I felt a familiar lockdown feeling wafting over me today as the sun shone through the window, and I set off to work from home yet again.
It was this flat, gnawing feeling of unsettledness. Of unsatisfaction.
I did my best to remind myself that all was good in my world, and even argued with some of my thoughts. I reasoned that it was lockdown blues, yet again, making their presence known.
I’ve grown to get used to their presence, and even allow them to pull up a chair at the table.
Just as I finished work, I came across a hilarious Sooshi Mango video. If you haven’t seen these guys and you’re of European descent, you MUST check them out. Anyway I watched this latest vid, gasping from breath and nearly crying, and quickly went to share it into the messenger group chat of the Sooshi Mango fan club.
Otherwise known as, me and my four friends. 🤣🤣
I had to share the joy. It was a quick share, a comment here, comment there… insert some laughing emojis, some OMGs, and all was good.
All was good in the world.
And it had me thinking… how lovely it is that I have this group with my friends, where we just come and go, drop in random stuff about our lives, share memes and jokes and more personal stuff, and some of us comment, some of us don’t, but you know what?
It’s all ok. We move on. We don’t take it personally.
You know those people where you feel as if you are walking on eggshells constantly? You need to watch what you say, how you say it, and then you need to check in, ALL THE TIME. If you haven’t spoken to them, you need to justify why, and I HATE justifying.
Like, life, that’s why.
That’s what I love about this messenger group we have, and that’s why I love my friends. We are bloody mature people. There are no freaking games and bullshit.
We drop in, we laugh, we comment.
We move on.
And then the next day/week, we pop in again, and it’s like the conversation never ended.
I was thinking all of this, feeling super proud of us, and then I realised…
I had a lot more to be grateful for than I first thought.
She snuggles in close when we’re on the couch. Something sweet comes on TV… she puts her arm around me and leans on my shoulder.
We laugh hysterically at her Dad’s antics. We set each other off just by looking at each other: hers laughs are loud, addictive cackles that explode from her, wild and free; mine are silent laughs where my face contorts, as I hug my sides, gasping for breath.
We glance at each other as we lose control. So different, and so we laugh and laugh.
When she sits on my lap, she sits as close as she can. I nuzzle into her soft neck, notice her red cheeks, and kiss her precious head. She pulls me in closer.
I tuck her in at night. As I always have.
“You’re the best Mum.”
“And you’re the best daughter.”
Then she delays bedtime. Stories, search and find books, life’s greatest questions suddenly abound.
I kiss her goodnight again. She kisses me endlessly… it adds to the game.
I am stern, but grateful.
She tosses, she turns. Eventually her breath turns even.
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.
It feels like a privilege even, to pay someone to make you laugh. I mean, to get those belly-aching jiggles, gasping for air, stamping your foot guffaws, I don’t know…
But what if, you didn’t even have to pay???
I cashed in my competition win tonight. Because I had won a competition on a page I follow on facebook, I was able to take sis with me to see the amazing AKMAL tonight!
Yes, he’s not there. I know. 😂😉
Oh my God, he was hilarious. Swearing all over the place, making fun of people in the first few rows, offending all walks of life every which way.
(Note to self, never book front row seats at a comedy show).
To laugh, to let go. It really is an honour. Sis and I certainly guffawed, and we continued our night out by getting a nearby coffee…
It has been so long. I always appreciate things, but I appreciate them all the more now after the year we’ve had. Sis mentioned how lovely the restaurant was, and I had to agree, it had a warm cosiness to it…
But then I thought later…
Even if we were in a tiny cramped milkbar…
Or sitting on a rickety park bench…
Or holed up in a stinky dingy bar (mind you we avoided the male-dominated, cheap looking pub, but you get my drift)…
As long as we were together, it would be the best night ever.
Isn’t it THE BEST when you pose a challenge to someone, and you just know they will never get it?
