Life, Love, and Passports

family

The last supper

Tonight we had our last dinner with my parents before they head back to South Africa tomorrow after gracing us with their presence for one whole month. The primary purpose of their visit was to celebrate my birthday with me because apparently it wasn’t just any birthday it was a big birthday.

Counting down made me realise that I spend a large part of my life counting down days and always looking forward to the next big event. So once we wave them off at the airport and have shed those departure gate tears. Have I ever said how much I hate that goodbye gate and just watching loved ones looking back and waving until they disappear into what seems like a vapour. Departure sounds so final and can leave a person feeling empty and disorientated.

We’ve had a great time with my parents and it was good just travelling around the UK. The summer holiday has been full of activity but we’ve also had many pause and enjoy moments. Now for the final goodbyes until we meet again!

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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!


Family matters

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.


Born to be different

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!


Mommy milestones

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.
Happy parenting!


Say cheese!

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!


Who you gonna call?

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!


Final curtain call

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!


Time really does fly when you’re having fun!

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!


So long farewell

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!