21 Apr 2016

Happiness is...

Almost a fortnight ago, I broke a protracted period of radio silence with a blog post about our life with wonky kids and I was utterly overwhelmed by the response. Thank you for reading, responding, reassuring and supporting: truly, I was touched. 

A number of people alluded to my 'happy list' which I keep on my phone as a token nod to mindfulness and a quick-fix virtual cuddle when I need a reminder that there are regular patches of sunshine in the s**t storm that sometimes engulfs us.

The list doesn't contain the biggies like family, friends or the very existence of Jude Law. It's not aspirational. Despite my left-leaning values, I can categorically say that I would love to win the lotto, that the money would change me and that yes, being a millionaire would make me very happy indeed. But, whilst placing my tongue very firmly in my cheek, I also know that an enormous bank balance, a stable full of horses and a wardrobe filled entirely with latest season Cos and Whistles are about as likely as Dexter developing an irrational fear of trains.

No, the happiness has to be the every-day, the humdrum, the banal but beautiful, the flashes of sublime simplicity and the nurturing security of the present.

It's been *quite* the week. The world is yet again mourning the loss of the great and the good in the public eye. Victoria Wood's untimely death yesterday, has left me reeling on a scale I thought impossible for someone I never actually knew. Social media is currently exploding with tributes to the timeless talent of Prince. Yet again this week, we are dealing with serious illness in our own family and tentatively tackling a day at a time. 

My happy list is getting a bashing. But it helps. 

I'm sad this week. Sad about life's cruelties, facing uncertainties and Delphi's first birthday looming on the horizon: a stark reminder of both a challenging year and the significant developmental delay she lives with. I've cried. I've talked. I've shared. And I've opened the 'notes' app on my phone and read, to remind myself of the following...

My happy list

  • Friday night wine: there is nothing like a large glass of something cold, white and preferably New Zealand in origin at the end of the working week. I try to wait until 7pm but sometimes. Well. Rules were made to be broken.
  • Falling asleep in front of the Graham Norton Show: I love Graham Norton. I love the guests he gets on his show. I love Friday night wine (see above). I usually see about ten minutes, fall asleep in a pool of my own drool on the sofa and wake up for the band at the end. Unless Jude Law's on the show when miraculously, I keep my eyes (wide) open for the whole thing.
  • Listening to the radio in the kitchen: or not really listening to it but just enjoying the soothing cadence of chat and music. I pretend to listen to the really clever bits on Radio 4. I shamelessly LOVE Simon Mayo's 'All request Friday' show on Radio Two - it's like a happy list brought to life.
  • Great fiction: I don't read enough. I don't make enough time for reading. My brain is addled by the 140 character laser show that is too much time on Twitter. But when I do get into a great book, that's it: I am in for the duration. The sort of book that I am gagging to be in bed before 9pm for so I can get a good hour of literary absorption before collapsing with exhaustion. 
  • Hearing 'Mummy!': I'm not sentimental about parenting and I'm quite anti the glorification of motherhood (there's a whole different blog post there) but there is nothing like hearing my best boy calling 'Mummy!' Dexter had a significant language delay until he was over three. We thought for a while that he may never be verbal. We have no idea if Delphi will develop speech and language. The 'mummy' phase doesn't last for long and it just makes me smile - unless it's said repeatedly in a whining voice, in which case, it is not smiling going on in my head...
  • Free Waitrose coffee: does this need any explanation?
  • 'Gogglebox': I swear the essence of humanity is contained within this show. Plus, it's a good way of catching up with the week's tv with a glass of Friday wine before falling asleep in front of Graham Norton.
  • The first cup of tea of the day: I'm northern. It's lifeblood. It makes everything better.
  • Bright autumnal days and the nights drawing in; sunshiny spring days and the nights getting shorter: I'm a real seasonal inbetweener. I care not for the extremes of winter and summer. Give me crisp, fresh & bright and weather that requires opaque tights and a cardigan (which I have to have surgically removed, mid-August).
  • The view from the front of our house: we live in a new-build box. A number of my earlier posts focus on trying to give it some character. One of the reasons we picked this house on the development was for the view of the meadow opposite. I like to stand at Dexter's window and watch the sky and the changing of the seasons.
  • Too hot bubble baths: the kind that make your skin blotchy and your heart beat at an alarmingly quick rate. Perfect.
  • Empty laundry baskets: happens about once a month for about twenty minutes.  Feels like the ultimate life goal.
  • The smell of blue Comfort fabric conditioner: stays on your clothes for ever. Reminds me of my mum. Makes unpacking the hospital bag, when Delphi has an extended stay, that little bit easier. It's called COMFORT. 'Nough said.
  • Danish pastries: scandi + carbs = win. Double win if custard or apples are involved.
  • A Pinterest binge: I mean like a good couple of hours. I have a million boards. Find me here.
  • A great tv drama series: I rarely watch stuff with actual plots but when I'm hooked, I will not be disturbed. Sorry, but I will have ignored your call if it was during 'Doctor Foster' or 'Marcella'.
  • Going back to sleep after an early start: a cruel Saturday morning 5.30am wake-up can be cancelled out completely by an 8.30am-10.30am snoozedown.
  • All four of us in bed with no immediate plans: as long as Dexter isn't kicking one of us in the head and Delphi hasn't vomited. Not quite the stuff of Athena posters then.
  • A quality pub roast: there must be Yorkshires, good gravy, an open fire and broadsheets.
  • My sleeping children, all tucked up in their rooms at the top of the house: the smalls reside on the second floor of our silly, skinny house. Our room is below. I forget their differences when they're softly snoring away.
  • A spontaneous walk by the sea: our favourite beach is a 35 minute drive away. There is nothing there but beach and a couple of small cabins for coffee and cake. It's perfect.
  • New knitwear: I am made entirely of spaghetti with low blood pressure. I am always cold. Knitwear brings me immeasurable joy.
  • Riding lessons: I HAVEN'T BEEN FOR SO LONG. I need to sort that out. Ponies are my jam.
  • Random repeats on telly of Peter Kay's stand-up shows: my childhood resonates with most of his anecdotes. Comfort viewing.
  • Pret tomato soup & artisan cheese baguette: my pregnancy craving with Delphi. We spent Mother's Day in Pret at my request last year. Let's not dress it up: soup and a sandwich is the lunch of kings.
  • Girls' nights: all too infrequent these days but always oodles of fun when they happen. Love my ladies. All of them.
  • New stationery: nice pens, mechanical pencils, jazzy post-its. Ooooooh.
  • A house full of visitors: our house is a bit quirky in layout and design. It comes into its own when people come to stay. And that is what gives it character.
  • Trying a new recipe that's easy and works: whilst knowing I will make it approximately 13 times in one month and then never attempt it again.
  • B E D
'Night! x

1 comment:

  1. Hi Katy
    Really love this post. I am new to your blog but will definitely return. As a parent with a 'wonky child' I really appreciate your list. Reading your post this morning cheered me up no end. Thank you - James & Leo


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