#555 Mindful swinging at the park

Baby girl has just learnt how to swing on her own. Today was the second time she had the opportunity to practice it as we headed on over to the local park.

We had just had a babycino and cap, and a salted caramel ‘something’ to share at the nearby café, so we were properly fuelled. As we got closer to the park, I let go of her hand and said “go, run. Be free. Frolic. Be 4.”

Soon she was headed over to the swing, the place of her new-found confidence and extension of never-ending playfulness. She wanted me to give her a big push to get started, and then said “let go Mama.”

(Oh darling. I will never let go).

But then as life would have it, as our children grow up, she wanted me beside her. ( 🙂 ) She motioned to the swing beside her and told me to “sit.”

Soon we were both swinging, sometimes going back and forth simultaneously, other times in opposite directions. It was a still day, the sun sometimes coming out from behind the prevalent clouds of the day. We were silent for the longest time, going back and forth at our varying paces, and my mind wandered over to something I had read the other day.

Mindfulness. What was the quote?

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”  – Bil Keane.

The article had mentioned 7 habits to cultivating a happier life. And one of the points that had captivated me had been the act of living in the present. Not worrying about what had passed, and not stressing about what may, or may not come… but concerning oneself solely, with the NOW.

The technique mentioned was to be aware of your palms and feet, and clenching both while becoming aware of your surroundings. It said to try and concentrate on where you were, and if your mind naturally wandered, to not judge yourself too harshly, but to simply gently steer your attention back to where it needed to be.

So that’s what I did. As we swung back and forth, in the quiet of the local park, I clenched the hands that were around the swing chain, and tensed my feet below me that were swinging back and forth in my white sneakers. I observed my body in the almost-too tight swing seat, breathed in the fresh air, felt the warmth on my face, and tried to think of NOW.

A young teenager was nearby, walking home from school in their uniform, and the image before me made my mind go elsewhere. Suddenly baby girl was also a teen, and there were a multitude of concerning issues flooding my mind. How would I help her with her problems? Would she ask for help? Would she be happy? Would she like school? Would she like her Life?

I suddenly realised my scattered thoughts, and ever so gently removed myself from them, taking myself back to the present.

The beautiful present. Of me and baby girl, swinging at the park, with no concerning cares in the world.

🙂

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#554 That I have a Mum, and doing ‘Mum’ things…

I was shocked, and then immediately saddened, to learn today that the Mother of one of my oldest and dearest friends, had passed away last night.

I knew she had been sick, but still I had had no indication that her condition was getting worse. I knew it might be a long road ahead, which is why I didn’t see this coming.

I called my friend, and told her if I were closer, I’d give her a big hug. We cried. I sent her my love and support.

Then I got off the phone, and sat, with some more tears, before baby girl found me and took me into her play area.

I was grateful. Grateful I could do these ‘Mum’ things, and even just as grateful, that I still had a Mum.

I called my Mum and told her the news. We spoke some more, and it was so nice that when I called, I could hear her voice.

Later on I made a cake with baby girl. I used some sponge cake that had passed its use by date, and also some cream that was weeks old, but had been unopened.

Both were perfectly fine.

I threw in some melted chocolate, and melted white chocolate, that I had used for recipes weeks and months ago, that had gone hard again in the fridge, and melted them again.

I whipped the cream. Added berries.

And the cake was pretty damn good.

How is this at all relevant? There’s a metaphor in there somewhere. About re-using what you think is no good, and holding it all together…

That I have a Mum, and doing ‘Mum’ things.

 

#550 Chaddy shopping day no.3

Today Hubbie and I had the rare luxury of heading to the shops together, without baby girl! I may sound horribly evil at the amusement of leaving her at kinder while we went to do so, but when you are a parent and have lived through the hardships of completing any shopping at all, let alone personal shopping when child/baby is in tow, well then you will understand my delight.

He bought a linen white shirt for beach days.

I bought a couple of tops.

And then I also bought these:

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I was really inspired when I picked up the Rebel Girls book. My first thought was to buy it later on, when baby girl was like 5 or 6 and could actually understand the stories more when I read them to her at bedtime, but then Hubbie was like “buy it now and just keep it!” and of course that was all the ammo I didn’t need to change my mind.

I even read a couple of entries on some of the influential and inspirational women when I got home, those of Jane Austen and the Williams sisters, and they blew ME away. I think this bedtime storybook is suitable for women of ALL AGES, not just young girls (and that’s my thoughts before I’ve even reviewed it!)

And the other book? Well it was timely that a book about things going wrong and not giving a flying f&^k when they do so, would pass before my eyes the day after I posted about birth-days not going to plan. I’m all very ‘think positive’ and ‘look at the brighter side of life,’ yet found freedom and relief in the premise of a book that was telling me to JUST NOT CARE.

I’ll let you know how I go. I’m grateful for it all, nonetheless.

 

#549 Making the most of a special day

Let me tell you, birthdays can be deceiving.

There is a whole heap of expectation placed upon the ‘special’ day, to be better and greater and more superb than any other day.

