Tuesday, November 25, 2014

One Tough Mother!

It’s been a scary couple of days. In fact, it’s been surprisingly incapacitating.  I have been hunched up on my couch, waiting for my phone to ring, waiting for the hammer to fall, waiting for the end of life as I know it. 
Yep, my Mum has been ill.  But not just any kind of ill. In the space of a week, she went from being the healthiest octogenarian on the planet, to one of the sickest. Really no need for detail, but she was flown by air ambulance to Sydney, where she was immediately rushed in for a 4 ½ hour surgery.  Before she went, my siblings (and me by phone) were given that warning that we all dread. Her chances were not all that good.  And so we waited.
And damned if that tough old bird didn’t come through it with flying colors, and immediately start improving!  Much to the amazement of doctors and family alike, she rallied and began her recovery, and a mere five hours post surgery, she and I had a very dozey, but perfectly wonderful, Skype call, where she even managed to joke when I told her she looked amazing, saying that amazing is not necessarily a positive word!  We Skyped again today, and she told me my new glasses look good and, with a grin, that they made me look intelligent!  A heartwarming insult, for sure!
I am off my couch, cautiously optimistic, understanding that she’s got a way to go yet, a long road to recovery, but with a new appreciation for not only her stamina, but for how much her continued presence in this world means to me.
For two years, I’ve struggled with the thought of that long journey, knowing that I will be in agony after a 24 hour journey, that my head may not turn to left or right for my entire visit!  I’ve put off the idea over and over, never dreaming there could be a ‘too late’ scenario. Just thinking that surely I must start to improve soon. And with the latest round of treatment, I have, finally, had some improvements. And so I’m planning my visit for just as soon as she’s able to enjoy it.  I want to fly away now, of course, but I know if she could choose, she would want to be in her house and able to enjoy the visit, so I’ll wait for that time. And the way she’s going, it won’t be long!  (Side note – don’t run red lights, people. You can change someone’s life in a heartbeat!)
So if you read this as my friend, or if you happen upon it as a stranger, spare a thought for my dear old Mum. Send whatever you have out into the world for us, be it prayer, positive energy, good vibes or healing white light! Whatever you believe in, send it along!  I know I’ve spent the week praying to a God who I’ve never even been sure about, thinking endlessly positive thoughts, and keeping all my energy focused on my Mum.
My siblings are with her, she’s in one of the finest hospitals in Australia, and if thoughts, prayers and love can help pull her through, then she should be just fine!

It’s Thanksgiving week, people! 
Guess what I’m thankful for today!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Wonderful Wedding Weekend

And so it is done. We are home from a wonderful few days at Pawtuckaway State Park, where Melly married Patrick in a really beautiful ceremony, in a really beautiful setting.  Today, I’m doing that reliving thing, making sure that various things are set firmly in my memory.  Photos are wonderful, of course, but there are things that I want in my head – snapshots in time that I can pull up at any time. Visuals, sure, but words, smells, feelings. They are my special snapshots!
There are, of course, plenty of actual photos though.  A very lovely man named Pat took the pro shots and they will be available a little later, but in the meantime,  looky here friends, family and folks!

Mel and Patrick with Steven and Mike, creators of Pawtuckaway Wedding Ale

Friday night camping dinner with family and friends and, below, a brilliant new use for an underused canoe!

Family and good friends gathered in this beautiful, woodsy setting and below, a good friend of both bride and groom, Fred, got ready to officiate!

Fred and Patrick wait for the main event and, below, the bride's sister and maid of honor, Rachel, and the groom's brother and best man, Kevin, walk down the aisle!

 And then she comes, this beautiful bride! On the arm of Mike, who was so proud to be walking her down the aisle and, below, delivering her to her future husband!

A beautiful exchange of vows between bride and groom and, below, a kiss to seal the deal. I love this picture of Mr and Mrs Flynn!!

Happy and emotional parents of the bride (who forgot their tissues!)

The best family picture in forever, (thanks to Patrick's brother, Kevin) and, below, some excellent time spent with awesome old friends, Mike and Karen!  So glad they joined us!

Mike had this little Troy-shadow during the reception and, below, I got a turn with both boys!

 We caught up with Monica and Travis, who now live close enough to join us and, below, we ate and ate and drank and drank some more!

 Nana and Maxwell spent a little time together and, below, there was wiffle ball for all those who had the energy after all that food and drink!

There were brownies galore, made by me and, below, S'mores galore, made by Mel, Rachel and friends as giveaway wedding favors!  Mmm....good!

Then there was the traditional cake ceremony. Look at these guys...I love them!  And then, below, we chilled around an enormous campfire, drank a little too much, ate more burgers and dogs and chatted about the day.

It was 100% awesome. We loved all of it and now we are home again, as the newlyweds head off on an epic, month long road trip honeymoon traveling around the country.  Much love and best wishes to Melly and Patrick, the new Mr and Mrs Flynn,and thank you for some awesome memories. 
It’s what us oldies live on, you know!


