If you’ve read my first post on 18, October or the About Me page you’ll know that this blog is for my daughters. I bit the bullet after yesterday’s post and told my husband on our way to a meeting what I was up to, you see, we work together (and yes I blog on work time lol) so I wasn’t going to get away with it for long before he found out anyway.
He asked to read it and I asked him to wait a bit because whilst I’m happy for the rest of the world to read this, I’m not sure I’m ready for my world to be let in on this just yet. Then I remembered who I was married to (Captain Amazing) and said I would send him a link when I got back to the office. He asked why I wanted to do it, I already have two company blogs to write, several Facebook business pages to manage, three websites to upgrade and maintain, Twitter accounts, Linked In, YouTube and all the other social media rubbish you need to be on top of these days. The answer was twofold and simple,
1) Writing blogs on technical jargon and current policies for business doesn’t really float my boat. I want to blog about the things that interest me.
2) I’m doing it for the girls . . .
And this is when the tears began. It made me realise that actually I am ok with it, but I simply can’t bear to say my greatest fear out loud.
I don’t feel sorry for myself often, I manage whatever needs to be managed and everyday I’m thankful for my life. We have a nice house, 2 new cars, we can afford to travel, we have two beautiful, intelligent, happy and healthy daughters, wonderful friends, we are passionate about our work and it provides us with not only an income but the work life balance thing everyone is after these days. We’ve worked incredibly hard over many years to be in this position now, it wasn’t luck that brought us here. How could you not be happy with all that?
The only thing that makes me angry, stressed, upset and hateful is these two things:
1) Someone messing with my kids/hubby
2) Dealing with medical morons/insurance who just rob me of time when I have to repeat myself over and over
The thought that one day I won’t be a part of all this brings me to tears. All Mums say they love their kids but do they truly appreciate them? Miss E was a surprise engagement gift and Miss H was a much longed for deliberate attempt at creating a life. Both pregnancies were drama filled for various reasons, 1st time I had HG. I was SICK day and night the entire 9 months and lost 18kgs (39.7lbs) the second time an unfortunate accident in a shopping centre caused issues and I almost lost H . . . twice. Thankfully, with both girls, I was lucky enough to have reasonably quick, complication free, natural births each time. (Yes lucky, no woman chooses a difficult labour).
The circumstances in my life and almost 10 years between the girls ensure my parenting style has changed over the years, in fact I think it would be quite sad if in 10 years I hadn’t changed. At 24, as a first time birth mother with a 5 year old fulltime step daughter (K) in tow, I was busy, busy, busy. I had just spent years being play dough and painting Mummy whilst studying and working simultaneously and had found myself needing a new career and eager to study (again – I’ve studied A LOT) E was stuck on my hip and taken everywhere. As a result she’s incredibly social and comfortable sleeping anywhere, I only hope that these traits which are useful in small children won’t come back to bite me when she’s a teen. This time round I am older, nowhere near as fit but I am far better off economically, socially and with my support network. Across all three girls many things have remained constant, breakfast is extremely important as is learning to love water early both for nourishment and play. We eat fruit every day, brush our teeth religiously from the moment a toothbrush can be grasped, good sleeping habits are instilled early (eg: immediately. One day I might share my tips) manners are important, being known as a good person is something to strive for more than being known as just the pretty one. The most noticeable things that have changed in the last 15 years of parenting and 11 years as a mother is time and patience.
In the past I never had time, I was always busy, in a hurry and there was no time to smell the roses. Corporate, go getter jargon fuelled me, the early bird catches the worm, give 110% and all that jazz. I was impatient, I wanted everything yesterday, money focused, whatever I achieved was brushed off with no time to celebrate. I didn’t even attend either of my cap & gown graduation ceremonies, instead choosing to go to work. I always had my eye on the prize and was no sooner on a new level of achievement before I was attempting the next one. The kids were swept along with my frantic pace, they got everything they needed but I’m sure not everything they wanted. My father’s death drove that point home to me and a few other home truths about life in general (see below).
Now I am very different, rather than pick up my baby to get down the stairs quickly as I had done in the past, I stand beside her and hold her hand as one by one she attempts to scale down stairs, each one almost the same in height as her legs are in length. I revel in her pride and joy at being able to tackle such as task. I live for the moments when she turns her tiny blonde head up towards me and grins a 10,000 megawatt smile that says thank you for holding my hand through that Mumma and then, momentarily, I become sad that too often I was too busy to have those moments with E.
Before my wedding day a lovely online friend gave me some excellent advice. She said the day would pass in a blur and to take time to deliberately step back a moment, survey the scene before me, breath in the joy and magic of the moment and hold onto that memory forever. I took that advice and it worked, those two or three conscious memory gathering moments are among the strongest memories I have of the day. I try to do this with my family now, all the time. I greedily breathe in the colour of their eyes, the curve of a cheek, the feel of soft unblemished skin, the sound of a giggle and the smell of freshly washed hair and clean pyjamas. I appreciate them, every day, even when they’re being naughty or painful or sick or just plain annoying. All children should have someone who can love them like that, all adults should too.
My Dad died at age 49 of the same illness that I, my younger sister and several of our cousins are afflicted with. Other family members have also passed away and so far none have made it through their 40’s. We have better treatments available now that weren’t around 10 years ago and a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t, so with that in mind and a desperate wish to see my girls through life, I hope to be among the first to hit the big 50 and plan to do it in reasonable health. Actually Captain Amazing and I have a pact to die in car accident together when we’re 80 because neither can bear the thought of going on without the other. . . romantic much or just macabre?
My Dad’s passing taught me a few things and my diagnosis 3 years ago cemented what I had learned. When someone you love is dying all you wish for is more moments. The ones where you stare into each other’s eyes and speak your own secret language, the ones where your love is SO BIG you can feel it in the air around you, the moments that take your breath away, the standing on a mountain feeling whether it be literally or metaphorically. My Dad wished he had held us more, kissed us more, said I love you more, worked less, taken more days off and not wasted time on people or things that ultimately are of no consequence and had proved to be unworthy of his time. My Dad passed his workaholic gene onto me and it took me a while to realise that was what was killing me and ruining my life, not this illness.
So I took my Dad’s dying wishes and made them the mantra for my everyday life and when I saw this for sale on Facebook recently I knew it was meant for me, I now have one of these proudly hanging above my kitchen bench.
I learned exactly how to appreciate the journey of life, I found the bravery to speak my truth and in a way that it set me free without hurting others. I’ve learned not to dwell on stuff that doesn’t matter. But most of all I’ve learned that the heroics of signing a big contract or winning an award will never even come close comparing with the joy and sense of accomplishment that comes from rolling your first playdough snail or scoring a goal from halfway across the backyard,