Every so often your child grows up that bit more, and you hit another, really pleasant milestone.
Recently we’ve reached the ‘drop-off-and-drive-away-for-an-extracurricular-activity’ milestone.
This happens when you take your child to an after-school activity… but instead of staying there, like I do for swimming, I DRIVE AWAY.
Now, there are two reasons for the ‘drive away.’
1, she is old enough so I can leave her.
2, the session is too long to wait for her!
Hence why I hang around for swimming. Swimming is only half an hour. I check my phone, go on social media, make calls and send messages, as well as chat to a fellow parent. 30 minutes flies by.
90 minutes though? Today was her second gymnastics class after her trial last week, and I drove home, started prepping dinner, paid a bill, and rocked out to the entire A Night at the Opera Queen album, totally head-banging when ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ came on.
You know, the usual. 🤣🤷♀️
She is loving it though. She is an active girl, so she loves jumping about with the other girls, learning to do cartwheels and flips and all other cool stuff that I could never ever do, but hell I can live vicariously through her right? I mean isn’t that what ALL of parenting is anyway?
Totally joshing you there, you know it too.
But I love it as well. She’s already made a good friend, and even though she’s said both times “Stay!” as soon as they begin their stretch-ups and warm-ups, 5 minutes later she motions to me through the window “You can go!”
So I go, to do really important stuff like make dinner… and head-bang.
These are the lyrics sung by Queen in the song ‘The Night Comes Down’ on their self-titled first album.
And I can’t help but think of these lyrics when looking out at the sky tonight.
The sky, which came darker, earlier. I can’t lie and tell you I’m jumping for joy over the thought of reduced daylight hours, colder days and cooler nights, shivering as I head outside instead of relaxing in overabundant warmth.
But the older I get, the more I am coming to appreciate all of the seasons.
The last 6 months have been crazy. We’ve gone from a covid world, to attempting a life back to ‘normal’ following super-tight restrictions.
We all went a bit crazy. We’ve tried to cram in as much as we can, as much outside/social/happening time as we can, because you know, you just don’t know.
We don’t know what is in store for us. In life, and in covid.
And so the last 6 months, which have honestly been horrific-ly long at times, while also being stunningly beautiful, well I won’t mind to see the back of as daylight fades a bit.
I am feeling up for some mellower days. Staying in. Watching Netflix. Board games. Reality TV. Shopping where I’m not sad to be missing out on the outdoors. Catch-ups with family and friends, sitting around the table and sharing our woes, our laughter.
There is a season for every moment. I am coming to appreciate the different aspects of each, instead of only holding on stubbornly to Summer.
Every season brings with it something beautiful. It’s up to each of us individually, to find out what that ‘something’ is.
Did you know Queen has a Christmas song? Actually, two that I know of. The one I’m referring to, the same title as my blog post, well I discovered it a few months ago.
But upon finding it to play, I struggled to get through it without tears in my eyes, as the lyrics hit me hard, having gone through some issues at the time.
This morning, I put it on repeat, several times.
“Oh, my friends, it’s been a long hard year
But now it’s Christmas
Yes it’s Christmas
Thank God it’s Christmas.”
Those were my sentiments exactly, and I went into Christmas at my parents house, shared with my sister and her family, feeling utterly grateful.
Snapshots of Christmas 2020.
You might notice a plate of lemons in there. Well you see, lemons are the right fruit to refer to with what I’m about to share, having played an important part of a moment I had today.
Not only was I grateful to be amongst family after a year like no other, where hardship and difficulty seemed to arrive at every opportunity, but it was a bittersweet Christmas in that it would be the last at my childhood home before my parents moved house.
It was a Christmas, like so many we’d had there before… full of love, happiness, laughter, and great memories. But every now and then, it hit me – CRAP, this was our last one there.
I was cutting up lemons for our evening prawn feast, when it struck me again.
Last Christmas here.
And suddenly, it was bittersweet. Much like the lemons. On their own they were hard to take, your face screwed up when you bit into it, they were so sour…
But in accompaniment, with something else, like prawns… with a martini… or with honey… somehow it tasted a lot better.
It was great, even desirable.
Much like this last Christmas.
It wasn’t the last, but it would be the last there.
I could take it though. I could take it, because I still took with me all the memories of being there, celebrating Christmas after Christmas with my family and friends, all throughout the years.
Most importantly, I was taking the most important thing with me.
As if on cue, INXS’s ‘Don’t Change’ came on the radio, and I had to smile.
If only there were no change. Things would be so easy, with everything staying the same, static, and with no room to move.
