Every so often your child grows up that bit more, and you hit another, really pleasant milestone.
Recently we’ve reached the ‘drop-off-and-drive-away-for-an-extracurricular-activity’ milestone.
This happens when you take your child to an after-school activity… but instead of staying there, like I do for swimming, I DRIVE AWAY.
Now, there are two reasons for the ‘drive away.’
1, she is old enough so I can leave her.
2, the session is too long to wait for her!
Hence why I hang around for swimming. Swimming is only half an hour. I check my phone, go on social media, make calls and send messages, as well as chat to a fellow parent. 30 minutes flies by.
90 minutes though? Today was her second gymnastics class after her trial last week, and I drove home, started prepping dinner, paid a bill, and rocked out to the entire A Night at the Opera Queen album, totally head-banging when ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ came on.
You know, the usual. 🤣🤷♀️
She is loving it though. She is an active girl, so she loves jumping about with the other girls, learning to do cartwheels and flips and all other cool stuff that I could never ever do, but hell I can live vicariously through her right? I mean isn’t that what ALL of parenting is anyway?
Totally joshing you there, you know it too.
But I love it as well. She’s already made a good friend, and even though she’s said both times “Stay!” as soon as they begin their stretch-ups and warm-ups, 5 minutes later she motions to me through the window “You can go!”
So I go, to do really important stuff like make dinner… and head-bang.
The rain started, right before the end of school bell rang.
I was already there with my umbrella, and baby girl’s. God forbid I forgot the purple unicorn umbrella with ears, oh oh oh.
I watched the rain come in fast, like sheets on an angle, getting in and behind people running through it, and even reaching people like me who thought they were safe with a nylon canopy covering their heads.
Baby girl, and the rest of the school kids emerged from their classes, bolting, and SCREAMING. They weren’t worried about the rain. They just wanted to have a good time and let everyone know it too.
Baby girl ran over to me at the low fence, throwing her bag over and doing the tricky manoeuvre she does so well and so often, as she swung her legs over it, cheating the kids who were passing normally through the school gate 50 metres away…
But only this time, she didn’t do it so well.
As she came down on the other side, she hit the unseen part of her chin against the fence.
I could tell it was a decent hit, not by looking at it, but simply by the look in her eye.
But, it was raining. We were walking fast to the car with our umbrellas, and only when we were almost there did I ask her to tilt her head up so I could see the damage.
Ouch. Blood. And a good mark.
But, I shouldn’t have told her that. 🤦♀️
There were tears. She was wiping at the cut constantly, blood always blotting onto the paper. At home I told her she must put Dettol on it… it was a wire fence after all… and she screamed, and cried, and screamed, and cried.
And I screamed, and pleaded, and screamed, and pleaded.
She touched it with her bare hands, all grotty still from school.
“No! Don’t do that! Use the Dettol!”
This went on for so long. My ears were ringing from our feverish cries. I was desperate for her to listen to me, so I could help her, while still trying to calm her nerves and assure her all would be well…
But then all of a sudden, I just broke.
I broke. I started to sob, and these felt like actual gasps of sadness escaping from my heavy heart, so terribly upset and desperate, so so desperate I was to help her, but she wouldn’t accept my help.
My heart cried, and the tears fell.
And it got her attention. Her breathing slowed, and her tears stopped falling for a moment as she looked at me, telling me it was alright.
And then she wiped a tear from the corner of my eye.
And just like that, the roles were reversed.
I don’t know why that moment has stayed with me today. To be honest the rest of the day I’ve been pretty flat and cranky.
Even though she let me dab the sore two times quickly with Dettol…
Even though I begged her to put on a band-aid, and she reluctantly agreed…
Even though it seems to be healing, and she’s now sleeping sans band-aid…
I’ve still felt heavily low and flat, and I think it has to do with my emotional outburst. Our screaming match actually traumatised me, and only a good sleep will be able to reset me, us, fully.
It was Monday evening, therefore Hubbie was off to his basketball game.
It left baby girl and me alone. I had made her fave… who am I kidding, OUR fave, spaghetti bolognaise.
