I’d treated myself to spending my birthday night in a hotel and enjoyed a luxurious bath, followed by a delicious dinner with British pilgrims in the town of Astorga, chocolate capital of Spain. Lovely simple chocolate gifts sustained me for several days following.
By this stage I’m pleased to remember that I’d surrendered myself to the experience and really believed that I could finish the Camino.
Thinking about my children fuelled the doubts I had about my own capabilities. Considering their welfare provided me with an ideal opt out clause to not fulfill my dream. A year on I can see how my commitment wasn’t a 110% from the outset. It was well meant but misguided and definitely the reason why I struggled both mentally and physically in the first couple of weeks.
Becoming and being a Mum had been the greatest challenge in my life and at times I’ve struggled with every aspect of it and done so far too seriously.
As I started to write this blog from my balcony outside I’ve had the pleasure to witness a cow calve her newborn less than 50 metres away in the field next door. This wonderful if distracting and a little distressing at times experience, has stopped me from pursuing the self critical lack of commitment angle in my blog and allowed me to celebrate my role as a mum.
Yes it hasn’t been the easiest thing in my life, particularly those early years but my instinct has been right. Just as this cow has diligently licked her calf for over an hour, nudged it and fended off the other females to protect her own as it finally found it’s feet and started to feed.
I’d never wanted to leave my children for more than 4 days, even though I craved time apart, to do my own thing and to be just me, having children has taken me on a meandering path of finding nurturing self care and fulfilled self expression along the way.
I have lost the arrows so many times in my life and there is no map to parenting that’s for sure, but my children teach me everyday. For that I am grateful and in return I have given my love, protection and milk!! Just as the cow in front of me does at this very moment, all while continuing to chomp on the grass, which will give her the necessary fuel she needs for tomorrow.
Feeding ourselves physically, creatively and spiritually is more important when you’re a parent, even though one or more is often assigned to the bottom of our to do lists. For me the delightful result of walking the Camino was realizing and enjoying my creative writing skills, as I wrote a blog along the way. Often too tired and full of reasons not to do it, which continue to this day, the joy of words flowing and making sense of an experience feeds my soul, gives me energy and motivation to continue my work as a Mum.