Another lockdown birthday, and yet the surprises, presents, messages, phone calls, serenades and dedications kept me warm and fuzzy from all winter colds and extended lockdown news, keeping me so busy I could barely keep up all day.
But it was even better, because I celebrated it all, times two.
Baby girl and I share our birthdays on the same day. We did what we could, walked the almost empty streets, ate lunch by the water in our cars, and got some takeaway cake, ice cream and coffee.
It was a super splendid day, and you know what?
At a time when things have felt really super shit, I’ve questioned a lot, felt withdrawn and upset by lots in life… this is what I needed. A day where I really truly, felt the love.
I felt it all, and it was so warm, so caring, so welcoming. I was truly humbled to tears.
I know, no matter what life throws at me, there are people out there who care about me.
And that matters more than anything.
Reach out to those around you, let them know how you feel. You don’t even have to wait for their birthday… you may not know how much they need to hear your beautiful words. 💖💖🙏🙏
It has taken me all this time, but finally, the presents are all wrapped.
(Except for Santa’s presents… and except for the presents for people that we WON’T see on Christmas day, but shhh).
I am so tired. I am on holidays, kinda, and yet I’ve been the busiest I’ve been in a while.
Making gingerbread, doing a huge grocery shop, washing washing washing, OH THE WASHING!
Then tonight, I had to wrap baby girl’s presents… but I had to wait ’til she was asleep, and even then I went to our bedroom where Hubbie was sleeping, so the sounds of paper cutting and sticky tape tearing (it’s so bloody noisy!) was as far removed from her as possible.
I won’t philosophise about how I got here, and why I didn’t get here earlier…
That’s for another day. Another blog post.
For now, I am so exhausted I could almost wrap myself up in Christmas paper and tuck myself under the tree.
It was probably a good thing that baby girl walked out the school gate, then told me she’d left her jacket in her classroom.
“Well you better go get it, we won’t be back ’til next year!”
This meant we had to go back into the school, and then I happened across her teacher. It was perfect timing. Even though restrictions at school had also eased like everything else, and parents were allowed back into the school if necessary… they preferred to keep as many of us out on the other side of the gates as possible.
This meant no classroom visits, and no face-to-face teacher talks.
We had a brief talk. We hadn’t chatted like that for a while. She told me her plans for next year… long service leave, so she wouldn’t be back, not immediately anyway. We laughed. She told me she had enjoyed getting to know baby girl this year, even though almost half the year had been lost. It had left them with a bittersweet feeling.
They had only gotten used to each other, and it was all over.
“Oh, and she’s funny!” She told me. I listened eagerly.
“The other day when she brought in my present, she said to me, ‘just you wait Ms, oh my God, you are going to be overcome when you see this present!”
I laughed out loud. It sounded just like her. I loved getting this window into her world at school, a world that we need to literally pry out of her at dinner time, or have to wait until she is ‘in the mood’ to be privy to a little bit of.
I was relieved. She was acting at school, just like she did with us at home.
The first half of my weekend was amazing… and honestly, the second half was meant to be good too.
We went shopping today to get some much needed Christmas gifts ticked off our list.
We got some stuff… there is still quite a bit to go…
But my recurring pains meant the day was not as happy-go-lucky as I’d expected.
Like I do all the time on this blog, I tried really hard to find the positive. And despite not really understanding what the hell is going on, there was some really simple, understated happiness to the day…
Axil Coffee Roasters.
The cafe at Chaddy was so good, we stopped there twice. Once for lunch…
And then after some more shopping, for coffee.
Now, I really should’ve taken the table photo of the coffee, and not just my cap, because honestly, the brownie, doughnut and danish we ordered alongside our 3pm pick-up would have made you DROOOOOOL.
This place brought the goods today. When other things failed, and I was getting down, this cafe hit the mark every time…
I was really surprised to reach the end of today, and find that I felt…
The exact same way I feel after we have one of our big birthday parties.
Only this year was different, right?
What was different…
Firstly, no family, no friends, NO ONE. Just us.
No celebratory birthday outing.
That’s about it.
What was the same though?
The food. We ate most of the day, and felt absolutely stuffed by it all!
The drinks. I went a little ‘woo!’ in my head.
The cakes. The candles.
The music. Freddie! Dancing.
The surprises… for both of us.
The love and well wishes that came from everywhere.
I have to say, my family and friends made sure we felt the love today.
During such a weird time in our lives, when we are going through celebrations and momentous life events without so much as a peep on the radar as to its significance, the people around me reminded us today that we are loved, we are remembered, and also…
That we WILL party really really really really HARD when this passes!
And so, it comes as no surprise that I would be feeling sad it was all over.
I thought it was something entirely different when Hubbie announced today:
“Something’s at the door!”
I glared at him. Unfairly. Because a couple of days ago, I had told him that if any large-ish type parcel arrives, it is likely baby girl’s birthday present and we need to move it to a hiding spot pronto.
