For the most part I just get on with my life here in England where I’m blessed to have found some wonderful friends. Though it’s at times like this long Easter weekend that I miss my South African family the most. I miss hanging around at my parents home doing absolutely nothing in particular.
Family are an amazing gift and I’m thankful for the one I have. Having people to turn to in times of triumph and trouble is an amazing reassurance. Keeping up to date with everything that goes on in my absence makes me grateful for modern technology because relying on a telegram would make living abroad unbearable.
Sometimes in life there are some difficult choices to make and we’ve made one that has us miles away from our loved ones. Our decision has much to do with our future and that of our daughters. I don’t plan to be here forever and I realise now that the longer I stay the harder it will be to leave. Who would’ve thought that the circle of life would be so difficult?
The love of a family is a blessing. I’m blessed to belong to a family who cares about our well-being.
I’ve been watching an extraordinary documentary following six families, some from the birth of their children born with various disabilities. It spans a ten year period and for me it showcases the tenacity and strength of not just the parents but siblings as well.
As parents all of our dreams are the same for our children irrespective of their abilities or disabilities. We want to see them grow and mature into responsible individuals who follow their dreams and make a difference in this world. It becomes a heart wrenching experience when it becomes clear that the child may not even make it out of their childhood. I’ve gone through a broad spectrum of emotions watching the account of these families and their daily struggles.
I recently came across an amazing blog called ‘Raising 5 kids with disabilities and remaining sane’. What makes this woman raising these kids more amazing to me is that she has adopted children with disabilities and appears to take it all in her stride. Usually after watching a documentary or reading an account concerning raising kids with extra special needs I would find myself feeling sorry for the parents concerned. However, the message seems to be the same from all of them. Once they get over the shock of the diagnosis whether it be autism, spina bifida, dwarfism or Down syndrome they just raise their child as any other parent would, in an environment filled with love and understanding. We all experience difficulties in raising our children and that’s the way life goes.
As we go through this life my hope is that we’d show understanding to both friends and strangers because we have no idea what challenges people are facing!
There is much said about childhood milestones from introduction of solids, sitting, crawling, standing, walking and of course the sighting of the first tooth. The joy of parents as each goal is reached and of the course the exaggeration and rigging of onset of milestones is never too far away. Truth is we all encounter these types of parents as we raise our toddlers and some of us may be guilty of this gross exaggeration as well.
Truth is every time a toddler reaches a milestone we lose more control and they edge ever closer to independence. Watching them needing less of you can be quite daunting. It’s weird when you think that you spend most of their first year just waiting for your baby to do the next big thing. Reality of life is that there is only one chance for a first after that its just as regular as clockwork. I do miss having a baby to take care of and seize every opportunity to hold other people’s babies until they start squirming and crying then I’m reminded that with my children’s independence comes my freedom!
This week I reached another mommy milestone. After coming to the shocking realisation that my girls will never need a pushchair or camp cot ever again I still found it really hard to part with the items. I’d been driving around with these articles in my car which were of no use to me but could make a huge difference to somebody else. I’m no hoarder and lack any sense of sentimentality so I found it very weird that I had to let go emotionally before I could let go physically. Finally I did the drop off and felt at peace as I walked into a new phase of my life.
Wherever you are in the parenting spectrum try to enjoy it because it’s a fact that nothing lasts forever. Say goodbye to each experience as it ends and prepare to embrace the next.
After perusing my holiday pictures it has become quite apparent that I need to make an effort to spend a little more time in front of the lens. I’m not particularly photogenic but I suppose in years to come my children will wonder exactly where I was when they were having fun. As a mother it’s become part and parcel of my life to capture the milestones of my girls. I’ve had an epiphany now that I need to capture special moment not just of my girls but with them too.
Here’s to a future of making photographic memories together. They won’t always be perfect but they’ll be our moments and that will make them perfect!
I really wish the answer was as simple as Ghostbusters but sadly my house is being overrun by laundry. I’m still trying to figure out where all these clothes come from. Granted I have three young daughters who seem to think that their mission in life is to go through as many items as possible. At times like these I really regret falling prey to all the beautiful clothes which they often don’t need – not that much anyway!
Since returning from South Africa I’ve found myself swamped with laundry and there seems to be a serious lack of space for stuff resulting in almost half of our travel items having no room to lay their cotton heads. Every morning that I wake it appears that I’ve just arrived from a year-long holiday.
Today I decided to take a break from all things laundry because quite frankly I don’t think anybody has ever looked back on their life and wished they’d spent more time doing laundry. Please tell me this is not so. While I enjoy ironing way more than I probably should even I know when enough is enough.
