The Perfect Family Part IX
Summer holidays here in Sweden are winding down to a halt now. Teachers are back in school and students are following close behind, their shadows looming like a dark mist, meaning an end to the wondrous freedoms of roaming in the countryside with absolutely nothing to do except enjoy the company of family and snap away like a lunatic, attempting desperately to document the special times we share together.
One thing has become apparent to me over the course of the last 8 weeks... a fact which I had considered previously but never truly appreciated the value of. I'm referring of course to the immense value of extended family. On several occasions through these past weeks, the pressure of being a parent and the requirement to be a pillar of patience and reliance was relieved by some of the other special people in my children's lives. Auntie Johanna, uncle Jonas, grandparents and friends, my gosh what joy they bring to my kids and what a relief it is to me when I can take time to myself and relax for a few hours (even up to a few days!) Letting my guard down means I have the opportunity to observe a little more from the perimeter of my role as a parent and see the beauty that comes with a happy child surrounded by people who would give their all to return the joy which she brings to them.
Even the most mundane, everyday events like spending time at home are transformed into opportunities for unadulterated attention and play. The image I have chosen this week was a moment I captured between two kindred spirits who spent an entire weekend submerged up to their eyeballs in one another. This picture is very special to me and warms me to my core. It shows the intimacy that can be shared between people who binge on each other's enthusiasm & energy and form a bond which not only survives, but decimates the physical distance between them and the inevitable amount of time they spend apart. Their enthusiastic relationship can be reignited at the flick of a switch despite an absence of several months.
To lack these relationships is tragic, to possess them is a richness beyond anything which material possessions can provide. As a parent, I also feel a sense of relief that when my kids reach that difficult pubescent age where they sling a cloth, filled with essential clothing and toys, over a hobo's stick and sneak away from their draconian parents in the pitch of night, I know which auntie and uncle they will be running to. A knowledge that they will be looked after when their needs stretch beyond what I can provide makes for a feeling of safety which I am relieved and grateful to feel.