#443 Beautiful things at the Royal Children’s Hospital

Baby girl was only little when we learnt of her hip dysplasia. Her left leg socket wasn’t fitting snugly around her thigh bone, creating the possibility of the bone slipping out, and not forming properly, and in turn hampering her future prospects of walking normally.

Or something to that effect. It’s not that an uncommon thing, as I soon learnt, though at the time I was absolutely distraught. My baby girl had to wear a leg brace from the early age of 8 weeks, for nearly 5 months, with the upside being that she was able to spend the second half of that time wearing it only at night, allowing her the possibility of movement during the day.

This of course pushed back her rolling/crawling/walking milestones. I was still impressed however when she took her first steps at 16 months – that was her willpower to move about and cover as much ground as she could. My trooper girl.

All is good now. She stopped with the brace when x-rays showed the socket wrapping around the bone, securing it more tightly, and follow up x-rays over the years showed further positive progress in that area.

Which is why we were at the Royal Children’s Hospital today. These doctors have a predisposition for cautiousness and check-ups.

I was so pleased to see the halls, walls and rooms in a new light this time when we walked in, about 2 years after our last appointment. The lift interiors had brightly-coloured drawings covering from top to bottom, and on the ground floor there was a windy climbing pipe contraption, with a huge mechanical butterfly upon the top with its wings slowly opening and closing every so often.

In the orthopaedic section there was a craft table set up for the kids, where they could colour in, paste scraps of material on paper, and create some special artwork to take home. Volunteers oversaw this area, helping out the kids where needed, and nearby there was a playmat with building blocks and cars to push around.

Soon, there was a “choo choo” sound, and whether coincidence or not, an odd-looking clown then wandered by to entertain/make fun of the kids. He blew up bubble-type balloons, called children “Nanna” and “Adidas” (“because that’s what’s on your top”), but most importantly, he made them laugh and smile.

He made them forget they were in a hospital. All of these things made the children forget, if only for a bit.

And isn’t that a precious thing… while we wait for a world where children never fall sick, in the meantime let’s make the world a little happier, a little more fun, a little brighter for the ones who do need to visit a doctor for whatever reason…

… and I’m so happy to see an institution like the RCH, doing just that. It makes me proud to be a human.

IMAG4029

And, baby girl is doing well 🙂

#411 Life & Family

It’s the simplest, and most non-complicated of gratitudes.

It’s something everyone reading this blog has, and yet not many of us give thanks for it, often, or at all… that is until you go to a funeral.

Today I went to a funeral.

Nothing makes you humbler, brings you down to earth, sets your priorities, and shows you what really matters in life, like the death of someone you know. And when it is someone who had a young and loving family, and who still had so much more to see and live for, it is especially heartbreaking.

I don’t need to tell you the scenes: it was devastating. I broke down. Everyone did. And at the end of the day, driving to pick up baby girl from my parents place, I reached across and clutched Hubbie’s arm: “I love you so much.”

We should all be so, so grateful. I know I am. I am alive, I have my Life, and I have the blessing of having a Family – nothing could make me happier. I am the richest woman because I have that, and I could almost end this blog, this whole carcrashgratitude online journal, right here…

But I have so much more to be grateful for, and I will spend my life looking for all the ways.

But the above gratitude? That wins it all.

 

#406 Coffee Walk Life Reflection

This post has very little to do with the frivolity and luxury that a coffee walk evokes. And I don’t mean to put down any serious coffee drinkers out there with those words (myself included), but really, this post is less 1st world luxury, and more about the serious humbling nature of Life and Death.

Late last night Hubbie and I learned that a man we knew, a family friend, had died on the weekend. He had been in his 30s, a little older than Hubbie, with two beautiful little kids, and a loving wife.

This man died due to a horrible, horrible disease. The same disease that took Hubbie’s Dad away.

Our hearts broke at the news. Of course, with a terminal affliction such as this, death becomes a thought that makes space in your head quite early on, cleaning up the floor and moving stuff away so it can become a prominent feature in the living room of your mind.

But, he was young. And strong. And had so much to live for. We really hoped, that he at least, for the sake of himself and his family, would be one of the lucky ones to survive.

But… bastard disease.

This morning I walked in-between my two work colleagues to grab a coffee. The sun bathed us as we crossed the road to the sunny side. I thought of him, this man that was no longer walking on Earth. It had been days since he had left us all. He could not see the beautiful sunlight streaming down upon us. He could not bath in its beauty. He could not see the light sparkling off the rippling water, and he could most definitely not walk out to get a coffee.

