Sometimes it is just the little simple things in life that touch our hearts and enrich us. As a primarily homeschooling parent who retired early to have more time as a family and travel the world, I miss that endless time together when kidlet dips into school for language like she is doing here in Asia.
She is on a two week school holiday now, and our life feels like it is back to normal. On her Mandarin school days here, she gets up at six in the morning when it is still dark outside. She wears a uniform to school and the only way she can wear her hair is up in a bun or in braids.
She can do the bun herself as they have a common contraption here for such things, which basically has a little clip bow and small net, so she can put her pony tail in it to make a bun. But she can't do braids as well as I can, so this is where Mom comes in.
I love this moment together as we get up, after cuddling for 15 minutes after the alarm goes off. Usually, my skinny, tiny kidlet is in her underwear, little bra, socks and school shoes ( she goes to high school after all and is a tween). We are both half awake, me in the same odd but comfy nightgown that I have worn for 6 years when we began our world trip that I bought at Ross for five dollars. The tropical weather makes it always a comfortable temperature in the early morning and her Dad is in the kitchen fixing breakfast and making his coffee, the birds are tweeting morning sounds.
My little bookaholic often reads while I do it and then she puts on her uniform, ( I love how she automatically twists the skirt around to fasten it, then back again and puffs out the shirt from the waist after tucking it in) and the day begins. After breakfast her Dad puts on her aromatic natural mosquito repellent ( Dengue fever prevention) grabs her heavy school backpack and escorts her to the school van waiting downstairs. The sun rises soon after she leaves and I open all the windows, stare at the beauty of the Andaman sea from my terrace and pray she has a great and safe day.
At eleven and half, my baby is growing fast and I am so grateful that we have chosen a lifestyle that has allowed us all so much time together. I am too groggy in the early morning to take a photo, but I took the lead photo after school when she had changed, another one of our simple pleasure moments together. I lay on her bed and she tells me about her day as she changes and gets ready to do some homework or read a book.
Mama Mia is one of our favorite "girly" movies we like to watch together and this song, "Slipping through my Fingers" always makes me cry. Some how, when she is in school it always seems so poignant and I miss those stolen moments of mine that I give to the school so that she might be very fluent in Mandarin. Unlike the lyrics in the song, I am glad we did all the adventures we had planned, even more than we ever planned.
Braiding hair, cuddling, discussing a school day, making breakfast, packing a lunch..small, insignificant, daily routines and yet these simple pleasures are all about living love and make our lives rich.