As the two ladies throw their blade-like glances across the cafe toward us, the fog descends. My cheeks no longer burn though – this is the norm.
My head and heart feel different things. Head says to them, “either you clearly don’t have children or you have the insipid, boring type who have no real gumption in their pale little faces”. Eek! Did I just say that out loud?!
But my heart, however, cracks just a tiny bit more. The dark fog descends into its crevasses as my son threatens loudly to “poke my eyes out”, and my eldest daughter hurls hot chocolate across the table at me. It is one of those days for sure. They are not all like this – but today is one of the many days when the children have woken up in battle mode. Nothing is right. Nothing will be made right. They like a fight. My husbands eyes and mine find solace in a quick glance, but still I cannot stop the fog descending within me.
It is one of those moments that I struggle to see more than a foot in front of me. I can no longer see the mountain peaks towards which my little family is walking. I lose sight of my aim, our goal, the aspirations and vision that pull me through this season of little fists, scowling faces and poor sleep.
In my good moments I know where I am headed with my fiery little brood. Gosh it feels somedays like they could change the world if they put their minds to it! Keeping my eyes lifted up to the horizon keeps me going – I can see the good places these wilful, energetic, fierce, spirited little children could get to and so I brace myself and press on towards the high places.
But in recent days the fog prevails more than the bright, heather covered hills. I yearn for the open air.
As we drive back over the mountain pass on this half term break, the fog is there also today. The mountain peaks that blaze and rise and dominate and cast all tiny fears into dust cannot be seen.
The fog is there too.
Headlights do not pierce it.
And yet I know that the mountains are there. I feel their reassuring presence despite being hidden. Their dizzying heights do not disappear because of a days cloud. The peaks are still there, still reachable, still waiting. I note this in my heart; flag it up and ponder.
Many of my days are lived in the fog of the lowlands. I am Lady of the Lowlands at the moment. But if I close my eyes, still my breath and stop, I can feel where we’re going. The mountain peaks are there to conquer.
The fog will lessen.
The clouds will clear.
The children will stride towards their purposes if I can just cling on and keep shaping, nurturing and pointing them the right way.
I wander in and out of this foggy land – like some kind of motherly Florence Nightingale, lamp in hand. I must accept that I am Lady of this Lowland at the moment, but I also hold on to the knowledge that we are heading towards the highlands.
The bright days are getting brighter.
My lamp is used less frequently.
And the two ladies in the cafe should either buy me a drink or take a ride somewhere before I set the kids on them!