Home Renovation – A Blog About Our First Home

home renovation living room

Moving into our new home in London has been so incredibly different to the experience we had with our first home in New Zealand. As well as now moving with two children in tow, the house we have bought this time round is completely different to our first home. The biggest contrast is that we need to do very little to it – in fact this was one of the main things that attracted us to it. By contrast, our first home was a complete ‘fixer-upper’.

I’ll save the few little house projects we do plan to undertake in our new London home for another post. But tonight just thinking about the differences between our first two homes has made me want to write about them. And so, this isn’t a post about looking forward to our plans. It’s a post about looking back on our first home, our old home that is now someone else’s. And it’s about the lessons we learnt in that renovation project.

new house bathroom home renovation

This little picture of me in our new bathroom in London is what made me realise just how different the two houses are. I felt compelled to take this as I wandered around our new house the first day it was ours, taking it all in. Why? Because I couldn’t believe how sparkly the tiles were, how bright and functional everything was, and how shiny and clean everything looked and felt.

old bathroom

It was so different from the first day in our house on Daniell Street in New Zealand. On that day we’d just opened the Veuve when Tony took a sledgehammer to our bathroom floor to see how rotten the floorboards were.

home renovation bathroom floor

Tony and his wonderful old friend Anton ended up ripping out all the floor, adding some new piles in, regibbing the walls and then putting in a new bathroom suite. We paid for a plumber but other than than – they did it themselves. For a week we were bathroom-less. I cycled to the gym as soon as I got up each morning just to have a shower before work. At night we snuck into the hospital at the end of the road to use the bathroom.

We had bought a house with a horrid bathroom that tenants hadn’t looked after. We had known it was going to be first on our list of things to do. And while we smarted at the cost of the plumber, we bought the other suite in the sale and managed to keep costs low. We were so happy in the end with our little narrow bathroom where the shower didn’t leak, the floor didn’t squelch and the strange partition was gone forever.

new bathroom home renovation

A coupe of months later we tackled our next big project – the kitchen. It had been so dirty that I’d not been able to bring myself to use the oven those first few months. We began by ripping out all the units – Tony salvaged what he could for his shed, and the rest was dumped or sold. We found that part of the floor was concrete under the lino (the rest was beautiful ancient matai hardwood). We sourced some reclaimeed matai and eventually had the floor polished and that little corner told a story. Beneath it was a load of bricks which Tony later used to build a little wall for our feet at the breakfast bar.ome renovation kitchen floor

With Anton, again, and his sister, Tony again rewired, repiled, regibbed, repainted – and basically did everything to get the space ready for our new kitchen. We splashed out on granite – Tony’s decision – and we loved our little blackboard wall we painted at the end of the room.home renovation new kitchen

Thank goodness we embarked on this project in summer. I got bored of takeaways and washing tea cups in the bathroom sink – but at least it was warm outside and we could break up the sandwiches and takeaways with barbecues!home renovation new kitchen project

Once it was done, our kitchen was a joy. Milin would sit in his high chair at the breakfast bar and watch birds fly from their nests in our garden. We looked out on to a karaka tree, stepped out of the French doors on the deck, sat at a breakfast bar handpainted with Tony’s art and used the blackboard every day. A bell on the wall had been made at Tony’s grandfather’s foundry, our beautiful mango wood table was a wedding gift and became the place around which we spent many an evening with friends.home renovation new kitchen open plan

home renovation living room

We spent a year painting walls, sanding frames, building things, fixing things, getting quotes, replacing glass, redoing guttering… it really was never ending. After we’d cleaned up the big front bedrooms, Tony built wooden wardrobes in the spare bedroom and a bedroom and shelving units in our room.

home renovation painting

home renovation bedroom

Again, everything was done on a budget (Tony carried the headboard he found second hand, online, home on the bus; the wood for the shelving, cupboards and drawers was quite cheap ply he stained himself…) – but in the end of it all, we were proud of our home.

This experience so far with our new home in London is so different. We are still looking forward to making it our own, but we are grateful not to be embarking on such a major renovation. With two little people around – it would just be too hard. We also know now how costs spiral… this time round, there’s no money for that!

I didn’t particularly enjoy DIY or renovating either – the bits I enjoyed were the smaller scale things which still made an impact. This time, we’re doing very little. We’ve got a list of nice-to-haves – and, in fact, we’re starting on one of them in a few days time… Overall though, our projects will be smaller. For now at least!

