I was driving along with Julia next to me in the passenger seat when I had a little introspective epiphany. We had just handed Lara and her over-night bag over to Sander, who was taking her on the second part of her journey to her Oma Marianne's house, where she'll be spending a few nights. The drop-off happened to be at Ikea so, inevitably, hot dogs and ice cream cones were consumed before turning around and heading home to 2 napping boys. Let me take this opportunity to confess to reason #1 why I will never become Parent Of The Year: I sometimes leave the house for short periods of time whilst my boys are napping. Before you shake your head in disapproval allow me to add that a) they each nap a solid 2 hours at the very least starting around noon, b) Elliot is not capable of getting out of his crib should he wake up before I return c) Max is locked into his room where he can make a ricidulous mess (today he took off his poopy diaper and made some smelly floor and door artwork) but will remain safe.
Where was I. Oh yes, driving along with Julia. Traffic was slow and we were inching along with people all around us in their cars looking at life in a way that is a lot like watching TV. Instead of the framework being provided by a screen, it is provided by whichever window of the car you are looking out of. The sun was hot on my left arm, but everytime we moved forward a gush of cold wind cooled it down just enough for me to be able to leave it where it was. It was a moment so mundane, so not special in any way whatsoever, and there was no reason for me to suddenly feel the way I felt. It started when the truck in front of me turned left and the sun it had been blocking suddenly hit my face with incredible intensity, nearly blinding me. The heat I felt on my face coming from that sun was an exact opposite of everything that was happening around me. It was bright, warm and familiar. In that moment a flurry of thoughts, observations, feelings and impressions lead to a single sentence that I have really been needing to hear lately: 'You are not alone'.
The peace I felt only stayed a short while but the effect of it is still with me and as I write this I am in awe of how profound things are revealed in small, simple and still moments. I am in awe of how the sun somehow not only warmed my arm and my face while I was in that car, but how it warmed my heart. It made me realise that I need to add more simple and still moments to my days in order to let the sun in and allow more of those thoughts and feelings into my heart. Without them I won't be able to grow, let alone bloom.
And there you have it, an experience that made me feel like I came back to life a little. How very appropriate for the season. I added some pictures I was able to make in oma Marianne's backyard with my brother-in-law's fancy SLR camera, while we were all together for Easter. I'll do a proper Easter post soon with pictures of the kids etc... I have an especially juicy one of Elliot drooling like it's the last thing he'll ever do.
... and out the Koots went to their favourite sunny hang-out: Strand 10. Much sand was consumed, tans were acquired, extremeties were numbed (the North Sea is still freeeezing cold), but mostly a lot of fun was had. Only downside: all the people who bring their dogs and let them run around so they scare my children, try to steal my food, and poop on the beach where my children are playing. If you cannot control your dog, keep it on a leash!!
To top this beautiful day off the girls had their friend Naomi spend the night. I remember being that age, and having friends sleep over, and how long we would stay up talking and giggling. I remember my parents having to come in once or twice to tell us to go to sleep, so I knew to keep my expectations low about them going to bed on time and getting a full night's sleep. That said, when they were still performing circus acts at 11pm, I had to play my trump card and threatened to take Naomi home. Naomi smiled at me, but Lara and Julia grew instantly serious knowing that I do not make empty threats.They finally went to sleep.
On a more serious note: The sun might be out in the sky but I haven't been feeling very sunny. I'm starting to think I go through some kind of chemical/hormonal thing about 9 months after I have a baby that causes feelings of depression. Only took me 4 kids to figure it out, I'm so smert. Anyway the reason I mention it is a) because I want your sympathies and hugs and b) because I want to apologise in advance if I seem recluse (I tend to hide when I feel like this) or don't do a very good job being a friend/wife/mother/human being. It honestly takes so much out of me simply to keep the house running, and the kids unaware of what I'm going through, that I have little to no energy left for anything else. So I'm sorry, but bear with me and I'll be my 'sunny self' again soon enough.
Sander took me to see the enchanting Eefje de Visser in concert last night at the Rotterdam venue RoTown. I think I've mentioned my crush on this girl before. Seeing her live has only confirmed what I was secretly already certain of: the lady has serious talent. One of those artists that, after hearing them play live, you kind of never want to put on their record again because it just isn't as nice as the real thing.
