Goodbye 27. Hello 28

Goodbye 27. Honestly, 28 doesn’t sound that much older then 27, so don’t get all uppity or anything.

Thanks for teaching me a little more patience. I do hope 28 is a little bit of a gentler teacher than you, though. You don’t have to be all-in-my-face, you know.

Thanks for the good moments and the bad. Well, I really just mean the good but I know what I’m supposed to say, you know. It’s like in Sunday school. Just say “Jesus” and all will be fine. Your teacher and your father will be immensely proud of you.

Seriously though, if I stop being sarcastic for a moment, I have to admit that while I would never chose the hard things, I am not sorry for the lessons they have taught me. I might still prefer a little fairy to come along and instill a loving and forgiving and totally nice character into me without having to go through, you know, hardships.

But if this is the way it has to be, then so be it. Through living we learn to live. And I do live. I do think I’m nicer at the beginning of 28 than 27. Imagine […]

Garden magic

I walk to the far end of the garden, where the hedge meets the grass. Its branches, untouched for two years, droop down gently in a green, cascading waterfall. Now and then they ripple in the breeze.

In a few weeks, the hedge will be cut into a straight rectangle. It will be a bland, boring old lady, all prunes and prisms.

Now it is a kind friend. A friend who knows all the secrets of the garden, and will reveal them to a select few. She hides bugs, and bird nests. She protects children from colds winds and makes safe corners.

The grass is long, gone into seed. It looks like a meadow wanting to be played in, waiting for someone to lie down in its green carpet. Soft yet tickling, with little bugs exploring grass and the bodies or books on it.

Buttercups and daisies are sprinkled randomly, where the fairies wanted them most.

When I get up, it wants to remember a little longer that I was there. It keeps the imprint I made and then slowly lets it go. So slow I almost miss it, the grass sways back up, to dance in the […]

when life is not idyllic

Last year, we went to the Hallerbos. It is, as I told Abel, the place where fairies live. Every morning, before anybody else is awake they pick up their little buckets of glittery water and clean all the flowers until they shine.

I had been stalking the Hallerbos website for almost six weeks now, waiting until the Hyacinths would bloom. Then one Friday late in April we went, and I was quite excited about it.

The year before had been sunny and warm, we had picnicked and it was beautiful. Even though we did get a little lost and the walk took us a lot longer then planned.

So we parked at another parking lot, hoping it was closer to the flowers than the one we had parked at last year.

But it wasn’t.

And after about 2 minutes of walking the children decided they had enough and they wanted to go back to the car.

I, on the other hand, was intent on enjoying this walk and so I became the mom that over-cheerfully, loudly praised all the things the forest has to offer.

Mike wasn’t complaining, but the un-excitement was seeping of his face. He didn’t […]

When you wonder when you will find yourself

A myth persists that as a child we grow up and develop a character, as a teenager we discover who we truly are so that by the time we are adults we are ready to step out into the world with self-confidence, ready to be who we are out there.

And then we don’t find out who we are and we don’t feel very grownup and we think our life has started of without us.

What we don’t realize fully, what flutters evasively just out of reach? Is that we are who we are and have been all along. We change and we keep changing.Discovering that you enjoy something when you are 30 doesn’t mean that you didn’t fully know yourself up until then. Or maybe it means exactly that, and that’s just it: God made us in such a beautifully complex and changing way that we need a lifetime and more to figure out ourselves.

As something new enters the story, it doesn’t say that who you were up until then was a lie. It was just a different chapter of your story, but the last chapter is just as much a part of the book as the […]

Een foto zegt niet altijd 1000 woorden

In the evening I sit on the steps that go from the kitchen down to the living room, and I want to take a picture.

For Instagram, you know. This moment is perfect, and I want to remember it. If perfect food goes on Instagram, shouldn’t perfect moments?

Because there is Mike, with Caleb on his feet, dancing to Billy Joel’s Piano Man.

Gabriel jumps from couch to couch to coffee table.

Abel dances around his daddy and two brothers, running and skipping.

But Caleb’s worn out sweatpants are sagging down. His t-shirt is dirty. Then there’s Gabriel who still has a considerable amount of food on his face, with a generous helping of snot wiped over and around it.

Abel’s one sock is falling off and the other one is pulled up high over his pants.

I don’t have a white wall, and they always do so well on Instagram.

So I sit here, looking as hard as I can. Sitting in the 3-D picture and it’s going viral in my heart.

To this perfect moment that looks so incredibly imperfect.

I send a laugh to Gabriel, who is telling me about the dragon he will kill. Dancing and […]

The unaesthetical Christmas tree

After 10 years of Christmas Trees being forbidden, they were welcome in our house again. In 17-year-old enthusiasm I attacked the tree.

It would be gorgeous. And perfect. And totally awesome.

My 8-year-old sister agreed but dear me, did she ever have different ideas of gorgeous then I did!

For some reason, someone thought it was a good idea to give her a gigantic, flashy pink and yellow heart and my sister believed it to be an ornament for the tree no matter how many times I told her it wasn’t.

In a frantic pursuit of perfection I bossed everybody around and tried to limit the damage my 4 siblings aged 3 to 8 could do to a perfect Christmas tree. In the end I let them hang things wherever they wanted because they did anyway, and planned to redo the tree after they were in bed.

With a cup of tea and a critical eye I stood before the tree and rehung most of the things. I relegated the Pink-Heart-Ornament-Wannabe to the back of the tree and went to bed satisfied with a job well done.

The next morning I got up, later than my siblings because […]

The time I wanted to break my legs, otherwise titled, ‘In which I feel like sh*t”

I’d like to have energy and feel great. That is to say, I wish I did not have fibromyalgia.

That is to say, I wish I did not have continuous headaches, I wish I did not have a sore throat and earache 6 out of 10 days. I wish I didn’t feel like I was burning right under my skin down to my bones on the worse days. Like a huge elastic band snapped back and stung all over on the better days.

I wish I didn’t have lower back pain, shoulder and neck pain and I wish I didn’t have sharp pains in random places and I wish I wasn’t exhausted and feverish-feeling all the time. I wish stirring porridge and mashing potatoes and lifting children and fastening seat belts and sitting and standing up and not lying in bed all day with a hot water bottle didn’t hurt and exhaust me quite so much.

I wish I didn’t have muscles that tell me I have an infection that really is just a figment of their imagination. Who knew muscles had an imagination?

I wish that even though I do have those things, I didn’t have the depressing feeling […]