Camping in paradise, part two.

We've been back to this perfect place - and it isn't the last time. The simplicity of living like this is addictive.

And there is nothing cozier than to snuggle up with your kids in a tent after a long day of just being outside, of fishing for crabs and starfish, of playing and climbing, of soaking up the sun and wind, even a dip or two in the sea. I am definitely getting used to this!

Below is a collection of photos from our two trips: (click on the images to see them big)

Camping in paradise.

I took the kids and went to a beautiful place, with sea, trees, pebbles, wind, sun and sand. No cars, no noise except for the waves rolling in on the beach. No clocks, no work, just us, and the outdoors, and a couple of friends. My heart is full, it was so healing and so good for us.

I made a little film:

Reflections in bed.

I can't remember the last time I've felt so ill. I have been struck by a terrible attack of the flu, so I've spent the last five days in bed, going a bit mad at times. My restless nature. It gives me many advantages - it gives me the speed to get things done, but it also brings solid challenges. I am becoming more aware of them. And in a strange kind of way, it felt fitting in all its stressfulness that I should have no other option right now than to just lay there, and wait, and let the illness run its course through my body. I have tons of photos to edit, I had to postpone a job, I don't have time to be sick now - but, still, it felt like it was exactly what I needed. Because I have a lot to think about, I have a whole person to listen to (me), and I haven't done much of that lately, to be honest. 

Before I fell ill, there was this evening, I had put the boys to bed first, and then the girls and I went to bed after them. Two snoring little boys in a bed. The windows were open, the blinds were down, but there were streams of evening sun coming in through the cracks. Birds outside still singing frantically, buzzing of flies, a light draft through the warm room. Me and my four magical children in our huge bed together. Always, together. 

And it is things like these I have thought about when I have been sick this week. How my wealth really only comes in one form: Not by the number of jobs I have, but by love. Only by love.

Pure gold.

This chunky monkey is ten months old today. This time last year I was two days away from throwing in the towel at work, calling in sick for the last two months before he arrived. There were some complications and I feared he might be born early, so I decided to listen to my body signals, slow down, and shift my focus. It was a good decision, but it didn't make the last two months of the pregnancy much easier. When I think back on last summer now, all I see is this super heavy, hot woman (and I mean hot in the sense of actual temperature here!), having contractions with my every move, feeling inadequate as a mother, just staying put and counting the days until my term. It was hard. And yet I knew all along how privileged I was, what a miracle it was, I didn't take any of it for granted. And it's been like that since he came along, this wolf cub. It's been harder than with the others, but the hardships have made the colours of motherhood more vivid this time, they have connected me with corners of my soul I didn't know I had. It's been hard, but it's been a privilege, and now, when things are easy and "normal" (if there is such a thing), this lightness of being gives me such joy. Seeing him thrive, eat, play, laugh, explore, I didn't take these things for granted when he was born and I learned about his condition, so it makes my heart sing, every day. 

And then there's the fact that he is blissfully unaware of all of this, of all my thoughts and worries, that he knows nothing of this noise. He only knows love, this little boy. And because of that, I think, he is the greatest example. Pure love, quite simply. Pure gold.

Wild and free.

First, I want to thank everyone for showering me with love and care and sweet supportive words after the last post in the Zoo Payne-blog. I was in doubt whether it was right to share something so personal, but only minutes after publishing the post, messages of love and open doors started ticking in. I am so moved by that. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It proves to me that it is all worthwhile, this journey of sharing and opening my door a little. That it means something; not just to me (which is definite), but to some people out there, too. That by not being afraid of sharing my soft spots, I am also allowing people in, I am inviting you to see me, and to share with me. Being open is the key, that's where you can silence your fear and stand strong in yourself, by not being afraid to show you. The struggles, the love, the joy, the anxiety, there is room for it all, we are in it together.

Wild and free: The name of this space from now on. It will most likely contain much of the same as it has before - lots of photos and stories from my life. The difference is that by removing the Payne name, I am making it represent only me. This is my voice, my space, my journey to becoming truly wild and free.


Ps: You can still find all the Zoo Payne-posts here, just look up to the menu, and there it is!