 

 

Let's Talk Mommy

A New House to Call a Home

new house living room fireplace

We had given up all hope of the house we fell in love with becoming ours. Then last week the solicitor rang. I didn’t answer the phone. I didn’t want to hear it. She rang three times.

So I called her back and she said “Everyone is ready to exchange today. Shall we do it?”

And so last Tuesday we exchanged. And then on Friday we completed.

After not believing it would happen, it actually all happened rather fast.

We’d seen the house seven months before. We’d put an offer in immediately.

As soon as I walked in, I knew it had to be our home. I hadn’t got any further than the entrance hall. Tony later told me he looked at my face right there and knew the same.

But for seven months we felt like it was slipping away from us. Our lives became more complicated, those involved in our chain experienced their own personal dramas. It felt like we would never all be ready at the same time, within the time frames our multinational bank had determined for us.

Then something changed. Suddenly, without us daring to believe it, the shattered fragments of a broken London property deal began to pull towards each other to make a whole. And they did, on Friday.

new house red door

“Congratulations” the solicitor said down the phone. “You can pick up the keys.”

And so we took the children in the car to our new home.

new house unpacking boxes

It is the first place that we will call ours as a family of four. It is within these walls that our babies will grow, that they will one day be able to reach the door handles, and that we will etch marks into the wood to measure them as they get taller. It is under this roof that they will put on their first school uniforms, that they will blow out their birthday candles, that we will stick their drawings to the wall. It is here that they will wake in the night from dreams that haunt them, but find comfort in the arms of their mother. It is here that they will spend rainy afternoons, it is in this garden that their sunflowers will bloom and my lillies will return every year. It is here that we will come to find each other after the worst days and seek out each other after the best ones too. It is here that we will laugh as well as cry and where we will smile as well as worry and despair.

New house living room

It is here that we will grow.

This little house, far away from many people we love, but close to others we love too, it is ours.

We will make it our home.

So What is Periscope? (And Other Worries)

When I downloaded the new live streaming video app Periscope onto my iPhone’s homepage, I told myself it was for research purposes only. But I can already feel myself getting drawn in. This makes me a little nervous. Not because it’s potentially another infinite vortex in which my spare time will be sucked into and lost forever. No. There’s another reason. And it involves my children.

Periscope is the new kid on the increasingly crowded block of social media platforms. But while it is only a few months old, it has heavy-weight backing. Twitter reportedly about paid $100 million for it in March.

The app is quick and easy to download. Of course it is. Cheap thrills you might regret later usually have their origins somewhere you don’t have to think too hard to get to.

And so it is with Periscope. For zero pounds and pence, you install the app on your phone, choose who to follow from your Twitter contacts, and start live-streaming whatever you want. People who choose to follow you can tune in, they can interact via the screen – leaving comments or signs of approval – or otherwise.

It’s easy, today, to be dismissive. Remember Bebo? MySpace? They didn’t really go anywhere did they? They didn’t mess up our lives either, did they? Who’s to say Periscope won’t be another short-lived fad?

Maybe it won’t catch on. It still makes me nervous while it’s here though.

Periscope - what is it?

 Image: Periscope, Shutterstock.

As a digital marketer, I can’t afford to ignore Periscope. It will become a platform businesses throw money at to engage with young audiences and build communities. Brands will seek to use it to reach new markets. In doing so, they will grow it.

As individuals, we too will be a part of that growth. And so, will our children too?

My children have the digital footprints of giants. They have, since the days of their birth, been written about on print and digital platforms belonging to multinational media organisations. And in the months since I have stopped working as a journalist, I have continued to blog. Their lives are shared online. I’ve thought about this in depth. I made a decision years ago that it would be this way. I was happy with my choice. I believed I would act responsibly with their interests always first. I was building our memories, recording them for us to relive together one day.

Things are changing though.

When I started out in newspapers (a long time ago), this is what we used to say: “Never write a word you wouldn’t want to see read from the front page of the paper at your funeral.” I lived by it. When my children were born, I continued to live by it.

Periscope shifts things a little.

In the days I’ve been using it, I’ve seen harsh judgements and cruel words piled on strangers by strangers. I’ve shown it to my husband, briefly, who said it “felt dirty”. A friend also said it was “creepy”.

Periscope live streams aren’t stored after 24-hours of broadcast. Yet there is something undeniably creepy about watching the lives of strangers. What will they show us? Do we want to see? What do we want to show them? Why?

