Hot smoked mackerel.
Two mackerel, hot smoked in my bucket smoker. A boiled egg, laid by my girls just this morning. Three salads with a slice of tough sourdough smothered in homemade butter. Tonight, this meal is a reminder of who I am.
The swallows my ears tell me are swirling high above. The newts i watched with a contented smile, busy in my squatted shadow over a newly cleared pond. The single stem of cuckoo smock carefully left to stand in the lawn freshly moved. Today, these are the moments that I let define me.
The kindness a neighbour sought from me. The help a friend asked for on a deep worry. The trust that was placed upon my loyalty. This morning, this was the reassurance of who mumdrah is.
Self care for me is no treat; no simple indulgence or tidbit. Self care is a reset; a reminder of who I am, away from the chaos of adoption. Some reminders I seek out and create for myself; some come unbidden through the eyes and mouths of others.
This is who mumdrah is.
Away from the shaking, sweaty palmed sense of failure during the crisis. Away from the self doubt and the questioning and the fear. Away from the worries, the dilemmas, the quandaries. Away from the insults and raised voices and the threats that come when she cannot cope. Away from the challenge which – however high you climb to meet it – has little or no feedback of success, or progress.
Reminders are needed. Of who I am. Of what I am worth.
And the hearty taste of those smoky mackerel on my tongue – the first of the season – are reminder enough.