So far we have avoided frost but I am still covering up my outdoor seedlings at night just in case. When I made bread on Saturday, I took a tip from the TV and put half of it into the fridge (covered up). Nothing deterred it, it kept growing and I have had to knock it back several times. This morning, it has gone into a loaf tin and when risen will be cooked. Apparently this long rise and knocking back session, makes for a better tasting bread. We will see!
Yesterday, I wrote about a few of the things from my childhood and how I tried to instil some things into my son's life for him to store away and treasure.
There are no wild flowers meadows, bluebell or violet woods anywhere near us which is a shame. From a very early age once DS was walking, I used to take him for a short walk and get him to feel plants and leaves and tree bark. Then when a little older, we would make a list of 10 things we had to find on our walk (listing 5 things each) and tick them off if we found them. This number grew over time to 20, taking in the different seasons. We still hug our tree when we visit where it lives, just to let it know we remember and still love its feathery bark where the squirrels run up and down it.
I would put DS on the back of my bike and ride around our villages, sit it and him alongside the grass verge (away from the traffic obviously) whilst I picked brambles and other wild fruit. As he got older he joined in.
I'm sure one of his favourite times was picking wild plums that grow over 10' up. We would wait for his grandparents to come down and drive to the nearest place, taking our extending washing line pole, protective hats!, bags etc. He along with his grandparents would stand underneath the tree (usually in a ditch) and I would whack the branches. The resulting plum storm was great fun and granddad would often be heard to say “this is worse than when I was in El Alamein”. We laughed until we cried and came home sticky but triumphant!
We would pick Elder flowers to make cordial, Elderberries for winter cordial, sloes for sloe gin etc. Flowers and leaves were picked and pressed to see how they changed. He loved helping me make Play-doe in the microwave and using it until it fell apart.
TV for him was on just twice a day. Lunch time for Sesame Street and after tea for Thomas the Tank Engine or Transformers. The rest of the time (in-between chores) we did jigsaws, played games, built things, or just sat and cuddled and enjoyed each others time. We even invented water cricket that each summer he and his mates would play on an area of grass nearby, with us as the umpires.
He loved visiting castles and museums associated with war activities. He wasn't a great fictional reader but instead loved factual books. Such a passion has served him well for his work in the games industry.
His dad worked shifts and he was and is, still very much a hands on dad. No nappy was too messy or smelly. He was the one who stayed up for teething when I was exhausted and took his turn when DS. was ill. He was (and is) my absolute rock, when DS. nearly died aged 4, of a deadly virus that he was lucky to survive intact.
DS. may be 25 now but his dad and I still help when and where required, when asked. We garden, help build, show him things we forgot to show him when we should have.
Things may be different once they leave home, get their independence, fall in love - that is the time you HAVE to step away. Give them space, allow them to be, make their mistakes and carry on learning.
It is THE hardest thing to do but he knows we will always be there for him and will try to not interfere in his life. If ever it is necessary for us to pick up the pieces, we'll be available. We are always just a phone call, e-mail or text away.
He knows this. By knowing this, we hope we have given him a gift.