I’m no neat freak but the despair is growing and I’m smiling to myself now thinking what an issue it’s become. I’ve just had a lazy brain wave and its official the laundry shall be packed away creased until its day of display arrives. Eat that laundry basket!
2012 is just about done and dusted! It has been a fantastic year with all of the victories and challenges. It’s been a journey of change and I’m so thankful to all the amazing people in my life. My family have been super and supportive. I’m grateful for old friends and new friends. Friends are a wonderful gift and if you have amazing friends let them know.
The new year is looming and there’s always the temptation to make promises for the days ahead. I’m not a new year resolution type of person but my personal goal as I go forward is to read way more than I have this past year. I love the idea of new beginnings and there can be no better beginning like the start of a new year.
However you choose to see in 2013 my hope is that it will be your best year ever. Life will always present us with challenges and here’s to rising to those challenges!
Happy new year!
This morning I woke up in my own bed after three weeks in South Africa. I found myself breathing in stifled air from the central heating and as I peered out my window from the safety of my bed I couldn’t help but feel utterly let down by the great British weather. Really Britain not even a ray of sun to show the night has ended!
The view has long being held that time flies when you’re having fun. Having waited a year to take this break felt like a lifetime but the minute I set foot in the country I love and missed so terribly time seem to be on a mission to outrun me. In some ways it did show it’s power and each sleep meant seconds, minutes and precious hours were lost. It should be a criminal offence to sleep when on holiday.
It’s back to reality now and I will cherish all the special moments and memories made seeing old friends and making new ones. My family were so amazing and the fun and feasting just didn’t stop. There were so many more people I wish I could’ve seen and places I should’ve visited. So when I say I ran out of time it’s not just a get out of jail free card it really is a fact. I didn’t stand a chance against the sands of time.
If you’re on holiday why don’t you make the most of your time because you lose it whether you use it or not!
A couple of days ago my friends and I got together to celebrate our friendship with special friends who are returning to South Africa. Life has a way of getting you to believe that good things will last and I wish they would. Experience tells us that nothing lasts forever not the good or bad! I have to admit there are days I feel like life is an absolute party pooper.
So we ate, laughed and reminisced about the past but also looked to the future and where the road leads not just them but all of us. It’s hard to believe that our paths crossed just over two years ago and we gained a new family away from the comfort of home.
It will be sad when they finally step on that flight in about two weeks. It’s by no means the end of our friendship but we will miss them all terribly alas life’s many roads require us to take them.
God speed my dear friends!
I’m sitting here trying to figure out why children throw the biggest tantrums in the mall. Perhaps the bright sparks figure there’s not much that can be done. To try to avoid ugly scenes while out I usually try to give my girls an idea of what we’ll be up to. Today while out and about with my three-year old I thought I had a shopping plan which was one shop for her and one for me. I must admit life doesn’t get more fair than this plan I’d hatched. Perhaps that was my problem actually believing that the arrangement would work. After all children by nature are pretty selfish.
Tantrums are much like migraines and I’ve been exposed to both. There’s the trigger and quite frankly it could be any number of things. In this case it was watching the Disney store disappear into the background. Then there’s the aura and in this case it’s the whiny voice and unless action is taken immediately it usually progresses to an uncontrollable level. I could see things getting out of hand so I tried ‘the look’ and the passive aggressive tone of voice. Needless to say my sweet little angel totally ignored my plea for her to remain calm.
It wasn’t much longer and we’d arrived at tantrumville. Of all the unpleasant antics my children display this is by far the worst. Crying, kicking, screaming and falling to the floor as if you’re suddenly untouchable. At this point there are no threats only action. The trip home was brought closer and though I felt like I’d shot myself in the foot seeing as I left some stuff undone. I realised I only get one shot to show how serious I am. The further along I dragged her through the mall the more I felt like I was in some kind of reality show. My response is always the same I just roll my eyes and say ‘Aah kids’ seems to work.
I was really happy to be in the confines of the car and to have a moment just to breathe and sigh. I hope my little girl has got the message today anyway. Like a full-blown migraine, tantrum throwers need to be sent to bed until they feel themselves again!
I must admit of all of the things that annoy me as a wife and mother it’s being asked for stuff that has little or nothing to do with me and it drives me crazy. Between my husband and children I often feel like a lost and found desk. When I can’t find my belongings I search high and low until the item is found or declared lost forever. Usually it is one of my offspring who make my stuff disappear into that magical place where things find their way miraculously.
