#1020 The beauty in, and beyond life

Today in my parents yard, Mum told me something I never knew.

She pointed to a flower. A rose bush. And she had a name for it – her niece’s name.

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Mum’s niece, and my cousin, was a very dear person to us. IS a dear person to us. Although by rank you would expect her to be much younger than my Mum, her niece was in fact only a couple of years younger than her – that’s what you get when there are 8 siblings in the family, and my Mum is the youngest of them all.

Her niece was only a few years younger than her, because she was the daughter of the eldest of her siblings – in fact Mum was probably in some ways closer to some of her nieces and nephews due to the wide age gap between her and her eldest sisters and brothers.

Anyway… they made memories, right? As you do when you grow up with someone. When I went overseas with my parents back in 1997, despite being initially heavily underwhelmed by the whole go-and-meet-people-I’ve-never-met-before process, that holiday holds some of the best memories of my life.

Now I was the one making memories. Not only with my cousin who was almost old enough to be an aunty to me, but her children, and grandchildren. As age would have it, her granddaughter was only a few years younger than me.

Big families can be highly fascinating.

Many years later, Mum’s niece came to Australia to visit us all here. We had a fantastic time showing her around our beautiful city, and I like to think she, had an equally memorable time.

She made memories.

While here, she got my Mum a bunch of roses…

The ones you see above.

Mum planted those roses. Not thinking much at all other than it being a permanent and beautiful reminder of her niece, who she had made so many amazing memories with, including other generations of the family.

As the unfortunate nature of life would have it, a while after Mum’s niece was back home, she got very sick and passed away.

.

So today, as Mum told me this, how she had planted this rose given to her by her niece, unknowing then of the future bittersweet nature it would hold, I was amazed. This rose bush was still growing, with one simple red flower, 13 years later.

Thinking of her, and the often cruel nature of life, makes me sad. I sit now, and think of her voice – deep and gentle – how she said my name – with love and tenderness – and how she laughed – gently yet giddy – and remember all of the wonderful times we shared.

I think of that flower… how it still grows… and I know it blooms, solely, because of her.

It still lives, therefore so does she.

In Memory of her… M. ♥♥♥

#950 The 5-minute parental break

I wonder if my peers out there who have their parents look after their kids, realise how lucky they are.

I mean, it is a GOLD deal. You have the people that raised you, who love you and care for you and who are your number one supporters, caring for your child. You might be at working, getting your hair done, or even lucky enough to get a night out with your partner while your parents put your kiddies to sleep at night.

I was lucky for a short time anyway, where my parents co-assisted in watching baby girl when I first went back to work after maternity leave. Although it was only part-time, there was the greatest security and comfort in leaving my daughter with them, knowing she was being looked after, let’s face it, with MORE care than they had ever looked after me!

It lasted just under 2 years, until health issues and a major move impacted the schedule, and nowadays, they aren’t involved.. in that way.

But when I go to their place, I love, that I will always know the care, love, and babysitting duties are always there and on offer 😉

My parents said today: “Go and lie down. We’ll take her outside.” I was feeling tired after ALL THAT FOOD (i.e. Mum going overboard as usual) and was just feeling a little heavy, so I took the advice they had so adamantly laid out for me.

I lay in my old room, looking at the picture that has been on my wall for at least two decades.

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I can safely say with 95% confidence that it was given to me on my 12th birthday, and I can even tell you with assurance who gave it to me. I find there are many things from my childhood that are cemented into me, whereas ask me about my early 20s and I am all “HUH?”

But I lay there for all of 5 minutes, enjoying the calm, listening to my breath, my body, and the happy cries of baby girl yelling excitedly from the yard.

So when I got up, I naturally spied on them from the kitchen window and saw them playing.

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I could have gone back to lie down. But I decided it was better to join them. 🙂

 

#891 The half-year parent-teacher interview

I used to LOVE parent-teacher interviews as a child… can you guess why?

Though most of the time I don’t think I was allowed to sit with my Mum as my teacher went through my academic accomplishments, there were snippets I gleaned, the written report that came out of it, and of course, my Mum’s proud smile after it all.

I don’t mean to brag. I wasn’t some Einstein or anything. But I listened to the teacher. I did my homework. I did what I was told in the classroom. And therefore, the report represented that.

My favourite bit was always what my teachers mentioned or wrote about my creative writing habit. Even then I hung on every word, re-reading it countlessly, and I have to say, some things don’t change. I am still desperately hanging for feedback.

Fast forward a good 25 years, and today we had yet another parent-teacher interview. This one was not so academically geared, and it wasn’t to do with me.

Still, I left beaming.

I think from the moment baby girl started 3 year-old kindergarten last year, I have been worried. Worried about development. Worried about milestones being reached. Worried if she is ready for kinder… then worried if she will be ready for the next step, after kinder.