Periscope has catapulted voyeurism up a gear. While I feel comfortable sharing videos of days out with my children on YouTube, I don’t have the same contentment of mind for the new app.

I don’t want to let the lurkers in.

I am struggling, as you can tell, to see beyond Periscope as a marketing platform for brands seeking cheap new media outreach. I see its value to news outlets – the live cross has never had such an ‘on the ground’ element to it. But I don’t know enough about the legal framework it operates in, or its terms of use. I don’t understand the implications for live-streams of people, say, who don’t know they are being included in a broadcast.

Every moment of our lives is readily shareable. Without the verbal consent of our children, we have let the world in to their lives. What will the consequences be of doing it with Periscope?

 

The little black jumpsuit that could…

After spending about a month dreaming about a black jumpsuit from Zara, I decided it was time to add it to my wardrobe last week. Although I’d already been eyeing it up from afar, I’d also been finding plenty of excuses not to buy it. I was too old, it would be annoying to get out of when I needed the toilet, I was too short. My list of excuses went on.

Until last week, when I saw it on the hanger, tried it on, and decided relatively quickly that actually, I loved it.

Black Zara  Jumpsuit with gold belt and vintage statement necklace from Joules

I wore it on Friday for the first time (to the Britmums Live 2015 conference), and realised I’d been a bit silly worrying about it for so long. I’m in my 30s, I’m not too old to wear what is essentially a vest and trousers. I have no idea why I’d been so daft.

Wearing this lovely little black crepe number made me feel pretty confident and happy – which is of course always a win. It reminded me to have a little fun with my clothes again, no matter how happy or sad I am with my body when I wake up in the morning.

It’s usually dresses which cheer me up, but this weekend, it was the jumpsuit that did it. Yes, it was a bit of a faff going to the toilet (especially at the end of the night, but that may have been the gin…) but I also felt a lot more glam than I usually do in trousers. I love being in all black, and teamed with wedge sandals, a little gold leather belt, and a vintage-style Joules necklace – my outfit was all about the things I like style-wise as well as having a bit of a different edge to it. Wearing black with bold accessories will always be one of my favourite looks, yet the jumpsuit definitely gave it a refresh.

In my mind, this has become the little black jumpsuit that could…

It reminded me to have fun with my clothes again, to dress up when I feel like it, and to enjoy wearing what I want. It’s amazing what a simple little outfit can do!
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Style Me Sunday

The Truth Behind My Working Mum Photo

Tony grabbed a quick snap of me the other morning before I’d had a chance to do my usual pre-photo prep. (Make-up, tidy up, mirror check, etc.) When I looked at the screen, I didn’t particularly like what I saw, but I couldn’t resist posting it on Instagram. He’d captured the essence of just another Friday morning perfectly.

Working mum on laptop with child sleeping

When Tony first showed me this I saw the mess on my bedside table first. The Calpol syringe that has never been used but is gathering dust. The hand cream that I need to put back in my handbag. The nail varnish I’ve been meaning to apply for weeks. The contact lenses box that is meant to remind me to make an optician’s appointment. Milin’s flannel which needs to go in the bathroom cupboard. The TV remote so I can distract the kids with CBeebies while I’m getting ready.

Then I saw Jasmin, fast asleep and beautiful, but so clingy that she won’t settle unless she is in her mother’s arms. The night before this photo was taken, she’d fallen asleep in my lap at 8.30pm, after an hour of me trying to put her to bed. She’d woken at 11.45pm and needed resettling. Then she’d woken at 4.45am and I, after five hours sleep, got up to soothe her. She went back to sleep for half an hour before waking again. I didn’t. At about 6.00am (I think) when this was taken, she’d fallen back to sleep on my lap, in my bed. Moving her would wake her. (It had been a pretty standard night, although often she spends most of it in our bed because it’s the only way she will sleep.)

And then I saw me. Slouched up in bed, afraid to move too much in case I woke Jasmin. I saw bags beneath my eyes, the remnants of last night’s make-up, the unbrushed hair, the slightly stressed smile because I knew the kids would wake soon and I hadn’t done all I’d intended. I saw the old cardigan over my pyjamas, the macbook on which I was tying to do an hour’s writing before having to get ready for work, I saw exhaustion.

But, I also saw that this was life. And so, I put a filter over it and posted it online. I might like to make sure I look presentable in photos, I might like to try and leave the clutter out of the shot – but I’ve always believed in sharing the reality of life. When it really doesn’t look pretty, it gets a filter put over it, but it doesn’t get hidden completely.

