned. But it ended up being perfect.

By the time my husband and daughter made it home, I'd lit the fire, got a heap of candles ready, was bathing the baby, and had plans to order pizza.

Then the lights came back on.


  1. "not so much about not letting little things get under your skin but about acknowledging that they do and working out how you're going to deal with it" - feels like I've been working with this one for awhile now, but I STILL haven't quite worked my way around those little things! =\ But hearing how you used your journal gives me some ideas, on top of other ideas...Thank you for your post Kat! It leaves me feeling that I'm not the only one trying to find a way to deal with the little 'nigglies' that have been wearing on me =-)

  2. Thank you for sharing this! In the couple of months since we moved to Michigan, those little things have been digging deeper and little tiny splinters worming into my skin and itching so badly. Thank you for the reminder to focus less on the splinters, and more on how I'm going to manage and (hopefully) move beyond them.

    All the best to you!