#1824 Goodbye number 14

Phwoar. What a day.

Today was the day that we said goodbye to our family home.

The home that my parents have lived in for 40 years.

The home that my sister spent growing up as a teenager, all the way until she got married.

The home that’s the only childhood, family home I’ve ever known… that I lived in for 25 years until I got married.

Goodbye, number 14.

It was an emotionally bittersweet day. Emotional because oh God, all of the above! So many memories are in every inch, every corner, every crevice of that house.

Through the rush to get everything out of the house this morning, I tried to pause every so often, look around, take a breath, and say a personal thanks to the house that made my years growing up, the best in the world.

Here is the emotional part.

I was reflecting on my life spent there as I walked around the empty rooms, a bit taken aback by the hollowness of it all. The furniture, furnishings, and all the photos and trinkets that made it such a loved home, were all gone.

But oh, those walls. If those walls could talk.

Those walls would speak of happiness, of laughter. Of sadness and shock, family coming together, and family celebrating to make the most out of life.

And love. SO much love.

Memories hit me as I walked into rooms, turned corners. Looked this way, that. People from the past resurfaced, along with people from the present.

In the lounge room, I saw myself sitting on the floor while my parents watched footy on the TV.

In the kitchen I saw my Mum cooking up a feast, our family sitting down to eat at the small round table, perfect for us in size, so perfect, to keep us tight and close together, as always.

In the garden I saw happiness. Friends, cousins, brimming around, enjoying a drink on a hot Summer’s day, folk music from the garage wafting over and adding to the festive atmosphere of it all.

The garage, ohhhh, the garage. Where so, so, so many parties and events were had. Birthdays. Milestones. Weddings. Day after weddings! New Years. And all of the Christmases that Mum cooked up a storm, catering for over 30 people like it was an absolute breeze, even though it wasn’t.

She made it look effortless.

Those were the days. Those were the BEST days.

The park next door. Hearing the squeals of happiness from our younger cousins as they took advantage of the play proximity.

At the front door, I saw my sister being led out in her wedding dress by my parents… then I saw myself, doing the same.

Deep breath.

The dining room showed me all of us, our big family, as we are now. The original foursome, us, being my parents, sister and I, but now with our Hubbies and our kids, filling up the table, eating heaps, drinking more, and playing music off of youtube on the mobile until the late hours of the night.

In my bedroom. The bedroom that I spent 15 years of my life sleeping, dreaming and hoping in. I had another room for the first 10 years of my life, but I claimed this one, sister’s one, after she got married and moved out.

It’s always been the better room.

I sat in my old room. Took some photos around me. And then here, I began to cry.

I remember watching Video Hits for hours on weekend mornings.

My childhood cat scratching at my window, wanting to be let in, and then me opening the window to shoo her, upset she had woken me… but when she jumped down from the window sill outside, I thought stuff it, you’ve woken me now… and so I would call her back in (she must have thought I was a crazy bipolar cat owner) and she’d snuggle up next to me as I slept a little more.

I’d open up that window, and talk to friends through it.

I talked to SO MANY people, through it.

I listened to music for hours on my bed.

I had sleepovers in that room.

I had sleepovers in that house! On the lounge room floor, covered in blankets and sleeping bags.

When Croatia played Australia in the 2006 World Cup, Hubbie-then-boyfriend and I watched it, me running around the house with a Cro flag when Croatia scored a goal, and Hubbie running around the house with an Aussie flag when they scored a goal.

I don’t remember who won that game. All I remember is the memories.

All the people who came, and went from that house. It would be in the hundreds. Friends, family, people who I grew up with, grew apart from, so many people have touched base in that house, shared a laugh, a dance, a drink, and made a memory.

Even baby girl. It was the first place that she ever visited, after her own home.

Speaking of baby girl… My waters broke in that house! And my own Mum’s waters broke in there, when she was pregnant with me!

Both sister’s Hubbie, and my Hubbie, met my parents for the first time in THAT lounge room…

News broke. Secrets shared. Heavy discussions were had. Tears shed.

People were welcomed. People were greeted.

People came in, and immediately knew that there was love. They were safe. They were in a memorable place.

And so today, the time came. We walked through the house. We took our final photos.

And we drove off, for good.

That was seriously bitter, right?

Where is the sweet?

Well, it comes with the choice. How blessed are we that this was born of my parents decision to move closer to me and sis, and not because of a bad circumstance.

How lucky are we that we get to say goodbye, together, in the best way possible… and how lucky that we still get to take ALL the memories with us?

Including most importantly, the people.

