#395 Her Rock Star exit

We had been saying we were going to go home for over an hour. Of course, something would happen to prolong the stay.

A great song.

Cake.

Deep conversation.

Even dancing.

It kept getting put off, ’til finally, there was no more avoiding it.

“Baby girl, we’re going home.”

“No!” was her definitive reply, time and time again. First she cuddled up under a throw on the couch, watching TV. Then she asked for cake. Then she ran outside and into the makeshift dancefloor, to rip out some moves on what was the night of my cousin’s birthday get-together. A small gathering, but full of big vibes, nonetheless.

We knew we had to bite the bullet. We had to go home, and the longer we left it, the harder it would become to get her to comply.

Hubbie headed out into the yard amongst the throng of people, and grabbed a hold of baby girl, holding her high above his shoulders.

“Bye!” I prompted. “Say bye baby girl!”

And just like that, all the hands at the party flew up in the air waving to her, a chorus of byes echoing out, amidst the laughter and music of the party, and baby girl happily laughed and waved back. She could have been carried by the sea of hands back into the house, rather than up on Daddy’s arms, it was that scenic.

It was the only way for an attention-seeker such as herself to leave the party -with ALL eyes on her. However, because she was the only one of her generation there tonight, it really was all about her.

And I realised, that with my amazing and loving circle of extended family, they ALWAYS do so much to make baby girl happy, and make it about her. Their own kids are older now, but they treat baby girl with the love and light and fun that they did with their own.

They treat her like a rock star, not just when it comes to goodbyes, but ALL the time.

And that’s pretty spesh. That’s pretty awesome for our party girl 🙂

#367 The calm after the Partays

Thursday was a full on day. Kinder for baby girl. My 5 hours ‘off,’ were actually crammed in with everything and anything I could think of.

We had visitors over that night, my cousins.

Friday night (yesterday) we had an engagement. I slept 4 hours. Got up to work today. Groggily.

We had a birthday on tonight. Drove to the other side of town. Drove back. I don’t know how many hours of sleep I’ll get tonight. I’m working tomorrow, again.

And although there is one more ‘task,’ to tick of my to-do list, that of work for the weekend, I sure am glad that the festivity part is over, at least for now.

Don’t get me wrong. I love heading out, getting dressed up, having fun, socialising, and watching baby girl thrive amidst it all.

But I haven’t stopped. I’m tired. I still need to work. We’re all getting under the weather.

We just need to stop and take a moment to breathe. In peace.

And so, I am hopeful, that finally the calm has come. And I’m so grateful for it.

#339 The cousins over

Hubbie and I went to a bit of effort tonight. And really, I don’t even like to make a big deal about it, I only mention it for the sake of explaining it for this post. We did it though, because we wanted to.

Family is important to me. Family is important to both of us. And as much as I love my cousins and I know they love me, and our respect and appreciation for each other is mutual, I am content in the knowledge that my Hubbie, also, LOVES my cousins.

And they, wholeheartedly, LOVE him.

Quite a few of them came over tonight to see our new digs. It was a busy night, and I had many “you didn’t have to go to this much trouble” comments.

I know I didn’t have to. But I wanted to. I don’t do that shit for anyone. When I want to do something, I do it.

And when I won’t can’t, I call up the local pizza joint.

Along with my sis and her fam, we all had a smashing time, I’m sure of that. There was serious convo, light topics, laughter, dancing, singing, and eating and drinking a plenty.

I’m blessed to have such wonderful and loving family, and I’m also glad that they wanted to spend their Saturday night at our house.

Time is precious for EVERYONE. Watch for who willingly calls you up and asks to come over.

The action itself, speaks volumes.

#299 The Saint Nicholas Tradition

On my mother’s side of the family, there is a custom. A long-serving and deep-rooted family tradition. My Mother’s Father, and most likely many before him too, celebrated the saint day of Saint Nicholas, referred to in our native tongue as Sveti Nikola.

