I recently got a call inviting me to take part in a photo shoot for Cancer Research UK’s Christmas campaign and so for a couple of hours yesterday morning had great fun twirling and swirling slightly self consciously in front of a camera feeling a bit like one of the Loose Women posing for a magazine cover.
It had been a rough start to the day and by the time I left the house with my bag of hastily thrown together outfits and a bare face ready to be ‘made over’ I was a little fraught to say the least. The furrow in my brow couldn’t have been any deeper, I felt angry, ancient and a million miles away from how I would have liked to be feeling, let alone looking, an hour before stepping in front of a camera. It’s nothing new – bored of being broke, worrying too much about things I can’t control and fighting a losing battle when it comes to having any kind of parental control at home. The triplets have me slumped over a big, old barrel again. The rational, sane part of me knows that they’re not deliberately trying to torment me but having made big declarations just a few short days ago of how firm and consistent I’d become and how easy this parenting lark was if you just took control..well, what a big fat joke that turned out to be! It’s easy to feel like mum of the year when I’m on good form and my precious four are being compliant and cute and therefore not pressing any of my many buttons. It’s a whole different ball game when I’m knackered, stressed out about other ‘stuff’ and feeling so close to the edge that it’s making me dizzy. It doesn’t take a genius to know that children pick up on our moods. Mine seem to see my low ones as a green light to run rings around me and bring me to my knees. Literally.
Anyway,arriving at the plush offices where the shoot was taking place I did my best to shake off the blues – sternly telling myself to get a grip, cheer up and enjoy the novelty of being photographed by someone other than my nine year old with his shaky,distracted grip.
Of course, I was made to feel incredibly welcome and after a quick round of introductions a gorgeous make-up artist set to work on my strained but hopefully now slightly less stony face. Dressed up, made up and ready to take my turn I was soon in front of the lens posing away like an old pro, hands on hips, showing my supposed best side and feeling a million miles away from the old shrew I’d been at home earlier. The atmosphere was upbeat and relaxed with lots of easy going banter- it simply felt like a fun, novel way to spend a morning. I really wasn’t giving much thought to why I was there and how crucial the work of organisations like Cancer Research UK is. Everyone happy with the shots, I was soon back in jeans, flip flops and ready, if a little reluctant, to head home and back to my real world. The next person had arrived to be photographed. With his mum as chaperone. He was younger than Jake. A bright eyed, gorgeous boy munching on a bag of Haribos while his mum and the team chatted around him. I learnt nothing of their story before saying my goodbyes but haven’t been able to get him out of my head since.
There was a time, not so long ago, when I was making all sorts of pleas and bargains with the universe. You know the kind of thing – ‘Just let me get well and I’ll never complain about anything again. Ever’. I was sure that if I was lucky enough to be given a second chance that it would then be easy to live in a permanent state of grace and appreciation. How quickly I’ve forgotten and how easily I let myself be dragged down by day to day stuff that, in the scheme of things, is so completely unimportant.
Without exchanging a word with that little boy, or his lovely mum, I was given one of the very big nudges that I seem to regularly need. There is so much to be grateful for. Another day and another chance to stop sweating the small stuff.