#1045 Christmas at a different place

As far as I can remember, I’ve celebrated every single Christmas in the same place.

My parents’ house.

There was that Christmas my Dad caught a stray canary, which ended up being Hubbie, then ‘boyfriend’s pet bird aptly named β€˜Chrissy.’

The Christmas it hailed golf balls and our cars and the backyard pergola got a beating.

Or the Christmas we went mad throwing water balloons at each other all over the yard, and got told off by my Dad… (oh that was in recent years 😬 )

All those warm Christmases, dancing in the garage, walking to the park, eating, drinking, memory making…

The Christmas I snuck off to see Hubbie-then-boyfriend for a bit. 🀫

The Christmas we drank too much vodka in the first hour. πŸ₯ƒ

The Christmas I drank nothing – with a precious new 4 month old. 😍🀱

The Christmas some of my friends came, and some of my family could not handle the extra crazy. 😜πŸ€ͺ🀩

34 Christmases.

Today was Christmas number 35.

But… it was spent at my sister’s house.

I thought I would feel more nostalgia going into the day. All of these years of tradition, of memories, retreating to the same backyard post-lunch… and it was all changing.

But very quickly, something became apparent to me.

It wasn’t the location. It was all about the people.

Sure the house was different. The decorations would be different. The food and drink would be a bit different, and sure, the location was completely different.

But different didn’t mean bad. It was different, but it was still beautiful. And of course, there was a lot of love.

All of this was present, the beauty, the love… because the people were the same.

As long as I am with my loved ones, I am happy.

Merry Christmas to all. I hope yours was spent with loved ones, no matter where you were. β€οΈπŸŽ„πŸ™πŸŽ…

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#1032 Lemonade icypoles

It was a simple thing taking me back to my childhood days that made me grateful today.

Two things brought me there:

1. A stupid hot day, and

b) all that barfing I did yesterday.

Sucking ice is the recommended activity when one has been bringing up their deepest stomachy contents. I just made it fun with a lemonade flavour.

I sat on the couch with baby girl, telling her how I used to buy these at my primary school canteen… maybe 50 cents or so? I loved their fresh flavour, how all the juices sprung forth as the ice slowly melted, and they were simply the best hot day treat.

We sat like this on the couch, slurping away, with juices running into our fingers and down our hands.

β™₯

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Photo by Nick Torontali on Unsplash

#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. β™₯β™₯β™₯

#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 πŸ˜‰

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. πŸ™‚

 

#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.

πŸ™‚

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.Β 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. πŸ˜‰

 

#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.