Posts Tagged ‘Family’

The Easter Bunny Did It

I remember being about 4 years old and running through the garden asking my mom “am I hot or cold” as I looked everywhere for that deliciously sweet egg that for some odd reason a bunny was leaving in random spots – secretly I hoped that I could follow the trail to the Beacon Chocolate Factory. Those hollow chocolate eggs coated in hard white sweetness were my favorites and back then no one really cared about the toxins in permanent markers so my mother (or as I thought back then: the Eater Bunny) drew cute faces on all of them that almost made me not want to eat them… almost…

Jump to a 10 year old me hanging out with my much older cousins at my grandparents house. It was great! My mother always went way out! Her sisters not so much but she involved all of my cousins – even the much older boys who were too cool for everything else. And we had really elaborate hunts that involved several misleading clues and booby traps. And then there was The Easter Bunny! Caltex was right down the road from my grandparents house (aka close enough for my mother to let me go with the minimal supervision of my cousins for about 20 min without flipping out). This lead to my grandmother mysteriously running out of carrots all weekend and in a non related incident we just happen to stumble among a large stock pile of Caltax Easter goodies. Good times…

When I was 22 and living in the UK I was really not into Easter as I was really far away from my parents and family. So a friend and I were hanging out with Pizza and movies while checking out twitter and the awesome Tony Hawk flooded my timeline (back then I only followed 100 people so if you tweeted more than 5 times a day, it felt like you were flooding my tl). He had an awesome world-wide 24 hour marathon of an Easter Hunt going and people could win skateboards and all sorts of brilliant goodies!! I thought this was so great of him; to take the time to excite his fans.

For the last 2 years I have been organizing my own low key Easter Egg Hunt at work. Last year I only hid 60 and it seemed like more than enough but it’s grown and now there are 200 that I hid and another 200 being hidden by my colleague tomorrow. This year has a little twist that has really helped amp up the excitement and team work aspect of it all. It’s rather cool to see adults jumping up and down when they finally find their first one or when they try to look casual as if to say “who me? looking for an easter egg? no… I’m to old for that” while secretly checking every corner and behind every door. Last year I could get away with hiding things in plain sight, this year, that was a little more difficult… Really had to challenge a few of them, which in turn challenged me and gave me the same excitement that they were getting from the search. I am proud to say there are still a few that have not been found yet!

I hope that when I’m a hundred and four and have grand kids around me during this particular holiday, that I will still have the same excitement I do now and that I will still be able to appreciate how something so simplistic and uncomplicated can bring so much joy.

Happy Easter!

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Worth the fight

I don’t do discussions about ED just because I care; I do it because I’ve been there. Every bite is a mixture between a victory lap and the sinking feeling of defeat. I don’t talk about mental health just because a few of my friends have tried to commit suicide, I do it because as soon as I open my eyes I have to start fighting a daily battle just to make myself get out of bed… And then I look at the person next to me and it seems to come so naturally to them. I don’t speak openly about self-harm just because I’m worried that my little cousins or even my kids one day will be stuck in this same pattern of pain. I do it for them and everyone out there feeling as alone as I have felt most of my life… to a large degree I do it for me.

There are a million things I feel I should say to all of you bothering to read this little piece of me but basically I just want you to know that you are not alone and slowly but surely we are all learning to understand not just the disorders and illnesses that mess with us on a regular basis but we are also helping others understand that there is more to us than a frustrating diagnosis. You are amazing and if today is not going that well. Just remember one little good thing that has made you smile in your life so far. You just need one little reason to smile, even just for a moment… It does get better and it is worth the fight.

