As I write to you, I can hear the rain pattering on the windowsill yet again. Where is Spring? I thought “April showers” was a colloquialism, but there couldn’t be a better description of the weather right now. Usually, I prefer springtime to any other season, but this year there have been more than a few days of reflection and tear-stained handkerchiefs as I struggle with the stark changes this new season brings.
Despite the delay of sunshine, and things progressing in the garden at a snail’s pace, lambs are still being born, the birds in our garden are gathering for their nests, and we too have been quite busy here in many little ways over here in our corner of Gloucestershire. Busyness however, has not staved off what is on my heart at the moment. While the sight of baby animals and looking at all the pretty flowers is cheering, the truth of the matter is…
I’m struggling to deal with my child growing up.
I am all too aware that the season of my journey as a mother is changing. Badges have been sewn onto new Scouting uniforms, long trousers and bigger shoes purchased, Grammar Schools have been toured, and while the Daffodils bloom brightly and stand so tall, so too does our son.
Now marching headfirst into those pre-teen years I’m realising he requires less of a hands-on Mother, and more of a quietly present parental figure. I’m so used to doing everything for him, but now I feel my role at home shifting, and I won’t gloss over the fact that it hasn’t been easy. It may, among other things, explain my quietness of late. For the past decade I have been so very used to having him within sight, holding my hand to cross the road, needing me to help, wanting my assistance - and with each passing week he wants to do more and more for himself. To be a “big” boy, and gain his independence.
It’s a mark of a job well done, I have been told. That he is growing into a confident and capable lad. However it doesn’t sting any less when you transition from “Mummy” to “Mum” does it?
I don’t have anything further or more profound to add to the subject at the moment, as I feel very much in the trench of all the emotion that comes with passing from one stage of motherhood to another - and acutely realising that he is my first, and my last child. I don’t have another one coming up through the ranks, and it is bittersweet. The bitter taste is a little more pronounced on the tongue than sweet at the moment, but this too shall pass.
With all this inner musing going on and filling the mind, I have made sure to put my hands to other things to occupy me. I have been trying to get to grips with crochet once again following tutelage from my own Mum, and encouragement from a friend - I have a very wobbly-edged dishcloth on my hook that I am both embarrassed and super proud of.
My bookshelf also gained an unexpected classic in the shape of this delightful part-memoir/part-fiction by David Wilbourne. If you like James Herriot, or watching mid-century TV shows like Heartbeat, you’ll adore this book.
It is set in rural Yorkshire in the mid-1960s and is incredibly wholesome. I cried a little at the end as I fell in love with his story, and the people in his parish. Someone please invent a time machine…
I’m not sure it’s still in print, but you might get lucky finding a secondhand copy here, or on eBay. I found mine in a local charity shop, and have the sequel coming to me in the post.
If you have any wholesome diary style books to recommend, I’d love to know! I have read (and love) the Nella Last diaries, as well as James Herriot. Anything in these styles would be wonderful to know about.
My kitchen was very busy in April, and it produced a lot of baked goods. I was asked by a friend in the village to help out at her charity tea and cake sale during one of their open gardens. I truly felt in my element on this day. I’ve often spoken to Mr Darling about wanting to own and run a vintage-themed Tea Room “one day”. I can really see myself with one when the nest is empty (though it’s something I can definitely wait for, if time could get the message to slow down). I don’t know what it is about a tea room specifically, perhaps because they are my favourite places to eat, and I like the idea of taking care of people in this small but hospitable way?
I roped my lovely next door neighbour and Mum in to help bake as much as we could, and despite a rainy day (surprise, surprise) we raised a good amount of money for local charities.
Easter itself was lovely. We spent the Sunday morning at Church, and later drove out to the village of Asthall near Burford to have lunch at The Maytime Inn. The Churchyard in the village was beautiful, and the recently renovated pub provided a lovely roast dinner. The walks around the area were a delightful way to work off the rich but delicious Sticky Toffee Pudding we shared three ways.
Lots of vintage treasures have been found recently too on my travels about the Shire and its many charity shops - all with a laundry theme, or requiring laundering. Did I ever mention that’s my favourite household chore?
I’m quite partial to a bit of baking and flower arranging too…
With cakes and bellies on the mind, I must close out this letter to you, as I am now being asked for after-school snacks by my son and his two friends who are here to “hang out” (play is too childish a word to use now), and if he can have a sleepover at a friend’s house tonight(!?) Time stand still, please???
I hope that Easter, and this rather wet early Spring has treated you and yours kindly? Among other things, we have a wonderful couple of weekends ahead, one of which includes the momentous occasion of the Coronation of King Charles III.
It still feels crazy to say that! The Coronation of a King, it’s been a while since we had one. I just hope people give him the day, and the respect he deserves. After all, he had been in training for this role for the entire duration of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. He was but three years old when his mother acceded the throne in 1952. What an example she was, and had to be - not only to him, but to us all. Moreover, what an apprenticeship to take on at such a tender age!
I’ll write again soon to tell you what we got up to, how we celebrated, and what “momentos” and memorabilia I purchased. Perhaps too a review of my current book, and if I have managed to steady my emotions.
God Save The King!
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