Appreciating Huggy Bear

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Today marks five years since my Dad left this earth and his long struggle with serious illness.  This day comes and goes so fast each year but I actually like it and mark it as a special day to celebrate and reflect on his life.  Today I was thinking about some of the strange and funny things he used to do and some good memories I have treasured of him, which got me thinking on 3 things a I really appreciated about my Dad….and here they are.

I remember as I was growing up, Dad would always take the time to soak up his surroundings.  Especially outside, commenting on the smell of a flower, the songs of birds singing, the way the wind blew, the colours of the sunsets.  Even the laughter of his family, the intricate melody of music playing on the radio, or the words of a poem.  He so often took time to stop and contemplate, appreciate, and capture the simple, everyday things in life that we so often take for granted.  I admit sometimes it annoyed me and I often wished he wouldn’t be so slow, but looking back now, it’s a quality I appreciate he held, and by example, has taught me to do the same.  Actually, it’s one of my favourite things to do.  Stop, breathe in the moments of each day and be thankful for all that is around me, and I believe it’s a quality that is enriching to your life.

If anyone who knew my Dad is reading this, you would know all about his sense of humour and how dry, hilarious and quite often inappropriate it was.  Ok, so a lot of people probably didn’t understand it or get it, but there were moments he had us in roars of laughter, and if he joined in laughing with you it was all the more better.  He had this deep, light-hearted chuckle, where his eyes would literally sparkle, and it filled the space with the warmest joy, making you feel home.  It wasn’t just his jokes and comments, it was often his actions and the things he did that were sometimes so beyond belief that captured what a deep well of humour lay beneath the surface.  In the midst of his deep struggles, he never lost his humour and I appreciate that so much.  Infact, his humour was one thing we held onto in the early days after his death and through his funeral.  He even had us cracking up around his coffin when we went to see him before his cremation.  Seeing him laying there so peaceful reminded us of the days when we would often try and sneak past him at home thinking he was sleeping.  Truth is, he was very good at sussing us out and would often jump out on the bed and yell ‘BAAAH’ at us, sending our hearts into extreme palpitations.  It was almost like he was about to jump out of the coffin, yelling BAAAH!!

Lastly, my Dad was bold.  He was so bold sometimes it made me cringe.  He met and knew so many people because he wasn’t afraid to step out and be vulnerable.  He took risks, made friends with strangers, and no doubt made more of an impact than we will probably ever know.  He wasn’t one to hold back, and I look back now and see his boldness as something I can learn from.  While I may never place my hand on a stranger’s inner thigh while making a joke on a seat in the main street, I sure hope I will be bold in this life and not hold back when I need to take a risk.

So in honour of Dad…the only Huggy Bear…the bold, hilarious, soaker of the simple things.  I’ll see ya later 😊

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When wonder workers have a woeful day!

To all you parents out there who only just made it through today…you are doing absolute wonders.

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Now, it’s no secret that some days are better than others.  It’s also no secret that some days are simply amazing and others are just…badly indescribable.  And hey, if you’ve just had a bad day, it’s totally okay.  You are still the amazing person you were yesterday when it was a great day! Today was one of those days where every seam ripped and everything fell apart.  Kinda like when you have a bag full of groceries, you’re walking across the road and SPLAT! The bottom tears, everything falls out and then a car zooms by and squashes everything into the tar and all you can retrieve is a severely squashed muesli bar that’s wrapping hasn’t been popped. (Score!) But you retrieved something right? And it’s healthy. (Double score!)

Somehow today turned a little stressful, followed by this awful misunderstanding/argument with my beloved, and then those feelings that hit you with utter loneliness and confusion, and all you wish to do is turn into a ball and sit in the corner for the rest of the day…but you have a threenager and a toddler that have been clashing with each other all morning and they need feeding and wiping, and their boots that are stuck on their feet need to be taken off, and the mud on their feet needs washing off, and the piece of ham lodged in your toddlers throat needs to be heaved out, and the block tower that just crashed needs rebuilding.  And your ball dreams are dashed.

Then everything you seem to try to do ends up in mess, chaos and probably (honestly) a bit of yelling.  Like a half hour business phone call you could hardly concentrate on because your toddler is drawing over you paperwork, your threenager is trying to draw on paper (and that’s ok) until he draws black pen all over your suede lounge because his paper tore.  They finally end up climbing on the chair with you, pressing buttons on the keyboard, moving the mouse, swinging the chair, fighting, screaming and still drawing on your paperwork, all the time you’re trying to keep your utmost, calmest disposition so the person on the other end of the phone doesn’t think they’re in-fact talking to a lion.

The washing up turned into breaking your threenager’s heart because you told him he couldn’t help – mostly because you simply couldn’t handle every spoon, fork, cup and plate being passed to you all at once today – and that warranted a lot of crying and miserableness from a very upset boy.  Meanwhile your toddler is trying to climb your legs like you’re a large, branched tree, while whinging and crying because you won’t pick her up.  Suddenly, my three year old needs to go to the toilet, and my one year old thinks it’s fun to keep shutting the door on him, which of course he hates today and keeps screaming that it must be opened.  Meanwhile the dishes…pfft…they’ll get washed one day.