Over the next few hours though, my view of this little snap changed. As people responded to it, I began to see the bits I’d missed the first time.

I saw a mother and her child at home, not long after dawn, while the world was quiet and still. I saw a working mother who was lucky enough to have a few hours with her baby before the day really began. I saw a beautiful baby who needed her mother, and who was at peace by her side. I saw a snippet of our lives. It wasn’t glamorous or tidy. I hadn’t put on lipgloss, pulled in my tummy or checked my teeth. I wasn’t showing off new shoes or some fancy baking. I was just slowly starting the day.

Looking at that photo now, I’m so glad Tony took it and I posted it online. It’s made me realise that these snaps, without the stylised props and perfect smiles, these are the photos I want to keep. The photos I grab on my phone are for me and my family. They’re for me to look back and remember. And it is these little moments that don’t necessarily look pretty or mean much – it is these that I’ll hold in my heart. When I look back at what the mornings were like, this is the kind of picture I’ll have in my mind. Yes there’ll be tiredness and frazzled smiles, but there will also be memories of the simple but precious moments that make up the every day.

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And then the fun began...

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Father’s Day Ideas – and a Giveaway!

I love events like Father’s Day because I think they give you an excuse to really let someone know how much they’re appreciated. Yes, we probably should do more of this kind of thing every day, but we’re often too busy or distracted. Having a day on the calendar where we’re reminded to tell someone how much you love them or are grateful for them is a good thing in my view

We’ll be spoiling Tony and my own dad this Father’s Day with a few presents, tea and breakfast in bed, a lie-in, and probably a lunch out as a family. For gifts, I think keeping it simple is best – something like golf lessons or a new book are perfect for my dad, while Tony usually gets a new shirt from the children.

This year’s he’s already got his Father’s Day outfit ready – and I’m sharing it because I think this shirt would make a lovely gift for any Dad.

Father and daughter picking daisies

It’s the New & Lingwood Windsor Butterfly Print Shirt from House of Fraser and I love it on him. He wasn’t sure at first, but after wearing it for half a day decided it was fun to wear a bold print. The kids love that he has butterflies on too and the cotton is so beautifully stitched that Tony’s been persuaded also by how nice it feels to wear it.

house of fraser mens shirt While this shirt would be my top pick for a Father’s Day gift there’s a few other things I think are certain winners. I recently bought a friend some goodies from the Liz Earle men’s range. I love the women’s products, but apparently the men’s are lovely too! I think you can’t go wrong with tea too, and we recently reviewed some delicious tea from British Tea Lovers so that’s inn my gift ideas list too. I’ve also included the Father’s Day bundle from House of Fraser, ‘consisting of three Gant ties and a 3 pack of Original Penguin socks.

father's day gift list

I’m giving away one Father’s Day bundle consisting of the following:

Original Penguin 3 Pack – size 7-11 (41-46), black, grey and navy, Gant Verdant Green Tie – size 1 (regular size), Gant Night Shade Tie (the blue one) – size 1 (regular), Gant Madras Tie (the red one) – size 1 (regular)

Just enter by Rafflecopter below, the winner will be announced on Father’s Day! Good luck x
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tony received this shirt from House of Fraser for this review. Competition terms and conditions here.

#DistractinglySexy – An Inspiring Response

There’s been so much handwringing and head-shaking about chauvinism in science recently that the #distractinglysexy movement is a refreshing change. If you haven’t taken a look yet, search for the hashtag on Twitter. I promise it will brighten up your day and make you smile. (It might even make you cry, us women are prone to that after all…)

Female scientists have started using the hashtag (prompted by the Vagenda team) in response to the ridiculous comments made by Nobel Prize winner Tim Hunt earlier this week.

The Nobel Laureate has resigned from his position at University College London after telling a conference of science journalists about the “trouble with girls”.

“Three things happen when they are in the lab,” he said, “you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry.”

His words were astounding. A casual joke reflecting the ingrained chauvinism that still exists in the lab, they point to a sexism that is inherent. Spoken in front of a room full of journalists, they were more than a very bad idea too.

What the #distractinglysexy campaign has done though is use Tim Hunt’s words as a powerful springboard. They have been, through a steady and growing stream of responses, shown to be ridiculous, outdated and simply laughable.