She gets excited about parcels, even if they aren’t for her… so it was of vital importance to hide it immediately.
After I finished glaring at his vocal announcement, I went to the parcel and saw…
My name, and baby girl’s name?
From my sister and fam?
Oh. Whoops.(Face palm).
Instead, it was an early birthday surprise.
It was so unexpected. It was early, but it came at the best time. I’d been feeling rather ‘blah’ about everything, so to sit down with baby girl (after apologising to Hubbie 🙃) and start going through the packages, well it lifted us right up.
Baby girl got some really cute gifts, and was absolutely rapt with his big girl make up/beauty case she got… and I received some really lovely and ‘me time’ gifts… a moisturiser, beauty bag, jewellery stand…
But the best gift of all, hands down, were the words.
The words in my sister’s card got me, good. I read it silently, and soon found the tears just flowing down my face.
Then, I was sobbing.
It hit me. Hard. I’ve known and been well aware that August was gonna be different this year. Hell I even forecast it as far ago as June, before this second lockdown…
But I didn’t know how hard, and how further isolated, we would get.
I am a party person. We are party people. We throw birthdays. We have people over. We go out. We entertain. And the only other time that I have not had a party for my birthday, was when I turned 30…
Why not, for such a big birthday, you might ask?
Well, because baby girl was born on that day. 🙂
Kinda a big reason.
This year, there is no good reason at all. I mean, corona is the reason… but it’s not a nice reason we’re missing out, is it?
Reading my sister’s sweet and heartfelt words, it just really hit me. I couldn’t contain the emotions anymore. The missing out.
The missing them.
The missing everyone.
The missing everything.
I am okay. I will be okay. And we will make up for this one way or another.
Today, I am so grateful for those words. Those words made me cry, but really, they lifted me today.
They reminded me that I can do it. I will do it.
We ALL will do it. Because there is so much happiness awaiting us on the other side…
It really is the night before Christmas… for those of Orthodox faith.
It’s an interesting thing to celebrate two Christmases throughout your life. It’s a privilege now awarded to baby girl as she joins in the doubled up of festivities.
Growing up, although the primary Christmas we celebrated was on the traditional Westernised date of December 25th, due to my Mum’s background and heritage we were always aware of at the very least, if we weren’t helping our relatives celebrate the Orthodox Christmas day of January 7th.
Seeing as Hubbie’s family is also of Orthodox faith, this acknowledgement and acceptance has grown and continued. All of my life, family and friends around me have celebrated this day… I have been to countless Christmas parties and participated in token Orthodox traditions, drank and ate and been merry on this holiest of days.
Which nationalities celebrate this day you might ask? Well there are Macedonians, Serbians, Polish, Russian, and Greek, to name a few…
I think it’s important to respect and value other traditions, even those that we may not be privy to or understand in the fullest.
Just as living in Australia, I believe that Australian customs should be respected and appreciated by all those who choose to call this country their home, so too do I believe the reverse should be norm: Aussies should respect the traditions and heritage of those with customs and holidays from far off our shores.
Including a different Christmas.
Sometimes I hear a bit of ignorance. One side might discount the other, calling theirs the ‘real Christmas.’
I think this is a bit sad. I don’t think we should be arguing over religion and politics and trying to up our own stance by discounting the other.
Why can’t we all respect each other’s traditions while still enjoying our own?
THIS GOES BOTH WAYS.
Baby girl went to bed tonight excited. She was asking if Santa would come again… I told her he only makes one stop a year, but that there would still be PRESENTS.
We did the majority of presents on the Westernised Christmas day, but I have an inkling she will get something. 😉
A second Christmas for a kid? That’s like a second birthday!
She, and we, are fortunate to have double the Christmases, every year. ♥
There are new presents to play with and find homes for, a lot of cleaning, breathing out a sigh of relief that Christmas is over, yet simultaneously feeling sad that Christmas is a whole 364 days away…
It’s a well-intentioned catch-up and family day.
And what better family way to end the day than with an…
Guess which one?!?!
‘Santa’ got this as one of baby girl’s few presents. I LOVED this growing up and as she’s at an age where she’s getting a lot out of board games like this one.
I sat opposite her while Hubbie helped her work out the best questions to ask to eliminate the most people, and we got to work –
slamming the faces DOWN.
The best bit? The times I won, she was so rapt, thinking that by me guessing correctly shehad won.
The tree we used to put presents underneath when I was growing up was much bigger.
It was a lot bigger than this tree. After I got married and moved out my parents downgraded to a smaller one, what with having no more kids in the house.
Despite the size, the love is still the same.
If anything, it has grown. Love has grown. Family has grown. Memories have grown. I am so grateful to have spent the day with loved ones, doing the best thing possible I can think of…
Which is sitting around a table in my parents backyard, with those that I love, relaxing in the shade and sun, music coming out of the garage stereo as we add to our memory bank and just chill and talk and eat and chill and drink and chill.