“I feel like I’m 100 years old!” laments the husband. It’s 3am and we’re lying awake just after Henry’s feed. While he’s back in his cot sleeping peacefully again, Molly has started coughing in her room, interrupting the possibility of sleep yet again. We’re tired. So. Dog. Tired! And in the wee small hours we begin to debate many things: will Henry ever sleep through? Is Dubai the healthiest place to bring up our children? Is our AC full of dust? Will there be a housing crash soon?
Ok, so the last question is directly related to the fact that we’re trying to sell our home and move to a new one. Yes, in the midst of feeling like zombies, we’re hoping to tick another thing off the list of the most stressful things to do in life (which also includes having a new baby). The little abode that has been our home for over seven years is now packed to the gills with paraphernalia. Toys oozing from every orifice. Elsa dolls (and believe me, we have every kind of Elsa doll) peering menacingly from cupboards. Deflated paddling pools waiting to be revived once the weather cools.
You see, lately I’ve been itching for more space. Since the arrival of the wee man, I’ve been yearning for a new house to put a fresh stamp on. So, you can imagine my excitement when an offer is made and we accept. The cork is pulled on a celebratory school night bottle of red. Imaginary rooms are remodelled in my head. Aisles of IKEA perused in my sleep. Sweeping corner sofas dreamt of and purchased. A decking installed in the garden to accommodate my new yoga space.
Yes, in my head, I’m in. I’m already there, sipping a G and T under the stars.
Ah. Here’s the catch. 12 hours later, the buyer has second thoughts and the plug is pulled on the offer! Now, while I know this is a common occurrence when it comes to selling houses, it suddenly made me aware of the level of happiness I’d placed on something that hadn’t even been signed, sealed and delivered. Something that was yet a future possibility and not a definite reality.
I suddenly realised I’ve been doing this a lot lately – I’ve been getting hung up on the ‘grass is greener’ syndrome. I’ve been telling myself that I’d be “happier when…” Happier when my post baby belly didn’t wobble when I walked. Happier when my bum didn’t give the Kardashians a run for their money. Happier when I slept eight hours at a stretch. Happier when the day didn’t start with a standoff over a bowl of weetabix. Happier when I had a bigger house with tidy boxes to put everything in!
Now don’t get me wrong. I love my little life, even if I often wake up feeling like I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards! I wouldn’t swap this crazy, noisy, hectic life for the world. It’s the stuff I’ve dreamed of. (Ok, minus the tantrums!) So why is it that we always want to race ahead? Why do we spend so much time thinking the grass would be greener if we just had ‘X’, if we could do ‘Y’, or if we achieved ‘Z’?
Well, last weekend proved the perfect reminder to stop and smell the roses. I took Molly and Henry to Dubai’s Butterfly Garden. While I was squeamishly dodging the butterflies, Molly was embracing them lovingly, allowing them to cling to her top, her hair, her arm. She was walking around (we lapped it four times) with huge eyes declaring, “This is beautiful Mummy! So lovely Mummy. LOOK Mummy!”
Now, granted some of the butterflies looked a little bedraggled and worse for wear, but in Molly’s world, there were no faults. The wonder, this presence that our children enjoy is something that we sadly lose as we get older. These little people certainly don’t spend nights lying awake mulling over the next big decision!
What would it take for us to stop for a moment and look at the world through the eyes of a child? To pause and remind ourselves that we have enough for now? So this week, I’m doing my best to avoid racing full steam ahead and trying my hardest to be a little more present. It’s a really, tough work in progress, believe me! And maybe, just maybe, if I can relax and let be, that new house will be waiting just around the corner…
“Through the eyes of a child, nothing is impossible.”