My quiet reflections humbled me. Here I was, doing the most simplest of things, something that I was always so grateful and happy to do… and this morning, it just meant so much MORE.

We are all so lucky. If you are reading this, take a moment and show some gratitude that you are even still here on this earth. Life is so fragile, so fleeting, so flagged by chance, that I thank my lucky stars every day, that I am here with my loved ones.

Be grateful. Be grateful for it all. For it is all beautiful.

#405 “Thanks!” or “Change!” ?!

She says “change” or something to that effect, but really she means “thanks.”

She’s been expressing her gratitude for little things lately (aww, starting early 🙂 ), and it makes my heart just about burst.

She didn’t say it when we went to Cruden Farm today.

She didn’t say it after we waited 50 minutes for her to jump on a trampoline with 5 other kids for the measly duration of 5 minutes.

She didn’t say it when she saw the massive dinosaurs interactively walk past.

Nor did she say it in the car when we were away from the heat, and I gave her a packet of crisps to tide her by.

She didn’t say it when I handed her her happy meal in the Maccas drive-through.

No. But baby girl said it moments later at our dining table, as she was opening her happy meal: she poured out her fries on a spread-out napkin, happily took out her Barbie pony toy, and then saw that she also had nuggets.

“Oh!” was her gasping response.

“Do you like it?” I asked her.

“Ohhh,” she replied fondly, hugging the packet of warm nuggets to her chest, smiling with her chin pointed down to one side, eyes squinty as she said “Change.”

LOL. ‘Thanks.’

Having her say “thanks” is about the sweetest thing in the world. Because not only does she recognise that she is getting something special (she is 3 and a half and has only had a happy meal twice in her life – mind you our next child will probably have had 30 by the same age, part of the deal when the older sibling influences the younger), but she is recognising that it is important to be thankful for it. Appreciative.

Grateful 🙂 All for a packet of nuggets. I love it.

 

#399 Colleague appreciation no.2

So, it’s getting later in the gratitude game now, where I’m tending to double up on gratitude moments.

Not really double-up, but the theme is similar, hence all my “no.2” posts at the moment.

Take coffee for example (of course I would use coffee as an example). A narrow-minded person may be grateful for it, once. But an open-ended and wide-ranging one, would take cause to notice it’s deep aroma, the texture, the way it perks you up, it’s up-lifting qualities, of course it’s taste, and then there’s all the places you can enjoy this fine beverage in a range of wonderful locations… and so, so much more.

You get my drift.

I actually have been grateful to coffee in a number of ways too. And I will continue to be.

As I will find reasons to be grateful, for many, many other things multiple times over.

Like, a nice compliment. Appreciation. Who doesn’t need a bit of kindness directed their way???

So today I had my usual coffee walk with my work colleagues. I haven’t seen them properly in a while, which means that although I, and they, have all been working, with all of our shift work, and then my part-time work on top of that, I’ve just been catching the end of them as they conclude their day’s work.

I was both surprised and touched to hear, amidst our light-hearted banter, that they had missed me, and preferred when I worked earlier in the day, as opposed to late in the afternoon.

“But I don’t make that much of a difference!” I exclaimed, referring to my part-time work.

“But you do!”

Awww. I’ve known them for quite a few years now, and it’s interesting how well you begin to know each other’s lives and everything in it. I’m pretty lucky to work within a great team, and to hear from some of my longest and best colleagues that I’m missed when away…

Well, that just makes me blush. 🙂

#390 Baby girl’s naps no.2 – catch-up

This post has very little to do with baby girl, and all to do with what I do when she is NOT around.

I’m lucky that at the age of 3 and a half, she still naps. About, an hour to 90 minutes a day, sometimes even 2 hours if we’ve been to the beach, or she’s been to kinder or run around heaps. And even then I start to make a lot of noise at the 90 minute mark, as I know that putting her to bed that night might be a tad difficult after a long nap.

She’s just like her Mum. She loves her sleep, and I’m fortunate to say, she always has.

Today she went for an hour 40 minutes. During this time, I plop myself in front of the laptop, and begin all kinds of writing tasks/passions.

Today it was personal journal writing; food review writing; and book review writing.

I’ve been behind in my food and book reviews for so long. Soooo long. You know when you are so behind in something, you start to consider giving it up?

‘It’s too hard. I can’t keep up.’

‘My life is too busy right now.’

