I have struggled several times with the opening line today as it wasn’t one small thing that made me happy it was one huge thing, or perhaps it was lots of little unconnected things, or perhaps they were connected, or were they just the bits of the big thing… Analysing precisely what makes one happy is not an exact art.
Yesterday we returned from the Netherlands, a perfectly pleasant trip over on the ferry was followed by a lovely lunch in Utrecht. But the gut wrenching OMG this is fantastic only really began that evening at the first concert. The runners swapped their spikes for cassocks and were part of the Cathedral Choir tour to the Netherlands and the boss and I went along as official groupies. To the relief of the runners we were not the only parents who made the trip and I think they probably quite enjoyed having us along, even if my marginally more unorthodox souvenir shopping included a rather lovely old fashioned, second hand bike, which I think they thought rather unnecessary!
Sometimes it is impossible to put into words the jumble of feelings and things that make up happiness and pleasure. In this case it was a mixture of:
- immense pride not only in the runners but in the children whose scraped knees I have cleaned and whose tears I have wiped and who were transformed from haram scarem children into poised, composed choristers who sang angelically with assurance and confidence day after day;
- a bubbly sort of feeling that you only get when you see children really enjoying themselves and discovering new things;
- the warmth of the welcome from everyone we met, host families, members of the congregation at the Sunday service, even the waitresses and the man who tried to explain how to pay for the car parking, everyone was kind, helpful and so very, very friendly;
- the unbridled appreciation of the audiences;
- the wonderful weather which made every day sparkle;
- spending time with friends over a long leisurely dinner;
- immense gratefulness that I had been allowed to be part of something that has given me such wonderful memories and brought forth new friends.
With all happiness comes a little sadness for you cannot have one without the other, you need the valley to give greatness to the mountain. As the tour drew to a close, we stood on the aft deck in the late afternoon sunshine wine in hand surrounded by laughing girls and waved goodbye to the Netherlands. It is the runners’ last year as choristers and unlike some of the younger girls they (and so by default, we) will not have the opportunity to do anything like this again. I savoured every last moment and gave thanks that I was given the chance to do it at least once.