A few weeks ago, we went on our annual pilgrimage to Durban: two weeks in midwinter to my hometown that never experiences winter. It was beautiful! Warm! Balmy! The ocean was like bathwater, even on a supposedly ‘cold’ day…
We spent five days in Umdloti, right on the beach, a weekend at my parent’s house, soaking up the family love, and a week in the Drakensberg, at a timeshare I used to go to as a child.
It was wonderful. Peaceful, unplugged, filled with toys and games and adorable moments and snuggles and adventures and treats. Also, however, filled with 5am wake-up calls, nap strikes, tantrums, crying, overstimulation and expecting treats at every turn. Because we were on holiday with a 10-month-old and a 3-year-old, and they didn’t care that this was our long-awaited break! They wanted to play. Every morning. At the crack of dawn.
When we came home, I said to Mark, “Well, that was so lovely. But it’s good to be home and back into the normal routine.” And he said, “Yip… It was sweet. And sour.”
And that’s just it: life with two young kids captured in a Chinese takeaway. Life is sweet and sour at the moment. The sweet is so very, very sweet (more so than before having kids – at least for me). There are these moments so precious my heart could break in two. Watching Arty walk up to Ella and kiss her on the head unprompted, seeing the way her eyes light up when we come in from school.
But the sour is very, very sour. More sour than a tough day at the office – this is rip your hair out, grind your teeth, sell your soul for half an hour of silence sour. The wildly unreasonable demands. The crying for no reason. The constant, ceaseless noise.
But they go hand in hand. It wouldn’t be the sweet without the sour, and vice versa. And somehow that plays beautifully into slices of joy – the slices of joy in every day are the sweet moments that keep you going in the midst of the sour. Well, that and a gin and elderflower on ice…