Searching for the hashtag on Twitter brings up thousands of comments and photos female scientists have posted to turn the phrase on its head.

As far as backlashes go, #distractinglysexy is perfect. Search the twitter hashtag and you’ll see why. In addition to a fantastically witty selection of photos and comments, many women have commented that the stream has inspired their daughters into believing that female scientists are a group to be admired. They’re clever, funny, showing men up for being more than a little bit silly – what’s not to love?

This week, Italian Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti was in space for more than 6 months, setting a record for a woman in space. She landed in Kazakhstan a celebrity, having amassed a huge following while in space. Videos showing what it was like to cook in space, as well as exercise and get a haircut. For 200 days, she captured imaginations and let the world in to the life of an astronaut. It didn’t matter that she was a woman, it mattered that she was a scientist capturing the imagination, using the power of social media, and doing it in an incredibly charismatic way.

When Samantha Cristoforetti touched down, she said she hoped to inspire other young women to get into science.

“No dream is too big.”

Those were her words. A simple phrase, but exactly what the #distractinglysexy movement has ultimately shown. Women in science are forging brilliant careers every day, they are a clever and powerful force who are inspiring younger generations through the work that they do. #DistractinglySexy has shown us the power of a clever, well-timed grass-roots response. It will continue to grow and inspire. It has shown us, resoundingly, that “no dream is too big”.

Highgate Wood playground – our new favourite

Highgate wood playground

What makes the perfect playground?

We’ve only just discovered a lovely little one that has been right on our doorstep here in North London for years. Although we’re only a few tube stops from the play area in Highgate Wood, we had – until now – missed it out on our regular playground circuit.

Since we’ve discovered it though, Milin and Jasmin love it, and it’s no surprise that it’s a really popular little spot. In a clearing in Highgate Wood, and only a short walk in from Archway Road and Muswell Hill, the shady playground has a great section for under fives, and an even greater section for the bigger kids. (And kids like ours who would rather play on the big toys, thank you very much.)

Jasmin loves taking the train, so the two of us went on a little outing to the playground on my day off this week while Milin was at nursery. It was the perfect sunny morning – topped off by the fact that we got the bus home. (She loves the bus almost as much as the train.)

Our little adventure made me wonder about what makes the perfect playground…

Highgate Wood Playground seesawOn the way home I realised there might have been a good climbing frame, a good number of swings, a great slide, plenty of climbing equipment, and a pretty impressive sandpit – but this wasn’t the stuff that made our morning.

Highgate Wood Playground slide

The setting, admittedly, is pretty perfect. There’s a cafe in the wood, the bus and tube stops are a few minutes walk away, and the wood provides shade, a beautiful backdrop and another set of adventures waiting to happen.
Highgate wood playground sand pit

 

The playground felt like the perfect place to hang out for me and Jasmin, but that wasn’t just because of the equipment, the setting and the weather. It was the perfect playground and the perfect morning, because we were there together.
Highgate Wood childrens playground

Since working four days a week, I’ve missed the kids so much and getting one on one time with them is so precious. Jasmin and I couldn’t have had a better morning. But that wasn’t because the sand in the sandpit was so soft or there were enough swings for her to have as many turns as she liked. Our morning was perfect because I’m trying to make the most of the times now when I’m not working. I’m making sure I’m really there, making time to play with Jasmin, to really be beside her and with her, and present in the things we choose to embark upon together.

I’m desperate to get a little one-on-one time in with Milin now too and I’d like to work something like this into our weekly routine. It’s harder as he is at nursery every day, but I want to get past easy excuses. It is, of course, wonderful having time together as a family, but I think the kids so love the one-on-one time as much as Tony and I do, and so it’s also really important to make sure we give them that too.

Highgate Wood entrance

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

ordinary moments

You can’t protect your children forever

you can't protect your children forever

It doesn’t matter how much you try to protect your children from things that could hurt them, or make them sad. Life still happens. Reality can’t be denied forever. And so, even your children experience lessons that will make them cry, see things that will make them ache, and become a part of things that will hurt them. It doesn’t matter how much you try to shield them from this thing called life.

A few hours after Milin went to bed last night he cried out in his sleep. Both Tony and I rushed in – not because we are over-protective parents, but because Milin almost without exception sleeps soundly through the night. Last night though, in a mostly-asleep daze, he turned down the corners of his mouth and cried. His sighs were full of sadness, his tears fat and heavy.

He fell back into his deep sleep not long after. The dream, perhaps, was over.

