Losing that ‘loving’ feeling……

Christmas is and always has been my favourite time of year. I love everything about it, from mince pies to Midnight Mass, every little aspect works together to build that magical feel that you either love or hate. Christmas lights in particular have always captivated me. I remember going for long walks with my dad as a small child and seeing the trees flashing through the lounge room windows. To this day my heart still skips a little when I see a beautiful Christmas tree.

 

I suppose our feeling about Christmas are largely moulded by our childhood experience. Despite coming from a less than affluent family, I have only ever had wonderful memories of Christmas. It is only now that I see that maybe our lack of money and material possessions was what made us so appreciative of that one day in the year when the food was rich and the fridge was full, and it seemed like we were the luckiest kids in the world. I know now that there were some years that my parents struggled to pull the whole Christmas thing together, the expensive presents that they couldn’t really afford and the treats that lined our stockings, but there was not once that we as children went without and knew of the small miracle it had taken to make the day special.

 

This year in particular, after a few personal setbacks I have struggled to get into the Christmas Spirit. On Monday I dragged myself to the shops to do the final food shopping for our Christmas Dinner. When I returned home and unpacked the endless sea of shopping bags I was left feeling empty, and nowhere near  close to my usual Christmassy self. I looked around my kitchen and my pantry and felt nothing. There was nothing ‘special’ about what I had just bought, because nowadays our fridge is always full and our wallets are always lined, 365 days of the year. In comparison to the struggles of our childhood, we are in a privileged position. I remember my mum coming home with the Christmas shopping and be amazed by the chocolates, mince pies, gherkins and pickled onions…all little luxuries that were only afforded at Christmas time.  I felt a sense of sadness that my children would never know that excitement because our lives our now full of little luxuries on a full time basis. I felt guilty that our children have ice-cream most weeks, and Babycinno’s at the local café. I want more than anything for them to have empathy for those who don’t have, and to know that things in life don’t come easy.

 

I know that as a parent you want better for your children. A large part of us immigrating to Australia, was so my parents could provide us with more opportunities, and therefore be in a more desirable situation that they had found themselves in. You want for every generation to have come along a little but further than the last. Our humble upbringing and some very supportive parents encouraged us to strive for more and to be more, and we did and I hope our parents are proud of this.

 

Those of you that know me well, know that I hate being indebted to someone, and I can honestly say that everything I now have, I have worked for and paid for myself from my first house at 21, several terrible choices in cars and the clothes I am wearing. I think this is what my parents wanted for us. If you have always had everything handed to you on a plate, there is no sense of loss or value when it is gone, or as they say ‘easy come, easy go’. Don’t get me wrong, I am also not here trying to have a battle of the have and have nots. I am quite certain that if I am in the blessed position to do so, I will also try to give my boys a solid beginning, because every little helping hand is a head start, but I want them to know the value of a ‘struggle’. I want them to know the feeling of wanting something that you just can’t have until you work for it. I want them to appreciate the chocolate in our kitchen and the lollies in the jars. I want them to feel the magic of Christmas, but not the greedy kind, the innocent kind…when getting an apple and orange in your stocking was a treat. (err yeah thanks mum and dad)

 

Not only did my upbringing teach me 101 meals to make from ‘bread, tomato sauce and peanut butter’ but it has defined and shaped my character. I was always ashamed to say where I was from during my uni years, as every time I did, judgement would follow. Now I realize the only thing they should have been thinking was …..Shit she had to work a hell of a lot harder to get here, and how did she get through high school in those terrible ‘no brand sneakers?’

 

I know in reality my children will never truly share our experiences, but a little bit won’t hurt. So as of the 1st of January there will be a few changes around our place, just to remind us all how lucky we are. If we have love, food and family….we are doing okay.Image

 

Watch this space.

 

Merry Christmas Everyone

 

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Where have you been?….I’ve had ‘cantbebothered-itis’

It has been a shamefully long time between blogs, but it seems my allergic reaction to writing has come to an end. Maybe it’s the ‘Christmas’ in me, or perhaps the guilt of seeing out the year without one more entry,  but either way I’m here, and here it is.

