I’m feeling very restless at the moment. I can’t settle at anything, I can’t seem to get comfortable and I can’t stop fidgeting.
Something to do with Elias turning two, and our mini chicken pox epidemic, the girls going back to school, and my grandmother moving house and a milli0n other things that I can’t or don’t feel like talking about – nothing life altering, just lots of little things that add up to one big squirmy picture.
And I’ve tried to write this blog post about half a dozen times now and I’m not even sure I know what I want to write it about.
Something to do with perfection and the lack of it.
The way that we watch our children vanish into the world slowly, day by day.
The image of parenthood that we project, the serenity and perfection of the frozen image as opposed to the mess and chaos of actually living it.
The contrast between the stories we choose to tell, the images we crop to hide overflowing baskets of washing or the stacks of discarded toys in the background. The way we edit our lives to create coherence and some kind of order.
I was playing with Elias this morning – our first whole day of being absolutely alone in the house for two months – and we were both lying on our bellies building block towers and wrestling and I realised it was the first time in ages that I had just concentrated on being with him. Not writing about it, not photographing it, not tweeting about it. Just playing and being fully present in that moment.
And then he jumped on my belly and winded me and I lost whatever deep philosophical realisation I was on the verge of having in the joy of rolling around on the floor making exaggerated pain noises while he laughed his backside off.
I spend so much time taking photos of the kids doing stuff. And then I go through and I choose what I think are the best ones – when what I really mean is the clearest ones, the neatest ones, the ones where you can see what they’re making best or where they’re all smiling.
And actually sometimes the best ones are the ones where they’re a blur of motion or they’re snorting juice out of their nose as the shutter clicks because that’s the moment. It’s a brief and true representation of the thing, as opposed to the idealised version that maybe we present most of the time without consciously thinking about it. The tidy, manageable version.
Life’s not tidy. And some of the best moments are the ones that you don’t necessarily over think or have time to polish up to share. And maybe the cure for my restlessness is to just throw myself on the floor a bit more often.