The last two years Sundays have become a day that is just like any other. Except it comes with pressure. Every other weekend I have the day to myself and will generally find an excuse to go shopping, or laze around the house, not being at all practical.
The other Sundays are spent fighting the urge of a comfortable, non-anxious day at home...except it's with two little boys and staying in isn't really the best option when they are likely to get bored, need to blow off some steam and are likely to mess my house up even more.
Over time I have become jealous of people who have these perfect, "proper" families, or even those in a "blended" family who are all able to enjoy this family day together.
Yesterday however my friend asked if we wanted to go and see her horse. Despite being friends for a year now I haven't yet met him and thought it would be a fun, different thing to do. Plus the reaction from the boys when I mentioned it to them was an indication that we would have a good time.
Also it was my excuse to spend time with Amy's two year old daughter who I absolutely adore. Not only is she the most beautiful little girl, she has an amazing personality and always has me laughing, without really trying.
The weather wasn't too bad and after putting on our wellies we followed Amy to the field.
I'm not really into horses and am a bit of a wimp when it comes to stroking them usually but there's something different when you are with someone you trust and when it is their horse. As soon as he came over to the gate I was amazed at how handsome he is, and I think in all fairness I never really appreciated the size of a horse.
After everyone else easily and gracefully climbed over the gate I made a pretty good job of drawing attention to myself and creating a fuss. I got over however and managed to not fall...however had a bum that was now green with the moss from the wooden gate.
The time we were there was so lovely. I actually felt super relaxed and like I could have easily spent hours and hours there.
I took my "big camera" along and snapped away the whole time we were there, every now and then letting out little squeals of excitement because I liked the photos I was taking and because my passion for photography was coming back. Those days when I would go for a day out and come back with 300 photos of our memories from that day.
I had moments where I just wanted to soak in the freedom the children had and the fact that I felt relaxed, and happy to be spending this little bit of quality time with my favourite people.
Time to say goodbye, and struggling to get Charles away from the horse he had fallen in love with, we headed to the supermarket and normal life resumed. But I couldn't wait to get home and go through those photos (over 100 in around an hour and a half) and relive it so soon after.
And rather than focussing on what I no longer have, I felt grateful for having these two special people in our lives and realised that a "proper family" isn't essential to our happiness.
Getting out, letting go, and being ourselves however is essential. Especially with people we love.