So much has happened since last I wrote, the small things, the big things then the truly life changing things too. There are those moments in life where you stop and take a deep breath in your own silence and think to yourself ‘ This is one of those times’ . By ‘those times’ I mean the things that happen to us (good or bad) that go on to become major clips in our ‘life highlights reel’. I always imagine that when we die we are given a bucket of popcorn, large coke and are asked to watch a highlight package of the life we led…in Gold Class of course, and no you don’t have to share your popcorn. Some of the clips we choose to include, like falling in love, births, successes and happy times, and others are forced upon us, like heartbreak, illness, death and disappointment. It is safe to say I have made many moments this year, and this is why I think I have avoided this blog…because writing makes you confront your fears and realize your truths.

As the end of 2013 draws near, I wanted to document my inclusions to the highlight package for this year, just in case heaven needs help remembering when the time comes.

After spending a full year away from my son, working full time, we begin our ‘Gap Year’ together. Over the year we enrol in and try every activity known to man in an effort to make up for lost time. We realise his favourite place is with mum at the park, and it is free! I feel such resounding guilt at having missed a year with this beautiful little human. Next year, let’s continue to enjoy eating vegemite on toast, watching Peppa Pig and fighting about if you will be having a ‘sleep.

I have learnt that despite trying my hardest, I am never going to be ‘Playgroup Mum’. I am never going to care as much as they do about cake tins and still believe ‘The Cheesecake Shop’ will always present as a far superior option to anything I can make. I do shout at my son’s, but I always say sorry and kiss them straight after. I don’t always make my baby fresh food, and whilst it does worry me that a food item has an expiry date 3 years from now….when I surrender to time and energy I am guilty of using dirty little jars. At times I also really enjoy eating foods with artificial colouring and preservatives and am sick of feeling guilty about it. Oh, and my son is also allowed to eat chocolate occasionally.

My second child Sam is born this year. Life will never be the same. If we leave this earth tomorrow, my boys will have each other and this leaves me with peace. His smile lights up the room and his brother has finally accepted he is here and has stopped trying to bite him. (For now…or at least until we can no longer use ‘Santa watching’ as a threat.) If I am honest, I can enjoy this birth a little more, as I’m not as scared, not as tired and not as ‘perfect’.

The first of the ‘Dads’ passes away. My best friend loses her dad to cancer, reminding us all that we are now at the age where family and friends are not ‘forever’.

Within the fortnight, God calls his second great man for the month. My grandad Sean Mansfield is taken, but not without putting up his greatest fight to date. I don’t really know what to say about him, because I still haven’t realized he has gone but also because some people have such ‘outstanding highlights’ that to choose one would be an injustice. My last memory of him is looking up to the altar at my son’s christening and me catching his eye in the congregation. It was a ‘freeze’ moment that seemed to last a lot longer than it actually would have to everyone else, I remember this being ‘one of those moments’.  He couldn’t hear a word of what was going on, but I know that he didn’t care, because at least he was there. I have so much more to write more about him, but that’s a blog for another day.

My boss called me during the funeral, and offered me a part time position for next year. This is my dream job, and will allow me to do ‘what’ I love as well as still being with ‘who’ I love for most of the week. It is time to go back to work, I really think my eldest is sick of me and needs some time to miss me.

Last week I thought I was going to lose my little baby boy. After an accident at the park, he took a turn for the worst and my husband and I found ourselves screaming at the roadside, cradling our son in our arms while we waited for the ambulance. I remember people just walking by, carrying on with what they were doing, and not caring that my baby was falling asleep in front of us. This was the longest wait of my life, and I sincerely hope that this was also the worst day of my life as I don’t think I could handle anything worse. Every night I am dreaming about losing him, and wake up searching for him in my bed. I don’t trust myself anymore and don’t think I can go back to the park. The next day, when the dark clouds had passed, there he was smiling, completely unscathed, with the only evidence of his fall, a tiny graze on his nose. We will carry the scars of his fall for life, just as every other mum and dad have in the years gone before us. In some small way, I don’t want us to forget this, because then we will again start taking life granted, and worrying about things that will never worry about us. Who cares if he whinges, who cares if you haven’t slept, he is awake and he is alive.

After looking at his ‘big boy’ bike for months, My eldest son finally rode down our hallway (no we didn’t complain) shouting ‘I did it, I did it’. He also started wearing no nappies to bed, my first little baby has become a little boy. This week he also told me that he was going to marry me….I will remind him of this when he is 18.

Not the happiest, or most exciting blog but it was one I had to write to get life off my chest. Sometimes your shoulders get heavy, and there’s nothing wrong with shaking them off and letting the crap fall down around your ankles.

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