#611 New neighbours, old neighbours

A pair of brothers, primary-school aged, live next door. Confident, direct, interested. They sat perched on the fence bordering our homes as I put up the washing this afternoon, baby girl on the ground floor trying to scale up our side of the fence to reach them.

“Can we play with her?” the younger one asked.

“Ahhh,” I stalled. I didn’t have any reason to say no, but I had a headache, I needed to start dinner, and I didn’t know where they would play… I hadn’t even met their mother, and so I couldn’t just unceremoniously dump baby girl on her to play with some older boys at her house.

“She’s having an early dinner soon, so I’m not sure,” I bluffed.

“Is that because she’s going to bed earlier?” (I told you, interested).

“No, not really…”

“Maybe we can come over and play after dinner?”

“Yeah.” Push things to after. “We’ll see what happens.”

I then took the washing basket in thinking it was all resolved and nothing would happen, while baby girl jumped on her trampoline and let off some steam.

Well then, I actually started on dinner. And about 45 minutes later, with things well underway, Hubbie home from work and now my splitting headache also far along, I was sitting for a moment on the couch, doing a Bold and the Beautiful catch-up, when something caught my eye out of the front window, some figures coming up the footpath towards the house.

Boys. Barefoot. Bowed heads.

But ready to play with Baby Girl.

I turned to baby girl who hadn’t yet seen them, and when I asked her if she wanted to play with them, here and now, she almost couldn’t believe her stroke of luck.

She led them to the backyard and they jumped away like mad, performing all manner of tricks in the trampoline.

The boys came inside, spoke to us. Looked at our nearby photos, played with her toys. They slam dunked on a basketball hoop we have hanging off a nearby door, and we asked them about their primary school.

They were really gentle and kind with baby girl.

They all played together, just perfectly. And the level of respect they showed to her, just blew me away.

Even besides the impressing me part, I was reminded, and led back to the good ol’ days when I was that young kid. At my neighbours’ house – and I had three friendly neighbour houses who I frequented daily back then – that I knew back to front.

I knew their lives and their families. They knew mine. It was the perfect, best upbringing. Four houses in a row, and all four houses with girls of the same age. It was the stuff of stories. Not even writers could write this stuff and get away with it.

But so too, it ended the way stories do. People grow up. Parents separate. Kids go to private schools and remove themselves. And soon they all moved away.

It doesn’t take away from my awesome childhood memories, and honestly, I have too many. I am still in contact with 2 out of those 3 girls, and even went to their weddings, and they mine, so I think that is a fabulous effort considered.

But I sometimes think, and ponder, how nice it would be for baby girl to grow up amongst that kind of setting. Neighbours her age, where they could spend their days together, outside as kids should, running and bike riding and playing hide and seek within a one block radius, ‘park permitted.’ 🙂

Freedom, and yet safety. Where the parents know each other, know the kids, and all can play together, alternating houses, and yet the parents can still tell their kids friends to ‘go home because we’re having dinner now.’ That kind of honest, direct, freedom.

I thought of all that today. I thought of what I had growing up, and I looked at what was happening now in our house.

The noise, the kids, the neighbours. Her new friends 🙂

The ball rolled over to me as I was chopping cucumbers. I kicked it back to the young boy who took it and slam dunked against the hoop.

Later, Hubbie interrupted their jumping party outside and told them it was now our dinner time. Baby girl waved them off, “bye boys!” while he hoisted them OVER THE FENCE.

Now that’s, a real neighbour. I freaking love it :):):)

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Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash

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#599 Cucumber love

Always about the time I start dinner prep, baby girl comes looking for a snack.

She came excitedly over as she saw me cutting something over on the chopping board.

What was she expecting? What could she possibly want as a toddler, for a snack?

Chocolate?

Biscuits?

Chips?

No.

“Cucumber?” she asked as she looked at the onions being chopped up before her.

I laughed. “No honey. But I’ll chop some up RIGHT NOW…”

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I feel like I am seriously winning in some part of the Parenthood game, when my child is excited at the thought of eating cucumbers.

Sure, it could be because it’s a fairly neutral, non-offensive taste.

Sure, it could be because she knows cucumbers are always somewhere on the menu.

Sure, it could be because she actually doesn’t mind the taste, and let’s face it it’s not a vegetable that people tend to hate.

Still, WINNING. And feeling really grateful too.

Because I’d much rather she be getting excited, and asking for a vegetable, than a non-healthy snack…

(because she has plenty of time to get excited over non-healthy snacks over our daily babycino breaks, shhhh).

I’ll steep in the gratitude as long as her cucumber-eating days let me…

#587 Dancing in the kitchen with my Luv

Hub. Hubba Luv Bub.

I was getting frustrated, because NO ONE was listening to me. Yes I wanted to enjoy our Saturday Night In too. But I knew the dishes wouldn’t wash themselves.

I just wanted Baby Girl and Hubbie to get dinner over and done with – just eat, so I can clean up! Baby Girl was getting distracted by EVERYTHING, and Hubbie was getting distracted my his fave Saturday night ‘beverage’ (who am I kidding, beverages) and the music blasting out of the portable speaker.

Breathe. Breathe.

And then he pulled me into the kitchen. He pulled me onto our makeshift kitchen dancefloor, and I let him – I don’t know why. Maybe I was too tired to argue. But he pulled me into a slow dance, to a song I didn’t even like, some kind of old folksy song. We danced close together, and I smiled. We didn’t dance like this often anymore, not out, not even at home…

My face burrowed into the tea towel hanging over his shoulder, our bodies close, we giggled and whispered sweet nothings to each other, with Baby Girl looking on and telling me about her toys. Of course honey, your toys.

