Today marks a very unusual day for our family. A bitter sweet day at the end of an era. Today, is my last working day and technically the start of my year long maternity leave. The start of my year as a Stay-At-Home-Mum. As well as being the beginning of a journey I’m looking forward to and equally terrified of, it’s the end of a time in our lives that admittedly seemed never ending. Three years ago, plus one month, I went back to work after a very, very short maternity leave. I took the standard six months which in reality meant A was a tiny five months old when I wandered back into my office in April 2014. That beautiful, small baby was handed over every day B and I went to work to an incredible woman, B’s Aunty P.
B, you know me better than anyone but did you know…
Valentines has come and gone this year and once again there are no flowers in a vase or cards on our mantel. We avoided the wall of hearts and red flowers, and the hallmark quotes have been given to young couples who revel in the mushy romance of the day. You see, B and I don’t do Valentines. In fact, in our 16 years together, we’ve never really done Valentines. It’s nothing to do with the monetary ridiculousness of the mass produced corporate world. Or the falseness and pressure of the day. It’s more to do with the fact that we first met on the 16th of February and for many years celebrated our relationship and swoon worthy love two days later than everybody else. Now, that we’re married and have ten years of fiercely loyal marriage under our belts we celebrate our wedding date instead, sending the anniversary of when our eyes first met and good old St Valentine to the back burner.
There has been a long running debate in our society about whether it’s acceptable to forgo wearing your wedding ring. Whether it’s one of those traditions that no longer holds the same sense of purpose, or if the importance of what a wedding ring means has lost its initial recognition. There are plenty of men and women who no longer see the necessity of flashing a ring on their wedding finger. But why? Why has it become a thing to not wear a ring after your wedding day? And why does it kill me if my husband ever accidentally, and it always is accidentally, forgets to wear his ring?
2016 was an emotionally mixed year for me and for my family. I’ll be honest, I’ll be glad to see the back of it. I’m looking forward to 2017, hoping it brings us a year of good fortune without the unhelpful worries and stress this year has brought us. At a time when we should have been excited and happy to start our first year in our forever home, we struggled with daily life and issues beyond our control. But lessons were learned, important lessons, which will see us through next year and beyond in a more positive light.
Christmas is my favourite time of year. I know a million other people feel the same and there is nothing new to someone loving Christmas but I can’t be a blogger and not write about what makes me incredible happy when the festive songs start playing in the shopping centers. When I was a kid, growing up in the 80’s wasn’t a piece of cake, not that I noticed. Our parents always made Christmas incredibly special. It was and still is, a time of family, love, happiness and joy. We are the inevitable cliché of Christmas and I love it! Christmas Eve, however, has always been my favourite part of the the festive season. With the build up, the excitement, the day before atmosphere, the prep for the big day, it was always a busy and happily chaotic day. It was, and still is, almost like a mini celebration, a mini Christmas Day without the presents. But presents aren’t always needed. What is important is to be present yourself. To be present, in the moment, with family and friends at Christmas.
What a difference a year makes. It’s hard to believe that we’re living in our country bungalow for almost a year now. This time last year we picked up the keys and spent two solid weeks gutting the house, decorating and making it ours. We worked ourselves to the bone to make the house feel like home before we moved in with A, who was almost 2 at the time. It has been an interesting year for us. For the first time in quite a while, we have started to plan our future. In our old house, we felt trapped and exhausted. Out in the countryside we have a new sense of life. We’re actually living.
Welcome to a new week of Sunday Sit Down. Grab that coffee and find a warm chair, curl up and sweep into your imagination for a few moments. Ancient Hollow is one of my favourite poems which I’ve written. It sits somewhere in between real life with real feelings and a dream like world that wanders with the ebb and flow of the ocean. I hope you enjoy this one.
As the world reels in the non-important but celebrity significant news of the impending divorce of Brangelina, I wonder, as many have wondered when a celebrity marriage crumbles, if marriage has become a non-entity in our lives. It’s importance no longer lists high on the agenda of family life. Marriage is not, for some couples, an important aspect of a relationship when deciding to have children. And that is fine. To each their own. Many don’t believe in marriage and have strong partnerships that are loving and long lasting. There are times when children are brought into partnerships which often don’t stand the test of time. Being together as one unit is not necessarily the best option for a family when there is unhappiness, abuse or things just aren’t right. Relationships end, and should end, for a number of reasons. Families are separated and children live dual lives with Mom and Dad. It’s not always a problem or difficult. Many families happily live with an arrangement that suits them, gaining love and support from a wider family circle. But it is a common occurrence. Divorce and separation are commonplace and unfortunately children often become casualties in a battleground of lawyers and arguments. Regardless of any amicability, there is hurt and sadness and worry.
What does family mean to you? I grew up with the idea of happy families impressed in my mind and feel lucky and privileged that we are a close unit. I don’t know if my parents set out to create a family life and childhood for us that was loving and memorable or if it was something that was inherently natural to them. My parents impress me every day and more so now that I have a child of my own. They have a relationship that is ever lasting and beautiful to watch. They understand each other as though they are one person and love and support each other in a way that only best friends can. I admire them and I thank them for giving me a solid and beautiful idea of what family life should be.