The other day I found myself telling my husband that if I had a dollar for every time he asked me have I seen this, that or any other random thing I’d be pretty well off. Shoes, coats, phone chargers, headphones, wallet and just about every one of his belongings. I must admit after all these years of looking for and finding his stuff I still find myself wanting to be sarcastic when he asks about his belongings and I cheekily asked if it’s a pair of shoes or coat that I’ve worn.He is really quite long-suffering but then again so am I because after all it is a fact that there is a place for everything and everything has its place. I really wish it was that simple.
This morning while racing against the clock to get to school on time, Gemma my five-year old could only find one of her school shoes. I threatened her with a trip to school in pink shoes which was cruel considering the school shoes are black. Needless to say she wasn’t impressed and she can be very glad today wasn’t the day that I was going to teach her the importance of pairing and storing shoes. The first place I looked I found them which is another mystery to me. They always say they’ve looked everywhere and the admiration when you find the missing item is priceless as if you’ve magically made them reappear.
I almost feel compelled to accept this role of ‘the finder’ although I can’t help but feel that I’m doing them a disservice by rewarding their carelessness. It’s been said we live and learn and perhaps now is as good a time as any to teach them some responsibility and the pain of consequence. Time will tell!
Being a mother really calls for a shift in your thinking. You are almost forced to go from selfish to selfless. You realise very quickly that very little of your life and particularly your time now belongs to little people who depend on you to keep them safe and above all to make them happy. Motherhood is a multifaceted occupation whether you’re a stay at home mother or a working one the job description is exactly the same. Being a mother of three means finding very different ways to please personalities that are poles apart.
I’m not sure when Luke came into our lives or indeed how he came to have this name but nevertheless I came to know his importance a couple of nights ago when Gemma my five year old announced between muffled sentences and crocodile tears that she’d left him at the mall. Up until this point I had never really had a child cry over a lost toy. My response was simple there are plenty other toys choose another one. I was told in no uncertain terms that nothing else was like Luke and she needed him. To silence her at least for the night I told her we’d return to the mall to look for him.
Morning arrived after a incident free night and I was greeted with a ” Good morning mom don’t forget we’re going to look for Luke today”. At this point I really wanted to set the record straight about why I insist they don’t cart their toys to the mall and why they should take responsibility when things go missing. I didn’t say what I really felt because nobody likes to hear “I told you so”during a crisis. This was a crisis!
True to my word (though I had hoped it would be forgotten) I went back to the mall to look for her animal and fortunately for me I’d only visited three stores the day before. After a trip to lost and found without any luck I announced we’d be replacing Luke. Gemma was horrified because you see Luke was no ordinary lion he’d been registered on a website and she was now explaining she couldn’t register another Luke. I’m looking at her and wondering what happened to just writing your name on the tag of your toy. I had a lightbulb moment and told her she could register him as Luke2. She loved the idea. Game, set and
match I can’t believe I’ve pulled it off!
Next stop the toy shop I pick up a brand new lion and can’t believe he costs a measly two pounds and I’m wondering why have I wasted my precious time looking for the smallest of toys. Of course the answer is obvious because this jaunt around the mall proves to her that what’s important to her no matter how small is important to me too because her happiness matters!
Luke2 is home and is settling in well with the regulars. I can’t help but feel sorry for him because he will never leave this house not if I can help it!
Growing up Sunday lunches followed by a desert was the order of the day. I must admit when Sunday rolls around I often wish I could somehow be transported to my mother’s dinner table which always seemed to be so well thought out. Perhaps it’s the years of routine that have made her the master that she is.
My Sunday’s never seem to have enough pre-lunch hours to prepare a meal fit for royalty. Try as I may I just don’t seem to be capable of pulling this particular rabbit out of my hat or perhaps it’s just for lack of trying. So I’ve replaced the family tradition completely by carting my family off to eat out and I’ve no doubt that they enjoy the outing. My only concern now is that my girls will either see me as extremely lazy mother or somebody who breaks the mold when it comes to tradition. I seriously hope it’s the latter.
I decided twelve years ago after I married that my new name would bring with it new ways of doing everything. Later having kids also called for further review. So from Sunday dinners, bedtime routine and insisting my kids sleep in pyjamas would not be part of my scheme. I’m still seriously contemplating allowing my girls to eat dessert before their meals but perhaps that may be a bridge too far. Who knows it may just improve their appetites!
Family traditions are wonderful but it’s even more wonderful if you can create new ways of doing old things! In my case it’s just important that my girls get to eat!
