Purple stained hands and mouths I think are an essential part of childhood at this time of year. I remember spending absolutely hours in the forest behind our home, with my sisters and giant ice cream tubs and filling them to the brim (mum must have loved it) and now whenever I smell black berries it takes me back to those days of adventure as a kid.
Unfortunately I also have memories that have tarnished this childhood glee of Blackberry picking and that is that it also reminds me of last year, when I was killing time before my due date with my parents. We went on a walk around a local park and lake and it turned into an unexpected blackberry loot (we all loved it)!
Whilst it was a lot of fun and extremely delicious, with the outcome of our pregnancy, it really has been hard these last few days to do the traditional seasonal activities that bring us joy; as the air, smell and everything about what we do, from shopping to church, to a spontaneous blackberry picking trip…all remind me of the anticipation of hopefully some life with our sick baby daughter and then the heartache of the loss of her when it never happened!
I knew I needed to do these things and I knew that I couldn’t let September roll by without taking the kids to get a massive bag of blackberries, purple stained mouths and clothes, and begin their own memories of the end of summer. I knew I had to make new memories for next year and whilst I felt alot of fear, maybe anxiety, I just needed to do it. And so we did it…
We went on Friday, the same day we released a balloon to mark the birthday of “Poppy’s Friend” Ishbel. I never met her, she passed away at 6 months also from Trisomy 18 almost 3 years ago. I only know of her through her wonderful family and to see a picture of her gorgeous face will certainly melt your heart. Her mother has become a great friend to me and has guided me a lot on my journey, and if she is anything like her mother then I know she would be looking out for our little Poppy too and they would be little heavenly buddies…at least the kids agree and thought she would love a princess balloon to play with…with Poppy! (Emotional!).
As I thought of and planned the best place to release the balloon, some woods where I used to go as a child came to mind. They are a little run down ill be honest, but they always seem peaceful too, and I remembered (from a couple of years ago) that they just so happen to have an abundance of blackberries free for the picking. I suggested it to Nathan and he agreed that it would be lovely.
Whilst my heart ached for both my loss and that of another family, I also smiled as the evening sun broke through after such a wet day. We laughed with the and at the kids, and we reminisced of childhood blackberry picking adventures. Both Ethan and Megan were going absolutely nuts at seeing SOOO many blackberries. They screamed, darted from here to there to show us where to pick from next and they ate so many their hearts and tummy’s were full!
SO many things about this time of year hurt – memories and emotions come flooding back as I go through the normal every day motions of parenthood and attempting to create adventure and new joyful memories for us, but I love that as always these moments of Joy and gladness do come. I love that we can remember the pain and anxiety, but also rejoice in the fun here and now and know she’s not too far away.
On good days I feel strong to face my fears of the season and being outdoors altogether is always very special. On good days I create, not just new happy memories for us all, but I make things that build my confidence and remind me what I can offer and do, I find joy again in the small things and remember what I am good at…even for a brief moment or 2!
When did you last face a fear and turn it into a positive experience?