Joy and Trifle.

Sometimes you have joyous days when your day to day worries are swept aside by total immersion in a special event. This week I had one of those days.

One of my young Choristers.
Looks angelic - don't be fooled!
Not one of your usual special events, not a wedding, or a birthday, but a church service organised in honour of our retiring Choir leader, an amazing woman who, despite suffering from  what we would term special needs nowadays, has coaxed tuneful noises from young children for the past 17 years.

 I say suffering. She would be cross with me for using that word. She doesn't suffer, she largely disregards the stuff that could rightfully slow her down and does more despite her issues than many do with none of her medical problems.

The junior choir was just one of her projects. And like everything she does, she threw herself into it wholeheartedly. She tolerated terrible singing, bad behaviour, fidgeting, giggling and yawning through almost two decades of weekly rehearsals and monthly church services plus Christmas, Easter, Harvest, weddings, concerts.

She  moulded painfully shy youngsters and warbling prima donnas into a choir who on occasion actually managed to look and sound angelic. She deserves a Sainthood but seemed more than happy with the event we organised to say "Thank-you." I particularly wanted to say thank-you as she has had to put up with 6 of my 7 children. I did wonder if she retired before she had to deal with my youngest.......

Attending were lots of people I've known for twenty years or so. From ante-natal classes and toddler groups, preschool, scouts, school, church, parties, fundraisers, choir practice......
There were people there I rarely see so it was so lovely to be able to catch up.

It was particularly nice in the week my youngest child started primary school. I was already nostalgic and it seemed appropriate to reunite with people who were doing school run with me 15 years ago. Their children and my older children are working, or are at, or soon will be at, university. I know everyone says it but it seems like no time since we were all bleary eyed from midnight feeds or worrying about weaning or potty training.

One lady there had one of the most miraculous stories about becoming a parent I have ever heard- I can't go into detail but it truly was a medical miracle and she managed it twice!  I remember her sharing it many years ago to an open mouthed group at a crowded mums and toddlers get-together one day. She told her story in glorious technicolour, no embarrasing detail spared and with such humour.... the memory makes me laugh still.

Another lady I remember meeting for the first time at another toddler group - It was the first time I'd managed to get DS#1 and myself fed and dressed in time to go and had plucked up the courage to venture into the village hall.

My church.
 I lurked in a corner feeling exhausted, emotional, lost and lonely. Everyone else seemed to know everyone. Ours is largely an affluent village and there was much talk of skiing holidays and cruises. I had never been on either ( still havene't!) so had nothing to contribute. DS#1 slept in his pram so I couldn't even pretend to play with him.  I clutched my mug of nasty instant coffee and eavesdropping, heard this lady proclaim how much she loved motherhood.

I remember I was immensely impressed with her confidence but felt utterly inadequate in the face of it.  At that point I was mostly definitely not loving being a mother! I'm aware this anecdote makes this lady sound terribly smug - she really wasn't trying to make anyone feel inferior and I'm sure would be mortified to learn that she had done just that! She just genuinely was enjoying her children's early years.

Along with the mums from my past years of child-rearing at this celebration were some of the friends I am trudging up the school (or church!) path with nowadays. We share in-jokes, secrets, memories and future plans and are so comfortable with each other they feel almost like family.

So this week I was surrounded by friends, old and new. And there was singing, chatting, cake, homemade bread and trifle.

It was a joyous day.

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