This ‘deceptive’ day is placed in the same category as any large celebration, also including Christmas, Easter, and MOST ESPECIALLY the most cunning culprit, NEW YEARS EVE.

We think we must have some kind of exceptionally amazing day, and then when it is just… ordinary, at best, we feel sad.

Disenchanted.

Frustrated.

Mad at the world.

Pitiful.

Glum.

Today the winds were raging like hell. It was cold. I had an argument with Hubbie that brought me to tears. A small one, but I was pissed nonetheless.

I spent a good portion of the day packing, and then unpacking as we came back home from our San Remo short stay.

Hubbie was still suffering side effects from the antibiotics he took after removing a tooth, so he was pretty lowly and flat himself.

We hadn’t eaten proper healthy meals in days, and felt crappy as a result.

And it was my birthday.

The expectation of amazing, compared to the dismal reality, wore me down HARD.

I did feel sorry for myself for a while. But then when I realised that a Birth-day, is just like every other day, I dragged myself out of the rut…

You see, all days are the same. Birth-days, Christmas-days, New Years-days. All require you to do something about it.

We can’t be sitting around and waiting for stuff to happen. Or waiting for people to come in and make our life and day better. We need to do it ourselves, but also be mindful, that sometimes, life goes up…

and life goes down…

and sometimes this happens on a ‘special’ day.

And that’s ok.

There was nothing remarkable about my birth-day today, and yet I spent it the best way I could, enjoying my downtime with Hubbie and baby girl.

And in the end, my changed mindset, made the day better. That’s all it was. A changed, and accepted mindset. Because I realised that although I was going to make the most of the situation in the day as it was, I was also accepting of the fact that sometimes days don’t go to plan, and we don’t get what we want, and we just need to breathe in…

Breathe… Inhale

and breathe out…

Breathe… Exhale

and say “tomorrow’s another day.”

And in the end, I ended up having a lovely day 🙂

(But just saying, I have a party this Saturday and I’m going to rock it mofos. Like, watch out).

 

 

#547 The Penguin tradition

I was about 8 or 9 when I went with my parents, sister, her then boyfriend (my soon-to-be brother-in-law) and a whole lot of extended family and cousins, to Phillip Island, where as tradition has it, we saw the Penguins.

Today, for the first time in about 25 years, I went back… with the first-timers, Hubbie and baby girl in tow.

I may as well have been a first-timer, it has been that long. Being a Monday we thought it would be quiet. Like, I actually thought, there may be like, another group of people beside us… something like, 25 or so?

Try 25 HUNDRED. Or so.

There were soooooo many people. So many tourists, and buses, and guides, it was like OMG.

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Despite the crazy, we waited in the stands in the surprisingly calm Wintery air, and saw a few groups of penguins approach from the crashing night-time waves. After seeing half the crowd up and suddenly disappear within 20 minutes, we decided too to investigate and see if we could find any penguins who had made their way back from the sea, heading into their burrows and bushy-homes for the night.

We saw heaps. Baby girl was up close and personal with several of them, pressed against the barbed fence that separated the humans from the penguin track, saying “awww, so cute,” as they waddled past, and even waving goodbye to them as they made their way further and further in-land.

It was very sweet. And then once we had had our fill of penguin cuteness, some more adorable overload.

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I mean, when there is something so exceptionally life-sized, it is a MUST to pose alongside it, yes?

Penguin joy passing from generation to generation. I promise I won’t wait 25 years until next time.

#545 Face paint at almost 3(4)

When you write a gratitude blog, you are looking at the happier things in life.

Brighter moments.

Uplifting times.

A flower blooming bright amidst grey concrete.

The rainbow that follows a dark storm.

The perfect coffee to perk you up on a cold Winter’s morning (of course, coffee).

But when it comes to Motherhood and kids, life is soooo off-kilter. There is a lot to be grateful for, but there is also a lot to bang your head against the wall in frustration too.

Take today for instance. We celebrated baby girl’s 4th birthday.

Do I mention how she hid under the table and didn’t come out as visitors came forward to wish her a happy day? No.

Do I mention how she only wanted to stay outside, away from everyone inside, and only came in when she fell and grazed her knee and I forced her to? No.

Do I mention how she screamed with fury when everyone started singing happy birthday to her? No.

No No No.

Because I’m also a glass half-full gal, which makes writing a blog like this, a bit easier, amidst challenging times. Diplomatically speaking.

So, I am grateful that I got a little face ‘decorating’ done today. Of course baby girl refused her face and got her hands painted instead (of course, it’s her birthday after all), but as soon as I organised the face painter to come for the kids, I immediately thought ‘I’m getting something too.’

I thought that, because I am young at heart, and baby girl brings that out in me, even more. And not only do I enjoy her birthday and the fun that these events bring to her, but it is double the fun, because actually…

Baby girl and I share a birthday. What do you know. Double the trouble.

So any excuse for a big party for her, is an excuse for a big party for me. And any excuse to get face painting for her…

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Is an excuse to get face painting for ME.

Bright flowers and blooming butterflies. We focus on the positive things here.

Eternally youthful… I don’t care for growing up.

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