We sat across from each other and ate, slurped, and talked.
The dynamic was completely different. And by no means do I mean it’s because Hubbie was gone. Rather, because it was 2.
I have no doubt the same would have occurred had I been out, and Hubbie had been home with her.
But we really talked. I asked her about school.
“What’s your favourite part of school?”
“Snack time and lunch.”
Well OF COURSE. It was always going to be play time. But I prodded some more. Learnt some things about their class. Their teachers. Her friends. And when I asked her to pick her favourite classes, she replied ‘art’ and ‘French.’
Awww. She’s already a young creative. I love it. 😍😍
I told Hubbie about it when he got home. I hope you too, can take something away from this.
Because it’s all well and good when you’re a family unit, together… but something changes when it’s just you and them. Maybe they feel more heard? Maybe they feel they can open up more? Whatever it is, I strongly encourage you to have a little dinner date, whenever it may be… with your littlie. 💖💖
Living through lockdown has given us a new way of connecting with other people… online.
I am still working from home, and today we played this online Pictionary game. You have to draw on the screen from a selection of words you’ve been given… and the rest of the room, (people participating) have to guess what you’re drawing.
I thought it was pretty cool, and it was Friday, so later my mind wandered where it usually goes to on Friday nights… to my friends. We spent a lot of Zoom calls together during those few months last year, and so I got to really get used to seeing their faces, talking about anything and everything, and just connecting in a way that honestly, we never really had before.
The lockdown had given us a new opportunity to learn even more about each other, through a multitude of topics, discussion, and debate.
And it was great. I realised no matter how much they talk, how much we disagree, how much we maybe shit each other up the wall… we are ultimately stuck with each other for life. That’s it.
And I love it.
So, missing my crew, I sent the random message out: “Anyone wanna play a game online?” Well to be expected, most were busy and couldn’t, but one such friend said “sure, give me a sec.”
And so I’ve spent the last hour or so of this night, chatting to her online while we played online Pictionary!
She is one of my oldest friends. I actually can’t remember if we were friends first in grade 1, or grade 2… I have no idea. I have no idea because after a while, your memory starts to get blurry. I never believed it when I was in my teens, or late childhood. I couldn’t understand how people would say “I can’t remember” about a huge, momentous milestone in their life. I used to think, “how can you not remember something so important?”
Well, now I know. Because as life goes on, your head gets filled up with more and more stuff, and the other stuff that you don’t think of as much, well it starts to fade.
So, so true. Maybe that’s why I’m so adamant about capturing every written word. It’s my own personal record for my unpredictable mind.
Anyway, you get my drift. We’ve been friends for about 30 years, not a word of a lie. And while we laughed at each other’s funny drawings, and tried to make sense of the game, we also caught up and reconnected, and it made me realise that technology, lockdown even, brought a few pretty good things with it.
A Friday night spent watching something on TV, or just letting the hours while away on random stuff around the house, was instead spent sharing some laughs and having fun with one of my oldest besties.
And then, in amongst all that… a milestone! Baby girl got fed up with me on the computer playing games, and put herself to bed!
It’s actually the second time she’s fallen asleep on her own like this, but the first that she did it intentionally… the first time she went to bed as I set up watch over a huntsman in our room, making sure he didn’t hide anywhere, waiting for Hubbie to come home and get rid of it. I’d told her to wait in her bed for me another 20 minutes, and instead she had fallen asleep.
But tonight, tonight was intentional. I was there chatting away, and then went to check up on her… I even kissed her head… and she remained sleeping. Peaceful. Absolutely beautiful, as all sleeping children are. 🤣
So, a good night all around. Looking back, looking forwards… as long as it’s done with the right people…
Today was the day that we said goodbye to our family home.
The home that my parents have lived in for 40 years.
The home that my sister spent growing up as a teenager, all the way until she got married.
The home that’s the only childhood, family home I’ve ever known… that I lived in for 25 years until I got married.
Goodbye, number 14.
It was an emotionally bittersweet day. Emotional because oh God, all of the above! So many memories are in every inch, every corner, every crevice of that house.