I have spent a lot of time in my head on this one. So today, when the kindergarten teacher said some lovely and positive words about baby girl…

“she is engaging with others more,”

“she participates in class activities and puts her hand up,” and then the clincher –

“I think she is ready for school next year”

Suddenly I became my Mum, and she was me, and if you know us all that ain’t a far stretch. It’s not to say that there is anything wrong when kids are held back in kinder, and I know plenty who have done that for their kids, and who are even entertaining the possibility right now. But as a parent, you know your child, in your heart of hearts. And when that feeling in your heart, is validated by the other major learning force in your child’s life…

You breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that you were right all along.

I am just thrilled with her progress. Again, no Einstein factor. No A+ accolades.

But she is my girl, and to me, her star is shining bright :):):)

#866 Dancing in another place, with my loves

It’s not a good thing when you stave off dancing for a considerable length of time.

And I don’t mean the boppy, jump up and down kind of baby girl’s fave dance group Pnau. Nor am I talking of the swaying sensations of Hubbie’s preference Sia, or the hip-shaking rhythms of my, Ricky Martin.

No. What I’m referring to here is the funky feet of folk.

Folk dancing. It is a whole other dance, rhythm and culture all of itself. When you grow up listening to it, it surrounds your family parties, and you partake by dancing along to it whole-heartedly at these festive get-togethers, it creates the very important foundation of shared family love, memories and ALL the happy times.

This time however, it wasn’t in our kitchen. Sure, baby girl and I were present, but Hubbie was at work.

We were in a lounge room. Not our lounge room. My OLD lounge room. And the third person present was my Dad.

We were at my parents place.

🙂

Baby girl loves to put it on. There is a small stereo in the lounge room, with a permanently placed folk cd inside. She turns it on, winds up the volume, and happily starts jumping along.

How happy that makes me, that at only 4, that type of music is already engrained into her.

“Come on Mama, dance!”

I tagged along.

I should warm up, right? When ever there we do any kind of ‘warming up’ as we call it, it’s usually because some big family event is coming up, and we need to get our cold dancing feet fired up and ready.

But today the only warming up was done for just thatwarming up. It was cold, there hadn’t been a get-together to get us jumping in ages, and yet I still felt the urge to get the blood pumping, knowing it would help the chills of this, our June day.

I started jumping beside baby girl, with no real rhythm, just to make her happy.

“Come on Deda!”

I looked at my Dad, all comfortable and cosy on the couch. There was as much chance of him getting up to join us as there was in the day moving above 20 degrees.

“Baby girl, leave Deda, he is resting.”

He looked to agree with that statement as I said it, but then as I kept on leaping in the air with baby girl, I saw him get up, and start to –

one two, one two three, one two three, one two three

He was dancing!

“Good job Deda!” I yelled to him.

Baby girl smiled in happiness, and on he, and now I, inspired by his professionalism in the act, kept on going, doing it the right way

one two, one two three, one two three, one two three

Our feet kicking the in air, moving from left to right and left again, and baby girl telling me all the while –

THAT I WAS DOING IT ALL WRONG.

Sure honey. Because she’s the folk-dancing boss.

So I copied her kicks in the air from side to side and left to right, and suddenly she was much more impressed.

(Face palm).

But for those few moments, the three of us mucking about, folk music in the air, legs kicking around wildly…

I reckon the room temperature DID reached 20. 😉

 

#748 Making memories with new and old family

How amazing is this sunset:

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Just breathtaking. No water views for AGES here, but instead of the sea, the horizon displayed hills upon hills of wondrous beauty, magical greenery, and the most picturesque trees imaginable.

I got to share this beautiful sunset with my extended family tonight, at my Uncle’s house. There were old cousins, new cousins that I got to meet, and then there was the sweetest part of the night for me, watching my cousin, interact and play with baby girl, probably as he did with me, so so many years ago.

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Hide ‘n’ seek, cat and chicken seeking, and piggybacks were all on the menu. Seeing them together reminded me of my own childhood.

Damn it was a good one. I so want the same for baby girl.

To family, new and old… and making the best memories.

#703 Rediscovering – Material Girl, Madonna

I was doing a fairly mindless task at work today. I mean, it actually does require some amount of brains when you first start this kind of repetitive inventory checking. But at the same time, when you get into the groove, and are just simply pushing lines of content up and down, selecting this and selecting that, another part of your brain is left free to roam…

Whenever I have had to do this task in the past, I have been thoroughly prepared: with my ipod. I bring it in to work, plug it into my headphones, and voila! I have instant entertainment as I am working! It is great in that it does not interfere with my work (note above: mindless task) and at the same time, I am having an awesome time because I have all the music I love streaming into my eardrums as I bop along. Score!

But alas, I am out of practice. Because it’s been a while since I’ve done this job, I’ve also forgotten to get into the habit of bringing the ipod in with me.