It was a few minutes at most, but I was glad it had happened. I was glad I hadn’t held onto my stubborn nagging stance. I was glad, for when you are in Love, holding a grudge, a hard position, or a winning argument, doesn’t serve anyone well.

One of the biggest relationship quotes that has inspired and helped me, has been this:

Would you rather be right, or would you rather have peace?

I Let It Go. I released my desire to control the situation. I let it be. And in turn I got a beautiful dance with my beautiful Hubbie.

And guess what? I put the bloody dishwasher on. Because that’s what Saturday Night Ins are for.

They’re for spending time with your loved ones, and even pulling a few sneaky moves on the dancefloor…

#576 Just Desserts

The chocolate malted turtle is one beast of a dessert.

There are layers of chocolate fudge cake, caramel and ice cream, further punctuated with roasted pecans and chocolate malt icing.

Nom nom nom.

It also comes in one hell of a serving dish.

Because of this, it is only in the event of an extreme emergency that one can actually finish this dessert ON THEIR OWN. These events are the ones that requite immediate ‘dessert therapy:’ some that spring to mind are a break-up; you quit your job; had a fight with your bestie; had a shit day; or you just didn’t get that last pair of shoes on sale that you wanted – you know, the really difficult life-crushing stuff.

Fortunately for me I was not in that state of mind, and so Hubbie and I shared one together while out to dinner at TGIs.

Even so I had about 3/4s.

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There is something special about having dessert after dinner. Sure, people go out to dinner ALL the time, and dessert itself certainly isn’t a novel concept, but still to be out and go “I am not yet done,” and get dessert after your main meal? It is a bit of a luxury that I love to indulge in.

Baby girl also got the most fantastic surprise when she too, got dessert. What I love about her age is that you will not get any fake excitement. No pretending, no trying not to hurt your feelings. With a 4 year-old it is all RAW. When the oreo ice-cream dish came to the table, the immediate “woah!” followed by “yay!” that came from her mouth, would have made the damn waiter feel chuffed for bringing it to the table, almost like he had made It himself.

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Here’s to sweet endings.

 

#509 Friday night d&m and surprises with Hubbie

Most Fridays we have the MIL with us, which makes for light-hearted, event and people based chit-chat.

“How are these people going?”

“How was work?”

“What are the weekend plans?”

“What will you do on Sunday?”

“Did you hear about that?”

and so on.

Tonight however, it was just US – baby girl, hubbie and I. And quite surprisingly and happily, we started to get into it.

He dropped some surprising statements, which had me slightly reeling – just from the sheer unpredictability of it ever being said.

“What? Are you serious? Seriously, I feel like I don’t know you.”

All good, and nothing bad. Just different, and eye-opening. We got into some d&m, and you know the convo has gone deep and fulfilling, when the dinner sit-down has long passed the eaten food that has come and gone before it.

“Well if I do this, with your talent here, and my knowledge there, we could both – “

Now I was reeling, again. I know this is a whole lot of blah blah blah to the rest of the world, but after our talk I had the most profound sense of I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO EXPECT FROM LIFE.

We always talk about living life to the full, and cramming as much experience and fun and passion into what we have been given here on earth, yet still, for a man that I know so, so well, he had me absolutely stunned and baffled.

And as I dwelled on it, I realised I loved it.

I’m not a person to stay stagnant, and remain in the same role or field for the rest of my life. And seeing that he is the same, and just like me is open to new and exciting experiences, if only to explore and see where the open doors lead him, well that is equally exciting to watch and be a part of.

I love that we are passionate, we know what we love, but also, we love to keep things exciting, fresh, and moving on.

To be inspired by the man in your life, and find even greater motivation to love him, well…

that is something I am eternally grateful for.

And all from a Friday night convo. All good things come from Fridays…

 

#491 Hubbie’s early homecoming

It’s harder to hitch a ride on the gratitude bandwagon when the days are cold and dreary, and hibernation becomes your key activity. Which is why it’s so important to look closely around you, and appreciate all the little words, events, and actions, surprises and glimpses of happiness that find their way to you.

As such, today. It’s not like Hubbie never comes home early from work. There have been times here and there where he’s been let off a little earlier than usual – because, Winter. Slow days, and when the job is done, well often there is no point sticking around, 3 men to do the job of 1 for the last hour.

So today, as Hubbie approached the front door a fair bit earlier than his usual hometime, and I waved happily at him while baby girl took her position of ‘immediate hide and seek’ game under the table, I was immediately appreciative of his early release from the work quarters.

Hubbie is home earlier, which means we have dinner earlier. We get to sit on the couch for a bit afterwards and just talk to each other, about deep issues and light-hearted things, anything random and significant that pops to mind. We don’t usually get to talk like this when we are working, so it’s a bonus.

It also means I might get 5 or so minutes to put my feet up and browse through my Donna Hay cookbook, getting ideas and inspiration in the midst of these quiet and low-key months ahead.

Or, I can also watch through the window at Hubbie complying to baby girl’s request, and see them jumping wildly in the trampoline against the fading evening light.

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Whatever my reasons are to be grateful to have Hubbie home earlier from work, whether they be small or big reasons, they are ALL worth it… and yet the biggest reason to be grateful, is the simplest one… just to have him home, with us. Just for a little bit more. That’s enough.

 

#391 Wine by the water

This is an alcohol-induced post, so it will likely be forgotten by tomorrow morning… I will wake at 9ish, and scratching my head, wonder ‘did I write my gratitude post last night?’

And wine-induced SmikG will already be posted over here on carcrashgratitude, with a smug ‘yep.’

I’m talking bullshit, let’s continue.

But, we went to a new restaurant by the water tonight, and with the rain pouring outside, providing an oddly romantic backdrop, we enjoyed a lovely dinner, and a lovely glass of wine.

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It’s the little things. Wine makes me happy, and that makes me grateful 🙂