#842 Scones and Schnitzel

It’s kinda hard to look for gratitude and try to find small things that make you happy in amongst shitty days, even more so when those shitty days reveal even worser days for others.

How can one complain about smaller issues when they know of family or friends in ill-health or distress?

It actually reminds me of what I used to say after my father-in-law passed away. Here I was, a new Mum to a beautiful baby girl, yet still completely overwhelmed by my new parent role and the life that came with it; and then there was Hubbie, equally besotted by her, while simultaneously still in deep grief over his father’s passing. And sometimes, someone, somewhere, would tell me they were having a bad day.

They would quickly realise their words in my company, and apologise for complaining. They saw in me, in us, in our family, that there were far harder things to go through. To manage. To overcome.

But you know what I would say to them?

“Everyone has their own problems. You shouldn’t feel bad about yours, and feel guilty that they aren’t big enough to cry over. You are allowed to be upset, it’s your life, your problems.”

Sure, little problems in light of big problems become an awareness of the bigger picture, and that enlightenment is major in itself.

But we can’t all be in woe at the same time, can we? Then we wouldn’t have those others around us, less in woe, to pick us up from our sadness…

At this time of my life, I think I’m in a state of ‘less in woe.’

So I’m grateful.

But that isn’t what this gratitude post is about. That in itself is actually huge, more so because I know, and I have felt the comparison of being WHOLEHEARTEDLY in woe.

This is perhaps about the most trivial of things in light of today… baking.

For a week now I’ve been planning on making scones. They seem to make them for any given reason at baby girl’s kindergarten. Parents getting to know each other afternoon tea? SCONES. Mother’s Day? SCONES. Neighbourhood primary school visits? SCONES.

A possum jumps from the gum trees into the yard and shits all over the kids play equipment?

SCONES.

Ok so clearly I am bullshitting with you but you get my drift. I have not made scones in ages, well since we moved here really, and part of that has to do with

  1. kitchen reno, AND
  2. having half my kitchen stuff still in boxes upstairs because I’m waiting on one more damn cupboard (COME ON kitchen guys!) to get made.

I’ve forgotten half of what I do own in the way of bakeware and pans and the like, it’s been that long I’ve seen half of my things. But after repeated reminders by the kinder that both baby girl and I, really enjoy them, well I said to myself “I’ll damn well making them.”

You require next to nothing to make scones after all.

I really wanted to be grateful for them, really I did. And at the end, I was, for some brief moment at the end as I indulged in jam and cream upon pillows on doughy lightness that were apparently ‘café-style’…

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But the ‘before’ was hard, because baby girl was sick you see. I held her back from kinder, quite rich since THAT IS THE PLACE SHE CATCHES ALL HER WEEKLY COLDS FROM.

Not shitty much.

She was weak, tired, and developed a sudden ear ache during the day which had her retreating to the couch often to lie down. I had imagined us making these together with happiness… the most she did was brush the tops with milk.

And then the ‘after’… because as I was trying to enjoy my coffee/scone break, breathing slowly, ALONE, in peace, once baby girl had finished her babycino… I somehow spilt my coffee.

No, it gets worse. ON MY PHONE.

I swore better than a sailor out at sea. OH MY. Baby girl knows her Mum too well, and wasn’t afraid. In fact she came up to me and asked “Mama, you ok?”

Awww.

So instead of being grateful for my scones, the preparation time with baby girl which wasn’t special, and then the clean up which was devastating (I’d let dishes pile up half of the day), I instead became appreciative of something else.

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Hubbie cooked a killer chicken parmigiana tonight. He cooked it fresh, placed passata and ham and freshly grated cheese on top, grilled it in the oven, and it was THE BOMB.

The best part to him making it for us?

I didn’t have to clean it up.

(That wasn’t agreed to from his original contract, but from the day I’d had, there was no other choice).

Every time I complain about something going shitty, really I am grateful… because I do know better… I know better, that there is worse.

P.S My phone survived

#811 His shoes were made for dancing

He didn’t dance for a LONG time.

This was a big deal. Dancing was Hubbie’s forte. The way he effortlessly and magically glided to the folk music, his feet seemingly floating in the air, arms waving about in focused movement as if conducting the people and arena around him…

The love and passion were so evident on his face when he danced like this. It was pure joy and happiness for the music manifested, and the expression came forth as his body responded to the music, from the beam stretching from cheek to cheek, all the way to his tip-toes.

It’s all about moving on your tip-toes. There is NO OTHER way to do it, he would say.

So I knew then when his Dad died, that he would stay off the dancing for a while.

Because, not doing the things you love, as passionate as you might be about them, is one of the natural processes of grieving. Hell, you don’t want to do barely anything, let alone something that makes you happy, or used to make you happy, when you are so sad.

It was harder in his case to even contemplate dancing… because it had been a great love he and his Dad shared.

Father and Son. The image epitome. Side by side, arms outstretched, touching shoulders, as they moved in perfect unison, in big grand movements, sweeping their arms wide as they turned around, and kicked and jumped and paraded for all to see.

It was the perfect image of familial bliss. And it was.

But after a year of grieving, Hubbie still couldn’t do it. He forced himself here and there, but there was just no love for the act of dancing…

He stopped dancing. Cold turkey. Just, GONE.

It made me so sad. Here was a part of Hubbie that brought him so much joy, and yet he wasn’t doing it anymore, so strong was the loss and unhappiness in his heart.

“Do it for your Dad,” I would suggest gently. “He would be so proud to see you dancing on in his name.”