Sunday, May 11, 2014


On this Mother’s Day, 2014, I’ve been sitting here thinking, obviously, about what being a mother meant to me – and means to me still as I sit in my empty nest!  It’s thirty-two years since I held my first born in my arms. I was nineteen, and overwhelmed with the awesome responsibility of it all, terrified that I would mess it up, that I would mess him up, that I would just fail. I had spent my pregnancy reading everything I could get my hands on, and academically, I knew exactly what to do in any circumstance, from tantrums to choking to swearing to head lice!  I knew exactly when the milestones were supposed to occur. I knew how to swaddle, to change nappies (!) to burp, to bathe.  Surprisingly, I was somewhat shocked to immediately feel this strong mother bear sensation as I looked at him, and know that I loved him completely and endlessly, and realize, with a jolt, that I would quite literally kill for him, or die for him.  Yes, I knew every practical baby/child tidbit there was to know, but I hadn’t expected to be slammed with a kind of love I’d never really felt before. Go figure – I was always a little weird!  
Even though I was overwhelmed with love, I was kinda rigid in my parenting style. Determined as I was to prove wrong all those who thought I was too young, I stuck to a plan and a schedule and was mildly surprised to find it worked very well. He did things when they were ‘supposed’ to be done, he was cheerful, he thrived!  Yay for me, I thought. I’m pretty damn good at this!
Until he was two or three and he asserted his independence and resentment of the rigid schedule!  Then all hell began to break loose.  Shit, I thought. It was a fool’s paradise.  I’m a sucky mother after all!
Melanie came along when Danny was four. I thought I didn’t care about the sex of this second baby, but clearly that was something I just said because it’s what you’re supposed to say, because I was over the top thrilled with my baby girl. Not only a girl-child, but a beautiful, pale, plump cheeked cherub with huge, calm, bright blue eyes.  I had a little more understanding of how the whole mothering thing worked by then, so I was less rigid but no less in love.  I remember sitting looking at them one day, as Danny leaped somewhat suicidally off the back of the couch, his Superman cape flying out behind him, and just missed Mel, who had started to crawl, and although my heart was pounding, I was overwhelmed with love for them both.  Somehow, we had created these remarkable, scary little people!  Amazing.
And Steven came squawking into our world a year and a half after Mel, a little blue man, with the cord wrapped around his neck and needing all sorts of attention, like suctioning and monitoring.  He was colicky and shrieky for the first few months, refused to breastfeed as happily as his siblings had, and was  just a completely different child.  I was just as in love, of course, but I was overprotective of him, less inclined to be patient and understanding if he was in danger from his overactive brother’s antics. At six months old, I gave up the breast feeding battle, gave him a bottle and watched him suddenly thrive! Jeez!  From that day to this, I never judge any mother who chooses, for whatever reason, not to breastfeed!  To each his own, indeed!
And with that, I was all done!  No more for me. I would throw myself into being the best possible mother of these three beautiful and much loved people. I was much more relaxed by now, and much less rigid. But still, I had no desire to be their best friend. I was their mother, and I had a job to do!  It was easier back then because everyone felt the same way!  No was a word they needed to learn at home, because the adult world is full of ‘no’s, and how will they know how to handle it if they never hear it!  Yep, there would be time for friendship when they became adults, perhaps!  Call me old-fashioned – I still think it’s the best way!
I think I was a decent mother for the next few years. My life revolved around theirs. From sporting  events, to regular play dates, to craft times and birthday parties and bedtime stories and endless lullabies. I tried to adjust my parenting to their individual personalities and tried to figure out the challenges in creative ways.  I loved them all so passionately, and I wanted the world for them.
And suddenly, unexpectedly (but joyously, only ever joyously) there was Rachel! Born in her sister’s image, she was so gorgeous, another plump, pale and blue eyed beauty. And how everyone adored her, this late addition!  There were battles over who would hold her next, who would push the stroller, who would dress her.  She was calm and easy. She fed well, slept well and was a delight for us all! 
Decisions were made over the next decade and our lives changed radically. I made the decisions for all of us – with trepidation, with hope. No decision was ever made that wasn’t mulled over, slept on, considered from all angles.  And no decision (even the biggest of them all) was made without everyone in mind.  So some things worked out well, and others did not, and that’s life, I guess.  I know they know I love them as fiercely as I did on the day they were born, when I whispered thoughts and promises into their new ears.  I kept to those promises as best I could, and on one of them especially, I have never wavered. I promise to love you through anything in your life and mine.  My sweet four.  My life.
They think I have favorites.  But we mothers know, don’t we?  There are no favorites at all – there never have been or could be.  There are just different relationships, is all. What works for one doesn’t work for another, and what one needs, another one does not, and I hate that that can be seen as favoritism.  I could no more choose one over another than fly in the air!  And I love that they are different, from me and from each other. 
I love that they are good people, who care about each other and the world around them. That they are strong and tough, that they meet their own challenges.  I love that they have  good work ethics  and empathy and love. 
I wish the world for them on this mother’s day and always, and while everyone is thanking their mothers today, I want to thank my kids!  Thanks for being such great kids! Fun, funny, creative, smart, caring and cool.  And all that and cute too!! 
And I love them to the moooooooon and back… forever!