Tuesday, 27 December 2011

All Because it's Christmas Time

"It's time to decorate the tree.... dress it up all sparkly..... shining and shimmering, glistening and glimmering, all because it's Christmas time" (thanks Hi-5).  This is what my M2 (daughter 3.5) has been singing since December 1st this year and is still singing.  It is beautiful (well except for the Hi-5 bit).

So, how was your Christmas.  Ours as a family was great.  We spent two days (one for each side of the family) feasting, exchanging presents and watching the kids.  That is what Christmas is all about.  Or is it?

As I sit down and reflect (and warning - I am not trying to be a downer here, but let's live with "first world problems" for a while) all I could think was how much I dislike the excess.

I went to the shops on boxing day (I KNOW - silly, but needs must, apparently) and there was line ups of kids exchanging their presents and buying more.  

Now before I get all judgemental, maybe some of the presents were gifts of money being spent 
but still..... first world problem.
While I sit here in my (old and shabby) but perfectly acceptable house I think about how lucky I am.

How lucky am I to be able to throw away food that I think "might be off".
How absolutely spoilt am I to think "I would have preferred something else" to what my children carefully chose out and gave to me.

Like I said people - First World Problems.

We spent $75 this year giving presents to World Vision and the K-Mart Wishing Tree Appeal.  
This is nothing. 
I would spend at least that much a month on wine and beer. 

But, in the scope of things, I have to think that every little bit counts.

I have read posts this Christmas about people who have lost friends.
Who have buried their husbands.
Who are missing their mums.

My life is good.

I urge you this festive season to embrace what you have around you.

Currently I am planning for 2012.
I am planning to get fit.
I am planning to try and get my house in order.

I am planning on loving what I have around me, everyday just that little bit more.

Happy Christmas Everybody. 
Here is to 2012.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Grief - I've Held Your Hand

Dear Grief,
I held your hand when my mum said good-bye to her brother. My Dad (her husband and soul mate was away - I was only 19 but had  to "step up).
It was too soon for him to go.
I remember the stigma attached.  
He would have had a red mark near his name because his death was HIV related.

Dear Grief,
 I held your hand when my big brother wept - his fiance the same age as me.  
Taken too soon in a car accident. Motorbikes went by as he walked out of the bridal shop she had ordered her wedding dress from.  I had made jokes about her at my own wedding.
Her kindergarten children that she taught bewildered by her loss. 

Dear Grief
I held your hand when my own mother wept - her mother sadly passing.
I wept my own tears - of guilt.
I should have been there for her more often.

Dear Grief
I held your hand as my husband's Uncles wife passed along.
Her death taken by the bitch that is "cancer".
So soon - her  very own daughter fell pregnant - VERY soon thereafter.

Dear Grief
 I HATE you
And yet you haven't yet really touched me
I know you are there, just lurking
And soon enough will hurt me.

Dear Grief
Please go away - I know we all soon will meet you.
Like my beautiful daughter said
"Why do we all go to heaven?"

I have no answer for that question
All I can do is smile
Smile in the knowledge that I can hold those that I love tight
And enjoy them for a little while.

Dear Grief,
Please don't haunt me - although I know one day you will.
I need those I know and love so well around me,
now and tomorrow still.

So if you need to take someone,  take someone who is suffering.  
Their loss no less meaningful or sad,
but maybe a little less frightening.

So to all of you who have lost someone,
either recently or not,
Light a candle and remember them - 
for their loss should not be for nothing.
 Love those you have around you - for without them you are nothing.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Memories in the Sand

Every year we make the pilgrimage to "the beach" for our 2 weeks of rest and relaxation, after finally making it to the finish of the school/working year (they are one and the same for us). 

Each year as it draws nearer a great sense of anticipation starts to build within the family - especially with M1 who looks forward to the time that daddy, especially, spends with him.  

M1 loves to swim, boogie board, make sand castles and all the usual kid stuff. 

