#359 Mum joined facebook

Like, literally. This happened in the real world, TODAY.

I had messaged sis late last night with a whole barrage of various questions

(Do you want to see the Wiggles in Frankston/What size sour cream goes into that awesome dip/Can I get the bread a day in advance)

so it came as a little surprise when I turned on my phone and her reply to me this morning was

“Pls send FB request for Mum when you have a minute.”

What?!

I cared not that she hadn’t answered my questions, nor that I was in the middle of preparing brekkie and a hungry baby girl was nearby… I hightailed it to my FB app and typed in Mum’s name, and lo and behold THERE WAS AN ONLINE IDENTITY FOR HER.

(Angels sing!)

For people who are old-school, and who grew up in a tiny European village with one pair of pants, and a toilet as a hole in the ground, this is a big deal. As forward thinking and open-minded as my parents are, I still never thought I would ever see THIS day. We had been talking about getting Mum a new phone lately, with a FB app so she could connect with family here and abroad, but until I saw my Mum’s profile pic (of her and my Dad, shucks) it actually didn’t seem possible.

I for one, am over the moon. I never thought of the possibilities of my Mum having a facebook account, and I guess it’s just the thought that she can see what I see, and also, see me, and baby girl, and Hubbie online, whenever she likes, especially now that we are living further away from each other. The opportunities are exciting for her, and I know this even if she doesn’t, yet, which is why I am so happy for her.

What did I do upon finding her profile? On her wall:

“Hi Mum, welcome to facebook! ♥”

🙂

I’m chuffed my Mum is on Facebook. Really, words I never thought I would utter.

#322 Re-commencing the holidays

Our holidays have been on hold since my Dad was taken to hospital several days ago. And even though he was discharged yesterday, I was still busy with both him and Mum today, organising many other things for them.

I would run to the side of any of my immediate family members or close friends who needed me, whether due to health, heartache, or general ‘help’ reasons. And I am so grateful that Dad is now doing better.

But I can also say that I’m grateful our holidays are starting up again. We went out to dinner tonight, and it was great to do so with such satisfaction and relief, knowing that not only did Sis and I do everything we could for our parents these last few days, but they are both getting looked after and WILL be getting better. Things ARE actually, genuinely, on the improve.

Which means my last few days of the holidays, will surely be on the improve too.

(Exhale).

#321 Freedom from hospital

I walked in and out of hospital a lot today.

Re-park the car. Get some coffee. Get some food. Make a phone call. Re-park the car.

Repeat repeat repeat.

And in that time, I saw, A LOT. People getting wheeled in on beds, masks over their faces. Wheelchair-bound patients, angry looks on their faces. Elderly people sitting side by side, hunched over in their solitary hospital room. The sound of pain. The look of helplessness. Tiredness. Despondent eyes. Clinical walls and grey grey grey, EVERYWHERE.

My lips did turn upwards too, though. I remembered with weird fondness, as I looked up to the familiar flight of stairs, how over 3 and a half years ago I was in the midst of such pain, only to be met by the most amazing, beautiful and curious eyes in the world, in the immediate aftermath.

I saw babies. I saw mother’s and father’s carrying their own. I looked at little children, the adult hands they were holding, and a part of me was happy.

Despite my thoughts, I was still happy to be able to move in and out of the hospital as I pleased, to not be bound by ill health or medical necessity to require a stay, no matter how short or long, there. And it was twice as nice when I walked out late afternoon, with both Mum, AND Dad beside me.

He was discharged today. An unexpected happiness that we are so happy about.

I know there is a tremendous amount of positivity and amazing acts performed by the medical staff in hospitals all over the world, but seriously, I’m just glad that I was able to leave the premises today. With both my parents.

#320 3 generations on the bed

A continuation of an earlier post.

Last night Mum stayed with my sister during Dad’s first overnight hospital stay.

Tonight, it was our turn.

We had already passed on our “sweet dreams” and well wishes for the night to her, with baby girl repeatedly confirming that Baka, was indeed sleeping next door to her, and followed that with several hugs and kisses.

I was tidying around the house and went into baby girl’s room when I heard my Mum’s loud laughter. I moved around the room, and it happened again. I grinned. “You ok in there?”

She had done her bid: she had caught my attention.

I went into the dimly lit room and sat on the bed with her as she proceeded to tell me some things that had been on her mind, kind of funny, kind of not, but nonetheless I listened and lended her my ear.

