For once I’m writing this In Real, pen to paper, in a notebook at a table in a noisy (but today not too hellish) soft play centre. Mum and I are watching Niece and Neff charge around, finding their way back to us like small, flailing, lovely homing pigeons to top up with snacks and drinks before disappearing into the cushiony, bright jungle again.
They stopped and alighted for a moment, and I blew kisses at them across the table. Niece puckered up and blew noisy smooches back. Neff rolled his eyes back in his head and closed them, jutting his chin forwards in a darling display of seven year-old acknowledgement and defiance.
He likes the kisses really. Probably.
I told him he was my favourite boy in the world and his eyes sparkled. Then we had a very technical conversation about suction and cherry coke and resonance and practical jokes. He has my heart and I think he might be my spirit-animal. He is serious, scholarly, curious, determined, hilarious, and utterly, utterly silly (quote of the day (imagine a fork held aloft in a clenched fist of powerful determination) “Being defeated by cheese is silly – I will NOT be defeated by cheese!”)
Later we locked eyes and giggled wordlessly for about half an hour as he turned his jelly-babies (candy shaped as cartoon babies) upside down and licked their bottoms while I pretended to freak out. At one point, he turned to me, eyes shining with mischief, and whispered “Boobies!”, and we both fell apart laughing. I love him all the millions.
And so to my Ten – a meandery, rambly, entirely-late-to-the-game-in-a-weekend-where-the-Blogosphere-exploded kind of Ten.
I am SO thankful:
…for #1000Speak, which went incredibly well, and absolutely blew my mind as person after person after person melted my Twitter and Facebook feeds into a glorious flood of compassion, as the event took place and the participation snowballed wider and wider. I’m so thrilled at the level of enthusiasm which was shown for the venture, and humbled and thankful to have somehow written the right thing in the right place at the right time to inspire it, and to have been able to help make it happen from the get-go. I’m MORE thrilled that each month on the 20th, there will be ANOTHER #1000Speak day, where everyone who wants to will be part of writing compassionately into different topics – homelessness; special needs; the environment, etc. – and next month we start out with a focus on bullies and bullying (thanks to Hasty for the suggestion). BE THERE!
…for evenings with friends In Real. For cooking together and talking and being relaxed and utterly at ease in the company of someone I’ve known for many, many years. For silliness and being too cold, and eating too much, and talking and not-talking, and sharing and helping one another.
…for sunshine and digging at the allotment and the scent of earth, and chats with my mum about my life, my writing, my purpose, our family, her plans, her job, my friends, and a million and one things under the sun. For birdsong and muddy boots and earthworms and skiving off to text my Blogwife. (P.S. A short but IMPORTANT note about Beth – she has a BOOK coming out (a Real, Live one, and I’m SO proud of her) and on TUESDAY NEXT WEEK she is granting me her VERY VERY FRIST Author Interview *squeeeeeee* BE THERE TOO!)
…for delayed glitterbombs and beautiful, lifes-saving jewellery*, sweet valentines, fun, video unwrappings, and knowing that the parcel was for me because it had exploded in transit and the postmen had had to wrap it (and its escaping, glittery christmas trees and shining reindeer) in a plastic bag. For conversations back and forth about liferafts and hoopla and bard bars in barred bars, and for my darling friend Ivy.
…for connection, encouragement, support and friendship, however it happens, even if online can be tricky and leave me bereft because I can’t hug the way I want to. For In Real, and its demands and gnarly bits. For it being beautiful anyway, and immersing in it, however it happens.
…for Samara and the Sisterwives planning a party for me in a Facebook chat, because they are proud of me for having inspired and supported 1000Speak and helped to make it work and DO SOMETHING. For pictures of cakes and champagne and fireworks sent across the miles. For places where truths can be told safely, and fun and solemnity are both equally welcome.
…for Scrabble and bizarre weather, and hot, buttered toast, and tea, and hail which wouldn’t stop, and for discovering that scraping the hail off the cars gave them a little clean as it slopped off. For two consecutive seven-letter words at the beginning of the game, but for still winning one game each. For ‘I love you’ gifts of trains and America, and for Husby being a darling and spending his winnings on a game I’ve been keen to have for a while.
…for having a straightforward job which keeps reasonable hours and isn’t exploitative and lets me write, and keeps me meeting people. For the delight which STILL remains in that comparison. For money to spend or save as I want. For abundance.
…for planning my trip to America, for growing as a person and having people notice and tell me. For being a better human being, encouraged by the shining examples I see in those around me. For the excitement in knowing that in a few, short months, I will be stepping towards the In Real persons whose examples I admire and whose friendships I cherish, and that I will be able to hug them for REAL.
…for love, for love; for love.
*the washers on the necklace go with a survival key-chain, hand woven for me, of 12′ of para cord, so that if I’m ever stuck, I can unpick it, tie the washers on and throw them, to use the line to bring me to safety. I’ve been told I’m not allowed to ever need it.