It’s a generational thing, and men pass it down to their sons and so on, so that the tradition of Sveti Nikola lives on. My Mum’s brothers have celebrated it, and passed it on to their sons, my cousins… and that’s exactly what we were doing tonight, on December the 19th. Celebrating the Saint who is the inspiration behind Santa Claus.

😉

There are many traditions upheld on this Saint day. They involve food and drink, but perhaps most importantly is the tradition of family unity, of love and peace and togetherness. I haven’t seen my cousins for about 4 months, and it was 4 months too long let me tell you. There have been so many life-changes of late, that I just wanted to see them, talk to them, and be in their company, if only for a little while. And what better time to do it than at a family union celebrating a tradition from our Forefathers.

When I looked into the tradition of Saint Nicholas this time last year, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that he was the basis of our modern day Santa Claus, with his image, meaning and celebration date slightly modified over the years. Nicholas himself was born in the 3rd century and raised as a devout Christian by parents who unfortunately died while he was still quite young. He spent his life giving all he had to the poor and unfortunate and helping those in need, leading to stories and legends about him as a protector and helper of humankind.

One story tells of a poor man with three daughters, who had no dowry, nothing of value to offer prospective husbands for his daughters. And this was a horrible fate, for not marrying would mean they were destined to be sold as slaves. However on three separate occasions, bags of gold were mysteriously and conveniently thrown into an open window, providing the much-needed dowry, apparently landing in a stocking drying by the fire. This is the basis for the tradition of children hanging out stockings for Saint Nicholas to put gifts in.

I find it beautiful, and highly convenient, that the patron Saint in my family is based on the man who today’s Santa Claus is inspired by. And it’s something to remember at this time of year. Whereas today there can often be an unnecessary focus on expensive gifts, people rushing about and not taking the much-needed time out, not to mention those whiners who just CAN’T WAIT ’til this year is over with, I much prefer the relaxed approach that this Saint day brings: unyielding family tradition, sharing love and happiness, and giving to help others, rather than giving so you can boast about how much you have.

I guess you can do those things on Christmas Day, which we do… but when you celebrate a Saint and have his picture in mind, and then remember all those before you… it makes it all the more personal.

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I love this time of year. 🙂

If you are interested in the rest of the world’s early portrayal of Saint Nicholas, and more info on how Saint Nicholas came to be the Santa Claus that we know and love, I found a great resource at this website with a tonne of really interesting facts:

https://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/who-is-st-nicholas/

Actually… I do love Santa, but after reading from the above link, I think I love Saint Nicholas more.

#94 Favourable company

We’ve had a lucky spate of guests today. So lucky, I’m writing post 12am.

You know it’s been a good day, when you don’t get a chance to sit down and write until it’s 12:44am.

Anyway. The first lot came at midday. They were my cousins, a.k.a. ‘The Sisters’ – sound like a Quentin Tarantino movie much? – and baby girl and I had a ball with them.

Then, quite spontaneously, we ended up with our besties, our good ol’ faithfuls, a.k.a. ‘Best Man and Fam.’ (Now we most definitely sound like we belong in a Kill Bill sequel).

2 and a half bottles of red were consumed within the day. Which, really, isn’t THAT much since we’ve been entertaining the whole day. One of them was this beauty

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which is the wine I bought in Spring of 2015 when I visited Panton’s. The review from that most marvellous of sunny days can be found here.

Maybe because we’d been drinking all day, maybe because we’d eaten all we could, maybe because we didn’t pair it with the recommended ‘duck’… but the Pinot was slightly underwhelming.

Nevertheless. The party went on, and the wine was made pleasurable just by the fact that we had awesome people with us today. People that I will definitely speak about individually in future posts, but today, with their presence in our house, when the home was made most beautiful with them being around it, I am grateful for them all.

I love being with great people. Surround yourself with those you love, who inspire you, who you want to be like, and who are doing the things you want to do. Just that act in itself, is a gratifying one on its own.

You’re fortunate when you have a handful of great people in your life who you can call your true friends. I was pretty lucky today, in that a good number of them came to see us. I’m going to sleep, a very content lady. ‘Night.

