Category Archives: Family

Jade’s Story

Standard
Jade’s Story

Once upon a time, there was a young woman called Jade. Unique, kind and generous of spirit; she is intelligent and awesomely beautiful.

Jade photoI want to celebrate her success – she has been chosen from 1000’s of others to have her work displayed on electronic billboards across Brisbane, Did I mention she is a very talented author and editor?

Jade holds a double degree in Creative Writing /  Public Relations and is completing her Master of Professional Practice Creative Writing. We are all so proud of her accomplishments.

Believe in yourself, Jade. You have an incredibly bright future ahead of you. 

I could be her grandmother, but she always treats me as a peer.  We laugh so much when we are together. We share our dreams and our fears. We have many interests in common. She never makes me feel older. We support each other when there are dark days.  She has enriched my life in ways she could never imagine.

People come into your life for different reasons.  Some stomp all over you leaving you bruised and battered. Others hold out a hand of support asking nothing in return. And then there are those who are always there – building ongoing relationships that feel as if they have been in place forever.  Forever friends.

Her winning entry encapsulates who she is and how she sees the world.

We are all equal. Yesterday, today and tomorrow.”

Congratulations Jade.  We are all so proud of who you are and what you have achieved.

Advertisements

My SON

Standard
My SON

June 14th. This is the day my son was born. Time has passed in the blink of an eye. I cannot believe he is a grown man with a wife.  There is an old saying, ‘your daughter’s your daughter all of your life. Your son is your son, till he gets himself a wife.’  Like all sayings there is a truth in this but not in our case. My son is my son, and he always will be. We have a deep but different bond to the equally deep bond I share with my daughter.

What type of a man has he grown into? A simple question, he is a man I am proud to call my friend as well as my son.  He is the man, we all hope our boys will grow into.   A man whose appearance intimidates many. Big, broad, solid and bald. He rides a motorbike and wears a red bandanna. bike He holds down a responsible job. Don’t be fooled by appearances. He has his faults and is far from perfect, but he is kind, loving and generous of spirit. He has a fearsome temper, one he has learned to control. He is a man of principle, too many at times for his own good. He is married to a beautiful woman and they are true soul mates. They desperately want a family but that does not seem to be in their future. They have suffered losses and the deepest and darkest days of despair when they lost their baby James, an angel born too early to stay long in this world.

As a child, he was a handful and I remember thinking if he had been my first baby there would never have been another. Allergic to everything, well almost. Life was a trial, hyperactive and always in trouble, but with a smile that would melt your heart. He has an interesting love, hate relationship with his sister. I think it stems from her putting him in a rubbish bin in the bitter cold of a Canberra winter when he was six weeks old. A word of warning, do not say anything bad as they have always had one another’s back when it counted.  Maybe that comes from being RAAF brats and moving so often they were reliant on one another for friendship as well as companionship.  Perhaps it is, just who they are.

This is the boy who conned his Amah into arranging a snake charmer to entertain his friends at his 7th. Birthday party. The boy who drowned in the Penang Chinese Swimming Pool and when revived and safe in hospital rang the Butterworth RAAF Base Commander to tell him how nice the nurses were to him at the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital. The boy who wanted to be Steve Austin, the six million dollar man, who took a dive off the neighbouring chook pen, the boy who rode his red trike down the front steps of our house in Canberra and broke the trike and scraped his hands and face and knees. The boy who fell out of the station wagon and had stitches in his head and who one day swallowed my wedding ring.  The one who would sneak out of the house as a teenager and roam the streets at night, because he was confused when his Dad and I divorced.  I think he somehow felt responsible. He thought I never knew.  He is also the teenager who gave all the money he had saved for presents to a homeless busker one Christmas because he thought he needed it.

He is the man who stood beside me when his sister was ill, who grew up overnight when his stepfather had a double bypass, who was always there for me when I was worried about anything. He worries about his sister, about his brother, and about his beautiful wife. He was there for me when my grandparents died, when my mother was ill and throughout my father’s devastating illness and death. His grandmother’s death hit him hard he was the one person she would listen to when no one else could reach her.Nana & David

He loves me unconditionally and he loves his stepfather who he calls his Dad.  He cares for his stepbrother and sister although he doesn’t see them now.  He cares for his father and his parent’s in-law. I know if ever I need him all I have to do is say the word and he is there.  He is a man whose heart is full of love and compassion.

I am privileged to love and call him, my son and my friend.

