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It feels like a full time job just to deal with the Sheer Quantities And Breadth of Life stuff at the moment.
Maybe it feels like that for you as well?
It’s Spring here in the Southern Hemisphere, and with it comes Fragile Season. The season I both look forward to and wince at the thought of. This season, the ducks will be followed by a swarm of impossibly small ducklings. But I know each time I see them, there may be one duckling less, and that breaks my heart in anticipation.
And then the plovers, don’t even get me started on the plovers. This season, they will play the part of the deeply committed couple who choose to gestate and give birth in some of the most ridiculously dangerous places. There are nesting couples on the edge of the motorway. A nesting couple now on the pathway near our house, attacking every passerby with trilling abandon. They may have shit location choice, but the two of them will FUCK.UP. any danger nearing their baby in their dirt nest. I can barely cope at the vulnerability of it all, and whether all these ducklings and baby plovers will find safe passage to adulthood.
My kids are 13 and 9 now. And they don’t need me as physically anymore. But they still need me fiercely to be the emotional hub of our family wheel. As they get older, it gets trickier to know the right thing to do or say. I’m still trying to see who they really are instead of who I think they are. All I know for sure is: they are exquisite and lovely and lovable, exactly as they are.
I’m writing you this horizontally. I’ve been in a back pain flare up for 5 days and it hurts to be vertical. I feel both relieved to spend time in my very favourite place (bed) and also frustrated because there’s so much I want to see and do and create… but I’m limited by what my body can manage. This too is the exact right thing that’s needed.
There’s been a spate of loss and grief here too. Our much loved family doctor passed away suddenly. One of my favourite teachers who was brave and bold and brilliant, and was my penpal for many years. A beloved friend’s dog who my children were obsessed by. It’s not just our own shock and grief we feel, it’s the communal grief. Of all the others who loved and lost these souls too. There is a gaping hole in my chest where star dust is dancing.
… and now we are back, 90 minutes later. I stopped writing this to play Big Spoon to one kid who was having hard feelings and needed empathy and hugs. And after putting her to bed, it was on to the other kid who was also having hard feelings, but did not want my hugs. I’m not sure if she cared for my empathy either, but I gave it anyway, ever hopeful.
Here I am, turning up, doing the best I can. Getting to bed too late. I’ll lie awake and smell the star jasmine blooming in our neighbour’s garden, and listen to the plovers raucously protect their nest through the night. Me and that plover, we’re just the same after all.
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