Fruit Platter for an Autumn Picnic

Image description: a white man, woman and toddler seen from behind, walking through a nature reserve. The man and woman are standing on either side of the child, holding one hand each

As we made our way through the morning brightness of the supermarket carpark, my culinary expert, who also happens to be my two-year-old son, discussed our possible fruit choices. Inside, each colourful item was chosen through one of two methods: either my expert immediately saw the correct choice and I was swiftly informed if I made a poor selection (the strawberry punnet was replaced forthwith) or my expert had to take time carefully weighing up all the potential options. Oranges were gently and reverently picked up and turned around until we had exactly the right one.

After a quick stop for a takeaway coffee, my expert and I returned home to make up the platter. My expert took a directorial role from his learning tower, though he deigned to assist with washing and drying our vibrant bounty. I sliced, scooped, arranged and placed the fruit in the locations selected for me. Once each piece of fruit had found its home in the platter, we saw before us a melody of sweet, tart and juicy reds, greens, oranges and pinks.

The platter was consumed at a nature reserve. A group friends sat at a picnic table, squinting into the glare, surrounded by bird calls and sudden, delightful bursts of laughter. The remains of the platter are now tucked safely in a Tupperware in the fridge, ready to be enjoyed tomorrow as part of one little expert’s lunch.  

So I breathe

Oh, little one. 

This year there have been plenty of days that seemed to exist in an unending haze of exhaustion and the stress of working from home while making sure you felt seen and loved. 
But then there are the moments when I hold you in my arms, cuddled against my shoulder, and I just breathe you in. And I remember that this time of being your whole world is so very fleeting. And that sooner than I want to think about, I won’t be able to carry your weight like this, cocooned and protected in my arms. 

So I take a breath and pay attention. I feel the rise and fall of your chest, your heartbeat, the one I used to refer to as little horses during all the long monitoring sessions of my high-risk pregnancy. I try to absorb the very essence of these moments through my skin and into the core of my being. 

I take a breath.