#638 Park… Beach.

I was always going to take baby girl to the park today. She had been pointing at the expansive fantasy-themed park since we moved over a year ago, and STILL we hadn’t taken her there.

It was on the edge of Frankston Waterfront, the beach so to speak, and lo and behold today was also…

Beach weather.

What to do, what to do? Well, we went to the Park…

But a Mum is always prepared. After 10 minutes of watching her sweat it out on the play ground (with me sweating it out as I followed her around), I decided enough was enough.

“Baby girl do you wanna see where the water is?”

(Does a sunflower like to face the sun???)

And just like that, we transformed. Sandals to thongs, dresses to bathers, with towels slung over our shoulders, we shuffled through the sand to the gloriously outstretched clear shallow waters that looked toward the Pier.

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We were only there for a short time – next time I will bring more meter money! – but, my oh my.

What a summer to look forward to 🙂

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#590 Park Days no. 3

Baby girl and I had been eyeing off the re-developing park for about 8 months.

Well, maybe more. I wasn’t counting. But I know it was a while. Every time we went over to my parents house on the other side of town, we would drive past this park that was getting a much-needed facelift.

It is on a kinda-main-road, and bit by bit, looking in at this fenced-off development, we would see the workmen, putting up poles, ropes and all kinds of play equipment; measuring off play areas versus green and seated areas; and finally, the day arrived when there was a huge hose-like machine pumping out bark onto the areas surrounding the kids play.

Then I knew we were close.

We were over at my parents place today. And not only did baby girl and I decide immediately upon driving past this finally-completed park, that we would definitely check it out… but after waiting seemingly endless months for it to be finished, the beautiful symmetry of our first park visit there, culminated in us getting to see my parents again after 24 days.

Yep, exactly. I remember the number, because the last time we were there it was the day before Father’s Day. There’s been a health scare, lots of us have been sick, and there’s even been an almost buy at an auction. I feel like a lot has happened in these 3+ weeks, making it feel more like 3+ months since we were last in each other’s company.

But what a day for it all to come together. Sunshine, Spring, perfect Still days, a brand new Park, and being in the company of my Parents, who, I realised today, I had missed so much…

A gorgeous Spring Park day. A perfect metaphor for all the joy we felt today.

 

#584 Beautifully treacherous lookout

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

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They say. And they are right.

Moments before I took this photo, I was crying. Not from happiness at the gloriously serene, glistening, and picturesque bay water before me.

My tears stemmed from fear. Intense, sudden and wild fear, that manifested into acute anger and overwhelming sadness.

It all started after our lunch. We were spending the day together as a family, mid-week, which was reason enough to celebrate. So we lunched of course, on pretty meals like this one:

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and then we headed over to Mornington Park, where baby girl let off some toddler-steam on the slide and swing… and after a while we let our feet lead us off into uncharted territory some more, and followed the sea view, all the way to the point of the pier, heading up up up to the rocky lookout which faced the beautiful image of serenity above.

Hubbie had to go as close as humanly possible to the edge. Baby girl followed him. I instructed firmly, that he MUST hold her hand. I couldn’t keep up with them because I had small heels, and was trying not to break my step in amongst the uneven dirt and rocky path. They headed on towards the edge, as I watched helplessly, yelling out to him “hold her hand!”

He did. But I was slowly dying inside. Here was a 4 year-old, curious toddler, letting go of her Dad’s hand every so often to peer over the rocks at the edge of her feet, rocks that in my mind could give out at any moment. She didn’t understand danger: as a toddler, they are not wired that way. It’s the reason toddlers get into so much trouble, they have an inability to judge what is before them, and the obvious consequences that come with it that usually, adults are equipped with by the time they are, you know, adults.

Usually, adults. I say that because Hubbie, is STILL a child.

This is why I was so concerned. He laughs in the face of danger: hangs over far too much over a 25-storey railing; he’ll walk along a brick wall where one side is a path, the other a dangerously high drop to breaks-ville; he will jump and climb up and off of any kind of climb-worthy apparatus, without so much as a care, second thought or slow deliberation.

Also, he had just had two double-shot coffees – and that with his childish and wild genetic composition, was a BAD combination.

Here he was, with our pride and joy – MY pride and joy – standing casually, a bit too TOO close, to the edge of a rocky drop where the other side of the steep descent was dangerously pokey rocks, and smooth, still, ENDLESS water.

I was dying.

As I approached them, I was in a serious state of panic. They were so calm, so chilled about it all. Peering over the edge, getting closer to the descent. I started to cry. And I yelled out some choice words to him. I painted a stark picture, and it got his attention.

He took baby girl’s hand, and they started to walk towards me. “Come on baby girl, Mama is upset,” he said.

“Sorry Mama,” she said.

“Just go over there,” I said breathlessly, as I ordered them back up the wooden steps and to the stable, safer, lookout point.

I turned back to the water, and breathed.

And breathed.

And soon after, I snapped that picture.

And I was grateful. Because the beautiful image before us, could turn ugly in an instant. l am an eternal dreamer, but a realist too. And though I am a glass- half-full gal, I have seen too much sadness to stick my head in the sand anymore.

Life and everything in it, terrifies me to no end, ever since baby girl entered our world and made it so precious. I am grateful for the beauty in it, but I always look behind me, I always check my footing, to check there are no uneven rocks.

I love views like this. And I will continue to photograph them. But under still, calm waters…

 

 

 

#555 Mindful swinging at the park

Baby girl has just learnt how to swing on her own. Today was the second time she had the opportunity to practice it as we headed on over to the local park.