M2 this year is also getting a better understanding of what exactly our holiday means to us.  
This year she has "blow up togs" which means hubby and I can sit on the edge of the pool and watch the kids playing and not hop in unless we want to.  Ahhhh......... bliss!

It is amazing the difference of M2 being just that little bit more independent and able to cope with the rigours (yes rigours) of beach life make to a holiday.   It is tiring going to the beach, going for swims, bike rides, walks and trying to keep up with you big brother. It does generally ensure a sleep through the day though!

I think holidays (or vacations if you are American) are a really important part of childhood.  It is during these times great memories are made.  Traditions are started that will then be followed with your family.  

I remember going to the beach every year for a holiday with my family, well since forever really.

Summers in Queensland are about the beach.
They are about watching the cricket in the middle of the day when it is too hot to be outside.
Summer is about mango's and ice creams. 
This is what are holidays are about.
It is a privilege to be able to share this with our children.
I hope they are storing up the memories and will one day share and pass them on to their children.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Reflections on Modern Life

Modern life seems SO busy.  I wrote about finding the balance in life earlier this year and how we all choose our level of busyness...  So have things changed for me as the end of the school/work year draws nearer?

The answer is yes and no.

Some days I feel like I am totally on it.  
You know those days when you have dropped the kids at school, washed up from breakfast, hung out two loads of washing, cleaned the bathroom, been to the shops etc and it is only 11.00?  
They are rare, but when I have one of those days - I LOVE IT!  
I feel like I can achieve anything and have a great outlook on life.

But, mostly, the days are still the same.  I am NOT on top of it. 

BUT the difference is I am learning to accept that this is OK. 
Because my kids have still been fed, their clothes washed, lunches made, homework done and
the house not falling down.  
I am in  a strange place head space wise at the moment.  Currently I am on holidays with the family.  That should mean less stress and relaxation right?   

Not for me. 

I don't know why., but I seem only to be able to focus on the negative things (M1 not wanting to go and see Santa - when that was the whole purpose of our trip out).  
I know this is hard on my hubby and M1 and M2.

I am just so tired of being argued with, corrected, explained to by a 3.5year old and an 8 year old.  
I know it old fashioned but I just would like for once, when I ask them something for them to say "Yes Mum" - straight away.  
Without the discussion/reasoning/why questions.

However, on a positive note, we all stating to relax. 
I have started my planning journey for next year, which hopefully will be a little easier.  
I know how "good" I have it.  I have a wonderful family (even if they do drive me crazy at times). 
Everyone is healthy.  Everyone is happy.  

I am trying to shift my head into a "Sunny Mummy" space. 
One where the focus is on people being happy.  I am slowly getting there.

In the meantime I am trying to see things through a child's eyes.  Trying to be happy.
  I will get there.   Are you going to come along for the ride????

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Made it to the finish line!

Today is the second last day of school for my M1.  I can't believe he is about to finish year 2.  YEAR 2 I tell you!  Feels like only yesterday I was dropping him for his first day at "pre-prep".

It has been a huge learning year for us as a family - full of all the normal struggles, challenges and unforeseen "things" that life throws your way.  But do you know what???????  We made it to the finish line!!!  And as I said to my kids at breakfast today - yes we are all still alive, happy and friends - you have to be happy with that!

M1 and M2 have done exceptionally well managing the change in our lives this year.  Their continued flexibility and willingness to "go with the flow' has constantly surprised us.  Kids are adaptable - it is us, as parents that worry about the changes.

So, as I start to reflect back on this year, I am really trying to take stock, plan, organise and work out how to "do it all a little better" next year.  The good thing is, next year I have experience on my side.

And that experience has taught me the following things:

1. It is ok to say no
2.  There is no such thing as "Super Mum"
3.  Everyone has to balance and juggle
4. There are happy moments everywhere - you just need to be open to them

For now however, I am thankful that M1 likes school, my family is healthy and I have good friends.

Goodbye school year of 2011 - hello holidays!