What is it about November that sees life turned up to eleven? Literally. Once that October page flips over, life suddenly becomes more manic as it hurtles towards the looming deadline of Christmas. Let's face it, midsummer is such a crap time for Christmas, it must be the busiest season of the year.
It makes much more sense, in the relative quiet of winter, to retreat indoors, make some gifts and gather family and friends around for a slap up feast (I know, I do say that often).
Alas, not here in the southern hemisphere. In the garden it's busy - planting, weeding watering, then there's end of school activities, excursions, fairs and concerts with costumes to sew. Throw a seventh birthday party to organise and a couple of market stalls into the mix, and I can feel a knot the size of a small car developing in the pit of my stomach.
And of course, as we're hosting the family for yuletide festivities, there's the house to get shipshape. According to the Inside Out magazine's 8-week Christmas Countdown plan, by now, that's week 7 - November 8, I should have;
::arranged tradespeople to finish off any small jobs,
::booked a professional house cleaner,
::made holiday arrangements for pets, (Where would you like to go this year chooks? Tahiti?)
::ordered now for any online christmas shopping,
::inspected outdoor lighting and adjusted or augmented as required,
::bought gift wrapping, ribbon, cards and tags,
::booked a session with a stylist for my own Christmas makeover, and
::sorted out bedding for visited relatives
O-kaay, now that knot is starting to feel like the battle ship Potemkin.
But then my little guy, how I cherish my children's ability to live in the moment and remind me to do the same. This morning, as I thought to tackle my list of chores, my little one asked for a hug. Then just one more. Then just one more. Then just one more. And I close my eyes, nuzzle his neck and breathe. Deeply.
And nothing else matters. I don't care about augmenting the outdoor lighting as required. I spend the day playing with Hugo. Building lego, racing cars, having tea parties. Because, today nothing else does matter. And then, thankfully, that battleship Potemkin feeling, just sails away.