It’s good to have plan I always think. A loose one at least, that you have the freedom to migrate from. Especially where creative things are concerned, I normally have a visual idea about how I would like something to look and also feel.
I have learnt along the way though, that with most things, it is best to be open and go with the flow. If you are too rigid in your idea, and not willing to adapt, you are not leaving any space for inspiration to move you.
Here, I think that creativity and motherhood have some things in common. Both can often add an unexpected twist to the mix, things don’t always pan out like you think they will, and you have to learn to roll with it. Some plans and ideas turn out to be a bit of a disappointment, and sometimes things can surprise you and be more wonderful than you could have ever imagined.
The Easter holiday was a little lesson in this for me…
Just before Easter I spent a whole week boiling various things on the stove to make my own natural dyes; red cabbage, beetroot, coffee, turmeric, red onion skins, blueberry… it made for a very interesting smelling house.
I wanted to make some natural dyes to dye some hard boiled eggs for a hunt for Bailey. Loosely what was involved was placing the hard boiled eggs into jars of dye mixture with some vinegar (to fix the colour), and leaving them in the fridge for the colour to set. Originally I was planning on leaving them overnight, but some eggs ended up being in there for three days.
When they finally came out of the mixture, the eggs didn’t look like I had imagined, the colours weren’t as strong, and the effect was quite mottled. I am sure with more practice, (and less checking and prodding by me), and by understanding the process better, we’d be able to get more consistent colours. However the longer I looked at the eggs, the more I noticed that they had these amazing patterns on them, and even though they didn’t look like I had expected, they were really beautiful in their own way.
I am always trying to manage Bailey’s expectations of things as a parent, but sometimes I still need to manage my own. On Easter Sunday, we had planed to take Bailey on her first Easter egg hunt. I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted the day to be like; we would take her off into the woods with a basket to find her eggs, and she would have a wonderful time foraging amongst the trees for the eggs we had dyed together.
When I get so set on how something should be, especially where Bailey is concerned, a little red flag goes up, as I am aware that children don’t always react or respond the way you think / hope they will do. I try to remember to be flexible for things to shift in a different direction to where I had imagined they would be.
We woke up to very stormy skies, and the day was awash with showers. By lunchtime I had come to terms with the fact that this year the hunt may have to be an indoor one. We thought we’d bide our time a little longer in case the day got brighter.
About 4 o’clock, with only a couple of daylight hours left, we got the most beautiful sunshine. We quickly tumbled into the car with the basket and eggs in hand to find our favourite bit of woodland. Bailey was so excited, and couldn’t wait to get searching for the eggs.
As we entered the deepest part of the wood, there was a flurry of movement as five deer ran past us to seek shelter under some other trees. We often visit these woods, but have never seen deer before.
She had such fun carrying her basket and finding the eggs, that as soon as we had finished, she wanted to hide them again so I could have a turn. The sweetest calls of “warmer warmer, colder colder” came along with the bird song, as she helped direct me to find the eggs.
It was truly a magical hour and more wonderful than I could have hoped for. As a family we created a memory I will cherish for years.
Easter Sunday was a great reminder that even though somethings turn out to be a disappointment and not like we expect, we should still keep dreaming about how we want things to be, because every now and again life will surprise you, and your day will be more full of joy than you could have ever imagined.