Through the rush to get everything out of the house this morning, I tried to pause every so often, look around, take a breath, and say a personal thanks to the house that made my years growing up, the best in the world.
Here is the emotional part.
I was reflecting on my life spent there as I walked around the empty rooms, a bit taken aback by the hollowness of it all. The furniture, furnishings, and all the photos and trinkets that made it such a loved home, were all gone.
But oh, those walls. If those walls could talk.
Those walls would speak of happiness, of laughter. Of sadness and shock, family coming together, and family celebrating to make the most out of life.
And love. SO much love.
Memories hit me as I walked into rooms, turned corners. Looked this way, that. People from the past resurfaced, along with people from the present.
In the lounge room, I saw myself sitting on the floor while my parents watched footy on the TV.
In the kitchen I saw my Mum cooking up a feast, our family sitting down to eat at the small round table, perfect for us in size, so perfect, to keep us tight and close together, as always.
In the garden I saw happiness. Friends, cousins, brimming around, enjoying a drink on a hot Summer’s day, folk music from the garage wafting over and adding to the festive atmosphere of it all.
The garage, ohhhh, the garage. Where so, so, so many parties and events were had. Birthdays. Milestones. Weddings. Day after weddings! New Years. And all of the Christmases that Mum cooked up a storm, catering for over 30 people like it was an absolute breeze, even though it wasn’t.
She made it look effortless.
Those were the days. Those were the BEST days.
The park next door. Hearing the squeals of happiness from our younger cousins as they took advantage of the play proximity.
At the front door, I saw my sister being led out in her wedding dress by my parents… then I saw myself, doing the same.
The dining room showed me all of us, our big family, as we are now. The original foursome, us, being my parents, sister and I, but now with our Hubbies and our kids, filling up the table, eating heaps, drinking more, and playing music off of youtube on the mobile until the late hours of the night.
In my bedroom. The bedroom that I spent 15 years of my life sleeping, dreaming and hoping in. I had another room for the first 10 years of my life, but I claimed this one, sister’s one, after she got married and moved out.
It’s always been the better room.
I sat in my old room. Took some photos around me. And then here, I began to cry.
I remember watching Video Hits for hours on weekend mornings.
My childhood cat scratching at my window, wanting to be let in, and then me opening the window to shoo her, upset she had woken me… but when she jumped down from the window sill outside, I thought stuff it, you’ve woken me now… and so I would call her back in (she must have thought I was a crazy bipolar cat owner) and she’d snuggle up next to me as I slept a little more.
I’d open up that window, and talk to friends through it.
I talked to SO MANY people, through it.
I listened to music for hours on my bed.
I had sleepovers in that room.
I had sleepovers in that house! On the lounge room floor, covered in blankets and sleeping bags.
When Croatia played Australia in the 2006 World Cup, Hubbie-then-boyfriend and I watched it, me running around the house with a Cro flag when Croatia scored a goal, and Hubbie running around the house with an Aussie flag when they scored a goal.
I don’t remember who won that game. All I remember is the memories.
All the people who came, and went from that house. It would be in the hundreds. Friends, family, people who I grew up with, grew apart from, so many people have touched base in that house, shared a laugh, a dance, a drink, and made a memory.
Even baby girl. It was the first place that she ever visited, after her own home.
Speaking of baby girl… My waters broke in that house! And my own Mum’s waters broke in there, when she was pregnant with me!
Both sister’s Hubbie, and my Hubbie, met my parents for the first time in THAT lounge room…
News broke. Secrets shared. Heavy discussions were had. Tears shed.
People were welcomed. People were greeted.
People came in, and immediately knew that there was love. They were safe. They were in a memorable place.
And so today, the time came. We walked through the house. We took our final photos.
And we drove off, for good.
That was seriously bitter, right?
Where is the sweet?
Well, it comes with the choice. How blessed are we that this was born of my parents decision to move closer to me and sis, and not because of a bad circumstance.
How lucky are we that we get to say goodbye, together, in the best way possible… and how lucky that we still get to take ALL the memories with us?
Including most importantly, the people.
I am so looking forward to making just as many happy memories in their new abode. 🏡🏡
But my heart will always hold a very special and dear place, for number 14.
