As I write this, the last of my summer blog posts, we are already three-quarters of the way through September. I’m really not quite sure how that happened. For a start, the weather has been absolutely lovely over the last few weeks (with the occasional exception of the odd rainy day or chilly morning) and so it feels like summer has stretched on a bit longer than usual even though the girls are back at school and people are already turning their thoughts to Halloween and Christmas.
Secondly, I’m really behind on my blogging – I have posts in my drafts folder that I *should* have posted a month ago. I decided to let go of the word ‘should’ a long time ago and give myself grace that I’ll write stuff when I need to. After all, this is my space to document our story, so I figure it doesn’t really matter when it gets posted as long as I get round to it eventually.
The photos in this post were taken in a different season but the feelings they evoke in me are eternal. The majority of the day trips and visits we do are all together as a family – the husband and I plus the three (or four if we have Sophie) girls. But occasionally I decide to take them out for an adventure on my own and it’s one of my favourite things to do.
I have to summon up my courage to do it. Not because of being solely responsible for three wilful, feisty and determined girls who tend to scatter in three different directions every time they get some free space to do so. That doesn’t faze me in the slightest. It’s having to drive somewhere more than about 20 minutes away that scares me.
When Lola was four months old I was driving to visit my in-laws – it’s about a 45-minute journey including a short section on the motorway – not normally a problem for me at all. All three girls were in the back of the car, I had Classic FM on the radio and my window was down. I felt absolutely fine. And then suddenly I wasn’t. I fell asleep for a fraction of a millisecond, lost control, crossed two lanes of traffic, woke up just before I hit the central reservation and then went spinning back across the oncoming cars to hit the barrier on the hard shoulder. It was over so quickly in a matter of minutes but the memory of it, the thoughts of what could have happened and the immense guilt still haunt me to this day.
Thankfully the girls were physically fine – terrified, but fine. I suffered whiplash, shock and a broken rib (my airbag didn’t go off despite the impact) that still bothers me occasionally as it didn’t heal properly – a permanent reminder – but nothing more serious than that on the outside. The damage for me was in my mind. I got myself some excellent therapy for the trauma, managed to get back behind the wheel after a couple of months and have been driving safely ever since.
Except I’m terrified I might do it again. The sleepless nights with a newborn baby may have stopped but the permanent exhaustion of mothering and working and running a home and being all things to all people still takes it’s toll. I know I’m tired, despite doing my best to get at least six hours of sleep a night. And I worry that if I drive for too long I might cause another accident and this time it might be much worse.
So taking the girls out on my own presents a different kind of challenge and it’s one that I’m determined to overcome. When I actually do it, and go somewhere a little further from home, I feel really proud and it gives me that little bit more confidence that maybe I’ll be ok. I know it sounds daft but when I look at these photos (taken on one of our last summer daytrips to Trentham Gardens to see the gorgeous wildflower meadows) I’m reminded of that, as well as how much fun we had together that day (even though there were moans about tired legs when I made them walk all the way around the lake!), and how much I love the little adventures we have together.
Please note that nobody has asked (or paid!) me to write this post. All images, thoughts, feelings, opinions and ideas are my own. We love Trentham Gardens – it’s one of our favourite places to go – and I just wanted to share it with all of you so you can enjoy it too 🙂