Half-term was a bit of a hiatus for us. A pause, a breather, a change to what we’d planned.
Part rest, part stuck at home with Cabin Fever by day 4, our original plans to visit Amsterdam were duly cancelled so my eldest son, Oliver, 9, could undergo an op to rectify a perforated eardrum, post grommets as a toddler. In two weeks, we’ll know if it’s been successful.
So post-op and a pale but brave boy, (and even braver Daddy who accompanied him to theatre as I couldn’t bear to) we rested up, donning tartan PJs, the sofa, our new home, as we veered between scrolling through funny YouTube videos, playing Charades and watching Harry Potter, the series of films, all over again.
I turned my Out of Office on, on the Monday, and pulled the metaphorical drawbridge up, lowering it for visits from friends who popped by baring pastries, pizza, sweets and handmade cards and kindness, to keep our spirits up.
Despite the pain and sleepy eyes, he immediately accepted the prescribed rest, and twice daily ear drops that initially made him and has shown resilience and strength I didn’t know he had.
And that’s been the upside to the op, learning more about my kids. I’ve lapped up the uninterrupted time that he, Xander and I have had together be it catching up on the Bake Off Final despite only watching the first ep or making magic trick TikTok vids, well, they did, for their private accounts, so convincing, I’m sure the Magic Circle beckons, and we’ve even cooked together.
Social media wizardry aside, Xander also proved what a whizz he is in the kitchen, learning to make my Auntie Lou’s hearty lentil soup from scratch under my supervision, and he kept the comedy vibes high with his endless jokes and birthday plans, despite the big day being next September!
Oodles of time (as well as soup) meant I could watch the doc, What the Health, on Netflix, which made me decide there and then, that the family should become plant-based (I was veggie after a year of veganism but have reverted back now after that shocking eye-opener) and can’t wait for what I’ve heard is the equally transformative film, The Game Changers, which is next on the list.
Carving out the time to watch a film uninterrupted, or finish half-read books languishing by my bed ( I always seem to have three on the go), felt pretty liberating. It’s rare to have a stretch of time where we can do as we please. Enforced rest for all has been the theme this week, my only worry, what next to cook! No school rushes or metaphorical fires to put out, homework to help with, deadlines to meet.
The mental load of motherhood eased for me, the life and work admin relegated to next week when routine, returns. The juggle ceased.
I even napped on the sofa twice, not realising how tired I felt.
Two other surprises were, Oliver deciding to Marie Kondo the lounge art cupboard (the boredom was real that day) and Xander telling that he’ll never not love me, which almost made me blub.
Then, last night, we finally, FINALLY, left the warmth of our cosy cocoon, embarking outside, bearing hats, scarves, gloves and Harry Potter costumes (not I) in search of sweets for Halloween.
And sweets we happily found, first in Eton (and a tangerine amongst the fizzies, much to Xander’s shock) plus vegan jellies c/o Hardy’s Sweets (thanks to my fab friend Kelly) before endless sliding, dancing, and sipping smoothies at the spectacularly spooky party at family club, The Jelly Lounge close by (thank you to the hostess with the mostess, my pal, Tamar).
Such fun. And this picture is my favourite of all time.
Yes it was a different half term to the one we’d imagined, it wasn’t a week of Amsterdam adventuring, wining and dining, street pic posing or bike ride roaming but it was just the break we needed right here in Windsor, a fingers crossed ear-fixing, vegan eating, sofa snuggling week of magic (and not just on Tik Tok).
What have you been up to?