Wednesday, January 11, 2017

In the blink of an eye


When Eldest Son (almost 15) was a baby, I was standing at a frozen yoghurt stand one time, waiting for my order (love that stuff - frozen yoghurt, that is, not waiting) when a gentleman commented on how cute my son was. I thanked him, and then he said, 'Enjoy this stage, because before you know it, they're all grown up. It happens in a blink of an eye.' He had that Believe me, I know kind of look on his face.

Yeah, yeah, I thought, whatever.

One thing you soon discover almost immediately after giving birth is that everyone suddenly becomes an expert and wants to offer advice and/or their wisdom. For some reason, even complete strangers feel compelled to offer it. One time, an old lady noticed Eldest Son chewing on a toy while sitting in his pram and immediately launched in to 'teething' remedies she felt I could use. He wasn't teething, he was just chewing. Sometimes babies do that. Another time a woman noticed me feeding Youngest Son some Heinz bottled baby food as we sat in a cafe (minding our own business) and quickly advised how her daughter NEVER feeds her son 'bottled baby food', but instead makes it all herself, and how 'real' food is better than 'that bottled stuff'. I smiled knowingly. 'Her first child?' I asked, a hint of sarcasm in my voice. 'Yes,' she replied. 'Hmmm, I thought so,' I replied. 'Good for her,' then scooped another mouthful of baby food in to my son's mouth, smiling at the lady as I did, that he eagerly consumed.  

In truth, when the man commented about time flying, I was probably wishing time along back then, because Eldest Son was not the best sleeper. It took about 7 months for him to finally sleep through the night, and, in turn, I was perpetually exhausted. The idea of him being more independent was incredibly appealing at that stage.

Over the last year or so, my first born has started to venture out more and more on his own. He jumps on a bus and meets his friends, sees a movie or swims with them at the beach. (Something that made me incredibly nervous the first time he did that solo - what if he got caught in a rip? What if he forgot to put sunscreen on? What if he got his bag stolen and couldn't get home?) He even flew overseas last year during the school holidays for a school trip to New Caledonia. It was the first time he'd flown without Mr A and/or I, and he wasn't the least bit concerned about that. (Unlike myself.)

He's becoming so independent, and heads in to Year 10 this year. Before we know it, he'll be driving (gah!), sitting the HSC then perhaps heading to university.

It seems like only yesterday I had that conversation with the man at the yoghurt stand. Unlike the other advice over the years, his was spot on. It really does all happen in a blink of an eye.

J
xox

Thursday, January 5, 2017

More is more


Well, Christmas has come and gone and a new year has arrived. Happy New Year!

The family and I headed to Perth for a quick trip to celebrate Christmas with our families. Whilst there, we also celebrated my sister's birthday and Youngest Son's birthday (he finally reached double digits)! We also managed to catch up with a few friends.

The trip was hectic. Manic. I returned ill and exhausted. Eldest Son continues to have a terrible cough since the trip. It was too short and too over-scheduled. (Live and learn.) Still, we returned with some lovely memories and a sense of satisfaction that we managed a Christmas back in our hometown for the first time in five years.

In truth, the lead up to the trip was difficult for me. I wasn't certain that I really wanted to go at all. I felt rather stressed at the idea that I would be spending my first Christmas in Perth without my parents there. However, once I was there (and all the shopping had finally been completed - adding to the stress!), I managed to enjoy myself without thinking too much about my parents' absence. In fact, the whole experience felt more weird than it did sad in that I kept thinking I should see my parents, but I couldn't. I did, however, visit their shared grave on Christmas Eve, after visiting my sister's grave first. (Going to cemeteries is a very natural occurrence for me, as I spent most Sundays as a kid climbing in to my father's car to make the trip with my parents to visit my sister's grave. My boys find it just as normal as I do seeing that they end up visiting a grave site with me at some point during our return trips to Perth.)

Actually, the morning of the day I 'visited' my parents, I did feel quite sad. I desperately needed some alone time (I'm not great being around people constantly - thanks to growing up like an only child!), so I escaped walked to the local shopping centre to drink coffee and wander aimlessly pick up a few things. As I walked in to the main centre, I realised I should try the Red Dot store outside for a small gift box. I had just walked past some Christmas carollers, and on hearing the music, I felt an overwhelming sadness suddenly hit me. I missed my parents. My mum, especially, LOVED Christmastime.

As I walked back outside, I averted my gaze away from the carollers, swallowing the tears that were threatening to surface. Then, as I entered the store, I spotted a friend from Sydney - also a 'Perth girl' - standing in line, looking sadly out towards the singers. Up until that point, I had felt rather anxious all morning, and on seeing my friend, I felt a sudden sense of relief and calm wash over me. We both knew we were going to be in Perth and that we were staying not that far from each other (a happy coincidence), but running in to her seemed a blessing. You see, her father passed just months before Christmas and I knew when I saw her that she was feeling the exact same way I was. We didn't have to say too much about it, because we knew how each other felt. After hugging hello, we did a mixture of crying and laughing, and both felt better for it afterwards.

Days later, we were back in Sydney in time for New Years Eve. We hadn't planned anything, as we knew we'd be too tired (spot on), so it was a quiet night at home watching the fireworks from afar.

As I've written here before, I don't really 'do' new years' resolutions, but I always have thoughts about what I want out of a new year. There were a couple of years in the past that I wrote I wanted to write and read more, yet I didn't. This time last year I pretty much wrote the same wish for 2016, and guess what? I did it! Since starting this blog in 2012, I've written anywhere from only 9 to 14 blog posts in a given year. However, 2016 I topped them all by writing a total of 24 blog posts! Win.

I've also read more books in this past year. I was a member of a book club until I pulled out late last year, and with that I've felt less pressure with my reading. I can finally focus on my (still ever-growing) reading pile. I'm currently making my way through all the Liane Moriarty books. (Big Little Lies - which I actually read with my book club - and The Husband's Secret are my current faves.)

Together with my reading and writing, I also want to continue to do more paddling. (I'm bummed I didn't get to paddle in Perth. It was a mixture of having no time coupled with a very windy trip!) I expect, like last year, the majority of my paddles will happen in Autumn when the weather and water temps are the best. (Fingers crossed for the long Autumn days we experienced last year.)

I'm quietly confident 2017 will be a good year for me. Here's hoping I'm right.

Hope it's a good one for you too.

J
xox