I posted my thoughts about my daughter some time ago – I thought it fair to even up the balance. 🙂 

Blood Connection – Microfiction

Standard

Blank eyes. Eyes that do not see. Devoid of emotion but not of life. The hand trembles. Breathing is shallow and frantic; grasping, sucking, greedily for air. Lungs full of congestion, suffocating, squeezing the life essence beyond redemption. I cannot meet her gaze and avert my head. Hot scalding tears scar my soul.
I hold her hand, I wipe the blood-specked spittle from her cracked lips. I moisten them with gel. Her eyelids close. This time they do not flutter. Her breathing ceases. I hold my breath and start to count. Her grip relaxes. She sighs, more bloodied foam appears. She sighs again, her frail body shudders as if she will break apart. No more breaths, no more movement, her essence gone. The woman whose blood runs in me is no more.
My mother has died. I weep tears that taste of brine, and the coppery taste of blood. I ring the bell. She has escaped, the crash cart is useless.
I will miss you, Mum.

AMANDA

Standard
AMANDA

BIRTHDAY MANDY
46 years ago today
I became the luckiest woman
I remember the day as if it were yesterday
Where has the time flown

The first time I held you I cried
I remember your first smile
The first words you spoke
The first time you said I love you Mum

I’ve wished your days away
I couldn’t wait for you to sit up
To crawl and laugh and play
The years have marched on and on

I rocked you when you were ill
I kissed you when you were sweet
The day you climbed into the truck to go to Kindy
Is one I will never forget

You started shool
Off you went in the mists of the Canberra winter
Then to Raymond Terrace and Penang
You never complained and started making friends again

Time is relentless in its passing
Now you are a Mum yourself
You have always made me proud
It has been a privilege to be your Mum
To watch you grow into the wonderful person you have become

CHILDHOOD THEN AND NOW

Standard
CHILDHOOD  THEN AND NOW

This piece from Huffington Post  has  it hit a cord.  I was speaking to my daughter the other day  and as we are separated by miles, dollars and circumstances, I don’t see my  daughter and her boys, my wonderful grandsons very often.  I had forgotten my youngest grandson’s birthday.  I had the wrong date in my diary.  She was understandably put out with me. In my defence, I have 7 birthdays to remember in March…I got mixed up. I am human.  I live up north, she lives down south and there is a time difference with daylight savings.  I never know when to call because of the hectic schedule of work, school, sports training and sports events. I feel superfluous.  I mentioned I felt like a ‘fractured grandmother’. Wanting to be close, but because of circumstances not being able to be. And missing out on being there  for her and the boys.  I do enjoy my own life …I guess ‘I want my cake and eat it’, as the saying goes.

What’s this got to do with the following piece?  I listened to her enumerate  their schedule  and thought  when do they get a chance to breathe, to be kids.  Everything is organised to the minute. I am not critical of my daughter, she is a wonderful wife and daughter and mother.   She has a stressful and responsible position in the workforce.  But  do we as a society today expect far too much of working mums?  I am not advocating a return to the one wage stay at home mum. If that is what a mum wants to do that’s fine – but the reality of life today is that many can’t be a stay at home mum.  I just wonder when kids are allowed to be kids and when is she allowed to be a mum who really enjoys unstructured, spontaneous time with her family.  I am not relating back to the days of  a rosy golden halcyon childhood.  I doubt that existed for anyone outside Enid Blyton’s  Famous Five and The Five Find-Outers books.  What will her boys remember of their childhood?  What are we doing not only to our kids today, but to the mums and dads?  What expectations are we setting up for the future in the way of consumerism? What will be their understanding of parenting?

How will they view themselves in relation to the world? Will it be as a part of the beautiful web of life or as the  integral core of the web around which life revolves?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bunmi-laditan/im-done-making-my-kids-childhood-magical_b_5062838.html

If our grandmothers and great-grandmothers could see the pressure modern mothers put on themselves, they’d think we were insane.

Since when does being a good mom mean you spend your days creating elaborate crafts for your children, making sure their rooms are decked-out Pottery Barn Ikea masterpieces worthy of children’s magazines, and dressing them to the nines in trendy coordinated outfits?

I don’t believe for a moment that mothers today love their kids any more than our great-grandmothers loved theirs. We just feel compelled to prove it through ridiculously expensive themed birthday parties that have do-it-yourself cupcake stations with 18 types of toppings and over-the-top gifts.

For a few years, I got caught up in the “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better” parenting model, which mandates you scour Pinterest for the best ideas, execute them flawlessly, and then share the photo evidence with strangers and friends via blogs and Facebook posts.

Suddenly, it came to me: We do not need to make our children’s childhood magical. Childhood is inherently magical, even when it isn’t perfect. My childhood wasn’t perfect and we weren’t rich by any stretch of the imagination, but my birthdays were still happy because my friends came over. It wasn’t about the party bags, perfect decorations, or any of that. We popped balloons, ran around in the backyard, and we had cake. Simple. But when I look back on those times, they were magical.

