#407 3rd row at The Wiggles show

I almost broke my bumper bar driving up steep shopping centre car parks to find a park. In the end I didn’t even get one there, having to park blocks away in the only available spot I could find, with 7 minutes to go.

We walked there in 10. Baby girl was tired after spending most of the night crying from a suddenly-developed sore throat. She was dolled up in her Emma costume, but the vibe wasn’t all there. She wanted me to pick her up at many stages, and somehow I warded her off. Carrying her would have made the walk longer, and as it was I was worried we’d approach the Frankston Arts Centre and hear distinctively catchy music already underway.

We walked in to silence and presented our tickets. And then as we walked further into the bustling theatre, full of kids screaming from laughter and fury, happiness and sadness, I scanned the area to find my sister near the front, waving wildly at me.

Near the front.

3 rows from the front.

I had forgotten just how close we were when I booked the tickets months ago. I had been initially impressed by ‘ROW C,’ when the offer came up online during my mad rush to buy tickets, but until you actually see it, you really can’t believe it.

Sis and I, were rapt. I kept telling baby girl how lucky we were, and likewise my youngest nephew sat there taking it all in, also unfazed by our superstar seating.

The Wiggles show was brilliant. I know the close seating made it all the more special. Not only were we close enough to read their faces and all their expressions, make eye contact and catch every thing that unfolded with perfect clarity, but our kids benefited hugely, though they never imagined it: my nephew had his sign read out by Emma at the start of the show, and his name was read out which made sis and I both madly happy and teary; and later while they were collecting all the gifts made to them from the kids in the theatre, Emma was able to sttrreettcchhhhhh out over the 3 rows and get the card being handed to her, by none other than baby girl.

Awwww 🙂

During the show I had a moment, where I realised it shouldn’t be a given that I will see them again. We’ve seen The Wiggles now about 4 times I think, and each time it’s been beautiful to watch baby girl grow and develop alongside them, and interact differently each time she sees them. She loves them now, but I wonder, when will The Wiggles be just a passing phase? Maybe she will still love them by the time the next big show comes along, but maybe my nephew won’t be interested, and so the little outing sis and I have with our kids, won’t be a reality anymore.

It made me truly grateful for the moment, the day, and the fact that on this show, mine and baby girl’s 4th one, and 3rd one with sis and nephew together, we were coincidentally, 3 from the front.

Lucky 3.

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Kudos to The Wiggles. I can say with such certainty, that I love them as much as baby girl. For someone to devotedly spend their time making children around the world happy, I think is really, something, and some-ones, special.

#317 Family moments no.1

If you haven’t already noticed, I have a great deal of love, respect, and profound appreciation for my parents, and my sis and her fam. Not to mention Hubbie and Baby girl.

And today was a wondrous family day.

Again, like an earlier post, I need to list a few things for today’s gratitude. It’s just too much of a pity not to. I can’t leave anything out.

Firstly, the pool. Splashing about in my sister’s brand-spanking new pool with my family: sis, nephew, baby girl, Mum and Dad. Hubbie, bro-in-law and elder nephew looking on in amusement.

Secondly, my Dad. I had this moment tonight where I caught him. He was sitting peacefully at the table post-dinner as Hubbie and bro-in-law yapped at one end, talking music and life, and sis and I were in the kitchen cleaning up. I looked up at him, and he was smiling at sis and me. A smile of contentment, appreciation, pride. He was happy. He was thinking something just then, and I caught the beautiful moment of its manifestation. And the most beautiful thing is, I believe he was thinking it of his daughters.

I will imbed that memory into my head forever.

I smiled back, and pulled more glad wrap over the bowl.

Third, the beer-spitting incident. As we were leaving sis’ house, baby girl sat next to her best friend (the family dog) and did a little sneeze. As I walked past her, there was a second, extremely loud noise, and a tremendous splatter of liquid happened along one side of my body. Bro-in-law had taken a swig of drink from a can, and had a tickle in his throat that he couldn’t contain, resulting in a huge cough splurting out. Although I was the one spat on, I laughed just as hard as the others, while the dog looked up at us like this was perfectly normal. I laughed so hard, my belly hurt.

What a way to end the night.

Splashing, meeting loving smiling eyes, and laughing. A pretty perfect day. I sure am appreciative.

#313 She loves them as I do

She saw my youngest nephew come in the room -she looked up in surprise, and then moved forward.

She came across my oldest nephew, and sidled up to him, in a casual and shy kind of side hug, grinning in happiness.

