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Archive for the ‘travelling with children’ Category

Look at all these true winter colours.

I took Cormac with me on a business trip and after the work we turned it into a holiday together. It is the first time I have holidayed with him alone.

There is something very special about both that kind of intimacy and the nature of being away from home. It suddenly all feels quite effortless. You are a better kind of parent, more attentive, more patient, more capable of moving at their pace. And they are a better kind of child, more reasonable, more appreciative.

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From a notebook, more than a year ago:

I had been without a car. And so, when suddenly he gave me his spare car, I made plans right away.

Those plans involved taking the children with me over the border to stay with a friend by the sea. The spontaneity was irresistible. The tightness with the children. The freedom of leaving somewhere.

But I forgot to tell him until the last moment.

I am not used to this negotiation, is all I could say by way of explanation. I am not used to thinking of someone again, to be consulting, to be leaving you.

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The Mississippi Delta was shining
Like a National guitar
I am following the river
Down the highway
Through the cradle of the civil war

I’m going to Graceland
Graceland
In Memphis Tennessee
I’m going to Graceland
Poorboys and Pilgrims with families
And we are going to Graceland
My traveling companion is nine years old
He is the child of my first marriage
But I’ve reason to believe
We both will be received
In Graceland

She comes back to tell me she’s gone
As if I didn’t know that
As if I didn’t know my own bed
As if I’d never noticed
The way she brushed her hair from her forehead
And she said losing love
Is like a window in your heart
Everybody sees you’re blown apart
Everybody sees the wind blow

I’m going to Graceland
Memphis Tennessee
I’m going to Graceland
Poorboys and Pilgrims with families
And we are going to Graceland

And my traveling companions
Are ghosts and empty sockets
I’m looking at ghosts and empties
But I’ve reason to believe
We all will be received
In Graceland

There is a girl in New York City
Who calls herself the human trampoline
And sometimes when I’m falling, flying
Or tumbling in turmoil I say
Oh, so this is what she means
She means we’re bouncing into Graceland
And I see losing love
Is like a window in your heart
Everybody sees you’re blown apart
Everybody sees the wind blow

In Graceland, in Graceland
I’m going to Graceland
For reasons I cannot explain
There’s some part of me wants to see
Graceland
And I may be obliged to defend
Every love, every ending
Or maybe there’s no obligations now
Maybe I’ve a reason to believe
We all will be received
In Graceland

– Paul Simon

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I do not say to my daughter that I think there is chicken stock in the vegetable soup and chicken salt on the chips we ordered. She is eating them gratefully, but this is a small town. Too small for vegetarians.

I do not say to him how much are you reminded of your honeymoon with your ex on this trip.

I do not say please take the children for a walk, please make them shower and organise their meals and break up their fights. Because these are my children, not his. And he is already doing so much.  I do not say, please, I just need some quiet time alone.

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