“Guess what cd I’m going to put on!” I smugly asked Hubbie tonight.
He guessed something that I had taken out of the archives like, 6 months ago.
I pressed play, and the sound of a dial tone came on immediately.
Soon, it was this guy talking in his unmistakable Aussie/European accent.
Yep. Good ol’ Guido.
This wasn’t my CD. Newsflash, it wasn’t Hubbie’s either… he borrowed it off a friend a gazillion years ago, and never gave it back.
Tsk tsk tsk.
I know, I know. But it’s so damn good, I kinda don’t want him to give it back (I think it’s long-forgotten by his friend now!)
Over the years, from our dating days, to early married days, to pre-baby days, to now, we occasionally put this CD on. And it’s the best way to do it, like any comedy. It’s not so funny if you watch or listen to it all the time, because YOU KNOW THE JOKE. But if you come back to it, every year, or even longer, then it’s hilarious.
It’s truly been years since we listened to Guido. We let the CD run tonight, but then strapped for time, we went to the Florist phone call. We thought that was the one that we loved best from memory, but after a minute or so realised it wasn’t the one, though it is funny… Guido calls a florist to say he will accept the job being advertised, but first things first… they have to get rid of the flowers.
Anyway. The phone call we wanted, was the one AFTER the florist.
I actually found the call on youtube, for your ultimate listening pleasure. 😁
But before I share, they’ve added a Guido cartoon for effect… I think it totally detracts from the call itself, so sure, play the video, but keep your eyes closed! Listening to Guido and the plumber on their own, is comedy gold.
I won’t say anymore, because like in the words of my other fave comedian Eddie Murphy, who talks about people who “Fuck my jokes up on the job” after seeing his show…
Ahh. Just gets you all inspired to do stuff, tackle life, and chase your dreams, right?
I’m laughing because just recently I was saying how we don’t need a new year or a new date, to want to start anew again.
And yet there I was tonight, getting motivated by those beautiful colours, thinking of about 16 different things I wanted to do… just tonight. 🤦♀️
So where do I stand? Still strongly by my original statement. We don’t need to wait for a new year, month, season, or any other seemingly opportune time to start doing the things we want to do, or start living a more full and meaningful life.
You can start whenever you want to.
But – if a change in weather, a crazy happy event, even a colourful sky, inspire you to clear your slate and try something new…
Well by all means, run with it.
We don’t choose inspiration. Inspiration chooses us.
And please please please please please, don’t wait a whole year to start again.
Baby girl was going through this joke book today. It used to be her Dad’s, and it came home with us one night after he did a big clear-out of his old room back at his parents house.
She got this brainwave of inspiration, and decided to write up her own jokes.
It is hilarious listening to a kid’s jokes, because, well, simply… they don’t know how to make them. All they know is they’re a bit silly, they make people laugh, but they don’t get that they need to make some sort of sense (however daggy that is) for the joke to work.
This is what she came to me with today:
Lunch because she wanted to.”
I smiled and did my obligatory little ‘ha ha’ to congratulate her efforts, thinking how the whole thing made NO SENSE.
It made such NO SENSE, that it was actually, NONSENSE.
It was actually, kinda, funny.
When she came to me with the second one, I already had the giggles internally, wondering what kind of nonsense the second one would constitute.
She wanted to eat her lunch but no.”
OMG, I DIED. I’m not allowed to be wheezing so much because it hurts, and I’m afraid I’ll break in the process, but I was clutching myself, tears pouring down my face, telling her “STOP!” as she repeated the joke out loud, cracking herself silly that she had told such a funny joke.
We laughed and cried and laughed. She told a third, and by this time I was a goner.
But that peach joke… somehow, someway, despite the nonsense, that joke ended in such a way… I don’t know. Like the end bit – “she wanted to eat her lunch but no.” Like BANG, cut you off there, ‘But NO.’
Well, that’s one way to feel better. Cry-laughing. 💖💖