A Friday night treat when my children were wee was for them to have baths and get into pyjamas before dinner. Dinner was then enjoyed at the coffee table, in front of the telly and we’d watch a film together. It was a lovely respite for me as I felt frequently low in mood with the responsibility of solo parenting, and I could properly enjoy their company rather than just being the guide and the disciplinarian. We knew a fantastic local teenager who used to ring the bell on a Friday night - he’d have a theatre usher’s tray and it was filled with individual sweet bags he’d made up himself, what a great door-to-door salesman. Boy we missed him when he grew up!
One of our favourite films to watch was Finding Nemo. The little fish who dreams of independence and who ends up on a worrying journey trying to return to safety! One of the lines we still recite to this day (and so many people do) is “just keep swimming”. The message is from Dory, the friend Nemo makes along the way. Dory’s message is recited by Nemo each time he doubts himself.
Driving our daughter back to Uni last weekend, (she’s coming home at weekends as she is struggling to find how she fits in) her dad drove and I enjoyed staring out the window. We passed by a farmers field where the harvest was in. The hay had been baled and wrapped into black plastic for winter protection, awaiting transfer to a barn. Somebody I will most likely never meet to be able to thank, had placed a group of bales together, side-on facing the motorway, and had painted all along their sides. Colourful pictures of giant fish, and a little orange and white Nemo, were painted around big white letters spelling out “just keep swimming”. Not only a guide to life for humanity, but what felt like a sign of personal encouragement to me as I watched my 18 year old worried misfit slumber. It filled my soul and my eyes. Thank you farmer!