We had just had a babycino and cap, and a salted caramel ‘something’ to share at the nearby café, so we were properly fuelled. As we got closer to the park, I let go of her hand and said “go, run. Be free. Frolic. Be 4.”

Soon she was headed over to the swing, the place of her new-found confidence and extension of never-ending playfulness. She wanted me to give her a big push to get started, and then said “let go Mama.”

(Oh darling. I will never let go).

But then as life would have it, as our children grow up, she wanted me beside her. ( 🙂 ) She motioned to the swing beside her and told me to “sit.”

Soon we were both swinging, sometimes going back and forth simultaneously, other times in opposite directions. It was a still day, the sun sometimes coming out from behind the prevalent clouds of the day. We were silent for the longest time, going back and forth at our varying paces, and my mind wandered over to something I had read the other day.

Mindfulness. What was the quote?

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”  – Bil Keane.

The article had mentioned 7 habits to cultivating a happier life. And one of the points that had captivated me had been the act of living in the present. Not worrying about what had passed, and not stressing about what may, or may not come… but concerning oneself solely, with the NOW.

The technique mentioned was to be aware of your palms and feet, and clenching both while becoming aware of your surroundings. It said to try and concentrate on where you were, and if your mind naturally wandered, to not judge yourself too harshly, but to simply gently steer your attention back to where it needed to be.

So that’s what I did. As we swung back and forth, in the quiet of the local park, I clenched the hands that were around the swing chain, and tensed my feet below me that were swinging back and forth in my white sneakers. I observed my body in the almost-too tight swing seat, breathed in the fresh air, felt the warmth on my face, and tried to think of NOW.

A young teenager was nearby, walking home from school in their uniform, and the image before me made my mind go elsewhere. Suddenly baby girl was also a teen, and there were a multitude of concerning issues flooding my mind. How would I help her with her problems? Would she ask for help? Would she be happy? Would she like school? Would she like her Life?

I suddenly realised my scattered thoughts, and ever so gently removed myself from them, taking myself back to the present.

The beautiful present. Of me and baby girl, swinging at the park, with no concerning cares in the world.

🙂

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#512 Bullshit stories to feed to your child…

…or as some like to call them, little white lies.

Up until a little earlier, I had no inspirational, sunshine-y, happy-go-lucky or renewed vigour for life post to mention here in this little gratitude blog of mine.

But then, as all the other nights before it, the bedtime routine happened.

And as I stood there, counting slowly, breathing deeply, and making occasional bribes to baby girl that all her toys would be gone in the morning, in between warning her that my angry face was going to turn on soon, something suddenly occurred to me.

Just like the sun rising from the dark horizon to fill the world with light, so too did an incredible thought emerge from my fury, giving me Hope that I could remove myself from this shithole.

A bullshit story.

I’ve mentioned this here before. You know, those stories we as parents tell our kids, to get, I don’t know, anywhere?

To get them to listen.

To get them to comply.

To stop them crying.

To shop them whinging.

To distract them.

Hell, to make life easier.

“We have to leave the beach now, because it closes at lunch time. It actually closes.”

“Yes the park is also closing for lunch, everyone is going home to eat.”

“You can’t leave the house without brushing your teeth. The shop people won’t let you buy a kinder egg if your teeth are yucky.”

“Paw Patrol will wait until you’ve had a nap, and then they will come on TV.”

“You have to wear a jacket on the trampoline (in 11 degree weather). It’s the Rule.”

And we get away with it because we can.

Why do we do it? Well as you can see from the above list, sometimes it’s for their sake – cleanliness or health. Sometimes it’s for convenience.

Sometimes it’s for OUR sanity.

And tonight once again it was the latter. Because for some reason, baby girl’s room was too dark. In amidst stalling with a variety of ways to not sleep, she kept pulling this nifty excuse out of her bag of tricks. And all I wanted to do was rest, and have some kind of ‘me time.’

She has two lamps in her room, albeit battery-operated ones, so perhaps the room was getting dimmer from the gradual battery strength lessening. However when I was getting her to finally lie down, and again she complained too dark, I just ripped out –

“We can’t have too many lights, you know why? The bugs will catch us. The bugs and spiders will find us because there are too many lights. So we can’t have too many lights. Goodnight!”

And you know what I got in return?

“Goodnight!”

Thank Fuck. I love Motherhood, but I also love that she is at an age to still buy these stories…

 

#492 Park Days no. 2

It was a very good day today. I was emotional, teary, and super-proud as punch as the kindergarten teacher told me how well baby girl was doing during her mid year parent/teacher mini-interview.

She is 3, in a predominantly 4 year old class. Not intended – that’s just how it happened. There weren’t enough 3s for a class of their own so they separated them into the 3 classes there are per week.

Every child has their own personal talents, and their own personal challenges. Baby girl does not differ. And yet, to hear such beautiful and encouraging feedback, about her positive self-esteem, sharing nature, ability to play well in a group, and to listen in group story-time, well…

IT MADE MY HEART SOAR.

As we were leaving the kindergarten, heading over to the park beside it that she hadn’t yet been to, I felt like I wanted to give her the world. I know I do already, but to hear such happy and positive news, I felt like I wanted to give her everything.

I know I already do. I was just so bloody proud.

So I pulled her aside and said “baby girl, look at Mummy – I am so, so proud of you. Mummy loves you.”

She smiled and then charged forward towards the playground she has been eyeing off for 6 months.

And so, we had a splendid park day.

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And for anyone thinking their Mum-kid relationship today was nothing like the above scenario, I’ll provide you with the humbling addition that we ended the day crying, exhausted, and angrily threatening “no book!”

Balance. It’s key. Still proud though 😉