7

Dont wallow

I know it is considered bad form to wallow and one should live in the present, but that being said, I cannot help feeling a bit sad, lonely and nostalgic on this day every year.

Today marks 18 years since my sister’s passing and not a day goes by where I do not wish that I could have one more chance to talk to her or that things did not end the way it did.  I replay our last conversation hairpulling-spitting-catfight and immediately feel my cheeks colour.

If I had known that would be our last conversation would I have told her I hated her?

I try and remember her, and feel panicky when I am unable to.  Another thing to add to my ‘list of things to feel guilty about’ along with every happy memory I have had subsequent, because she was not there.

I think we are our own worst enemies when it comes to dealing with the loss of a loved one.  We somehow make everything our fault.  Does this realisation make me feel any less guilty? Not a chance.  It is sage advice if only I can get myself to follow it.

In an effort to get some of this guilt out of my system I decided to write her a letter and tell her all those things I have not been able to.

Dear Janetta,

Although I am very sure that you are happier where you are, we still miss you terribly, even more so every day.

I know that we are all shaped by our pasts and wonder who I would be had you not been taken away. I wonder if our family dynamic would be the same, better or worse.

How I long to be able to tease you about your boyfriends and your crush on Brian Adams, while I secretly also thought he was the hottest thing since sliced bread.  I never told you that, I know, but I am also a fan.  I am sorry for all the times we fought and especially for the last fight.  I never meant those hurtful things I said, and would take them back in an instant if I could.  I will even let you brush my hair, without whining.

It would have been so wonderful to have you at my wedding; it really seemed the whole time that something was missing.  I wanted to mention you as I have wanted to talk about you a thousand times to mom, dad and everyone else, but each time my tongue was stayed because I could remember the pain in her eyes when I had brought you up and I could not bear to rip off the scabs.

I know you would have wanted to be by my side, to dance the Macarena with me and my friends and imagine you going all gung-ho to try and catch the bouquet.

Then I think of the birth of my son and how you would have taken him in your arms and hugged him to you. You would have made such a great aunt. Something tells me you would have spoilt him rotten and I know that he would have just adored you.

And now there is another baby on the way and I find myself panicked because I want to try things another way and I long to have your support and guidance, to tell me that my reasoning is sound and I am not doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. What I would not give to have you hold my hand during the birth.

I know that none of that is possible, but would like you to know that even though you cannot be there, you always are.  You are with me every day and even though at times I find that I cannot remember everything about you, by no means are you forgotten.

All my love

Ellen

 

 

4

’tis the season to be jolly

♫♫♪fallalalala♪♪♫la la la la

I don’t have a particular affinity for Christmas carols but today I am really feeling the festive mood and can be heard singing Jingle Bells under my breath.  It may be as a result of my ‘from me’ ‘to me’, a mexican bola, that is gently tinkling as I walk around reminding me of sleigh bells (not that I have ever been on a sleigh-that is on the bucket list) but I think more than anything it has to do with the national drop of week for Santa Shoebox project.

This is my favourite project and no matter how dire my financial situation is I always make a plan to pledge some boxes.  I confess I am a twelve year old in a  twenty something year old’s body.  I love Christmas and Easter and all those holidays.  I love the feeling of peace and happiness that seems to envelope everyone in a kind of bubble. Everyone is smiling and happy and I want to spread that feeling.

When I first heard of this project I was heartbroken.  I had never realised how many kids out there has never had a proper Christmas (Yes I do realise it is more about the message than the gifts, but still).  I have vowed to pledge a box for every family member and have been harrassing all my friends to join in too (which I am very proud to say they have done in abundance).  Even baby 2.0 has contributed to this year’s boxes.

I was shopping in Crazy Store on Tuesday for the last essentials for the boxes and was so amazed to find that all the people in the store at that time could be seen with a list of “what to pack”.  It was truly moving, inspiring and gratifying to see so many people from different walks of life just getting together to make this Christmas a special one for those kids that would normally not have it.  The festive spirit was tangible as we helped one another choose toys for our recipients.

So I am donning my elf hat tonight to pack the last things and tomorrow I will be santa, for at least an hour.  My only wish is that I would be able to see the kids faces when they open up their boxes, because for the past couple of months I have not only been a mother to one (and a half) but to 5 kids as I found myself wondering at every opportunity what would really bring joy to my ‘kids’ that can fit into a shoe box?

0

My daily dose of Jenny

I love this chick, she is brilliant.  I am considering moving to Texas just so I can stalk her from close by, just as soon as I manage to convince the husband-he doesn’t seem to think that moving halfway across the globe to stalk someone is a valid reason. He is a stickler like that…killjoy.

Case in point….

Jenny

Excuse me while I go change quick, think I may just have wet myself.

 

0

What is love?

It may be the hormones but this really got me all snot and tears this morning….

A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds: ‘What does love mean?’ 