You are not alone

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Today I’m not okay

Remember that day, when you asked me if I was ok

I said I was fine and honestly I felt perfectly alive

But I said that the day would arrive

When I wasn’t alright and then I’d come to you

Well that’s today… Today I’m not ok

 

I just don’t know if I know what to say

In all fairness I should be fine today

Nothing really logical about all of this

Yet I can’t keep the tears inside

My emotions: a rollercoaster I’m too tired to ride

But it finds me anyway, nowhere left to hide

 

Remember that day, when you asked me if I was ok

I said I was fine and honestly I felt perfectly alive

But I said that the day would arrive

When I wasn’t alright and then I’d come to you

Well that’s today… Today I’m not ok

 

Don’t know how to get this conversation underway

It’s been so long since you asked me if I was ok

I’d like to pretend I don’t really mean this

Maybe if I ignore my feelings they’d recede

Suppress and depress seem to be on the same speed

Scribble thoughts, crush them and throw away the seed

 

Remember that day, when you asked me if I was ok

I said I was fine and honestly I felt perfectly alive

But I said that the day would arrive

When I wasn’t alright and then I’d come to you

Well that’s today… Today I’m not ok

 

I’d like to sit here and pretend everything’s just gay

Somehow my imagination won’t let me stay

Have to face my demons; to deal with this

Can’t do this on my own this time

Been holding my head above water as I mime

‘I need help’ but can’t seem to ask out of rhyme

 

Remember that day, when you asked me if I was ok

I said I was fine and honestly I felt perfectly alive

But I said that the day would arrive

When I wasn’t alright and then I’d come to you

Well that’s today… Today I’m not ok

 

The veil of sanity I created can’t veto the doom ray

Ready to lighten the load right where I lay

Must start somewhere and the score is this

Incapable of letting it slide any longer

Have to fight my battles and hope I’ll get stronger

Please take my hand and show me how to conquer

 

I need you today because today I’m not ok…

Dear Child of Mine

Dear child of mine,

I’m writing this before I’ve met you; before I’ll make promises I can’t keep; before I dream up a future you might not want; before I hurt you and before I fail at being a mother.

I’m writing this letter to you while I still remember what it is like to grow up. While I still have my common sense and before my better judgement is over ruled by emotions I’ll over react to. One thing I know for sure is that I’ll love you. No matter how many times we disagree on silly little things or how many times our wires get crossed, I will always love you!

It’s hard enough growing up and finding yourself without having someone constantly reminding you of all the things you should live up to. Don’t get me wrong, I will always remind you how brilliant you are and that absolutely anything is possible but I will try my hardest to make sure that you never have to experience a look of disappointment on my face. I won’t force you to live up to the twisted standards of the world. I won’t expect anything from you except honesty. I already love you and I haven’t even begun to have you.

Every time I’ll say your name or look into your eyes, I’ll see a masterpiece and be thankful that I can have a small claim to it. But at the end of the day little one, it is your life and I cannot accept praise for your achievements. You are amazing simply for living and everything else you achieve above that, is just icing on the cake.

I will show you the beauty in every day and teach you how to overcome life’s trials and then I will let you go, because ultimately it is your life. Even as I say it right now, I can feel the tears welling up and my confidence in that promise fade but I have time to work on it before you arrive. The world can be scary so if I ever go back on this promise, know that it is because my fear overruled my faith and not because my love for you is reduced.

You are the child I will call mine one day in the future and you are the one I will love forever after.

Your future mother,

AM

Grandchildren

I just got back from a 91 year olds birthday party. It’s amazing that people can actually get that old and still have so much to live for.

His granddaughter from Australia has come over for a month long visit to show off their little 6month old baby. So in this one room we had a man who has lived a really long and full life and on his lap, there sat this little innocent human being who hasn’t even started walking. As little Gabriella was playing and standing up on her grandmother’s lap it reminded me of how happy my grandparents had been every time they got a new grandchild or great-grandchild. It reminded me how those simple moments were the ones that made them smile when they were all alone in their big house with no words left to say to each other. And then my thoughts suddenly went to my dad’s mother…

I’m the only grandchild and that’s the way it’s going to remain: my grandparents only had the 2 sons. My dad died a few years ago and his brother is gay and since he still hasn’t really come out to the family, he’s in no position to adopt a child. So if my grandmother is ever to have that same joy on her face, it will be because I placed my baby in her arms. That’s a strange pressure to discover all of a sudden. I’m not even close to getting married not to even speak of being a 24/7 mother. So my grandmother is going to have quite a while. And that’s where the tears started to well up…

What if I never get to see that joy on my grandmother’s face? I’ve always said [and been told] that I am very lucky for having all 4 my grandparents as long as I did ~ they were all still alive on my 20th birthday. But in the last 3 years 2 have died of cancer and it has hit my families really hard. So occasionally – moments like this- I wonder if it would have been easier to lose them when I was younger, you know before I really realized what they mean to mean or before they became such a huge influence in my life.