She was almost bouncing when she ran into my brother-in-law, crashing into him with overflowing glee.

And then when she saw my sister, she went in for a big hug, the one that is so precious to receive, so natural, so unprovoked, unasked and completely from the heart… especially when it’s from a toddler.

My sister and her fam came over to our place this evening. And although I know that baby girl loves them, when I saw her unspoken words, and her strong and loving actions towards them, the recognition of that love was pronounced, and so much stronger than one could express verbally.

Actions DO speak louder than words.

 

#305 Christmas at my parents’

Today was a long-awaited, yet weird Christmas Day. Definitely not a normal one. But these unusual ones come every so often. Like that one year there were freak hail storms which damaged too many cars, houses and general premises alike. Or that Christmas where we caught a canary, which became Hubbie’s pet “Chrissy” for a good few years. Or that other one, where we threw water balloons at each other in the yard, and made such a mess that Dad told us all off and we got in big trouble.

Hold on, that was last year.

Anyway, we were clearly due again this year.

All my life we’ve spent Christmas Day at my parents’ house. That’s 33 Christmases in a row. That’s a lot of Christmases. They were filled with a lot of family, relos and friends when I was growing up… nowadays our group is intimate, consisting no more of my sister, bro-in-law, 2 nephews, hubbie, baby girl and I, and our parents.

And today, amidst the usual food, cake, opening of presents, D&Ms, some kind of water activity (this year a cactus sprinkler) and endless photo-taking, there was an at-home doctor’s visit, followed by a trip to the 24/7 medical centre; me scolding Hubbie for drinking more than he was eating, and subsequently throwing him ‘looks,’ and 3 hours plus driving time on the road.

I was a little shitty, and feeling under pressure many times throughout the day. But my realisation was this: I wouldn’t pick any other group of people to spend a tense and stressful day with, even if that unusual day had to be Christmas Day.

The tough moments. The ones who are there for you in the hard times, and who make your life easier then – those are the keepers.

I still loved the day, because I was with my group of number 1s.

I hope you all had a magical Christmas Day 🙂

 

#300 Gratitude amidst Gingerbread and Grave news

Number 300. Well there you go.

Gratitude has to be mentioned prominently. Well of course, it is a gratitude blog. But more so, it was certainly felt deeply today, and it was by chance that it was so poignant on my number 3oo post.

It was chaotic today – let’s just say that much. No, we’ll say more. We’ll say that baby girl wanted to potty train, which meant I was bargaining with her, which meant she skipped her nap, which meant I kept an eagle eye on her as I made my annual gingerbread men bikkies to take to work tomorrow…

and then I had my MIL arriving, I had to do dinner, I dropped a metal bar on my foot (part of the bargaining, set up an outdoor playset for baby girl) my nephew called me mid-dinner prep to talk Angel (I could not by any chance refuse THAT call) and it just went on and on and on.

I was exhausted. My foot was sore. Baby girl was playing up big time, due to no nap. And the end of the night felt so far away. I couldn’t wait for it.

And then my sister called. And she sounded concerned, which naturally, made me concerned. She basically told me that my youngest nephew’s teacher has been diagnosed with a pretty grave condition – hearing it made my heart sink. I listened to her and she read something out to me that she wanted to get my thoughts on, something she wanted to send to this teacher to lift her spirits. I hid in my closet listening and talking until baby girl found me. I was rushed. There was yelling in the house. The kitchen was a pig-sty, from dinner prep and earlier baking. I was mentally and physically exhausted. But suddenly, EVERYTHING was put in perspective.

I was happy to have all those little annoyances in my day. I won’t even call them problems.

So happy to have food to mess up my kitchen.

So happy to have a daughter that is responding to potty training, and happy to have a daughter, full stop.

So happy to have a workplace to bring gingerbread men to.

So happy to have a steel rod that sets up my daughter’s outdoor table set, even if it does give me a bruise for days to come.

All of these things make my life beautiful. Let’s not forget during this busy Christmas period, that there are people who are sad, lonely, and suffering. Let’s spare a prayer, a thought, a wish for them.

And when you are rushed off your feet this Christmas season, just be aware.

Be aware how damn lucky you are. We all are.

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#288 Bonding with my nephew

The phone rang. I went to look at the mobile screen, and paused. “It’s your phone,” I said to Hubbie. “My bro-in-law.” But then as I stared longer I realised the wallpaper was mine and not Hubbie’s, and quickly went to answer. Was this my sister calling from her hubbie’s phone because hers was flat or something?

“Hey Aunty SmikG.” My nephew’s voice came through.