Never mind. There is a thing called YouTube jukebox. Type in an artists name, and watch what happens…

I really would have rather preferred a mixed tape of some sort. But as mindless task as it was, I still couldn’t justify constantly selecting and changing artists and songs as I worked along. So I typed in someone that spanned decades and time and genres and styles, and who I knew had a library of music that would keep me busy for a GOOD while. During mindless task.

The queen of pop, MADONNA.

I had forgotten how fantastic her early stuff was. I listened to tracks like La Isla Bonita, Live to Tell, Express Yourself, Into The Groove, Papa Don’t Preach… And then suddenly colleagues were asking me questions and calling me away, and I had to take off my headphones, which irritated me to NO END, and I seriously felt like saying to them “um guys? I am listening to Madonna here, take it easy!”

Acting like they are paying me or something. Anyway.

But the piece de resistance, came when another early track came randomly to play:

You know when it has been so long between plays, that you almost forget that a certain song exists? How much you loved it growing up? How much you still love it because it reminds you of your childhood, another time and place, the early artist, the contradiction in art, the ode to the former artist, the baby-face and baby voice, the men, the 80s tackiness that is so bad it is too good… the PINK? THE JEWELS?

Well I loved this song growing up, and I still do. And I am severely disappointed that it only has 7.3 million YouTube views. Boo! Come on peeps let’s up the Madonna 80s ante here.

Listening to this song today, both at work and then later at home… well it is still a classic. It ain’t gonna save the world with its lyrics, but it will put a smile on your dial and its catchy tune will imbed itself into your brain – just ask Hubbie and baby girl who were repeating it later on tonight 🙂

And after that mindless task, I needed something catchy to embed itself into my head, after all…

#614 Mementos from the past

I am in the process of sorting through all the childhood things I left behind at my parents house when I first moved in with Hubbie. So each time I visit, I go through a drawer, a cupboard, a shelf, and I sort into 3 piles:

The throw away pile

The recycle/donate pile

The take home and keep forever and ever pile

I have come across some absolutely amazing things, LET ME TELL YOU. Watch this space carefully. I even came across a note, that nearly made me clap my hands with joy… it’s not with me yet, or else I would have posted about it already.

In due time. 😀 😀 😀

But anyway. Along with getting rid of some items today (if I can’t remember where it is from, or it doesn’t spark any interest in me, I remove it from sight immediately in a rather ruthless and cold manner – I have to because I hoard soooo easily) I took home a fair few more.

All little things. Which makes it ok.

But some of the interesting finds were these:

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Bits I had TOTALLY forgotten about. Bits that told a story, of another time, and another place. And Bits that just made me go “huh?”

Bits I had TOTALLY forgotten about

The pale blue rosary. Who gave it to me? I don’t know. Was it a baby gift? I don’t know. Did someone think I was going to come out a boy?

I DON’T KNOW.

But it has always been there, and therefore has always given me some kind of comfort, since I know it has been around for as long as I have.

The Christmas tree pin. It lights up. I think. My mum gave it to me… I think. But regardless of who gifted it to me, it’s Christmas, and so immediately, KEEP.

Bits that tell a story

The blue and pink zig zag choker. When I was 13 and overseas for the first time, my cousin gave this to me. I think I can even remember, that she had made it.

I am not now, nor have I ever been a choker wearer. But I wore it then, several times, both in front of her and away from her, as a kind of experimentation with self, and you know, teenage years. I had completely forgotten about this one. It takes me to a very memorable and significant trip from my childhood, and so this has to stay.

My incognito watch. I wore this in my teenage years, even possibly leading up to, and during my aforementioned overseas trip. I have to say, I had no idea what incognito meant when I wore it. Oh man.

Bits that make me go “huh?”

Those keys on the bugs bunny key chain. You know how you accumulate a thousand and one keychains in your life? No? Well I somehow received a lot. As a present, attached to some gift set, and hey, key chains are an awesome present to give somebody as a holiday souvenir, because who doesn’t want a picture on their keys of some kind of landmark, that they have NEVER been to???!!!

So, I have no idea who gave me this key chain, or if in fact, I got it when my parents and I went up to Surfers Paradise one time. And those keys… like, what? I told my Mum to throw this one out, and then stopped in my tracks.

What would those keys open up?

???

“Maybe you should keep those,” Mum suggested. “It might be to open those brown boxes that kept all those books you used to write in…”

My old diaries. Hmmm. She knew about that VERY well…

So, what a memory blast. As life goes on, I find it fascinating that we used to live a life so long ago, that we can’t remember a lot about. And we come across things, that used to be so regular in our lives, and now, we draw a blank. It’s incredible, and as a child, I used to always say “I’ll never forget,” baffled with adults who couldn’t remember events of their childhood.

I now forget.

You know what might help me though? A watch. I know what incognito is now, and I certainly go by it online… 😉