Life at 42, 11 months, 3 weeks and 5 days

My alarm goes off at 5.10am each morning and I still can’t believe after so many years of desperately wanting sleep whenever I could get it, that I make myself wake up each morning. I don’t think, just get up, pushing back the heavy layers of bedding that come at this stage of winter. I am in control of waking up, no kid making me, and that small choice makes such a difference to the start of my day and mindset as the day starts, on my terms.

I’m 43 in 2 days and life is much as it always is in mid August. The Daphne is in late heady bloom that hits you every time you walk out the front door to collect wood, or hop in the car (both is which I do a lot of each day). The blossoms are starting to pop up, the hellebores and the jonquils too. Soon enough neon green tips will pop through the bare branches of our trees and life will return to the garden once again.

I take the time in the darkness to get the fire going again, so it’s warm when my teen stumbles out of her room each morning at 6.30, ready to start the day. I make her breakfast, we natter, she drinks tea with her back to the fire and it’s quiet and just us, like it used to be all those years ago. She is so grown up now. She’s funny and smart and diligent and frustrated and frustrating. She is mortified by us as parents, often so embarrassed by not knowing what I will do at any given moment. I’m like a cat, ready to spring into song or dance or even just merely breathe and it’s wrong and embarrassing and one day we won’t seem so ridiculous to her again.

Maggie still calls out in her sing song each morning “Mahhh-ummmm, I’m ready to get ahhhh-up!” and I still pick her up from bed and carry her out because she is my baby even though her legs dangle down and she lean and long and 5 and is starting to learn how to read and write and how did we get here so fast? Harper follows suit last of all, to the beat of her own drum and time, always smiling and bright and happy until she is not and then we all aren’t either. Rob will be last, always last, the coffee machine on, bringing me my coffee just like he always does, and has and hopefully will.

Once the girls are off the school and the house is sorted: beds made, washing out and on the line, floors cleaned, benches wiped it’s time to start my work day. There’s emails to check, invoices to pay, orders to make, finances to sort. Marketing to be done, photos to be taken. Orders packed, customer queries answered, boxes unpacked, products added, trips to the tip, the post office, suppliers to speak to. It’s busy, busier than I have been in years and it’s wonderful and physically exhausting. I get to work with my best friend and sister and every morning it’s the reason that I hop out of bed quickly and easily. I am in control of the success of this and it drives me to push on. I love it, I am proud of it and the success of it is providing income for us both as we still juggle working from home and being with our kids. We did that. From nothing, an idea. This is what makes me keep going on my long days.

Afternoons are a blur of driving, activities, answering questions on social media, emails and work when I can sneak it in. Rob does so much for the girls through circumstance (thanks Covid) and through his interest. The driving he does, a tree change sounds wonderful but the driving you do! There’s washing in, dinner on, we still get to sit around the table together most nights as we always have, a dinner pulled together from a rush, or a more planned out idea. The conversations are different from what they used to be, but they are filled with laughter and questions and being together. This rhythm reminds me daily of the gift we have been able to give our children of being together, as a family most nights together. It’s what they will remember of their childhood. A table, a meal, a conversation. Togetherness.

Post showers and baths (thank goodness there is someone still little enough to do nudie runs down the hallway to warm pjs by the fire) there’s more work for me before finally tuning out and getting maybe an hour of bad TV before collapsing into bed with a book and exhaustion around 9.30pm or so and doing it all again.

These days are jam packed. They are busy. I am so grateful that for right now, they are this way given the state of the world that spins on around us. Filled with worries and sickness, pandemic and economic problems for so many people. I am grateful beyond belief that for now, they are like this. The girls are at school, netball practice still exists, Saturday hockey games are being played. Who knows for how long.

There’s a cloud of grief that sits firmly in my heart, throat and head and for our whole family for parts of each day too. A kick to the guts, a sorrowful memory, a happy song and thought all wrapped together in a moment, or a whole day. I truly feel what bittersweet is. It’s this loss and grief that we all feel so keenly theses past 8 months, and before that the grief and loss that begins with cancer. From diagnosis to those last strained breaths from a shell of a person that has gone.

There’s more responsibility that we have ever had before. A grown up ness to almost 43 that feels heavy some days. I am in the thick of it all: of marriage and family and work. I am grateful for a patient and kind man that I adore who still makes me laugh, that I still want to kiss. 15 years of marriage this year and our bind is stronger than ever. Thank god he said yes to me 17 years ago. Thank god he still says yes.

It’s time for me to make Daisy’s tea. She’ll be up in a few minutes and the day will begin. These quiet, dark moments I carve for myself are now done for the day. Until the next.


  1. Happy birthday Beth, may it be a good one, filled with love, laughter and kindness.
    Cheers Kate.

  2. So beautifully written and heartfelt ❤️Happy birthday!

  3. Happy birthday! Thankyou for sharing those lovely thoughts ❤️

  4. Lovely Beth. I appreciate your calm, reassuring voice. x

  5. So beautifully written as always. You have a great talent for writing. Happy Birthday, I know your family and friends will spoil you, Enjoy.x

  6. Happy birthday Beth, beautifully written as always. X

  7. Oh Beth! Such absolute magical, mundane, beauty and bittersweet love. Thank you

  8. Always a joy. It’s your birthday and you give us this gift. Thank you.

  9. Happy Birthday Beth, have a wonderful weekend with your beautiful family, thank you for your diligence, your blog and social media posts, you have made a beautiful life, thanks also for add to cart, and all the goodies you and Luce unearth x

  10. Anne Jordan says

    Happy Birthday to you. It really has been a year of honing in on what matters most hasn’t it. Thanks for continuing to blog – I’d love a blog post dedicated to the buttery chards and all your recommendations 🙂 AJ

  11. Gorgeous post Beth – love your writing. happiest of birthdays to you – Leo’s are obviously the best people 😍.
    I always think of you when I walk past Daphne BTW…

  12. Oh Beth, such a lovely post! It got me right in the feels, thank you for making me see the beauty of being “in the thick of it” I needed the reminder x HBD!

  13. I love your blog posts.
    Are the early hours when you get your writing done ?

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