#453 Photos

My sister always says, that it is so worth taking heaps of photos, for the memories that will come to you later as you look back on them.

She speaks with a lot of experience. She takes, HEAPS of photos.

She doesn’t have many photos of when she was a baby, and so I think she has spent the majority of her life, kind of making up for that fact, and making sure that her kids, will have tonnes of them.

I think I’ve kind of taken that from her. I too, love photos. Currently there are approximately, no exaggeration, 2000 of them waiting to be filed into photo albums at my less than likely leisure. I fell behind before baby girl was born, and thinking like the stupid parentless ‘know-it-all’ I was, that I would catch up while on maternity leave with her…

Yeah, right. Like that ever happened. 3 and a half years later and they’re still PILING UP.

But anyway. I love them, and in the most old school way – hard copy in a PHOTO ALBUM.

I’ve been doing heaps with photos lately, and it’s just reminded me how amazing and beautiful these snapshots into time can be.

In just over a week we’ll be celebrating my parents 50th wedding anniversary. We’re doing a few special things on the night, and one of them, to highlight their 5 decades together, is the photo collage I’m putting together, of one decade each per large cardboard sheet of paper, with as many photos as I can possibly muster crammed into all 5 sheets.

When I took my usb stick of anniversary photos over the years to the photo centre, there were 647 files.

647 photos.

I knew I had to scale that back, BIG TIME.

I told myself I’d only select 150…

then I got to 150 and said I’d select up to 200…

then I got to 200 and said 250 MAX.

Which is how I ended up at 255. Close enough.

Today when I took the developed photos to my sister’s place, for our little debrief over the anniversary party (who would sit where, what we would say, what would go where, what time that would occur, etc, etc), she flipped through the photos quickly, grinning and letting out “oh wow!”s, complimenting the broad selection, and happily going back in time to as far back as the late 60s, as she saw my parents journey again from start to current day.

Seeing the reaction on her face was great, and later at home as I trimmed the photos back, removing blank spaces and tightening it up so I could surely fit 50 photos per large page, I couldn’t help but pause and smile several times, observing my parents youthful looks, almost laughing out loud when my parents were too laughing in the photos, grinning with fondness at family photos through the decades, and just generally reminiscing with warmth in my heart.

I know, I sound like a hallmark card. But really, I loved it. I love photos. And I think the guests at the party, my parents’ family and friends, and my parents especially, will really enjoy the snapshot through the ages.

50 Golden Ages. 🙂

#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.

#371 Casual beach epiphany

These casual beach visits are happening more and more lately… partly because we are testing the literal waters of how close we are, and also, because… well, the hot season ended just yesterday.

Either way I love these visits.

It doesn’t mean however, that the warm weather has gone away. March has already brought a spectacular sunshine-y day to us, and looking at the forecast for the week ahead, things look really good.

While sitting on my beach towel watching baby girl and Hubbie in the shallow waters earlier this evening (I only ever get to sit for a few minutes at a time, IF I am lucky) with baby girl leaping into the water like a frog, and Hubbie keeping watch nearby, I turned around to look at the scenery around me.

It was a Wednesday afternoon. Lifeguards were jumping off of their red boats and practicing essential life-saving skills. A man sat in his beach box behind us, making us all jelly that he had residential property on the beach. A couple of dogs ran wild in the water. And in amongst the decent lot of people around, I spotted some casual-looking ones: straw hats, low slung beach bags, big sunnies, and oversized tops thrown over their swimwear.

I looked back to the pristine and still waters before me, glistening in the sun, and got very emotional.

This was now our neighbourhood. We were now locals, as they all were.

It was a small moment, and certainly one that has struck us with its epiphany before, but every so often, Hubbie and I will be somewhere in our ‘hood, doing something, and turn to each other and say

“Look where we are.”

We actually, dumbfound ourselves.

I love these moments. I hope they never end. The wonder and sheer surprise that life has to offer, with its marvellous and weird and trippy twists and turns.

And I hope they keep on coming, at the beach.

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#336 Moorooduc to Mornington steam train

With the school holidays still around for a few days more, the silly season has meant the addition of some extra events and festivities to keep the littlies amused… and one of them is the January Moorooduc to Mornington steam train.

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I’m led to believe that the steam train runs the first 3 Sundays of each month, however with the school holiday season upon us, a few sessions were introduced each Wednesday in January, with the final day being today.

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When I heard about the idea I knew it would be absolutely perfect for baby girl. She is a girly girl in some respects: she carries a bag around, likes to wear dresses, and will let me put bows in her hair; but on the other hand, she will throw and catch a mean ball, run you up and down until you are exhausted, and will play the hell out of her lego blocks and trains.