Baby girl soon realised I was missing and came charging into the room. She disappeared during our conversation to bring along some Wiggles figurines to the party, and soon, there were 3 generations on the bed… alongside Emma, Lachy, Simon and Anthony of course. Talking to my Mum like that reminded me of our conversations of old, when I would have 3 hour D&Ms with her on a Saturday morning as a teen, sitting across from each other at our old round kitchen table.

I smiled with much content, as baby girl repeatedly hugged her Baka, watching their reflection in the opposite dresser mirror, while my Mum casually returned the embraces and kissed her while not missing or pausing for a forgotten word. When my Mum laughed, so did baby girl, mimicking her characteristic tone.

I was very happy. It is lovely indeed, when you find precious and beautiful moments amidst such uncertainty. It was heart-warming to see such love between them, and seeing how they related to one another, along with the physical resemblance, makes it all the more appropriate that baby girl is her namesake 🙂

 

 

#319 Little Scares

Big things aren’t always the best things. Sometimes, the little things are much rather preferred.

Take a little scare, over a big scare, for example.

It’s been a long and tiring day. It felt like it took 3 times as long to drive to the hospital where Dad was, following his health scare this morning. Plagued with worries and unreal scenarios in my mind, indented by the picture I had of Dad smiling at us that I posted about the other day, I was a bit of an emotional mess.

But I had no reason to be. Because it was a little scare. For now it seems anyway, and they are keeping him overnight more as a precaution, than a real concern. Dad is good, his spirits are well, and I even noticed how we had a moment of silly family fun, as Mum, Sis and I waited for Dad to be moved into another room, joking with the ‘taxi driver’ (bed mover) in the process.

I will take a little scare any day. When it comes to my family, it allows me to at least, breathe a sigh of relief, and express deep heartfelt thanks for it.

 

#254 Hubbie, the bug catcher

It’s been a really weird kinda day. I’ve been thinking all evening over what to write about for my grateful piece, and it just came to me a moment ago, literally as I was logging in to WordPress… over an incident that occurred not even 2 hours ago.

Hubbie killed a spider.

I walked into the room with baby girl after her bath, and saw the big mofo up on the wall. I tried not to make a fuss and hid baby girl from it, but she feels our vibes. Too late on that one. I’m trying not to make her a any-type-of-bug-insect-pansy like me, but she’s seen me shriek bloody murder too many times at the creepy crawlies to prevent that from happening now.

Hubbie gets a tissue, moves some boxes against the wall below the spider aside, steps up onto a nearby chair, and I wince, my back turned against him, waiting for him to go “crap!” and then for me to tear out the room with baby girl as he goes chasing the runabout spider all around the place.

But nothing. Instead, “it’s gone.”

“Are you sure?” Bugs must be dead, not ‘kind of’ dead, legs rotating in my face as I later open the bin to throw some food scraps out. I want them in bug heaven, on their way to America* kinda dead.

“Look!”

I hesitantly turn and from afar see a squashed up dark thing in his tissue. Yep. Whatever. That’s all the proof I need.

No fuss. No stress. Quick. Easy. No remnants of a spider ever being there left behind. I feel… proud. Relieved. Rapt. Grateful, in fact.

“See baby girl? That’s what you need in a husband – one who kills bugs quickly.”

Screw honesty. Dedication is overrated. Passion is nothing if he isn’t willing to defend you from creepy crawlers. And loyalty is just like, bleh.

All you need is a man who will kill any bug for you, and do it willingly, with no drama, and no hesitation.

Man see bug – GONE.

This is the perfect husband. I’m getting baby girl to take notes.

(*When I was little and my Mum would clean up the spiders from around the house when Dad was at work, she’d squash them in a tissue if little, or if big catch them in a broom, and throw the tissue/shake the brooms end into the toilet, before flushing the bugger away. And her catch phrase? “There he goes, off to America.” I think that seemed far away enough for her that she thought I would be satisfied it is long gone, but I was always confused over how any kind of dead spider could make it that far…)

#127 The tape cassette – voices from the past

It’s 1976. My Mum is back in her homeland, with my sister who is 7ish. My grandmother – my Mum’s Mum – is unwell, and my Mum and my sister, along with a couple of aunties and one uncle, have all gone back to visit her and various other loved ones they left behind when they went to try their hand in the ‘lucky country.’

