As we get older our memories inevitably fade with time. Of course I can remember lots of parts of my childhood but slowly they are becoming hazier, little snippets get lost here and there, or things I can actually remember become a little less clear and vibrant in my head. Indeed that's why I have been writing this blog the last four years, I want my children to have a full record of their childhood- not just photos, but words, videos and feelings too. I have visions one day of reading it together, sat round a kitchen table, and laughing and crying as we reminisce about the old days.
I do have a few vivid memories of mine. I can't remember exactly how old I would have been but old enough to still enjoy getting lost in my own little world of imagination, making up games and stories, and generally enjoying my own company. It may even have been over a few different Summers, but I remember so clearly so many simple times just spent in the garden with my Mum and Dad. It was in our childhood house growing up, a house which I could literally picture it like it was only yesterday we lived there, not almost twelve years ago now. I remember my Dad used to wear these beige shorts and big gardening boots with yellow laces, and would always do the gardening without his t-shirt on if the weather allowed it. He would be busy doing whatever jobs he had on his list, while my Mum had an old faded flower gardening cushion that she used to lean on while she weeded and planted things in the flower beds. She would be in and out a lot, making cups of tea or lunch for us all.
Our house was the last house on a cul-de-sac and the garden stretched round from front to back rather than having a specific front and back garden, and I remember constantly running to and fro playing and having fun. I remember once my Dad tackling a wasps nest that had formed in an old pile of compost and my Mum and I just seeing him run past terrified with a huge swarm of wasps chasing him. I remember playing for hours outside in that garden, I had a little garden shed that my parents made into a little cottage for me. It was before the days of these gorgeous specific wendy houses, instead just a bog standard shed from B and Q, but they went the trouble of carpeting it for me, putting shelves up and curtains and generally making it into a really fun little place for myself and my friends to hang out.
I remember my Dad making me own little 'garden'- in reality it was just one of the flower beds but he even got me a sign made that said 'Katie's garden'. I had a little garden frog ornament which I remember choosing from the garden centre even now and I helped him plant flowers and shrubs in there. It's funny, but that's exactly why I do this ordinary moments project- because these are the parts of growing up which I remember so vividly. Of course I remember the holidays, or the days out, but I remember these simple times so fondly. I had a wonderful childhood, there were a couple of years where there were problems and I had to see things children probably shouldn't see, but for the most part my parents made it so special for me and even though they eventually separated I look back on these simple days with happiness.
Which brings me to my ordinary moment for this week. My mum has a beautiful large garden nowadays and as the weather has slowly been getting warmer, when we go over there for our usual Monday morning date we have been spending a lot of time outside. The girls have been showing a keen interest in helping her in the garden, watering plants and generally enjoying doing that usual thing of digging and making a downright mess. So we thought we would channel their interest into some good and my Mum suggested the other day that we go and get them some gardening tools. So we headed off to our usual garden centre, of course stopping for cake as that is obligatory when we go there and we picked them out a little bag of tools. I thought one between them would suffice but my Mum said she would treat them both to one and their little faces quite honestly were a picture- I genuinely haven't seen them so excited about anything before. They were absolutely delighted to have their very own gardening bag each. Again proving exactly how it is the simplest of moments which are the most magic.
So off we went back to Grandmas and we changed into our scruffs, before setting to work. They spent hours watering all her plants, digging and planting, and just generally running around happily, before it was time to stop for an al fresco lunch in the sunshine. Of course we play outside constantly, whether that's in our garden, Grandma or Grandpa's, or friend's gardens too, but for some reason as I sat back in my chair and felt the sun on my face and watched my two little ladies delight in something so incredibly simple, I felt a really pang of nostalgia back to my own childhood.
(Some phone photos of our day)
Cuddles with Grandma at the garden centre. We are so incredibly lucky to have her and the girls absolutely adore her.
Posing with their new tool kits, wheelbarrow and gardening gloves. They were just so excited to have these new things.
Some serious plant watering action going on here.
Al fresco lunches in the sunshine.
I started this project almost two years ago to record little snippets of our life that I didn't want to forget and on the day I started it I wrote this...
'The simple things in life are often the sweetest. While the fancy days out, weekends away or holidays are fun, it's the ordinary moments I will miss when my children are all grown up. The snuggling in bed reading a story. The giggles as they run around my overgrown garden with the grass that desperately needs a cut. Even the naughty ones. The ones we all have.
The simple. The exciting. The imperfect. The Ordinary Moments.'
I know that I will remember these most simple of ordinary times the most when my girls have long flown the nest.
Just like I remember them from my own childhood.