I am so looking forward to making just as many happy memories in their new abode. 🏑🏑

But my heart will always hold a very special and dear place, for number 14.

πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

#1754 The big girl at the party

Today was a little milestone for baby girl and I.

I took her to a birthday party after school… then LEFT HER THERE.

It was part under the belief that it was kids only… and part knowing that she was old enough to be left alone.

It was only 90 minutes long… but I drove off going “I AM FREE!”

(And then proceeded to stop and buy groceries, start dinner prep, then lie on the couch for 7 minutes ONLY because that was all the time I allowed myself and I was exhausted).

This is the remnant of this afternoon’s party.

Yes. A half-eaten chocolate cupcake. I picked up a girl who was emotional from not wanting to go home, high from all the kids, fairy bread and chips, and tired from doing the conga line and jumping in the bouncy castle.

Yes. It was a successful first foray into ‘solo’ kids parties.

And by the way… I was the only parent who ‘dumped’ their child and left. Turns out other kids were there… with their Mums in tow.

Whoops.

That’s ok. Last year we were at the same girls party, and I was the ONLY Mum there… at a kids pretty in pink themed play room.

So, balance.

(I ate the rest of the cupcake, shhhhh).

🀣🧁

#1667 Day 169 of getting there: finding the meaning of life, amidst death

I was beyond shocked at about midday today.

I was working from home when an old work colleague called me.

She told me that a mutual friend of ours, our old work friend, had died.

She cried, and I said ‘Oh my God,’ repeatedly.

It wasn’t that much of a shock. In terms of, we knew she had been battling a serious illness for years now.

But she had been winning. She had been beating it, time and time again, and I really felt like her bubbly personality and upbeat attitude would actually kick its arse.

I really did. I thought she had.

I read her posts on facebook, and I also followed her journey, taking in eagerly her updates that she was getting better, she was part of the small percentage that was still alive since her original diagnosis, watching her face on the screen of my mobile, all happy and positive, the way I used to see her when we worked together.

Back in the party shop days, when we were both in uni. We’d usually work the same Friday night shift, 4pm-8pm, and she’d fill me in on her weekend plans, the clubs she would frequent, the friends she would go out with. She was so bubbly. So positive. I don’t think I ever saw her mad. EVER. Even when a sad or sore topic crossed her lips, all it did was lower her voice, make her eyes go distant for only a moment…

But then she’d be back. That happy girl we all knew.

Today on the phone, my old work friend cried. I just stared at my computer screen, my mind blank with shock. I told her I’d call her back to have a good chat… I was at work, and had to process it all. She urged me to check out the facebook page that confirmed the sad news.

We hung up, and I knew I shouldn’t have… not just because I was at work, but because my mind was already becoming a jumbled mess.

But I did. I looked up the facebook page and burst into tears.

Why? Why her? How? She was 2 years younger than me. She was 34 when she died, months ago, and we’d only found out now. My heart sobbed. I felt sad all over. I thought of her again and again, her fight, her courage, her strength…

I struggled to think of memories. They were from so long ago, over a decade now. But slowly they came back, more and more.

Her long nails that she kept immaculate, strong and healthy despite all the balloons we tied and dust we encountered.

I remembered her 21st birthday. It was in a huge hall and she had hundreds of people there. She was dating a guy she was rapt about at the time, but he ended up to be a bit of a douche. I have to say, I wasn’t surprised about him when she later told us.

But I was beyond floored to hear the news of her death today.

Why? How? How did this happen? She had a loving family. A wide circle of friends.

She was going places. She loved her job. She was motivated. Dedicated. hard-working. Fun and cheeky and hilarious.

How did this happen?

This afternoon, my thoughts went into a deep, dark place. I cried over my keyboard, and then Hubbie came home for lunch and I cried some more.

He just nodded. He understood.

I told him I was scared. “What’s the point of life… we’re all leading towards death, or heading towards watching all our loved ones die. I’m scared to love anyone.”

I struggled with these thoughts. To and fro I went, battling, thinking of her, thinking how life was scary, life was unfair… life didn’t ask you. Things happened.

Things just happened.

Nothing mattered anymore. All this coronavirus crap… seriously who cared?

We were alive! We were breathing. Hell even if I felt pain somewhere, it meant I was alive.

I was feeling. Breathing.

A few little things made me realise what was important in the second part of the day. I finished work, and instead of rushing off to do home-schooling, and start the whole routine of getting jobs done, I sat with baby girl. Watched her draw with some colouring pens she’d re-discovered.

We had our coffee break on the balcony.