She LOVES trains.

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We headed over to Moorooduc station for the departure at 11:45am today, with the approximately 15 minute train ride taking us to Mornington station, and then back again to Moorooduc, once the engine had come around and joined onto the other end of the train carriages.

We had as much fun as baby girl. Where she gained an immense amount of happiness and pure joy from the tooting of the train, the steam sound being released, and the side to side, back and forth rocking motion in the carriages, we gained a deep appreciation of the vehicle that had been used to transport people in the carriages, so, so many years ago. To think that people generations ago had been in the carriage we had sat in, and travelled to various places, had been doing various things, and had been living a totally different life to what we live now, is almost mind-boggling. We were in a train that was built in 1941! That in itself is incredible. It is humbling. At one point I turned to Hubbie and said “I feel like I’m in Back to the Future… part 3.”

:):):)

My favourite moment of the trip came when I had my head out the window here:

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It gave me such a sense of relaxation, freedom, and a whimsical remembrance of childhood and all the frivolity and fun it embodied, that I was brought to tears, in thinking of how lucky we were to be living and experiencing a beautiful part of our state, and appreciating life in a whole new way now.

The drive home afterwards was slightly unnerving, and as much as I love my car, being in a vehicle lacking all character, doing 100 on a highway, felt alien. I had felt alive on the steam train, connected with life and nature and being, and I wanted to go back to that moment. I thought of all the things I wanted to do on the Peninsula, and which I had already done but wanted to revisit  – Arthur’s Seat chairlift; wineries; coastal walks; beach days – and realised this was something my soul was yearning. I had to connect to the world, to nature, to life, to a general sense of honesty, and my trip in the steam train this morning had certainly woken me up to that.

We had a truly terrific day today, even following our steam train ride, and although much of the later part was spent doing groceries and house jobs, I felt so happy and invigorated, that really, I believe our steam train ride put us in the right frame of mind this morning.

It set us on track. Pun intended.

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#316 Family beach time!

Finally! We hit Mount Martha beach today as a family.

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I am super grateful for that. We have been living in our Sea Change location for almost 3 months now, and given our unmatched schedules, opposite work routines, and lacking Melbourne summer, all 3 managed to reverse itself and collide today for a superb, super-hot, sandy-toed and salty sea, time.

The seal has now been broken. There will be more to come… not just these holidays, or this summer… but like my book, or my life, or our house, or even my parent blog SmikG… this is a work in progress.

You have to have fun, whilst on the journey of life 🙂

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#307 My high school friends

Every few years or so, after much organisation, effort and heavy planning, a certain group of 6 girls get together for a good gas-bag, food, drink and laughter, sometimes accompanied by their partners and kids, and other times without.

Who am I kidding. We stopped being ‘girls’ over a decade over.

Some of us are Mums. Well half. The other half are living life with their long-term partners/spouses, and living a fantastical life not revolving around kids. Which is perfectly great for us Mums, as we get the temporary non-kid break when it comes to conversation starters.

Not that there are conversation starters. Speech just flows when the 6 of us are around. No odd silences. No wanting of ideas. No awkwardness. It’s more of an issue of how one can be heard in a group such as this.

6 girls. 6 friends from high school. We’ve gone through those turbulent high school years, seen each other move through education and jobs, been there at each other’s weddings, and held each other’s newborns with love, hope and admiration.

We are all different. So, so different. Yet we are also the same, uniformed in our shared history, our long-standing bond and friendship to one another. Because of that history, I don’t think we could ever part. And I’ve come to realise, especially tonight, that no matter how much we may differ in other aspects of our lives: our views, lifestyles, choice of friends, morals even – we can never stay mad at each other for long.

We just can’t. We are in each other’s lives too much. We are now way too deep. And we don’t wanna get out.

After our last get together 4 years ago, tonight we came together again. And it was great. Busy with a few of the kids around, and a few of the partners too, but it was truly fun and heartfelt to be in amongst our group again.

I’ve come to appreciate these girls on another level after tonight, and I am grateful for their past, present, and continuing role in my life. Most importantly I think I’ve come to accept them for who they truly are: their own beautiful, unique, fantastic, and individual selves.

I love you girls: Miss Soulful, Miss Bold, Miss Nurturing, Miss Meticulous, and Miss Mischievous.

Love, SmikG -aka ‘Miss Secretly Surprising’… since most of you are unaware of this blog 😉