We're eighteen days into this Ramadan Kindness malarkey and it's not only the hubby's belly that is empty, it's my bank account too. It was bound to happen eventually . . . when you're taking up a challenge such as this with kiddies, they do seem to assume you have a bottomless vat of cash to swim around in. What with the joke books and the flowers and the weird Turkish floor cleaners, it all tends to add up.
So today we put our heads together to come up with a kind act that wouldn't cost us anything. Now I've been a little bit obsessed with de-cluttering of late, ever since I read a particular book called 'Spark Joy' by Marie Kondo. Actually, I'm a real geek and have read two of her books, so add 'The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up' to that too.
They're both books that describe a particular strategy for identifying the things in your home that 'spark joy in your heart' and basically getting rid of EVERYTHING else. It sounds harsh at first, but having already been through my clothes, books and papers with this method, I can tell you that any joy in my heart is slowly burning brighter.
I totally intend to carry on with the other shizzle in my house once this whole Ramadan thang is over, and I happen to know that the next category to tackle is 'komono' or to you and me - all the other crap.
This category would inevitably include things like CDs, DVDs and video games. The Yardimci Lads probably would not know a CD if it smacked them in the face but they do know - probably far too well - video games. And I knew without even looking in the bulging drawer that held such things, that there would at least be a few sad, unused games in there.
So we started a cull. Not an easy one, to be fair, but a cull nonetheless. I encouraged the Lads to hold each individual game to their hearts, breathe in slowly and exhale completely, whilst sensing if there was any joy sparked within. This, in the world of Marie Kondo, is called the 'joy check' and is the best way to work out which items are worth keeping. In the world of two young Lads about town however, it is called 'boring' and it is far easier to just chuck all the unwanted ones into a heap.
Anyway, we ended up with a decent bagful of games which Little Lad and I took to a charity shop in Brixham this morning. Out of the multitude of charity shops in our little town, he chose to take them to the one that raised funds for the Children's Hospice South West. When I asked him why, he said it was because "Little boys poorly in hospital might want some video games to play with". I hadn't the heart to correct him on how the games would be used and / or his sexist assumptions about the gender of today's young gamers so we just dropped the bag off and got on with our day.
Skip forward to just a few moments ago: I am trying to write this blog post, and the Lads are ironically playing video games that are seemingly doing anything but sparking joy in their hearts if the screaming and crying over unfair FIFA penalties are anything to go by. So, like the decent, kind and loving mother that I am, I announce that the PS4 is hereby banned and they need to go outside to play until this blog post is bloody well finished.
The instruction is obeyed, narrowly missing the onset of World War 3 and I happily tip-tap away at my laptop for a good few minutes. That is, until Big Lad crashes into the room insisting that his brother has REALLY hurt himself this time and Little Lad follows, dragging his little body along, belly on the floor, by his elbows. I am told a complex story about trampolines and wrestling and shins clashing and ensuing agony and that, I manage to determine through a good amount of snot and tears.
The blog post is still not finished.
Little Lad insists that the only way he will get better is if he is in bed, so I oblige with a piggy-back. By this time the snot and tears have reduced to sniffles and whimpers which (and I believe Little Lad is fully aware of this) is the mode in which Big Lad will do ANYTHING his younger brother asks him. This time he wants a story and he wants us all to choose it together.
The blog post is still not finished.
We settle on a book, The Fox and the Star (classic), and the Lads cuddle up to read it for the four hundredth time. Before turning to dash back to my laptop, I breathe deep and take this pause to realise that the blog post will be finished eventually, but not until we have all savoured something important. After all, what's the point in making room for joy if you're not present to notice its spark, to feel its glow? That's got to be worth turning away from my screen, if only for a moment.
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