Such has been the flurry of birthday and mothering celebrations that blogging has been a bit neglected. Waste week paled in comparison and it’s hard to remember much more than the many renditions of ‘Happy Birthday’ and a lot of small children. But here are a couple of highights:
1. The Car-free day shopping trip.
My last post was written just before we headed out en famille to walk to Asda. We didn’t get off to a great start when Elijah’s scooter broke within 15ft of the house, but we still made it up the dual carriageway and did a supermarket sweep version of the weekly shop. We got some very funny looks on the way home. Every nook and cranny of the double buggy had been stuffed with unbagged groceries. Elijah had spaghetti behind his shoulder, juice under his knees and Juju was surrounded by cereal boxes and apples. A bag of Mini Eggs kept morale up on the way home and we were congratulating ourselves on a fun, successful outing until a whiff of something nasty reminded me of the purpose of the trip and what we had forgotten. Nappies.
2. Laundry. I admit I used this as an excuse to do no laundry for a week but finally crumbled when there were too many pee-soaked items to be conscionable. I did a couple of dryer-free loads but then cracked and switched it on.
Back when we lived in Vancouver, I had a fair bit of counselling from a wonderful Northern Irish psychologist. She had been around Regent College Mums long enough to know both how idealistic and how hard on ourselves some of us could be. One day, she looked me in the eye and said, ‘Debbie, some days you just need to say, ‘Let the Planet Die”. This was not the party line, especially coming from a Faculty Member’s wife. But actually, this has been one of her little gems that I need to hold on to from time to time. Because she knew me well enough to see both my good-hearted intentions and also my legalism, perfectionism and self-criticism (that’s a lot of ism’s). She knew that I can use anything good to beat myself over the head with and make myself feel bad about. It’s really important to take creation care seriously and do whatever we can, but sometimes when it all gets too much and we feel a bit overwhelmed it’s ok to cut ourselves some freaking slack and turn the bloody tumble dryer on. Mental Health is a fragile and beautiful thing.
3. No Impact Man
A little documentary-movie about a family in Manhattan who decide to decrease their impact on the environment to zero over the course of the year. Including no toilet-roll, no fossil fuels of any kind and no chemicals. The Dad, whose idea the whole thing is, is likeable and genuine, while his wife is a little more reluctant and also a little irritating. It’s not as life-changing as ‘Food Inc’, but interesting to see someone do a 7-esque project for a year in the middle of one of the most consumptive places on the planet.
4. The Birthday Bag.
We had 3 birthdays in the house this week. That’s a lot of wrapping paper. So, having had a cup of tea and recovered from my ‘let the planet die’ meltdown earlier in the day, I got out my sewing machine and spent a very pleasant hour creating a Birthday Bag. It’s really just a large drawstring sack which all the birthday person’s gifts go into, minus the wrapping paper (and many hours of wrapping). The kids enjoyed closing their eyes and sticking their hand into the bag to pick out a present at a time, and all the birthday people agreed it would now be A Mullan Family Tradition.
I’m sure we could have done more this week, to get into the spirit of it, but maybe 7 is also trying to teach me that perfection is not the goal, nor is even trying to get it ‘right’. It’s about being willing to go on a journey and some weeks we’ll be able to dive into that and others we might just dip our toe in. And that’s ok.