I used my eyes to look at the water.

My hands to wave at the passing neighbour.

I smelt the coffee with my nose.

I felt the sunshine on my face.

I heard the wind breathing as it wrapped the warmth of Spring around us.

I was alive.

We took a walk around the block. I needed it. We looked at houses. We counted street signs. We laughed. Touched leaves. Ran.

At home, I read, on whim. I’ve been holding back, trying to not read as much in order to motivate myself to catch up on my Book Reviews for my blog… but it’s made my soul sad. My soul wants to read. I want to read.

So I read a chapter just before dinner.

Yes, if you looked at it deeply, darkly… we were all leading to inevitable death. Ours, or everyone around us.

And we didn’t know what would come first.

Bleak, yes. Not very glass half-full at all.

But we had this life to live… and to love, was to live. We had to spend our time on this earth making the most of it, enjoying the little moments, using our senses, experiencing them, and being grateful that we were granted time on this earth at all.

Doing what we wanted. What made us feel good, in our core. I realised I had really followed my heart today, because the news of our work friend passing was so upsetting, I had to do something to make myself feel better…

I am still so profoundly sad. I think of her and I feel like crying all over again. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe she’s not here anymore.

Despite everything, I spent my time doing something for me today. Something to make me smile through my sadness. Something to make me happy through my tears.

And it was made all the more meaningful tonight. Baby girl kept asking for kiss after kiss after hug after hug from us, as she lay in bed tonight. It became a joke to her, saying “one more,” every time we moved back.

But it meant something entirely different to me.

“Yes honey. One more.”

And more. And more.

And more.

Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

RIP SJ. πŸ’–πŸ™

#1617 Day 119 of getting there: Step back in time

I took my own isolation advice today, based on my surviving corona post from some time ago.

I went through old photo albums.

Ok, little white lie… I didn’t actively seek them out for the sake of reminiscing. It was Hubbie’s request to find an old photo of himself with a certain hair cut, and I knew roughly which album it was in…

So I came down the stairs some time later, with two albums.

Because one wasn’t enough.

Not even two was enough! But still we sat. We searched. We laughed and laughed.

We were back in time about 15 years. 15 years! Do you know what can happen in 15 years?

Fortunately, a good sign… there were a lot of familiar faces. πŸ™‚

Baby girl asked if every baby pictured was her, and when I told her it was her cousins, my nephews, she demanded to know why she wasn’t there!

“Honey, you weren’t ready to come out yet!”

“Yes I was, I was always ready!”

Oh LOL LOL.

What did I find, specifically?

Well, in all those familiar faces…

I found flared pants.

I found hair with so much foils it was practically blonde.

I found stupid/silly face photos (photos where you deliberately pull a stupid face… if you haven’t done it, this you MUST TRY!)

I found so many 21sts.

I found selfies… before there were selfies!

I found my nephews so small, they could fit in my arms.

I found my parents garage, filled with family, music and laughter, as was so common back when I was a teen.

I found a lot of drinks!

I found a lot of parties.

I found a lot of freedom.

I found a lot of happiness.

I found a lot of love.

And it made me think… looking through photos is one of the best things you can do right now. Even if you are going through really hard times…photos of happier times are honestly, the best thing we can show ourselves at this point in our lives…

Why?

Because life is a rollercoaster, just gotta ride it, as Ronan Keating sings. It goes up, it comes down.

Or like one of my favourite sayings,

“Good times and bad times have one thing in common… they never last forever.”

Universally, we all are going through a tough time, in one way or another.

So when we look back at these photos and remember how good things used to be…

You can remind yourself, they will be that way again.

Before we know it, we will be making more memories.

Pulling more stupid faces.

Dying our hair all kinds of crazy.

And in turn, making our future selves smile. πŸ™‚

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

#1279 Birthday version 36.0

Snapshots of my day…

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Putting a unicorn bikkie in baby girl’s lunchbox today … her birthday too. β™₯

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My cafΓ© brekkie. The quiet start to the day was necessary and did not last!

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There were blue skies… blue skies!

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Google wished me a happy birthday, again… aww shucks.

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And flowers at the end of the day from Hubbie to me and our girl made me all googly-eyed β™₯

My birthday observation this year is this: it’s better, especially if having a party, to have your actual birthday mid-week, like Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday. Because if like me you have it on a Friday, you then spend the whole day running around like crazy getting ready for it all, on your birthday!Β There is no rest!

We were all crazy crazy running around the house tonight… Mister F was looking at us like “damn I live with insane people.”

But as long as I have my family to be crazy with, life is good.

