Mindful with Irene (14)

This week: Seeing things for what they are

So here we are: at the start of a new year and the end of the Christmas holidays. The festive season always places such emphasis on “family,” and that means it’s always time for me to, once again, adjust that image in my mind of an ideal life (you know, the one of a happy family and summers spent at a French campsite that I described in my first blog). At first, I found it incredibly annoying to do, but now I’m gradually finding it fun. When the original image I had created of my ideal life fell by the wayside, image number two stepped in: the happy compound family. I imagined that there would come a day when I would be sitting at an enormous table in an enormous kitchen with a man (who had a mass of lush curly hair), and that we would start a new family life together. What’s more, I also envisaged a family meeting, where all the members would vote on new family rules by placing their choices in a hat. We would solve problems with humor, and melt teenage arguments away with a smile.

But time passed, and there came a day when I no longer wanted image number two, because it had become so cozy with just me and my children that my vision of the compound family no longer tempted me. So, with love, I let it go and hopped straight over to image number 3. Which looks like this: do not cohabit with anyone, do not merge families, but do gather together blissfully around a huge kitchen table every now and then (think birthdays, Sunday mornings and – yes, there they are – the holidays). The only thing that’s missing in my picture now is the turkey with all the trimmings, but that’ll probably come. For the time being, I think you get my gist…

Call it a coincidence (or not), New Love seems to have all the ingredients for image number 3. Such as children of the same age, the same gender, and with the same sports interests as my two. And New Love has a large table. As well as a large sofa, which we all fit on, together with our cups of hot chocolate, mugs of mulled wine and glasses of champagne. Oh, and he also has an open fireplace. So you can see why I had spent so many months looking forward to December.

But back to reality, where everything is, of course, completely different. For various reasons (perhaps most importantly: what was best for the kids), we celebrated Christmas separately. It’s hard to swallow, but image number 3 is also fading. Sometimes real life is so much more beautiful than the picture in your head. But you just need to be able to see it!