My mind keeps telling me it must be time to run away now, but dinner needs cooking and I should probably do that before I collapse on the floor from exhaustion.  So I try my very best to keep it together, bite my tongue and….wait, that doesn’t work well, because now toys are getting hauled across the kitchen uncontrollably and it has to stop.  It’s now my incredibly smart, and lifesaving decision to give them dinner early.  They eat it…that’s a good start right.  Until my son whacks my daughter in the lip with a fork and it bleeds, she cries, I fume like a horribly old car.  I clean my son up, take him to get into his jammies, and look up to see my daughter throwing her fork on the floor, followed by her brother’s plate of food, followed by her plate of food, followed by handfuls of leftover food that got tipped on the bench.

Now let’s be honest you super mums and dads out there…bedtime saved my life today…or it felt like it did.  It sought of felt like what I could only imagine it would feel like to be resuscitated after drowning.  After I melted into our soft lounge cushions in the peace and quiet of the end of a day that I don’t want to hear of again, this voice in my head (yes, parents, admit it, we all hear voices!) said “you made it.”   And it was right.  I made it.  We all make it in the end.  So when you’re having a desperately challenging day where you feel like you fail in every way, just remember, You Will Make It.

So what did I retrieve from this squished up mess you may ask?  Uh, somehow my sanity, my joy, my gratefulness for family, my appreciation for my own parents, my love for life, my dreams of being the Mum that my children need…I actually retrieved a lot.  More than an un-popped muesli bar really.

You, dear parent, are a super being that faces life every day and pulls a line of children through it with you.  You are amazing, even when you’re a messy, crying blob on the floor, even when you have poo on your fingers and mashed potato in your hair – You are amazing.  You’re needed too.  These little humans that we adore so much, these little pieces of us that make our hearts melt and make us cry in the same day, need you.  They need you to pour your every fibre into them to make them who they will become.  You’re not just needed and amazing, but you’re wanted too.  They want you to love them, play with them, be around them and love them.  So next time you have a horrible day and feel terrified that you may actually ruin your children, just remember, you’re working wonders and you’re doing a beautiful job of living your life and raising your little youngsters to live theirs too.

Stop that whinging!

So I just had my morphology scan last week.  You know, the one where your sweet little baby is halfway brewed and you get to see all the bits and pieces that make one tiny, little amazing human that has been growing inside you for months.  The one where you just lay and watch in complete awe as the legs and feet, hands and fingers, mouth, and itty bitty nose pop up on the screen and you imagine what this growing bundle is going to look like when you finally get to meet.

I look forward to this ultrasound for ages! Not so much the super awkward dancing that you can’t help but break out in, while waiting to be called into the ultrasound room before hand.  You know, where you’re kind of doubled over, knees together, bouncing around and waddling up and down the hall while trying not to breath too hard for fear of your bladder exploding all over the floor.  The rest is a wonderful time though, don’t you agree?

Well this time was different…not only did we have our 3 year old and 1 year old in tow, who really don’t understand the concept of ‘let’s sit still and be quiet’ (and really, why should they yet?!) but much to my disappointment we were led into this tiny little ultrasound room with no screen for me to see those much awaited images of our baby.  After I laid down, I instantly burst into this silent pity party right there on the hard bed, about how I couldn’t see anything, how we got the quietest ultrasound technician who hardly said a word through the whole thing, and how I had no idea what was going on.  All I could see was a huge poster at the end of the bed of a naked man in all his glory with an enormous vascular system that was pin pointed everywhere on his body, and our two children stomping and trotting around in circles in the little space they had, out of the corner of my eye.  I made myself completely miserable and it didn’t stop there.  After almost an hour we were put back out into the waiting room to wait for a disk of photos to be made for us, where I took the opportunity to whinge to Nic about how much the whole experience sucked.

My whining didn’t end there though.  I put the disc in our computer after we arrived home all eager to find the side on picture of the baby that they always take in those ultrasounds, only to find there was no such photo on there and apart from some feet, legs, hands, spine and top of the head shots, there wasn’t much else.  And oh did I complain about it, and about anything else I could think of that related, and then when I ran out of things to complain about I whined about how un-sympathetic Nic was being.

Here is the part where Nic says one of his to-the-point, and so profound sayings which was really a nice way of telling me to stop my whining and get over it.  But as usual, he pulled my floaty head back down with the simple words of ‘Babe, were having a baby, just remember we’re still having a baby.’  I lost all my remarks then, all my complaining went out the window, and I suddenly wished I could take back every ounce of whinging that I’d committed.

I realized in that moment how incredibly blessed we are to have children and another one in the brewery.  I remembered how privileged we are to even have the opportunity to have ultrasounds and for goodness sake, to have photos of those precious little feet before they are even born, how amazing is that!  And most of all, the main  important thing that I had forgotten in amongst all of my whinging and complaining, we are having a baby, and that has got to be the most precious gift that could ever be given.

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So with every kick and every roll and every little punch I feel, I soak it up with amazing gratefulness, and every photo we have, every opportunity to hear our baby’s heartbeat, I treasure with great appreciation.  And not only in these circumstances but in every other, I’m reminded to focus and be truly thankful for what we have, what is in our hands and all around us, rather than complain about what we don’t have.  There is so much to appreciate in all our lives, so much to be grateful for, so much to treasure up in our hearts forever, and so many blessing wrapped around us, that really, what is there to truly complain about?…