Let me just start by saying I know that you can’t believe everything you read in the tabloids. Every now and again though you find yourself reading an article and start feeling like the report could actually be true or else the writer is just quite spectacular at storytelling (lying!).
This particular article was about Victoria and David’s desire to have a fifth child and that part was believable. Now the reason I think she must be truly special were the reasons that were given. At the moment they have four children but the number five is really symbolic to them for one reason or another as well as it being the number of rings in the Olympic symbol. Having a fifth child would round their family number off to seven which was David’s football jersey number for England. Even more spectacular was their desire to have this baby conceived in England (none of their other kids were conceived in the Uk) during the Olympics and the year of the diamond Jubilee.
If nothing else I did find the article quite entertaining and thought how awesome it must be to have that kind of script for your life. If you’re reading this Victoria I’d love to know your side of the story and just so you know I only ‘half belief’ this story! Good luck getting number five not that you need it your plan sounds pretty solid.
My father was never a man of many words though these days he tends to make up for lost chat time. Growing up there are things that he insisted on and I swear it was his guidelines to being a perfect gentleman over and above the more common rules. These are a few I remember.
1. A gentleman always has well polished shoes so you can imagine how his world changed when they changed the traditional polish and brush to the modern push and swipe. The effect is just not the same.
2. A gentleman always wears a belt on his trousers to give him the well-groomed effect.
3. A gentleman always carries a fresh hanky irrespective of whether or not he has a cold. He’ll always find a use for it. To this day my dad carries a handkerchief with him daily because it’s the right thing to do.
4. Never wear creased clothes it’s a poor reflection on you. My dad still insists on neatly pressed shirts.
5. Of all my fathers gentlemanly requirements a timely haircut is one of his obsessions. A trip to an old school barber is always on his agenda.
6. Finally, may I just add that my dad is the coolest looking dad. I know it sounds slightly biased but if you knew my dad I have no doubt you’d agree!
* On a personal note I’d like to thank all of you who read my blog I hope you know it means much to me. With the summer break well and truly upon us I’ve decided to take a much-needed break and will blog once a week for the next 8 weeks. So until the next time remember to take the sunshine wherever you go!
Seven years ago I was blessed with a beautiful baby girl. I went from being a daughter, sister and wife to being a mother. My life has changed dramatically since that day.
While there were many challenges in those early days the nurturer in me became common place. Somedays seemed like one rollercoaster ride after another. The end result was always the same extreme gratitude for the precious gift entrusted to me even after some episodes of helplessness and utter despair. I quickly learned the importance of seeking help and was pleased to find that people were willing to help.
While I know these are very early days and there will be many challenges ahead. I look forward to exciting times with my precious princess Charis!
A problem shared is a problem halved! I’m definitely not the type of person who goes around sharing my deepest fears and feelings with anybody who looks remotely interested. Today I was privileged to share a piece of my life with somebody who has become a good friend to me. We shared, we laughed and now we move on!
Friends are a rare gift…treasure them!
Always interesting to hear children’s dreams for the future. Even better when parents can recognise talent and do everything they can to help them pursue the dream. Better still is when the difference between a dream and a reality is clearly defined. Dreaming of being a formula one racing car driver and suffering from motion sickness as well as being afraid of speed may not be a good choice for that child!
My daughter recently told me she wanted to be a window cleaner or a veterinary surgeon. I had to explain to her that while having clean windows is great I imagine after a while it gets really predictable. It’s still early days but I really would like all three of my girls to dream big and to keep the dream alive until the time approaches that they have to make those very important choices in life.
So for now I will encourage them to reach for the brightest stars!
It’s not often that I long to be with my South African family as I have the last day or two. I do think of them daily and hope they think of me. I’m so glad that I have the added advantage of technology because I’m not sure I could handle watching the post box for news from ‘home’.
Time is one of the biggest mysteries for me. When you’re in pain or waiting for a grand occasion the time seems to move at a snail’s pace. A year ago we were blessed to have all the family visit and I swear those two weeks felt like two days. I look forward to being reunited with them and I’ve promised myself that I’ll sleep if it’s absolutely necessary because every minute counts when you’re with the ones you love.
If you’re fortunate enough to live close to family why don’t you pop in and enjoy each others company. I know that’s what I’d be doing if I was close enough. Everything happens for a reason and right now I’m just trying to see the bigger picture!
Happy father’s day to all the amazing dads on your special day. If you have a dad who is never too busy to care or listen to your hopes and dreams but also your failures and heartache you are blessed. Today my dad is many miles away and I do wish I was there for his special day when he is showered with more love and appreciation than usual. I have no doubt my siblings will do a great job!
