Thursday, 14 November 2013

Girlie night- friends night

It hardly seems possible that we have been home for a week. Yes, a whole week. We fitted back into life's pattern without so much as a hitch picking up where we left off on the 4th of October.

We have made visits to friends and family, we have had a few diners sharing a meal, we have received and made welcome home phone calls and distributed the odd gifts.

Before I left I set a date with a group of women whom I am proud to call friends. We don't spend every weekend together but we are close. It is time for a girlie night. Time to share some experiences, catch up on events and just be girls.

I have chosen a movie, selected some appropriate foodies and just have to make a selection of our photo collection of our trip. My phone has pinged a few times already with messages of ' can't wait- looking forward to... etc! So nice to know I am not the only one who is looking forward to seeing everyone again.

It made me stop and think- how rich I am. Not in monetary terms believe me, but in something money can't buy. Friendship and fellowship. These five women were once the friends of my husbands late wife. They have embraced me and allowed me a place in their midst unconditionally. I have probably written about this before- it still fills me with awe.

I know I am not alone, I can find support and a shoulder when I need it - as they can with me. I know they aren't a substitute for my children and my other friends  down under but they are special and they are right here.

There is a saying- you can pick your friends but not your family. I love my family including my sister and brothers and in their own way they will have feelings for me- good or bad ;-) but I have to say-
I feel like I have gained more family since knowing these women.

I am truly blessed. I know that the gift of friendship is a wonderful thing. The bible too is full of stories about friends and friendships. Jonathan and David or Ruth and Naomi to mention a couple. Friendships are there to help celebrate life!

Being friends doesn't mean you have to agree with everything or that you can't or won't be hurt or disappointed at some stage but it does mean there are those who care just that little bit more for you than the casual people in your life.

Friends are precious, so take good care of them.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Changes- we are forever changing, evolving, adapting to our environment and needs.

Insights, understanding, wisdom comes with age ( so does hindsight ) and for some an increased tolerance level or just the opposite- less patience and/ or understanding.

I was musing on these issues the other day- I had plenty of time as my husband and I took the slow route ( and very much more inexpensive than the fast route)  back from a New Zealand holiday. Our time at the airport was spent walking, taking a sightseeing tour of the city, lazing in comfy chairs and using refreshments. I had time to mull over some things that for some reason just ' popped'  into my mind.

Funny, I am 60 now but don't feel any different to when I was 50- but is that true? Because there are differences. I found myself wrapping a scarf around my neck and shoulders at the airport and in the plane because I felt a 'draft'. I wore 'sensible'  travel clothes not conforming to fashion statements I would have done years earlier. I felt a pang of pity for a young mum with a distressed baby. Traveling isn't always fun as a mum.

For some reason I started thinking about my mum.

My youngest brother with his
two 'grown up' sisters and their children
She had her last child, the youngest of 5,  at 43 years of age- quite different to being a young mum. Her advantage was her experience. Her disadvantage was the changing times and in truth having an only child. The age gap was considerable and my youngest brother spent most of his time at home without his older siblings. On the up side, he enjoyed the outings and holiday stay overs with his older sisters who had families of their own. He enjoyed some of the financial freedom my parents had- us all being independent. So there were pros and cons in my parents having had  a later in life child.

Whilst grabbing for my scarf and pondering on what had changed for me I heard my mum's voice:
- " please close the door, it is drafty in here" - I was young and warm blooded still moving around freely and thought- drafty? that's fresh air isn't it?

Mum, you were right, at 60 that fresh breeze = draft.

I spent the past weeks observing my own children and their families at close range. I saw how they reacted and acted when situations arose, both pleasing and not so pleasant. Sibling rivalry a natural phenomena and caring moments between them. I saw and listened. I took a step back. I didn't interfere or offer suggestions. Yes, I didn't always agree on their approach or decisions- but did respect them. Who knows their child better than their own parent? My children are now adults and behave as adults do.

It gave me an opportunity to reflect on my own parenting skills, judgements and achievements. I am more tolerant now and have a wider view of things. I am proud in what I observed in my children- recognising some of myself in them. Also realising, that like my mum, times have changed and challenges though alike, the solutions are brought differently. My eyes still look at things the way they did when I was 30-40-50 but the mind processes the information with maturity, experience and insights developed over the years.

I love being a mum, an oma and a wife! All these come with blessings which reward me amply and fill me with love and energy. I an thankful for the privileges these rolls in life have given me and continue to give me.

Thanks mum- you are never far from my daily doings. Recognising your influence on me, helping shape me and allowing me the freedom of choice in becoming the parent and adult I have become.

Mum, I salute you!

Welcome home

Yes, back again. Back home after 4 weeks in New Zealand with all my children. Family complete for the first time since 2001. Also, all the grandchildren together, cousins meeting cousins. What a beautiful experience.

Spoilt were we, my husband and I. Nothing was too much trouble and all our wishes, needs and requests were fulfilled. More than that even. So spoilt, so loved, so embraced. Heartwarming.

We laughed together, ate together, walked together, had a wine together, discussed and reminisced together. Re- connected and renewed relationships.

This experience will stay with me for a long long time. A treasure of unknown value and will comfort me when I feel down en brighten my day when the sun doesn't shine.

I am a blessed and priviliged person to be surrounded by such love.

Then, we arrived home. The house was decorated in a hearty welcome, the messages and cards of welcome graced the hearth. Both 'down under' and 'up north' people showered us with friendship and love. How special is that?

Thank you all, thank you.