Reflections upon going a little insane as you struggle to cope with a world of crap but having your faith in humanity restored by watching a five-year-old swimming

Last week was a crappy one for me: returning to work after a fantastic weekend away; losing the chickens; and failing to get past the first interview stage for a job I could do with my eyes closed.

Brave – or foolhardy – were those who tried to engage me in conversation.  Difficult to believe, I know – Oh, Stu, he’s so relaxed and easygoing, people always say.

Yeah, well, those people can @#*% off and stick it up their &%@ing #*@$, I would’ve said last week, before storming off to go and drop-kick some cute baby hedgehogs.  Barefoot.

Sigh.  Of course, that wouldn’t have happened.  In reality, I’d be stood there in stony silence, blinking, wondering when your stupid mouth was going to stop moving.  When you eventually finished I would have nodded silently and left.

That’s actually my equivalent of going a little insane as I struggle to cope with a whole world of crap.

Stick with me – this has a happy ending.

Yesterday I took Amber to her swimming lessons for the first time in ages.  Both she and Millie’s lessons ran simultaneously on a Thursday evening for a while, meaning the Lovely Melanie took them.  But Amber recently went up to grade 3 and those lessons are at Sunday teatime, so I can take her again.

She chatter-chatter-chattered all the way to the swimming pool – and it was nice to catch the bus together, just as when she was still at nursery.  I find it much easier to talk to the girls out of the house – away from all the distractions of toys, computers, books, etc., so that was nice by itself.  And I forget how much Amber can talk and how funny she can be (sometimes she even means to be funny!)

And then I watched as she had her swimming lesson.

Watched her full of enthusiasm and eager to learn; watched her sometimes do a little dance when she finished a swim; watched her sometimes doing as she was told and other times doing her own thing; watched as she spontaneously struck up conversations with the other children and they laughed together.

And I remembered: the world is really pretty damn good.

And that sometimes you need a five-year-old to remind you of that.

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