Life is beautiful πŸ™‚

 

 

#1000 Reasons to be grateful

Read that – 1000.

1000!

1000 days of gratitude!

That in itself is something to be immensely grateful for.

1000 days in a row I have found something to be grateful for.

Whether it was super easy.

Whether it was super hard.

Whether I cried from happiness that day.

Whether I cried from sadness that day.

Where I looked up to the heavens and thanked those above for what I had.

Where I threw my hands up in the air and questioned if any of this being grateful crap was worth it.

Because as much as I am a self-proclaimed glass half-full gal, practicing new gratitude every day can be an enormous task, when faced with life’s challenges, disappointments, trials, and negativity.

But I have also learnt, there is so much of life to be thankful for.

I look in the simple. The everyday. The ordinary, and the natural.

And I find that some of the best moments are the ones that cost nothing at all, and are always available to me.

That is what I believe to be a rich life… away from any monetary value at all.

And despite all my gratitude towards this important milestone, how coincidental (and you know I don’t believe in coincidences!) that my 1000th post falls on another huge day.

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Finally! It was my Mum’s big birthday party today. And I don’t know how, what and why this has coincided the way it has – as like all of life’s mysteries – but I think it is something truly special that her 70th birthday, and my 1000th post, were on the same day.

Not two days apart, tomorrow, or yesterday… but the same day.

I haven’t quite worked out the significance of this at this post midnight hour, but I really don’t mind.

All I know, is just to be grateful.

And I will continue to try doing that for as long as I can. πŸ™‚πŸ™

#996 Public holiday cleaning

I love this quote:

dullwomen

I always have, maybe because it speaks to me so personally. I am not saying my house is filth, but I don’t stress out about cleaning. I don’t work out my days according to it. It’s dust here, mop there (now mopping I do get excited about now!) and rather, I fit cleaning in and around my schedule, rather than me fitting my life around cleaning.

I figure, I have better things to do. Things will always get done, and in the end, who the hell cares? Like really, do I primarily want to be known on this earth, for how freaking well my house was cleaned? If people are entering my house and judging the traces of dust present, well I may just have to judge the traces of stupidity in their heads.

Having said all that… I do appreciate, a good, deep clean.

Every so often it happens, and it’s like “get out of my way people! I am on a mission!”

And let’s face it… there’s no greater motivator than knowing there will be 40ish people in your house on the weekend.

:/

And so, on this Melbourne Cup public holiday, I got cracking. Well, we did. After Hubbie got home from work earlier today, we both set to it…

While others were walking through the rain for the horses, still others were on their couches, others at parks, and maybe others more so at the pub, Hubbie was whipper-snippering and then mowing our huge expanse of grass (and you only realise how big it is when you go to tend to it) while I did all manner of jobs inside the house.

We felt accomplished, and good. We still have a long while yet. But I know when we are done I will happily take in ALL the people πŸ™‚

 

#994 Happy party prepπŸŽ‰

It is a combination of general and specific things making me grateful today, and yet like all religions, they point to the same thing.

Specifically we got floor covering.

Specifically we got drinks.

Specifically we counted chairs.

Specifically I planned out table arrangements.

But in general and as a whole, we were preparing for my Mum’s big birthday bash next weekend.

And it makes me so happy, and I’m enjoying it, because we are moving at a good pace and getting shit done now… instead of all on Friday night at the nth hour.

And that’s the way all party planning should go, right?

With organisation, planning and time.

Scoff. Like that’s always possible.

Here’s hoping. 🀞

 

#972 Resting after the parties

I took the day off work to take baby girl to two kids parties today.

I had been informed well in advance of one, and then when I found out about the other, well I thought “that’s well timed.”

But can I just say… I work less and am more rested when I am at work, working, then when I am home for the day, with baby girl, driving around to first a 5 year-old’s, then a 6 year-old’s birthday party.

Sheesh.

I was ruined by the end of it all. It had been a full, fun day, but boy oh boy was I wrecked. As baby girl went to take her Dad out to the trampoline in the evening (because she somehow had not spent enough of her energy during the day) I took a deliberate 5 minute time-out on the couch.

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Can you see my toes, shining from the glow of the late afternoon sun? Can you see that water far off in the distance? It was a splendid day, and yet having been running around through the whole of it, I could actually not care less about it.

Yes it was beautiful out there. But lying by myself in peace for a few minutes, was more beautiful.

Then I heard baby girl and her Dad yelling and mucking about and talking from the yard… and I guess I am a sucker for punishment. I followed them out. πŸ™‚