I realised with extreme sadness this morning, as we got ready to go to my parents house, that it would be the LAST TIME EVER Hubbie went there.
I started to cry.
Oh the memories. The memories. I can’t even begin to express the breadth and depth of emotion when it comes to the memories.
In some ways, I am feeling more for my parents leaving this house, then I did for Hubbie, baby girl and I moving from our first home over 4 years ago now.
4 years, versus 40 years. There is A LOT of difference there.
I even cried when we were at the front of the house today, Hubbie filling up the car with stuff to move over to their new place. I sat on the big pillar that serves as a mailbox, remembering how I sat there with my neighbours, over 25 years earlier.
I walked up to my former friends’ houses, noticing how I hadn’t done it for decades… and knowing that it had been different for just as long.
It’s hard to remove yourself from the place where you made so many memories. It’s hard because a piece of you stays there forever.
Sure, many of the people in those memories have moved away and are gone… but I was always able to visit the my parents house, my old home, and reminisce about the way things used to be.
Today I stopped and stared a lot. Looked around my parents back yard. Their enviously luscious green back yard. So abundantly healthy and blooming in all life forms of nature. Several times I went past the pear tree, and as I lifted my head, the fruit actually bonked me on the head, hard.
I had to laugh.
I know the memories will come with me. I have been preparing for this moment for so long now. But until the day of goodbye comes, I will keep staring at that beautiful green, drilling it into my memory for all of time.
I always wanted her to be ready, and ask me before doing it. But at the same time, I kinda hoped it wouldn’t take too long, and that she might take a similar path as I did when I was her age…
I was 6. Today, at the age of 7, we walked into the beauty salon.
She was excited the whole time, ultimately tentative when it came to sitting on the bed, and then the two girls came from either side of her to hold against her ear what could only be described as a type of gun… and then at the critical “1, 2, 3” moment, her face did register shock, maybe even sadness?
Oh, my girl. 😭
But she was okay, and in a matter of moments, all was right again. A spray of the earlobes, here and there, and she was rapt!
She truly loves them. For someone that is actually pretty squeamish when it comes to any kind of doctor-related stuff, she has gone into this decision, and come out, so courageously. I actually can’t believe it, and Hubbie and I didn’t actually believe it would happen… until it did.
Only hours later, and she said to me “when I’m older, I wanna get another one here (the top of her ear lobe).”
We went 3 different ways today. Hubbie and I at our respective places of employment, baby girl at school.
Ahh. Grade 2 has begun.
Where has the last 2 years of primary school go? How is this the 3rd year already? How am I becoming a well known feature at the school, watching the oh-so-obvious new kids and parents step tentatively through the gates?
Grade 2 was such a good year for me. I had one of my best teachers then.
Actually, I had her twice. In grade 2 and in grade 5.
I was in room 16. One of my favourite numbers.
I look at baby girl now, and hope her grade 2 year is just as great as mine was, and brings her even more good times and memories.
How does the conversation turn to deep and meaningfuls as I’m trying to put baby girl to sleep?
I don’t even think it’s intentional on her part. She’ll just start asking me something, so curious, and most of the time I have to explain, or set it straight… and soon we’re having a full blown discussion about when people stop growing.
So tonight, she posed the thought “I wonder if, when I’m 20, if I’ll be as high as the roof!”
So this is where I told her, that people usually stopped growing around their teen years.
Her expression was amazement/shocked/scared all in one.
“So when I’m 13, I’ll just…”
“No no no,” I quickly assured her. “For Mummy, it was like, 16, 17?”
She was thinking hard, her expression growing even more curious, urgent.
“So you’re 37, does that mean you won’t grow anymore?”
“Mummy will get older… but I won’t grow any taller! We would all hit the sky if we kept growing.”
Finally, she seemed assured. I gave her some comparisons of people in our life, their heights, who was still growing, and who wasn’t.
“Mum, my eyebrows are so soft. Are your eyebrows soft? Touch your eyebrows.”
From growing up, literally, to eyebrows. We cover ALL the important topics in our household.