In a film I recently watched (Eat, pray, love) Julia Roberts sat in the ancient Augusteum in Italy and reflected – ‘One must always be prepared for riotous and endless waves of transformation.’ The Augusteum was orginally a Mausoleum for Augustus. It fell into ruin and was given many different uses over the centuries; a testimony to endurance and change. The scene and the words struck a chord in me.
This week my husband has been in north Devon, surfing the winter waves with one of his best friends and I suspect, remembering and embracing something of his former self. A sense of self that we share, that first drew us together; as solitude seeking soul mates. Life before kids, when I too would revel in ducking under the waves, screaming with glee down the curves of water, mesmerised by gulls gliding through the dips in the swell, right in front of me.
This week rather than join Pete on snowy beaches with small children to entertain, I decided to stay home and invite my mum and stepdad to give me a holiday at home – which they have: washing up, snow clearing, hoovering, cleaning, tile and wallpaper removal, child entertainers… Their skills are many!
Meanwhile I have paused to reflect how life has transformed. Sometimes, being the mum of two children, one of whom has all the additional challenges of deafness and CHARGE syndrome, and another who is 18 months going on two and keen to make his presence and personality known…. Well, sometimes I find I forget or lose part of myself. The solitude loving, surf craving, ten mile walking, poet reading, sleep loving self.
What I loved about that quote was that reassurance that I am still me. Just like the Augusteum is now an amalgamation of all it has been, my various threads remain. Our walls may look a bit weary and wrinkled, sometimes even bits of us crumble for a while. But the stories grow richer, and I love it when I find myself surprised by the intimacy and connectedness of those who ‘get’ the rubble and the grandeur of this life.
The mug I’ve used for coffee this week says ‘I’d rather be surfing.’ Some days I would, and I’m so glad Pete could. But tonight I am up for the riot. I am ready for the transformative waves that two children evoke on our lives…