Christmas. With four of us kids and a limited income, my parents bought maybe two gifts per kid. There was no Elf on the Shelf all month long monitoring our activities and getting into photo-worthy trouble. No special Christmas jammies. Very few decorations, if any. We didn’t even make cookies. What made that time of year simply ethereal for me as a child was huddling in one bed with my brothers thinking we could hear Santa’s reindeer on the roof. It was so much fun to try to stay awake, giggle together, and just anticipate the next morning. It was magical. I did not feel as if I lacked for anything.

I don’t have a single memory of doing a craft with my parents. Crafts were something I did in preschool and primary school. The only “crafts” I recall were the ones my mother created in her spare time. The hum of her sewing machine would often lull me to sleep as she turned scrap cloth into hair accessories to sell and hemmed our clothes.

At home we played. All the time. After school, we’d walk home from the bus stop, drop off our backpacks and my mom would push us out of the house. We ran around with the neighborhood kids until dinner. Times are different now and very few of us feel comfortable letting our kids wander, but even when we were inside, we played with our toys and video games. We made blanket forts. We watched TV. We slid down the stairs on pillows. Our parents were not responsible for entertaining us. If we dared to mutter those two words, “I’m bored,” we would be handed a chore.

I look back on those times and smile. I can still recall what it felt like to have carefree fun.

My parents made sure we were warm and fed, and planned the occasional special activity for us (Friday night pizza was a tradition in my home), but when it came to the day-to-day, we were on our own to be kids. They rarely played with us. Apart from the random empty refrigerator box scrounged from the back of an electronics store, we weren’t given toys outside of our birthdays and major holidays. Our parents were around in case we needed something or there was accident, but they were not our main source of entertainment.

Today, parents are being fed the idea that it benefits children to constantly be hand in hand, face to face, “What do you need my precious darling? How can I make your childhood amazing?” You can’t walk through Pinterest without tripping over 100 Indoor Summer Craft Ideas, 200 Inside Activities for Winter, 600 Things To Do With Your Kids In The Summer. 14 Million Pose Ideas For Elf on The Shelf. 12 Billion Tooth Fairy Strategies. 400 Trillion Birthday Themes.

Parents do not make childhood magical. Abuse and gross neglect can mar it, of course, but for the average child, the magic is something inherent to the age. Seeing the world through innocent eyes is magical. Experiencing winter and playing in the snow as a 5-year-old is magical. Getting lost in your toys on the floor of your family room is magical. Collecting rocks and keeping them in your pockets is magical. Walking with a branch is magical.

It is not our responsibility to manufacture contrived memories on a daily basis.

None of this negates the importance of time spent as a family, but there is a huge difference between focusing on being together and focusing on the construction of an “activity.” One feels forced and is based on a pre-determined goal, while the other is more natural and relaxed. The immense pressure that parents put on themselves to create ethereal experiences is tangible.

I’ve been told we went to Disneyland when I was 5. I have no memory of this, but I’ve seen the faded photographs. What I do remember from that age is the pirate Halloween costume I wore proudly, picking plums from the tree in front of my house, intentionally flooding the backyard garden to teach myself to skip rocks, and playing with my dog on my front stoop.

I have not one memory of the vacation that my parents probably saved for months for: the vacation that was most likely quite stressful. The “most magical place on Earth” in my childhood was not a theme park; it was my home, my bedroom, my backyard, my friends, my family, my books and my mind.

When we make life a grand production, our children become audience members and their appetite for entertainment grows. Are we creating a generation of people who cannot find the beauty in the mundane?

Do we want to teach our children that the magic of life is something that comes beautifully gift-wrapped — or that magic is something you discover on your own?

Planning elaborate events, daily crafts, and expensive vacations isn’t harmful for children. But if the desire to do so comes from a place of pressure or even a belief that the aforementioned are a necessary part of one’s youth, it’s time to reevaluate.

A childhood without Pinterest crafts can be magical. A childhood without a single vacation can be magical. The magic we speak of and so desperately want our children to taste isn’t of our creation, and therefore is not ours to dole out as we please. It is discovered in quiet moments by a brook or under the slide at the park, and in the innocent laughter of a life just beginning.

We constantly hear that children these days don’t get enough exercise. Perhaps the most underused of all of their muscles is the imagination, as we seek desperately to find a recipe for something that already exists.

Bunmi’s first book, The Honest Toddler: A Child’s Guide to Parenting, is available for preorder on Amazon.com now.