February is a mere sneeze of a month, over before you know it’s begun. On the 1st Feb I had a rare and glorious trip out of the house. Snuggled in my faux-fur coat, Jon took me to a farmers’ market where we ate amazing mediterranean chicken salad in the bitingly cold air. Then we bumped into friends – a spontaneous rendez-vous! – and went back to their house for coffee, which was nearby. I honestly can’t remember the last time I was able to do anything spontaneously like that. It was amazing.
It went something like this: Jon and I told the boy we were having a book launch party. The boy, quite reasonably, thought that ‘party’ meant ‘party’, i.e. an event with lots of people to celebrate the launch of my book, but we disappointed him by telling him there were no presents at Book Launch Parties, or in our case, any guests . We were celebrating with a steak dinner and an early night. Nevertheless, the boy was very taken by drinking fizzy elderflower drink out of a champagne glass after bedtime, and decided he would quite like a launch party of his own.
It was so beautiful, and such a surprise. There was the sort of atmosphere in the room that, had we not already been married for over a decade, I would have been expecting Jon to get down on one knee and propose. I kept staring in silence, and then said what anyone else would say in my situation:
“You monkey. I can’t believe you got me this.”
If you had told us even a year ago that Jon would be a ‘professional’ artist, and an expert on art history, we would have been very surprised. I love that after even so many years we are discovering new talents to celebrate in one another (my writing was a similar surprise to us both) as our lives bend and shift together.
Advent means ‘coming’. We tend to think of Advent as preparing for Christmas (ie preparing for remembering Jesus’ first coming), but traditionally the focus was on preparing our hearts for Jesus’ second coming.
Here are some ways you can mark Advent and prepare thoughtfully for Christmas:
My boy seemed to be energised by the wind, running like a crazy thing and whooping with laughter. I watched him run and scoot on his scooter, and then Jon got a kite out, so I took photos while my little boy danced with the wind, trying to catch the kite as it flew. On the horizon the turquoise waves jumped with the wind, everything on God’s green earth moving to the same beat.
This then has the advantage of feeding my son the subliminal message that he should never ride a dangerous motorbike. Not sure if the Greek author necessarily had motorbikes in mind when he wrote the story, but it’s pretty much the same principle – don’t fly too high, or you’ll die. Right???
The boy charmed all the waitresses by telling them how old he was in Italian and singing them nursery rhymes. I felt VERY smug as a parent, which is really what it’s all about, isn’t it?