“Hey,” I responded, temporarily forgetting the last reason he called me which was only a little while ago, and also, worried that something was wrong…

“So, you know how you told me there was a big twist in Season 3 Angel… well did you mean (the translation Wesley finds?)”

PAUSE

*My nephew actually said something different, but I don’t have it in me to write what he said, in fear that I will ruin it for Angel viewers, or even future Angel viewers, and even the writing of SPOILER ALERT is not enough for this huge a spoiler. So just take the above at face value.*

RECOMMENCE.

And then I smiled.

So then proceeded a pretty cool phone call where I talked all things Angel with my oldest, 14 year-old nephew. I felt pretty special, I mean he was calling me, and we were bonding over a pretty cool thing in itself, a love of mine I haven’t been able to properly divulge myself in for a LONG time. When I told him I would eventually get a TV in our rumpus room over here, where I would watch re-runs of Angel over and over again, he said he would join me.

Awww!

And I added that we would get baby girl converted too, but I would just cover her eyes at any demon activity (i.e. 60% of the programme).

I had a really lovely convo with him, and I got off the phone immediately grateful. It felt so special to be bonding with him over a shared interest, not to mention the fact that he had started watching the show over a suggestion I made to him weeks ago now. I hoped that our shared interest would make way for more bonding sessions over many other things, and also hoped that he would come to see me not just as an Aunty, but a friend.

I was pondering all this, and having just heard from him that his Mum, my sister, was out with some friends, I had the inclination to pick up my phone again and message her ‘I was just talking to your son!’ I knew she would love it and also be madly curious. But then I stopped, as I saw the scene transpire before me. If I told her, she would come home later, and obviously would know our conversation before he got a chance to tell her. The fact that I had contacted her and told her of our convo, might tell him that there is nothing I don’t tell my sister. It might tell him that he can’t share things with me. It might tell him that it’s not worth bonding or spending time with me if I’m just going to tell-all and be another Mum-figure.

He didn’t need that. And I didn’t want that.

So I shut the scenario down in my mind and forgot about my phone. Sis will hear about it soon enough and she’ll happily call me tomorrow I’m sure 😉

But I am happy for this great bond that is developing. It makes me think of baby girl too, and the family she is in, and I am just happy and grateful all around.

#249 Inspiring Fandom

Last night when the fam was over, I got into an unexpectedly awesome discussion with my teenage nephew. He started on the topic of vampire folklore in media, and when he mentioned a couple of various TV series/movies, I mean, I just couldn’t, NOT say a thing.

“Have you watched Angel/Buffy?!” (On an aside, only one of the most awesome shows EVER).

And I deliberately write Angel before Buffy, even though technically the show Buffy in fact spawned Angel – but that is a chicken-egg debate you DO NOT want to get into discussion with me about.

So, back to my nephew. He hadn’t watched it, but knew of it. And just as I listened as he broke down the gist of the TV series Teen Wolf, so too did he listen attentively as I explained some of the underlying themes of both series and how they varied.

He said, he wanted to watch Angel. Immediately. Not Buffy. I was like “look, you probably wanna watch Buffy seasons 1-3, and then start at Angel season 1 so you can truly appreciate the character/story-arcs.”

He said he would look it up on Netflix. We had a good old discussion, I got to let go of some Whedon-verse steam (it’s been so long since I’ve had someone to converse Joss Whedon shows with), and I went to bed happy, simply that I had connected with my nephew on an old-fave interest of mine. I felt like a cool aunty.

Today! While chatting to my sister this late morning, she says “guess who’s watching Buffy season 1?!”

Oh! Aghast! Really? He was really going to do it….

Then hours later, after I got home from work, another phone call… sis put me on the phone to him, and he said he had watched the entire first season of Buffy, and couldn’t handle it no more, so went straight to Angel… and LOVED it.

He is sooooo his Aunty’s nephew! I was proud, rapt, and thrilled all in one.

I have inspired fandom! And now I have my own Angel apprentice to mould, mentor, and make… mwa ha ha.

I am so excited. I am also grateful. I get to talk about one of my favourite shows with someone, and it’s my nephew so we get to bond over a shared interest in the process.

I have not talked Angel-talk in a LONG time. So when nephew followed with the questions:

“Who do you think would win in a fight – Angel or Buffy?” AND

“I’ve read about some Spike character online – is it true he’d beat Angel?”

I passionately responded:

“Angel – he has the super-human advantage,” AND

“No bloody way, that is a load of bullshit!”

It has begun:):):)