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.
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.
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.
Since A discovered that Momma and Papa Bear were completely separate entities to her, she has become my shadow. As soon as she started crawling, I would hear a gentle tip tip tapping on the wooden floors as she followed me. When she learned to walk, she would waddle wherever Momma Bear went. And now that she has mastered running and shouting, I hear a chorus of “Mommy, wait for me!” anytime I try to leave the room. I don’t mind my ever-fixed shadow being glued to me as I make my way from room to room – despite it being mildly inconvenient at times. What is a challenge, is the effect this parental preference has on B. Do you have a child who favours one parent over the other?
Today, Momma Bear and Papa Bear have realised something. Something that has crept up on us as we’ve lived and loved our days. Something that really shouldn’t have been so shadowed and hidden. And yet, it feels as though change came knocking, unlocked the door and gracefully let itself in without us knowing. Today, change gave us a bruising. A slap, right across the face. Almost a wake up call. Don’t miss these days, these hours, these seconds. They will soon blur.
Finally, after almost a year, B and I went on a date! After last weeks post on Parenting Can Be Lonely, the timing of our date couldn’t be better. It’s so important to look after your relationship as well as the kiddies. Since time as a couple is now limited, every chance we get should really be jumped at but we’ll be the first to admit that we don’t take these golden opportunities. Luckily, for us, Star Trek: Beyond was just about to hit the cinema and as massive Trekkies, we pushed the parental guilt aside and scheduled the grandparents in for some much needed babysitting. Muchos Gracias! Our date was not without a few hiccups. We’re clearly quite rusty but it had its highlights too.
I’m not talking about when you bring a newborn home and the world suddenly seems very big and very scary. Or when the weight of responsibility for a beautiful helpless human lies heavy on your shoulders. You feel so alone because you think you don’t know what you’re doing (when really you do!) I don’t mean when the excitement of the first few weeks dies down and suddenly friends and family visit less and the house is quiet and looms large with its multitude of tasks. And I’m not talking about the loneliness that comes with being somewhat isolated on maternity leave when you wish after the old norm of the daily grind which included adult conversation and hot cups of tea with colleagues.
The Grandparent Bond is strong, supportive, and beautiful to watch grow. I have an amazing relationship with my parents. I love and respect them to such an extent that I simply can’t put it in to words. I look up to them for everything and place them high on a pedestal whether they like it or not. When I say these things to them, my Mum would answer, “We’re not perfect”. But I think they are.