#72 Baby girl’s Fun

I try not to constantly refer to my happiness over baby girl, only because I think it bores even the most patient of people, even fellow parents. But I swear, if you had seen her tonight, you would understand why.

We saw my side of the family tonight for a family function shin-dig, and I knew that her cousin, about her age as well, would be there. Yes they are cousins, but technically they are 3rd generation cousins. There’s still blood there nonetheless. And being the cute adorable girls that they are, they tore up the dancefloor, squealed at the lights flashing, and stole the show, getting everyone’s eyes on them.

It just made me so happy. I was happy and grateful that she had

1) a friend to play with her age,

2) a friend to play with her age who was also her cousin, and

3) a friend to play with her age who was also her cousin who she would grow up together with, making heaps of memories along the way.

Wow. Just Wow. Most of my cousins are older than me, a couple younger, and although my childhood was beyond awesome, I didn’t have the kind of camaraderie that I see she’s going to have.  For me this is something really special. I’m rapt for her. But most importantly, the smile on her face tonight warmed my heart. 🙂

marisalarablog

(Deliberate blurry photo by the way 😉 )

 

#67 Two Easters

I’ve been raised in a Catholic family – perhaps not die-hard, practicing Catholic… but it was our religion. Is. I went to Sunday School at one point, did my Reconciliation, Communion, and then the final Confirmation… and after that our church visits ceased. It was really only for me to do the accepted church thing at my age. I don’t blame my parents or begrudge them, as they are not the only ones who made their children do things that were considered the norm, only to not follow through in life with their own examples. I was cool with not going. I think most people at that age are, and even now, many people don’t like the idea of going to church, like it makes them a weird person or overly obsessive or something.

I don’t know. I mean, yeah it has gotten a bad rap in recent times with all these horrible  allegations of church child abuse… Nowadays though, if I feel like I want to go, for whatever reason, I’ll go. Actually Hubbie and I often say that we should go, on any given random day and just pay tribute, not so much to the church, but to our beliefs and to the guy at the church who married us and christened our baby girl too (ahem, that would be the Priest). We haven’t, but we always say we should.

Rambling now. But my point is, we want to go on an ‘everyday’ Sunday, rather than the day that ALL people go on just to say that they went… like for Christmas, or Easter.

Speaking of my segue, I’m grateful for Easter. Because I have two. And it’s because of religion.

Yes I was raised in a Catholic family. But my Mum comes from an Orthodox background. So growing up, although we celebrated Christmas and Easter when most of the world did too, on the days listed in the calendar, I was always aware of the other days that were celebrated, often because I was there at the parties that my cousins, on my Mum’s side, threw.

It was so normal to me. Then, years later, I met Hubbie, and his family are Orthodox too. Now even more so, we celebrate these main occasions twice: first for MY Easter – then for HIS.

Today was HIS Easter.

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I think it’s pretty cool, to be able to celebrate something like this twice. When a day is filled with gift-giving, eating and drinking, sharing traditions and memories with your immediate family, who wouldn’t want to celebrate that more than once? I baked many sweet treats on the traditional calendar Easter day, and yes, the majority of our festivities usually fall on that mainstream celebrated day. I mean, that’s when the public holidays fall. But I decided weeks ago that I should really make an effort for the Orthodox Easter, and so I baked my hot cross buns again.

Sometimes I get an odd question from people who don’t know my background too well – knowing I’m of European descent, they ask: “do you celebrate Easter/Christmas on the normal day, or the other day?” Their question may be perfectly innocent, however I can hear the tone in it. They think it is weird or just can’t quite grasp why it is the way it is, that there is not one, but two Easters. I just politely answer that yes we celebrate the main day, but we also celebrate the other too.

I don’t know why people find it so strange. It’s bizarre to me that people shy away from things they don’t understand, rather than trying to learn some more about them and become better educated, and more socially aware in the process. To me, Easter is Easter. Whether we celebrated it at the end of March, or today, or on both occasions, it really doesn’t matter.

What matters is that we’re getting together and celebrating, making memories and eating hot cross buns. That’s the most important thing 🙂

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