‘This is getting out of hand.’

‘Maybe I’ll try this in 5 years time.’

I wasn’t sure, whether any of it was worth it. The reviews. The blog. Even the gratitude. I question myself on some days, when things are hard, when time is pressed, and I don’t think I’m going anywhere.

But, I am grateful for the stubborn Lion that I am.

Because I just can’t freaking give up so easy. It’s not in my DNA.

You shouldn’t either.

As hard as it has been in the last months/years/life since parenthood (!) I have still persevered. I have moved EVER SO SLOWLY. And I fortunately, have not given up. These moments I get when baby girl is napping, and then when she is sleeping late at night, I am able to move on, to try and catch up, to keep things going with my blogs, my personal writings, my passionate pursuits, as much as I can.

They are slow, ever so slow, baby steps. A snails pace. And there are days when I have to do other things. ‘Responsible’ things. I can’t write every day, and those days feel so wasted on me. But when I can, I try my damn best.

But today, after doing some more writing, and then taking a kind of step back to go ‘hmm, my food reviews are almost catching up,’ and ‘hmm, I’m heading through my current book review at a decent pace’ (with 3 more looming in the background but that’s not the point!) I felt, good. I felt like, I was getting somewhere. And I started to feel like, I might actually be catching up.

That was such a good feeling. And I am so grateful, I had it. More so, I’m grateful that baby girl’s reliable naps, gave me the opportunity for it 🙂

#381 ‘Snap the f*&k out of it’

Is what Hubbie said to me as I was having a whine as we were bathing baby girl.

Or something to that effect.

I deserved it though. Whole-heartedly. I was still wretched when he said it, but I know I deserved it.

To sum it up simply, I was upset about my tummy. And a little about my arms. I had started workout sessions a few weeks ago, but because after a particular session I later developed quite concentrated lower back pain, I had to stop.

Then I felt unwell for a few days, and I’ve just been hanging around the house, all woe is me. Feeling sorry for myself.

It’s hard when you notice you don’t look the way you want to look. When your body is different, and you want to change it, and don’t know how, or where to start, and then when you do find the motivation and courage to put yourself out there –

Ow. ‘Ow,’ ‘ouch’ and ‘ooh’ happens.

My tummy is not how I want it to be, and even though I was proactive about fixing it, developing an exercise-related injury made me feel like ‘What!? What do I do now?’

Whinging, moaning.

I know. Like a little bitch.

So he started “I’m just gonna put it in perspective for you here.”

And suddenly, I read his mind. I knew what he was gonna say, and where he was gonna go, and immediately, my negativity sobered up. I let him say it anyway.

He told me how he was feeling flat at work today, getting out of his car, and then he saw a man across the road in an electric wheelchair. That man’s only mode of transport was that chair, and that was the way he was going to spend his life. His only life. In a wheelchair.

But wait, he continued. He wasn’t done sobering me up yet. I listened as he recalled the story someone had told him recently, of an adult woman, who wears a nappy, and basically has her shit cleaned up by a family member, every day.

She is not well, this woman. Which is why she has to wear a nappy. And if it weren’t for her family, looking out for her and tending to her, she wouldn’t even have a clean bum.

Is she ever going to ever have a boyfriend, Hubbie asked?

Will she ever have sex?

Will she ever get married?

Will she ever have kids?

No, no, no, no. No to all counts and so many more. The one life she has been given, is this one. And this is how she has to live, this life. Will she come back in another lifetime as a supermodel? Does it even matter, if the above answers are no? How does it matter, if this life is the way, it is, spent in a nappy?

I then took the move to agree with him, and added that I’d read the startling fact recently that the majority of the world, is poor. So anyone getting by half-decently, like us, had hit the jackpot. Basically, we were incredibly rich compared to many folk doing it tough out in the world.

And I was shitty about my stomach. Post-baby. And my arms.

For fuck’s sake.

I then felt, awfully bad, for feeling the way I had. For being so ungrateful. Because I know this shit! Gratefulness, is my bread and butter. And I had completely forgotten to use any of it, instead wallowing in selfish pity.

So, this story serves two purposes. A grateful thank you to Hubbie for being so blunt and reminding me how lucky I am, for so, so, so many reasons.

And also to serve as a reminder, to anyone else wallowing in self-pity out there, that life isn’t all that bad. It’s actually pretty freaking awesome. You too, should snap out of it.

And he will kick my butt in basketball by the way. He’s promised me that. And my stomach too.