If you do have a dad who is always too busy to care my advice is to give him time to change but in the meanwhile shower him with love and appreciation. They say a leopard doesn’t change his spots fortunately people do change. When he does you will be glad you believed in him.
Today many will remember their dads who are no longer in this world. Some will look back with regret and wish they would’ve said ‘I love you’ and given more hugs and praise. Sadly it’s too late now because that is the nature of this life we live in once you’re gone all that remains are memories.
Happy father’s day to all the super dads who do their best!
At the start of half term I got my girls a Disney sing along cd. Again it was one of those scenarios where after hearing it for ten days straight in the car I was starting to regret the purchase. Having said that I just don’t tire of hearing the romantic rhymes and tales of dreams coming true!
I love listening to my little princesses singing along and I’m filled with hope for the future knowing that whatever path they choose it can become a reality. Dreams do come true. My job is to create an environment where dreams are born and nurtured until they become a reality.
We got no troubles
Life is the bubbles
After a rather late night for my girls and I. I was really looking forward to rising way after the sun. Sadly this was not to be instead my sleep was broken by what was a full on sibling drama. For the most part I do try to be neutral but it’s almost impossible when it becomes obvious that it’s a two against one situation.
The girls couldn’t be more different and so its quite a challenge to find the right solution for the many complex challenges. For the most part I threaten them with consequences that have them adjusting their behaviour instantly. Sadly my most common action is my camera and a threat to tell their teachers. The response is almost magical.
A few hours have passed and they are getting along just fine now and the house seems like less of a war zone that is until one of them feels that they are being undermined. For the moment though I’ll enjoy the peace and their compatibility until the next misunderstanding and perhaps a simple “can we get along please girls” will be more than sufficient to get them back on track!
The pecking order is a reality and the challenge is to get them to understand that they are all very different but all very special and getting along is what makes life ‘workable’ because you can’t get your way all of the time! Though I’m sure some will differ…I call these people selfish!
Growing up we had many house rules may I say that as an adult I flout quite a few! My most obvious ones are putting my shoes on the couch (my husband always takes them off!) and drinking from the family bottle of juice (babe if you’re reading this it only happens with the last bit!). Leaving a cluttered sink overnight and hoping I don’t die and mourners coming in and finding an absolute mess. Not to worry I’ve got that covered I’ve asked my husband to explain to them it was obvious I wasn’t feeling well! Though I’d like to think they’d be too heartbroken to notice!
So now that I’m a mother and responsible for general house rules I must admit that some days I just feel like letting the rule book disappear. My girls don’t have too many rules well I guess as a parent you always feel like they can do more. I must admit I’m not really wining the rules war with my girls they are always pushing the boundaries especially when it comes to bedtime. The other night my 6 year old Charis asked why is it that I get to stay up late? Needless to say my blood started boiling and the response was so lame “because I’m the adult”. I’ve got to work on less obvious reasons.
At the moment my daughters are enjoying their half term holiday and if I let them make the rules I am pretty sure they would watch movies all day and declare bathing an unnecessary evil. That is not going to happen on my watch! So while I’m blogging away no doubt that they feel they’ve escaped some of their daily grind. Will it be so bad if I let it slide for just today but knowing my lot they will insist on a repeat tomorrow. I guess it’s called being consistent and that is something I really struggle with.
Being a parent is a responsibility you don’t get to take a break from. After all adults and children alike need rules to avoid total chaos. So I’m going to take my shoes off the bed and prepare lunch for my girls which doesn’t include a jubilee themed cupcake!
Whenever I watch these hoarding programmes I can’t help but wonder how people arrive at that pitiful state. Sadly most of the time there are underlying psychological problems usually brought on by some kind of trauma. However for many it seems to be a case of just not wanting to let things go. It starts off with receipts (my personal war), supermarket bags and magazines. Before you know it you’re renting space in your own house.
Generally I’m not one to hang onto stuff I just lack that sentimentality in
my life these days. During my teens I used to keep every last thing up to and including movie stubs. Can’t even imagine the storage I would require at that rate. These days I keep very little and pride myself on getting rid of stuff. I have a simple motto when it comes to clothes if you haven’t worn it in six weeks you probably don’t want it and if it fits doesn’t mean you have to keep it!
At the food bank where I volunteer I’m always amazed at how grateful people are for the donated clothing. It may not seem important to you because you’re able to walk into shops and buy what you want but for many people your donation of used clothing could be life changing. So here’s the challenge check your cupboards, closets and wardrobes and give to a worthy cause.
Remember hoarding starts off with clutter!