My Dad is not there. I can hear my sister, so little, her voice warbled and strewn out the way mine was when I was that age, talking about leaving her cat behind. She’s saying that she hopes Dad is feeding him. She was sad when he said he wasn’t going overseas with her and Mum. She was silent, curious at his statement. He explained to her that if he went, they would have no one to feed her beloved cat.

He also added, that he wants her to eat well while she is away. Because if she doesn’t eat well, he will know, and therefore won’t feed her cat well. And if he doesn’t feed the cat well, well God forbid, the cat could get sick or possibly die! Shock horror.

This is all relayed with much laughter on the cassette. I can hear my Mum’s brother and his wife laugh and joke over what Dad will do with her cat. She calls out “laze!” (liar). I tear up, fascinated by my sister’s voice and character back then. I wasn’t around. I perhaps, wasn’t even a thought. Until 7 years later.

It’s the present day. Thursday June 30, 2016. I am in my parents lounge room, and due to some unspoken, unexpressed, deep-seeded need, my Mum has spontaneously put an old cassette tape with writing all over it, into the player. She said “n0!” when I threatened baby girl with leaving, as she was being cheeky and getting into all sorts of things that she shouldn’t.

“Here’s Baba,” my Mum says suddenly as a new voice enters the speaker after a distinct break in recording. “Your Dad’s Mum.”

I listen ardently, straining to make out every word through baby girl’s bouncing and racket behind me. She is sending many happy wishes, positive words and sweet thoughts to the whole family. She wishes her son were there with them too, but adds in a glass half-full fashion that even seeing my Mum and my sister is dear and touching enough.

She starts to tell him, through the cassette recorder, in between countless kilometres of earth and sea, that his daughter is a joy. She is such a happy child. She ran to her without hesitation, yelling “Baka!” (Grandma). I tear up, hearing the way the woman I never met speak about my sister. I try not to look at my Dad, knowing what I will see; but I can’t help it. I look back to him sitting on the couch, and his face is a wretched twist of emotion. Gone, but his eyes and the tears are speaking ‘never forgotten.’

Baby girl jumps in front of Mum and I, trying to touch the player. I hear my Grandmother’s voice, and with sharp clarity realise the start contrast of life. I never met any of my grandparents. Not one of them. Yet baby girl shares the most beautiful bond with my parents. I wonder if she realises how lucky she is.

I’ve always wondered what my grandparents would have thought of me. Would they have been proud of me? Would they have loved me? I hear my Dad’s Mum speaking about my sister, and my heart swells with joy. I know my doubts are ridiculous. I can hear the love in her voice. But still, I was never there when they were. I always wonder ‘what if?’ Do they see me now? Do they care? I hope and pray that they are one of my Angels watching over me… maybe even baby girl.

I listen to my Mum on the tape. Her voice is so youthful, so beautiful. She is sitting there near me, and I can hear her now as she intermittently explains who has just spoken… but as her voice comes through the player, man oh man do I wish I could see her then. See her vibrancy, her beauty, her naivety at all that is still to come. The desire runs deep and wild.

The emotion that one little cassette tape can bring out, is unbelievable. I’ve always wanted to record my own parents on cassette tape, to capture their stories from their childhood, teenage years, how they met and then came to Australia, and everything thereafter. I guess everyone thinks their family history is pretty fascinating, but there have been times when I’m listening to my parents tell me something that happened 40 years ago, and I can just see the picture: it’s there. It’s playing out to me, LIVE, and it’s the most fascinating story I have ever seen.

Today’s unexpected recorded moments have lit a desire in me. I don’t know how I will manage it, but I want to somehow record my parents life stories. I have a cassette tape recorder, and with it I will buy time if I have to.

There’s one thing that gives me comfort in never having met my grandparents. I think of my grandmother’s voice, her glass half-full view on things… I remember what my aunties have told me, about how I share her physical stance, her disposition. And I think, even if I never met her, or met any of my grandparents for that matter, they all live on, in one way through me. There is a part of them, in me, right now. And that’s pretty damn cool.

And I really could convey what my Grandmother was like from just that little brief moment of listening to her today. I am grateful to the tape cassette, for it brings people oceans apart within ears reach, and brings those who have never met into each other’s hearts.

Those voices, long gone, were very alive today.