But that’s the point of life you see. To grow. To evolve.
There MUST be change.
So I took the lemons to the table, and we enjoyed them in the best prawn feast ever.
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 think one of the best pieces of advice I could give to any current or future parents, is this:
Show them what you love.
In particular, music.
Baby girl is exposed to a whole range of styles. From 70s/80s Queen, 80s Prince, Madonna of ALL ages, pop Justin Timberlake, melodic George Michael…
to contemporary music like The Weeknd, SIA, Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, Tones and I, and then there’s folk music, rnb music, UB40, songs from movies…
There’s a lot of different styles that she hears from us.
When you show your child what you love, you’re showing them what makes you happy. What makes you sing. What makes your heart soar.
You’re not actually sitting them down and saying “this is what makes me happy!”
It’s in the everyday moments. Putting the volume up for a song on the radio that makes you smile. Dancing in the kitchen because Funny How Love Is came on. Laughing along to that really annoying/catchy tune “Pump it Up,” and then turning everything into that song…
“You know clean it up, you have to clean it up!”
You’re making everyday moments come alive, you’re making them more fun, and most importantly, you’re making memories.
Like today for instance. Following a week of letting everything fall to the wayside in light of more important things, I was on a cleaning frenzy. I had Queen on, FULL VOLUME as I went about the house doing my thing.
I was in baby girl’s room changing her bedding, when Bohemian Rhapsody came on.
As the pivotal moment drew near…
“Oh mama mia, mama mia
Mama mia let me go…”
I quickly threw some things in her wardrobe –
“…Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me…”
I ran out of her room –
And ran down the hallway
“…FOR ME!” I squealed as I skid into the kitchen, with baby girl charging in from the lounge room.
And then we proceeded to do THIS:
Oh it was fun! The hair clip in my hair was knocking my head we were jumping and head banging so much.
And it was so cool, that I knew I could depend on her to run in to meet me near the stereo… just as she knew she could find me rocking out to a classic tune.
It’s got nothing to do with making your kids like what YOU like. That I am totally against. Children should be allowed to make up their own likes, dislikes, interests and passions, without their parents, or anyone influencing them.
I am fascinated to see what kind of young woman baby girl will grow into of her own accord, not from someone else she has tried to be like, or from someone who has made her feel she should be like them.
It’s about showing them your passions. They should be their own people. At the same time, it’s no wonder there are so many kids out there who followed in their parents footsteps, either by doing a similar profession, choosing a similar path, a like-minded interest… because they watched them obsess, fixate, and enjoy that thing, while growing up.
Baby girl doesn’t need to write. She doesn’t need to read. She doesn’t need to love Queen all her life.
But by sharing what it is that you love with them, you show them what a meaningful, purposeful, and beautiful life is.
At the end of day, whether it’s a life path of not… Creativity.
These are the things that make the world go round. Teaching our kids about them can only bring beautiful things.
At the very least, really funny head-banging memories. 😉
Every couple of weeks our ‘celebration’ song changes.
Even though for the longest time, the song has been from the same band.
We might put on our celebration song whenever we just want to celebrate. So like, today, after I finished work, and baby girl and I had our coffee break…
It was celebration song time.
The celebration song can come on as I’m prepping dinner. It can come on as I’m washing dishes. Hell, it’s been known to come on after breakfast on a Saturday morning, and I put it on extra loud just because, you know, make sure the neighbours are properly awake and all.
The most recent celebration song comes from the Queen II album. And what an album it is. The music as a whole is unapologetically loud.
It is in your face, rock,heavy, the lyrics are full, and it takes over all your senses.
And I love it.
By the time track 10 comes around, it reaches its pinnacle of loud. If you were struggling until now, well just go away, this music is too much for you. You can’t escape the music. You just can’t. Even the lyrics don’t have a break. There are no pauses.
It keeps going and going and going.
Funny How Love Is. Baby girl and I danced to this today, and all that was missing was the expansive field of daises with hippies skipping freely across the green grass.
It is so folksy. It is just something else. It speaks of love, love in its truest form, examples of love, and where you can see it in the everyday. I find it a curiously optimistic Queen song, and that’s not to say that they don’t do happy love songs. Think “You’re My Best Friend,” but that was written by bass guitarist John Deacon.
This song is all Freddie. There are no bittersweet tones, like in “Somebody to Love” where he is literally asking for someone, to love. This song is so brash in it’s joy-fest, so in your face…
It really is the best celebration song.
I said it was the second last track, right? The song that follows is just as good.