I know that’s a terrible thing to even think but on days when missing them really gets to me, I can’t help it. This past week I’ve been super excited about my little cousins birth next week. And then to see that little babies face today as she looks at her great-grandmother and my thoughts automatically go to the fact that Rose will never know our grandmother… Rose will never be able to tell the stories we can and she will never be able to feel that loving hug from a frail grandmother or go for 5am walks on the beach or climb out the mountain or listen to my grandmother explain why every flower is crucial to our being.

I guess I’m just very self involved at the moment and can’t help but wish that my grandparents could have lived forever. I think that is one of the reasons I feel so strongly about this diary I’m making for my cousin: I want to tell her everything I know about our grandmother and share all the wisdom I gained from her. I want Rose to know the love that I had the privilege of having for 20 years.

Loving someone you haven’t met is complicated and making sure they believe that you love them is even harder. I’m not really sure what I just wrote but to me it comes down to loving the people in your life for as long as they are in your life. Go all out and make sure that there is no possible way you could love them any more than you already do. Then make sure you show it in every word and every thought and every little thing you do. Believe me when I say: I love you with all my heart Rose!

AM

Grandmothers

I know it’s Valentine’s day and the worlds marketing companies would like you to focus all your energy and money on that special someone… but like my friend Chrisselle would say: today is just a day; the same as tomorrow. The question is why aren’t you showing them that you love them every day?! Well, for some reason… today… I’ve been thinking of my grandmothers all day.

Grandmother A died of cancer in 2007. As much as I miss her and wish I could have another conversation with her, I’m really glad for the time we had together. She was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and less than 3 months to live… that was a year and a half before she died! Morphine is a great drug but even that looses its effects after a while. I’m really glad she is not suffering and for the great memories I have of her.

I’ll always remember my excitement when they came to visit. Not because they brought me teddy bears or presents wrapped in shoe boxes but because they loved me. I could see it when I was still in preschool and even the last photo I have of us together it is clear that they loved me and each other. I’ll remember her as the women who took me for walks on the beach at 5am and made me sit on the bench [for what seemed like hours] so that I could watch the waves as she taught me they were all different, yet perfect in their own right. As a 3 year old I didn’t get it and figured she just wanted to get me out of the house so that I wouldn’t wake everyone else up [which is probably partially true]. But as we walked on the beach, my grandmother noticed that I was throwing some shells back and she asked me why I didn’t keep all of them. I simply pointed out that they had holes in them and weren’t perfect anymore, so I didn’t want them. Right there and then my grandmother stopped and showed me the beauty in each of those ‘faulty’ shells. In the beginning I didn’t get why she was making such a big deal about finding the perfection in everything, after all I was only 3 years old. When I was about 11 I asked her about it because I was convinced she did it to be all philosophical and stuff but couldn’t figure out why she only did it with me. She just laughed it off and we never really had that conversation again until I was 18 and her sister’s husband came to visit us. He suffers from OCD [Obsessive Compulsive Disorder] and because she saw the signs of early OCD in me and had knowledge of how to handle it, she taught me how to retrain my brain in a sense. If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be able to walk into most rooms without freaking out. Through those 5am conversations we had during the years, I learned how to find the perfection in everything and focus on that instead of everything that’s wrong. The only 2 side effects are the fact that to this day I still only pick up broken shells because to me they are truly beautiful and the other being that I see the compliment in every insult so you practically need to use neon boards and spell it out for me. Small price to pay for living a fairly normal life.

The thing I miss most about my grandmother is her majestic composure and incredible ability to unite our family only through love. The conversations we had will remain with me forever. I remember when I was also about 4 years old and I said something about our acting president that my aunt and grandmother did not like at all! They stormed out of the room and rushed off to yell at my dad for allowing those thoughts into my head. That fight taught me that it’s alright to disagree with the people you love and have your own opinion. I will never neglect her memory by pretending that my opinion is worth nothing. Even as I was growing up, we had very adult conversations and a part of me believe that she knew she’d never have the opportunity to have those conversations with me when I was actually an adult. I love her for every hug and miss her for every comforting word of wisdom.

