Life, Love, and Passports

Archive for May, 2013

The Parent Trap

Though my girls are still really young I’m coming to the realisation that there is a fine line between letting them experience the world around them and keeping them safe. With my seemingly insatiable appetite for breaking news I now find myself going into mother hen overdrive. All the tragedy and heartbreak that I read has me constantly pulling myself back over the fence of paranoia and I realise that my duty is to look out for my girls not make them prisoners.

This past week I spoke to a friend with teenage kids and since we grew up in the same era we discussed our teen years and how different the world seemed to be then. We came to the conclusion that we’d rather be safe than sorry when it comes to raising our children. Unfortunately as a child danger is not something that’s high on the list of priorities. Having fun is the way to go and danger has no place in the fun arena.

As a parent I’m constantly reminding myself that I cannot and will not live in fear. The reality of life is that danger does exist and to pretend otherwise is quite foolish. I have every intention of giving my girls the best childhood possible and I’ve no doubt that they often feel that I’m there to spoil their fun especially when we’re out and about and I sound like a referee shouting instructions and giving warnings.

I’m generally a very laid back person a bit too laid back for some. I cannot judge somebody else’s parenting style only give my point of view when asked. At the end of the day I just have to believe that we all want the same things for our children…love and security!


Entertaining angels unaware

Whilst having a conversation with a friend she remarked how the unexpected generosity of a relative stranger had a profound affect on her. Her only regret was that she had not really taken the time to get to know the individual. I guess we can blame that on being preoccupied with the people who we’ve built a rapport with. Truth is it’s hard to imagine that people need assistance when we’re comfortable.

It got me thinking of the opportunities we are often afforded to be an angel to somebody in need. There are many times where a little helping hand could make a world of difference if we’d just take the time out to care not just to people who’ll reward us for our kindness but also the randoms we encounter along the way. After our conversation I’ve decided not to just wait for opportunities to show kindness but to also look for them.

People across the world no matter what the state of their lives could do with an act of kindness. Will you be an angel to somebody in need?

Another mommy milestone!

Last night my daughter Charis had her very first sleepover. I must admit I thought long and hard about sending her to a friend albeit for just a night. She was so excited about getting away from us for a night and I was secretly proud of her boldness.

This morning we woke up to a rather quiet house and it was obvious who creates the buzz around here. She was positively missed. The conversation didn’t move much further than the questions about her return. Finally, she rocked up after lunch and all was as it should be. The bickering and complaints were as steady as rain you’d think they’d missed each other enough to give the rivalry a rest. Not a chance!

As for me I’m glad to have my three girls under one roof and I hope it will be some time before we reach another milestone. The more I travel on this journey of parenthood the more I realise it’s no easy feat. It’s not easy but it is rewarding and the cuddles are the best payment.

The beast is out!

Yesterday I had what seemed like the umpteenth visit to the dentist in the smallest time scale. After much back and forth I’d come to a decision with the dentist to remove a tooth. Once the date had been decided I began feeling very nervous and began to expect the worst. This was highly unusual because I have no fear or anxiety when it comes to dental visits. Admittedly my trust in dentists came much later in life. These days a visit to the dentist is as casual as popping out for a coffee.

While lying in the chair staring at the light with my hands clasped I prayed under my breath that the extraction would be a walk in the park and it was. I let out a sigh of relief when the dentist announced “the beast is out”. For all the problems that molar gave me I think his description was spot on.

The highlight of my appointment was informing the dentist I wanted my extracted tooth. The shock and surprise was funny. Truth is I really wanted to take my chance with the tooth fairy. I quickly realised that I may not get my weight in enamel so I’ve decided to treat myself for my bravery.

In the meantime the relief is amazing. I hope now that I’ll have the regulated six month break before I have to waltz back in.

I’ve been Harley’d

I think I’ve calmed down sufficiently to share my absolute joy of been given a ride on a beautiful Harley Davidson. I’ve had some pretty amazing moments in my life and after mulling over my over the top celebrations I’ve come to the conclusion that it was the surprise that got me so terribly excited. When I left home on Saturday morning to do a food collection from the local bikers club for the central Foodbank it did not cross my mind that I may get the ride of my life!

As a student nurse I developed this absolute fascination with motorbikes and my father was not too keen on me wanting to own one. Up until Saturday my only experience with motorbikes was a late night ride in Cape Town many moons ago with a dear friend.
I’m now convinced that all that love and appreciation of all things fast and shiny came back to me in a flood of euphoria when I heard the rumble which announced the impending arrival of those bikers. The moment I laid eyes on their wheels of steel I was in Harley Heaven.

We all have dreams and I figure if they’re attainable they’re just to do activities. One of my dreams came true and I have many more which seem out of reach at the moment but I’m certain now it’s not impossible. It can happen at any time we just need to be prepared!

Dear Diary

My 7yr old daughter Charis ( though she constantly reminds me she’ll be 8 in about six weeks!). I then remind her that she’ll never be this young and free from responsibility again. With each passing year her responsibility will grow and there’ll be less opportunity to say she didn’t know. She is very wise for her years and we’re constantly butting heads over attitudes and utterances. She has now requested a diary and a promise from me not to snoop. Of course I’ll be snooping that’s what mothers do!

