This is our third winter in Cape Town, if you can believe it. But it’s the first one where it has actually rained. Like, PROPER rain – thank goodness. And yes, I know a bit of rain does not mean in any way that the drought is over, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it as it falls.
So I’m schlomping around in my red wellington boots. Digging out my purple beanie. I’m waking to the sound of rain pattering on the roof, imagining it soaking into the dry soil, picturing seeds sprouting and green shoots pushing upward towards the light, as they break through the ground into the fresh Autumn air.
I walk out every day and take a look at my sweet pea shoots, waiting for them to flower. These are one of my favourite blooms because I had a garden of them growing up, and their unmistakeable smell still brings to mind nostalgia, happiness, innocence and the golden days of childhood. I can picture crouching down in brown earth, my toes muddy, and watering them with the green hosepipe, as my grandmother watched over me wearing her wide brimmed hat and gardening gloves (she was such an elegant lady, even when she was gardening).
We’re lighting fires here. Cooking warming meals (bye bye cold salads). We’re snuggling under blankets (if we can find them). We’re in the process of painting the entire inside of our house and the contents of our lives are all topsy turvy. I can’t find my hairdryer, my watch, or even my toothbrush (I used someone else’s by mistake the other day but that is another story entirely). I know this is a privileged position to be in, so I’m trying to embrace the chaos and admire each newly painted wall, as it becomes a blank canvas for us to express ourselves and create our family home.
We’re spending each afternoon doing homework, learning to read. To spell and to add and subtract. We’re learning the recorder (my ears are taking a while to adjust!). We found out that Ben got into the school we wanted for next year, so we’re excited and busy filling out acceptance forms and paying deposits. It’s hard to believe that the baby I first introduced on this blog five years ago will be going to big school next year. How did I become the mother of an almost eight and five-year-old?
Last night at book club we were talking about how one mother writes letters to her kids before she goes on a trip, because she wants them to know how she feels about them if she never returns. This struck me as both heartbreaking and beautiful. Because a mother’s love is like that, always concerned with those she may leave behind. And it made me think how lucky I am to have this blog as a record of all the things my kids have said, all the things we’ve done together, and the way they’ve made me feel. How happy they’ve made me (okay not 100% of the time, but you know what I mean;).
What else are we doing? We’re busy planning a few trips in the June/July holidays because I haven’t had any proper holidays this year, besides a few weekends away. So it will be good to get out of the city for 10 days or so, slow down the pace, and spend time in the Eastern Cape.
I’ve mentioned before that I work with Shine Literacy and volunteer with them weekly to read with a child who needs one-on-one support in order to get up to the level of literacy they should be at for their age. And today I got shown her results on a recent assessment, compared to the beginning of the year. Guys, her scores have doubled! She’s gone from knowing 13 of the letters of the alphabet/phonetic sounds to 26, for example! But it’s not just that, she’s also grown in confidence. She used to not want to try, because she was afraid, and now she’ll sit and sound out a word carefully and then you should see her face when she says the entire word correctly! She even wrote “I love Shine” on her whiteboard today and my heart did a big crinkly sigh of happiness. Seeing the positive effect just a small amount of your time can have on someone is so rewarding.
It’s a wonderful introspective time of year and I’m relishing it. It’s a good excuse to remind ourselves of what’s important, to slow down and to enjoy the quiet, as we listen to water falling from the sky – like a blessing.
P.S. My Rookie USA giveaway closes soon, so enter now to win two hampers of kids’ clothing worth R2500 each.