But as I’ve said before: I’m very lucky! My dad’s mother [Grandmother B] is still alive. I remember her as being the first person to let me brush my own teeth. Again I was about 3 and I went to stay with her for the weekend. My mother was very over protective and didn’t want me to do it wrong, so she just did it for me. So when my grandmother asked me if my mother allowed me to brush my own teeth, I did the logical thing and lied! Still feel a bit bad about that and should probably apologize but I’ll never forget that sense of independence and having my grandmother there to share it with me. She was also the women who explained to me that the reason my dad was crying was because my baby brother went directly from my mommy’s tummy to heaven. I wasn’t even 4 years old yet and I hadn’t even known my brother but my grandmother didn’t see me as just a little kid, she saw me as the person with all my dad’s wisdom and all my mother’s experience. She explained death in such a way that even though I still [to this day] miss my brother, I was actually really excited for him at that point since he got to go somewhere I haven’t been yet. Somehow in those few simple words she gave me, a 4 year old girl, the strength to support her parents in their very different states of grieving while still allowing me to feel safe and vulnerable every time she placed her arms around me.

I actually looked forward to seeing her mostly because of her hugs and wet kisses. She may have always seen me as the adult I am right now but she still makes me feel safe and cared for like back when I was still a toddler. I even sat on her lap until I was 14. I know that’s a bit much but I still can’t get enough of her hugs and if I didn’t believe that I would squash her, I’d still sit on her lap today. Contrary to Grandmother A’s 13 grandchildren [14 in 2 weeks time], Grandmother B only had one, me. They only had my dad and his brother, who happens to be gay. Yes, they all spoiled me! And even tried to buy my love but I had a conversation with my grandparents about that when I was 12, making sure they knew that I loved them and not the stuff they bought me. The not buying my love thing lasted quite a while, until my dad died in 2006.

My mom and I were visiting them for the day with a couple of friends. We barely left them ~ didn’t even make it to the highway yet ~ and my phone rings: it’s my grandmother. “We didn’t give you any pocket money” and I practically started laughing and said: “uhm… ok…” but my grandmother insisted: “We didn’t give you any money and I thought your grandfather was giving it and he thought I was giving it and….” She breaks down in tears. So now I’m sitting in this car trying to convince my grandmother that money really really really doesn’t matter to me while she’s crying and afraid she’ll never see me again. So we pulled over so that my grandparents could give me money. To this day that still seems extremely weird to me but I understand why they felt so strongly about it: they had just lost their son and were afraid that they’d lose me too. They may have even thought that my mother would poison me against them or keep them from me. Logically since I was already 18, that wouldn’t have happened but see with grieving, logic seems to fly out the window and I love them for showing such intense desire to love me.

In the last few years I’ve been relying on my grandmother’s recipes for Christmas dinners and pretty much everything else because her years of experience and tweaking has made them idiot proof! I also admire her devotion to my grandfather and how strong she was when he died of lung cancer last October. She is a hard working woman and keeps ploughing along, no matter what life throws at her or how many times her path seems to have changed. I admire her love for her son even though she doesn’t fully comprehend how he could be happy being gay, yet she [nor my grandfather] ever loved my uncle any less! The amount of love we had in our tiny family was just as great as that of my mother’s side of the family.

I love my grandmothers and my grandfathers for that matter… actually my whole family and each of you have made a huge impact on my heart and the way I live my life. Now that I am in Zimbabwe I’m meeting a whole different part of my family and because of the values my grandmothers taught me, I fit right in and it’s like we’ve know each other forever.

As I wrote this I couldn’t help but think about my little unborn cousin, Rose. She’ll never get to meet our grandmother but she has 13 cousins who’ll make sure she learns the same lessons we did and get to have the same conversations we did. There really is no greater love than that of a family. And I love my family.

AM

PS: The names of my grandmothers actually start with an ‘A’ and a ‘B’… I don’t rank the people in my life. They are all important to me in their own way.

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