After a discussion about keeping secrets and the difference between good and bad secrets I may just leave her to it. I ask her if there’s anything she needs to know from me. Her response is a nothing really one but then slyly slides in a veiled request for details of my diary. Granted I was almost double her age when I kept one myself I’m left with no choice but to reinvent my diary entries. Truth is I was a sulky teen and no doubt there were numerous entries about annoying teachers, strict parents, selfish friends and perhaps a sighting of an interesting boy specimen to brighten an otherwise sour life.

She’s really excited to get started and I’m worried what I may find. Though I’m hoping the daily record keeping will improve her already creative writing skills. I’m really trying to see the positive side. I shall try my best not to snoop too much!

Ambassador of justice

I’m always so encouraged by people who find a cause to support and do it with such commitment. I know a few of those people raising awareness about cancer, mental illness, childhood diseases and animal projects. The list is endless.

Recently I spoke to a young lady who lamented about the lack of interest of people when it comes to lending a helping hand. I understand how frustrating it is when you’re passionate about something and you’re met with what seems like disinterest. The truth is there are many paths to take and it can be quite bewildering choosing one but it certainly doesn’t exclude the ability to assist where you can. After all we can all help in some way.

I’m passionate about seeing the end to modern day slavery. While it appears to be impossible I’ve no doubt it can be done. What’s your interest? How can you help those who are in distress? There’s always something we can do and there is always somebody less fortunate. Will you lend a hand of hope?

Home at last

A few days ago the world woke up to the news of 3 women along with a child born during their time in captivity had been rescued in Cleveland, Ohio after being held captive for about a decade. I can’t even begin to imagine what freedom feels like after being subjected to all kinds of cruel abuses. The joy, relief and then the fear of repeating their experiences to authorities, families and counsellors. Families too are feeling rescued after years of waiting and wondering about the fate of their daughters. Dead or alive there could surely be no peace with no closure. The journey back to a regular life will be a difficult one but with the right kind of support I’ve no doubt they will all adjust and live fulfilling lives.

This month also marked the 6th anniversary of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann while on holiday in Portugal aged just three and no doubt it’s not just her parents who’s hope is renewed. If it can happen for Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight surely it’s not impossible for all the missing to be found. My heart breaks a little every time I think of these victims and their families. Admittedly my paranoia also grows with each of these stories and then I remind myself that I cannot live in fear. I will not.

Bianca Couch ( a young South African missing since December 2011 ) when you eventually come home where you belong just know that the light of hope did not flicker or die. Your family and friends have just found a different kind of normal way to live. Hope still springs eternal!

Bank holiday fun

Since arriving in Britain I don’t seem to recall a bank holiday weekend that lived up to the hype. Today I woke up to glorious sunshine as it should be on a bank holiday and my motivation and zest for life was at its optimum. After a few household chores (because some things never change) I got the girls into the car along with scooters, a buggy complete with doll and water bottles. We arrived at the park and I realised I obviously wasn’t the only one impressed with the promise of a beautiful day and the buzz was contagious. Parents with children, dog walkers, action on the tennis courts, crazy golf, cyclists and so much more activity. I wished I could bottle that moment as a reminder that seasons just have to change. After the compulsory ice cream from a vendor we were on our way. On my way to the exit I was glad for the early start because the crowd had swelled.

My daughters were in high spirits and just wanted to be out and about knowing all too well that there are no guarantees of heart warming sunshine tomorrow. An afternoon at the zoo was just what we needed and once again we weren’t the only ones who had this idea. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a zoo that full of people. Sadly, I think most of the animals were taken by surprise with the unusual hot and sticky weather and all seemed to be exhausted. We strolled around and enjoyed the sights.

I’m winding down for the night and I’m taken aback by how the sun can make me feel so alive after an extended winter with far too much snow. It’s time to forget the way it was and enjoy the way it is. There is so much to be learned from the seasons. Dark days don’t last forever they just can’t. Here’s to a change a much needed one!

Prison break

I’ve long been fascinated by prison escapes and never pass up an opportunity to catch up on stories chronicling such acts. Firstly, I can’t imagine being in prison and if I was then escaping would not be something I’d think of.
Shawshank redemption is still one of my favourite movies though I must admit I feel there must something fundamentally wrong with me for willing a man to escape from prison.

The real life accounts that I’ve watched are so fascinating even though it becomes apparent from the get go that they don’t get too far for too long. It always seems like such a waste of time and planning but its always clear that freedom no matter how short lived is worth it.

I’ve learnt more than enough now to know how to make it successfully on the outside. How you decide to leave is really just a matter of opportunity and in my opinion this is actually the easiest part because the planning has no deadline but once you jump that face, cut through it or jump from a roof from that moment you have no room for mistakes or second thoughts. From the moment you cross the line you go from prisoner to fugitive.

To avoid being recaptured you need good, trustworthy friends who’ll give assistance with little or no questions asked. Resources are your key to freedom because once you escape you need an airtight plan and this may mean travelling to a country where authorities may find you but will never be able to bring you back. Mexico always seems like the destination of choice. It may well be what movie producers would like us to believe. I imagine the hardest part will be severing all ties with family in order to start a new life.

Are escapees really free? It seems not because having restricted movement and constantly looking over your shoulder is really no way to live. Or perhaps it does beat being in the prison system.

Disclaimer: I have never assisted a prisoner to escape and have no knowledge of any escapees. I’m just guilty of having an over active imagination.