September is back. And stuff always seems to happen for us in the Holly Cottage in September. Maybe it's the palpable return of winter that makes us want to squeez one last drop of happiness out of the summer, or maybe it's just the way it is. But, as a rule of thumb, when I see blackberries I think of 'stuff happening'. Like far flung trips to Nawlins and Memphis, Barbados and Cuba; a whirlwind wedding (thankfully minus hurricane) under a Caribbean sky; a little one lost; and a not-so-little one gained. And then Holly and the man's birthday celebrations sitting on top of all that. Yep, stuff sure seems to happen in September.
Anyway, we made it. We spent most of the first six months walking back and forth between the Holly Cottage and the Charleville woods - Holly minding us as I took care not to slip in my specially purchased Hunter wellies (every city slicker wears them in Stockholm). I didn't know it then, but the baby phase is probably the easiest in so many ways, and for sure the hardest in others. The easiest in that she really just lay there, or sat there in her chair, or fed, or slept, or tried to sleep. Now that she's on the move....well, it's a different story. I have considered getting eyes in the back of my head but decided it might cause problems in our relationship in the future ;) She's into everything, and especially anything that may have dirt written all over it. Sigh. I have surrendered to her fascinations - within reason of course. And she has finally accepted that stones are not for eating. Holly is still going through that phase mind you. Oh well.
|'What you mean you don't |
Once we had hit the six months and emerged from the cloak of winter it was time for Mammy to step out of the slippers and wellies and well - um - back into the wellies full time. Thankfully the work of an ecologist is never done and instead of twiddling my thumbs and having time to miss her, I was back in the chase of building dams and making wetlands and making trouble before the man even had her pushed down the road to the childminders that first day. Amazing how we adapt. As the great bard wrote so eloquently 'the readiness is all' or perhaps the wild abandonment of worry is more appropriate. She is as happy as a pig in muck with her childminder and she is well on the way to becoming number one tomboy on the road. After her mother of course.
Easter came and went and then it was time for hollydays and she ran into the waves on the shores of Donegal, she swallowed the sand on the beaches of Clare, caused a riot in Limerick before charming all the shopkeepers in Killarney and rolling off the bed in Kenmare. All with Holly in tow. Holly didn't make it to Latvia though, and we were sad about that at times. But we tested and tasted Rigan delights and lounged about in coffee shops and city centre parks, and Alannah loved every minute of it. I'm sure she knew everyone in Riga by the end of it, she certainly waved at most of them and even had a television encounter - part of the Latvian 25 years of freedom from Soviet tyranny celebrations. It was a good time to be there, and we were treated to some of the best open air classical and operatic music I have ever heard. Thank you Latvia.
But now summer has come to an end and we are officially once around the sun, mother and daughter, father and loyal madra. I'd like to say I still had no gray hairs but from time to time I see the odd one poking out from a post pregnancy re-growth fringe (they don't tell you about that shit by the way). But hey, all those sleepless nights had to find their expression somewhere. To be honest, it feels like a lot more than one year but I guess that's because we packed so much in. I'd love to have captured every moment to play them back in the decades to come as we all grow together, but we have plenty of postcards and scars to remember. And sure we need to keep plenty of space for all our solar revolutions that have yet to come.
Happy Birthday Alannah and here's to many more (eventful) trips around the sun.