I sat by the side of his bed for a while and watched as his chest rose. I watched as he reached for his favourite bunny in his sleep. I watched as he entered another dream world.

Before me was a little boy whose imagination I had no hold over. It didn’t matter how much I wanted to protect him or keep him safe, the fire-breathing dragons and galloping dinosaurs would still be in his dreams.

It made me a little sad, knowing that Milin would feel fear while alone in his sleep and there was nothing, in those very moments that he did, that I could do. My little boy who is three, would experience them on his own.

Of course, I know this is normal, that we all must grow up. But there’s still a part of me that just wants to hold my children to me while the scariest dreams swirl around them. It’s the same part of me that wants them never to feel grief or heartache or terror. It’s the same part that knows, however, that they must.

Because the rest of me, the more rational part, wants to nurture that young imagination that made my child cry out. It wants to help that creative mind grow and give it freedom to explore. But oh finding that balance between between wrapping them up safely against the world and letting them find their adventures in it is hard. It’s another of the internal struggles that makes me question whether I do, in fact, know anything about how to get motherhood ‘right’.

What I do know though is that I believe their young imaginations are a gift to be nurtured, a gift that will take them far. They are also the start of a journey and the start of their freedom. As they find that path that their creative minds want to take them on, they will venture a little further from me with each step. They will walk further out of their mothers’ arms, the barrier between them and the real world of real life as it is will be gone.

I can’t stretch a safety net beneath their feet forever. Instead, I will feel the pang in my heart as they feel fear or learn about an unkind world. I will break to see them sad. But I will also know joy when they set off on new adventures in a new world. It is theirs to discover.

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Let's Talk Mommy

When children just want to run

“He just wants to run around.” Sound familiar? A woman at the park said this very sentence to me as she watched her not-long-walking son bumble across the playground. She was complaining, stressed, tired out, and very unimpressed with the current state of affairs that meant her child simply wanted to run.

It took me by surprise.

Our conversation had started with pleasantries and small talk. I’d commented that Milin seemed to have so much energy at the moment that I imagined he would be able to run around the playground all day. I meant it in a good way.

But the woman I spoke to saw things from a different angle.

“Stop running, you’re going to fall over”, she called out to her son while we talked.

All he seemed to want to do was run around the playground, she said in frustration, and she was worried he would hurt himself. She was worried he was running too fast and that he hadn’t learnt yet how to really control that speed and momentum.

Listening to her threw me. I just couldn’t see things from her point of view.

I worry about my children constantly. I wake up at night worrying that Jasmin’s teeth are rotting because she doesn’t let me brush them. I spend the pre-dawn hours worried that I’m letting my kids down by not being a good enough mother. I am constantly worrying about how Jasmin will settle in at nursery and whether Milin will ever eat meat or fish or vegetables. I worry that they’re too hot at night, too cold in the day, and that Milin’s chestiness is because I don’t always make him wear a vest.

One thing I’ve never worried about though is that my children want to run too much or too fast or too far.

Milin and Jasmin, much like every other pre-schooler I’ve ever met, love to run. They love kicking off their shoes and feeling the grass beneath their toes as they race each other, themselves, or their imaginations. They love falling down on the ground, breathless, and then getting up and running all over again. They don’t need somewhere to go or something to chase, they just love to run.

I find it hard to see, particularly in an enclosed environment such as a playground, why their running shouldn’t be encouraged. If our children run too fast, they might fall. Yes. But isn’t the odd fall worth being able to run for?

One day, when our children grow up, they will no longer run for the sake of running. They will no longer spontaneously break into a sprint just because the other side of the field is where they must be immediately. They will no longer race their best friend, just because, for nothing in particular. They will no longer laugh from the bottom of their bellies while they run holding hands with their beloved playdate.

They might run, but they will do it in the pursuit of weight loss or fitness gains or fundraising or proving something to someone or themselves. They won’t run because they’re chasing imaginary bears or fleeing mystical dragons.

They won’t have the same self-assuredness ever again. They won’t act ever again without fear and concern for consequences in the way they do now. And yes, they might fall, but they will pick themselves up and brush themselves down, and wipe away their tears quickly – and then start running again.

Our children will play and run and fall and joke and live. I want them to be out of breath, to run until I can’t keep up, to run with the grass between their toes while they race after their dreams.

They might fall, but they will learn that those dreams are still there to be chased when they get up again.

“He just wants to run around.”

I’m glad.

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