But my words were empty. The intention was meaningless, because the person behind the meaning, was not here anymore.

This year will mark 5 years from his Dad’s passing. And though there were some small moments over the past year where he danced here, he danced there, with some substance of meaning, a breadth of the passion he used to hold, signifying a subtle change to the Hubbie of old maybe occurring… tonight something happened.

He had the music on before we headed out, and was dancing around the house, “warming up.”

He made sure to have his dancing shoes on.

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And when a suitable song sang out over the dance floor, he took me… and he also took the arm of his Dad’s peer – a close relative and friend of his father’s, a fellow music lover and dancing companion – and he said “you’re coming with me. In place of my Dad.”

WOW.

I was on one side of Hubbie, looking over as the two of them made light of their feet. They danced and jumped around, hopping and skipping, and turning around with grins from ear to ear.

His late father’s peer stood proudly beside Hubbie, honoured he had been chosen to dance in place of such an important and influential person from Hubbie’s life.

And in that moment as I glanced over at the two of them making a scene, causing a dancefloor stir, and galloping around jovially, something in my heart tugged, and I teared up.

There was that smile.

There was the skip in his step.

The lightness of movement had returned.

He was dancing again, full gusto.

My Hubbie, was back ♥♥♥

 

 

#606 Being able to Give

I feel lucky to be a part of a community that cares so much about those less fortunate around them.

And I am grateful, that like them, I am able to give what I have to those that are in need.

It need not be heaps of money, pricey items or even the most expensive of commodities, TIME.

Helping how you can, in the smallest of ways as what it may seem like to you, is help enough.

I have been following an ongoing facebook thread in a local page I follow, of two women who take in unwanted/unused household items and clothing, to give to those unable to afford it, because they are experiencing some horrible hardship. The most common of unfortunate circumstances has been when someone in the family is sick, and therefore all of their money goes to medical treatments, rather than other things which usually a necessity, become a luxury.

So when the call out went to Summer clothing in girls items aged 3-4, I knew it was time to step up.

I went through baby girl’s wardrobe, looking for specific items to donate. As it is I have kept most of her clothes and parted only with some, for the main reason that there is a possibility that I could one day have another girl, and she could use many of these beautiful items.

Now having said that, I know that if I were to really have another girl, I would probably only use a very minute amount of these ‘recycled’ clothes, and buy the rest, from sheer want of getting pretty new things for her. I think really, I find it hard to let go of these clothes once baby girl grows out of them due to the memories attached, and I use the ‘recycle’ excuse as cover.

But I did what I could anyway, and popped some pretty things in a bag. I stalled at two dresses, and so thought best I call in baby girl for help.

“Baby girl, these two dresses… do you think they’re too small? Mummy was going to give some of your small things to a sick girl.”

Baby girl looked at the dresses, thinking.

Finally she settled, letting me know that yes, I could give away the two smaller ones, yet definitely do not give away the one on the right Mum.

Such a girl.

And that’s it. I was humbled by the presence of sickness and health, of love and sadness, and of introducing an important topic to baby girl… that of giving to those less fortunate, and the stark nature of Life as we know it.

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Photo by ORNELLA BINNI on Unsplash

#572 Westfield Doncaster shopping day no. 3

When I realised my opportunity today to go to Westfield Doncaster, I took it AND RAN.

Apart from some lunch, and buying some more pants for baby girl (she is at that age where after 4 wears there are usually holes in her knees) we didn’t do much…

Oh that’s right, we coffee-ed.

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It’s little moments out of my day like this that I appreciate so much.

It only lasts no longer than 5 minutes, and I usually have a sugar-fuelled toddler to deal with for a good while after, but I still cherish these beautiful Mummy-daughter memories.

I cherish them even more, in a world where I hear of death and sickness befalling those around me so often, so that in turn makes these small moments, HUGE.

It actually makes them, the best moments.

#558 Giving a much needed hug

Today I came through on the promise I made days ago.

Today I travelled across to the other side of town, and attended the funeral of one of my closest friend’s Mum.

I gave her a huge hug, we cried, and I told her we were there for her.

And in amongst this grim day, I had done my bit. I had done what I had wanted to do for so long, and I hope my presence did something for her… not necessarily to lessen her pain – nothing can do that – but to show her that she has people around her who care.

I was grateful I had come through for her.

#554 That I have a Mum, and doing ‘Mum’ things…

I was shocked, and then immediately saddened, to learn today that the Mother of one of my oldest and dearest friends, had passed away last night.

I knew she had been sick, but still I had had no indication that her condition was getting worse. I knew it might be a long road ahead, which is why I didn’t see this coming.

I called my friend, and told her if I were closer, I’d give her a big hug. We cried. I sent her my love and support.

Then I got off the phone, and sat, with some more tears, before baby girl found me and took me into her play area.

I was grateful. Grateful I could do these ‘Mum’ things, and even just as grateful, that I still had a Mum.

I called my Mum and told her the news. We spoke some more, and it was so nice that when I called, I could hear her voice.

Later on I made a cake with baby girl. I used some sponge cake that had passed its use by date, and also some cream that was weeks old, but had been unopened.

Both were perfectly fine.

I threw in some melted chocolate, and melted white chocolate, that I had used for recipes weeks and months ago, that had gone hard again in the fridge, and melted them again.

I whipped the cream. Added berries.

And the cake was pretty damn good.

How is this at all relevant? There’s a metaphor in there somewhere. About re-using what you think is no good, and holding it all together…

That I have a Mum, and doing ‘Mum’ things.

 

#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.