The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined 

What do you think: 

‘When my grandmother got arthritis , she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore.. So my grandfather does it for her all the time , even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.’ 
Rebecca- age 8 

‘When someone loves you , the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth..’ 
Billy – age 4 

‘Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.’ 
Karl – age 5 

‘Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.’ 
Chrissy – age 6 

‘Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.’ 
Terri – age 4 

‘Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him , to make sure the taste is OK.’ 
Danny – age 7 

‘Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing , you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss’ 
Emily – age 8 

‘Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.’ 
Bobby – age 7 

‘If you want to learn to love better , you should start with a friend who you hate ‘ 
Nikka – age 6 (we need a few million more Nikka’s on this planet)

‘Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt , then he wears it everyday.’ 
Noelle – age 7 

‘Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.’ Tommy – age 6 

‘During my piano recital , I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore.’ 
Cindy – age 8 

‘My mommy loves me more than anybody You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.’ 
Clare – age 6 

‘Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.’ 
Elaine-age 5 

‘Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford .’ Chris – age 7 

‘Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.’ 
Mary Ann – age 4 

‘I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.’ 
Lauren – age 4 

‘When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.’ (what an image)
Karen – age 7 

‘Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn’t think it’s gross..’ 
Mark – age 6 

‘You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it , you should say it a lot. People forget.’ 
Jessica – age 8 

A four year old child’s next door neighbour was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his mother asked what he had said to the neighbour, the little boy said , ‘Nothing , I just helped him cry‘ “

Out of the mouth of babes…

3

Sleepless in Marina (Part 2)

*caution this post contains rude language, because frankly after last night I cannot be bothered to be civil*

A good friend of mine says the first mistake that we make with our kids is we teach them to talk…then as if that is not bad enough, we teach them to think for themselves.
I am seriously reconsidering the teaching to talk thing.

Last night, at 3 pm the terrorist started calling out for his dad. Who of course is such a sound sleeper that a herd of leprous elephants can do the ‘can-can’ on his pillow without him so much as stirring in his sleep.

When I heard the first syllable uttered I thought: ‘Oh good, he isn’t calling me’ and I slowly closed my eyes again. On the fourth call I realised that I could pretty much hack of the husband’s leg and he would still not be getting up.

<Mind you I was tempted (hacking of his leg I mean, the only thing stopping me was  the mess that I would have to clean up afterwards).  You see the husband was favouring his flamingo move again last night-don’t know if anyone else’ husbands inflict this particular sleeping position on them?

Let me explain the hell that is the flamingo to those fortunate enough never to have encountered it.

Step 1: lie flat on your back, as close as possible to your partner.

Step 2: bend your elbow and put your hand under your head-what is important here is that it has to be the elbow on your partner’s side and if it is not in your partner’s eye/mouth then you are not lying close enough to them.

Step 3: pull up your leg until the knee is bent at a 45 degree angle and your foot is rests in the fold of your other leg.  Again this must be the leg with the closest proximity to your partner to ensure that they receive the full patella enema treatment.

Step 4: if you are able to snore-you have transcended to level 900 druid (ie. you are golden)>

So there I was, unable to sleep in any event, and realising that if I managed to wake up the spouse he would just bring the offspring to the bed and with that all hopes of getting any further shut eye goes down the drain.  So I put up my most patient face and voice (which is saying a lot-did I mention that it was 3 o’clock?), pad over to the offspring’s room and gently lay him down and swallow the urge to tell him “it is the middle of the night, now please go the fuck to sleep”.

He asks for his dad.  I say he is sleeping (again I have to bite my tongue to leave the expletives out of the conversation-have you ever heard how fast a toddler picks up on a swearword? BTW if he says something that sounds like “Fuckit” it is actually Rocket okay? That is my story and I am sticking to it).

He asks for his dad.  I say he is sleeping.

He asks for a bottle.  I say you already had it.

He asks for a rocket launcher/pony.  I say no (while shoving the dummy in his mouth), it is the middle of the night, now go to sleep.

Finally he quietens down and I manage to sneak back to bed (well the 2cm strip that is left open) and crawl under the duvet. Only to lie awake, until 2 min before I had to get up.

I am so tired that I was actually envious of the sleeping homeless man I had to climb over in order to get to the train this morning.

0

For the love of books

I read a column this morning about book banning in certain schools and states in the US and I must admit it brought the same feeling of righteous indignation that I got when they were stranded in the library in the movie 2012 and burning the books for warmth. I wanted to get up and shout “For the love of all that is good and holy, don’t you people know about body heat?”

I can understand the ideology behind banning some books, but in our day and age this is just like adding fuel to the fire, especially when you consider the age groups in which these books are being banned (which is pretty much what the columnist said).  Have you ever tried telling a teenager that they are not allowed to do something? You are guaranteed to get the opposite reaction. And then there was Google. There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING you cannot Google. If you can’t find the particular item on Google itself, you can find someone that can tell you how, where and when to get it or you are just doing it wrong.

The parent’s attempts to filter information before it gets to their kids is admirable, but what I don’t understand is why not let the kids have the information and trust that you have taught them well enough to stick with their moral compass.

My mom is an avid reader.  Given the choice between a sandwich or a book, she’s likely to take the book.  Growing up I was surrounded by books and her love for them. None of the books on the shelf was out of bounds, if I wanted to read it I was allowed to.  I remember the first time I read Griet skryf ‘n Sprokie, by Marita van der Vyver, which is a very explicit book.  I blushed furiously and confess I was so naïve that I didn’t know what most of the things she was describing were.

My point I am trying to make is just because I read it in a book I didn’t go out and do it. I knew that some of the things I had read did not coincide with my moral compass.  I took what I wanted from the book. That it was ridiculously funny and honest. I enjoyed it. I didn’t want to go out and emulate anything that I had read. It was a book, not real life.

I wonder….maybe that is where we seem to have lost the plot? Could it be because we life in an age for self-help and self-enlightment books, that books have become the compass that we steer our lives by?