In recent months I have been trying to combat my innate negativity by focusing on the positive aspects of my life. I have also been trying to look at life in a more positive way by taking the time to appreciate my blessings and by placing my challenges and obstacles in perspective.
I'd been doing well until this past week, when the pressures of Mo's work and various other negative encounters really started to drag me back to a place I didn't want to be.
On Saturday night Mo and I decided that yesterday would be spent de-stressing. Removing ourselves from all negativity. I silently undertook to embark upon a new beginning once again.
So yesterday morning we leaped out of bed and sat down to enjoy our usual Sunday morning breakfast - rolls, spiced beef, salads and mustard. But instead of leaping up as soon as as we were done, we sat and chatted. And joked and laughed. It was so relaxing.
I got up to play on the front porch with 2 year old Aisha, when I noticed the garden looking parched from the heat. I grabbed the hose and started to wet both the garden and Aisha, who squealed with delight. The older kids, hearing the commotion, hurried outside and in no time at all were joining in the fun.
But, even fun has rules. So I instructed them to stay in the dry areas of the garden, so that, while I was spraying them with water, I was also watering the garden.
In no time at all, Aisha had removed all her clothes (including her nappy) and was streaking across the lawn giggling hysterically. Despite screams of "eeeuuw gross!", from Tharaa (10) and Nuha (7), 12 year old Shakeel stripped down to his boxers to enjoy the water splashing against his skin. Every now and then he rushed up to me, giving me a giant hug. What a lucky mommy I was to have such an affectionate son, I thought to myself - until I realised that he was just trying to wet me with his icy wet body.
Within minutes, my four monkeys were completely drenched. Yet they ran about shrieking with delight every time the water hit them. I tried to remember the last time I had enjoyed doing anything with such reckless abandon, as they were doing at that moment. How wonderful it must be to be able to give oneself over to the pleasure and joy of the moment - where nothing outside the happiness and delight of that moment matters.
I then joined Mo, who was lying sprawled on Shakeel's bed under the ceiling fan. We indulged in my new favourite activity - exploring various parts of the world using Google Earth's street view on his Galaxy Tab. I have a secret desire to live abroad - even for just a little while. I have never been abroad (unless one counts my holiday trips to South West Africa in the 1980s, which - face it - could hardly be called a different country back in those dark days). So my adventures using Google Earth serve to satisfy my curiosity about other parts of the world to some extent. Mostly though, it just intensifies my longing to live abroad for a while.
So yesterday we visited Sydney, Australia. We just selected any random area and moved up and down the streets, which were so lovely and green. My longing intensified - until we googled Sydney and learned that house prices there are among the highest in the world.
So up we leaped and off to prepare lunch. This was another wonderful part to the day, since my preparation did not involve chopping, braising, boiling, baking or roasting. It simply involved plonking a vienna on a roll, squirting on mustard and tomato sauce - and serving. Wonderful. My usual obsession with feeding my family a well-balanced meal consisting of a varied range of vegetables was put on hold - but only for the day.
After lunch Mo and I did something very unusual - we watched a romantic comedy together. Now usually I enjoy romantic comedies, despite the fact that I am often not (at this stage of my life) able to relate to the plight of the twenty-something year old heroin in search of love. Which is why I loved this movie - and Mo did too. When reading the title "Crazy, Stupid Love", I was expecting just another romantic comedy wherein our young heroin becomes disillusioned with love after being jilted. Instead, it was about couple who is middle- aged ( a direction in which I am fast heading) heading for divorce. The movie highlighted for me the need to keep making an effort within one's marriage - never to take each other for granted. I can totally relate to that.
So inspiring was the movie that it resulted in hugs, smooches and happy tears. Minutes later I was still swept up in the moment, convinced that when I re-entered the room from the kitchen, his eyes would light up with newfound love and appreciation. And I was right - his eyes had lit up - as he was glued to the TV watching the animated martial arts series "Dragonball Z". And - gone was our moment.
After returning from our weekly prayer meeting (which, as usual, eliminated all stress and anxiety by providing perspective), we lay on the couch chuckling while watching the hilarious comedian, Trevor Noah.
It's amazing how one can turn the most ordinary, mundane activities into special experiences with just a change of mindset.