It was also a rare night out for Sander and I and we may have been so filled with glee to be able to leave the kids with sitters that we forgot to let them know Elliot still needed milk before bed. The amazing Loek and Emily deserve an honourable mention for getting him (and the other three) to bed!
Rotterdam is quite a lovely city. We got there a bit early and walked around and I saw all sorts of interesting stuff. Then I ate an ice cream.
Turning 30 is like
only more difficult to pronounce
if you're a non-
Only 71 more days until my birthday dudes and lady-dudes! Now, I know you've all been making notes and thinking about what to get me since June 26th of last year because that's how giddy you get at the thought of buying me the perfect present.... buuuuut
Just in case you're still wondering (hahahaha, I know, silly. But really, just in case you know, you had an accident this year and have been in a coma for months and months and have been eating apple sauce intraveinously and only just awoke and your first thought was HOLY CRAP ONLY 71 DAYS LEFT!! You know.) I have compiled a list of things that I desperately want to know what they look like wrapped up. :
::To the person who will now send me pictures of the following items in wrapping paper: Har har:::
1. A blank, good quality note-/sketchbook. (Moleskine is always good)
2. Drawing Pencils
3. Bill Murray
4. A Holga. It doesn't have to be red. Green or blue or purple or yellow would do nicely as well. Any colour, really, as long as it's a Holga.
5. Film for a Holga.
6. Pretty yarn
7. An Alphonse Mucha print for on my wall
8. Guitar Strings
Did you get all that, or was I going too fast for you? No? Got it? Good. You're welcome.
I know turning 30 is supposed to be a big deal and all but meh. I'm a lucky girl, you know? I don't care about aging and losing my devilish good looks, I don't mind that I can't pull all-nighters anymore without feeling hung-over for a week. I could care less about the grey hairs and the only reason I might dye my hair at some point or another is because I've always wanted to be a fiery red-head like this chick:
But then I'd also want her freckles so yeah, I might just never happen.
Anyway, expect some more posts about the fact that my twenties are nearly over because I might just feel like reflecting a bit. They were, as the twenties often are, pretty tumultuous.
It goes against all that is right to spend a Saturday at school, but we make an exception for the annual school bazaar. I read there would be pancakes, unicycles, face painting, live music, a vintage market and a gnome forrest. Really, they had me at 'pancakes'.
In Lara's classroom some of the parents donated handmade items to be sold to financially aid the school. Naturally I donated some of my knitting/crocheting. Not exactly sure how much of it was sold because we had to leave a bit early, but I just found out we made nearly 120 Euro's. I know that's not a lot in the scheme of things, but I'm still a little bit proud. I donated the two little purses on the bottom, the two grey knit baby hats, and the white shawl.
That was the bazaar part of this post. Things started getting bizarre when we got in the car to go home and heard a news anchor on the radio talk about a shooting at a mall in Alphen a/d Rijn. A 25-year-old man with an automatic weapon killed 6 people, wounded many, many more, and then shot himself. Alphen a/d Rijn is a mere 10km away from here, and I remember staying in one of the appartments that overlooks that mall. This man had permits for all of the weapons he owned. I just don't know what to say. My heart aches for everyone who has suffered loss because of this useless act of violence. As I am typing this I hear an ambulance driving past somewhere closeby. The sound of the siren fades and Sander tells me that a Dutch person has tweeted that he is going to one-up today's shooter's number of kills.
I won't be watching the news for a while, I fear the bizarre.
Today has two themes. One is that I seem to be constantly late, and the other is I am finding unexpected treasure all over the place. Example number 1:
I merely glance into a second hand bookshop while walking over to the supermarket, and my eye is caught by 3 books lined up in the window. One by my favourite author that I haven't read yet, another by someone I've read before and found very interesting (judaism fascinates me to no end), and a third by a writer I have recently been turned onto and have been wanting to get my hands on so I can bring him up to the roof with me and read in the sunshine. Total price paid? Seven euro's. Score.
Example number 2:
Maybe not so much of a treasure, but definitely some unexpected window decorating going on around here..
Treasure number 4 arrived by mail a few days ago:
My not-so-little brother Mike sent me the best early Birthday present ever: a condenser mic! I'm so excited to finally have some decent equipment to get recording with, I really want to get more into music and work out a bunch of ideas that I have, and this is going to be such a great help for that. Thank you Mike, you're the best!
And last but not least:
Finding out your daughter can clip her own toe nails is something a mother treasures. That's another job off my to-do list.