Why can’t we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together? I guess that wouldn’t work. Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. Then we would have to say good-bye. I hate good-byes. I know what I need. I need more hellos.
~Charles M. Schulz
I just received a letter from my friend who lives about a thousand miles away. It was completely unexpected and I read it with a smile on my face, and felt Austen-ish. Especially as it was folded the old fashioned way.
What a treat! I love hand written mail. (Friends, that was a hint right there.) There’s something really lovely about holding something tangible that a friend has created. I know the day of the letter is fast dying out…but for me email while it has its’ advantages will never trump the delight I get from a real, papery, inky, stampy letter.
A letter reminds you of a person more intimately than electronic media because you get to see their hand writing…whether they have fine penmanship, or a barely legible scrawl, it’s highly personal. And a letter always makes me feel special because someone has taken the time to sit down with pen and paper to write it and then actually buy a stamp and get it posted. A letter is always more memorable than an email.
Thank you friend. You made my day. You made me laugh. I will reply by hand, and by snail mail very soon.
Courage (from Latin: coeur):
To tell the story of who you are with your whole heart
Stumbled upon this TED talk the other day. Loved it. It speaks right into this whole growing thing that’s going on for me. It’s all been along the lines of being real, of having true intimate relationships. It’s well worth the 20 minutes it takes to hear what this lady has to say. She’s on to something.
So once again. People.
I am once again blown away by the treasure that is people.
Our German hitch-hiker friend came to stay for two nights. It was an absolute pleasure to have him in our home.
He’s a bit of an artist and shared his drawings with us. As we paged through his hand bound sketch book (he made it himself) I was struck by how personal it is to share your gift with someone. I almost felt uncomfortable because looking at his drawings was really like seeing little pieces of his heart. He wasn’t just showing us pictures, he was showing us who he is, what he loves, how he sees the world.
He has also been travelling in Australia and while there did some beautiful drawings of Australian birds. I really miss the Australian birds, and was a little enthusiastic about one in particular…a sketch and water colour of a Kookaburra.
Early Thursday morning we were up and ready to take him to the airport…and there it was. The Kookaburra picture propped on the shelf in the kitchen. An unexpected gift from him to us. (Although I’m already calling it MY Kookaburra) I was touched. A beautiful gift, worth so much.
Here he is, the little King of the Bush:
I love my Kookaburra. Every time I see him it makes me smile.
I am grateful.
Around December 2009 something lead me to a decision to let people into my life, my home, and my heart. I had been defensive and guarded for a long time. Forever maybe…not sure. (Although my experience being a mother shows me that babies are born with their hearts wide open.) Perhaps gradually along the way I changed. I guess we all do. But anyway, I’d had enough of being private, closed and unknown.
I knew I wanted to change this. And now, just over a year later, I find myself in a completely different situation.
Our home is busy and full of people. Coming and goings and with it lots of mess. And sometimes is crowded and sometimes I really really wanna be alone. Sometimes we all need space from each other. And sometimes it’s just inconvenient. But you know what? I’d sure as heck prefer having people than not.
I have some new friends. And some old friends now know me much better, as I find myself less afraid to be the real me. It’s still not always easy, to let the guard down. But I’m starting to realise that most people have the same insecurities that I do. And I’m still dealing with them. Some days I feel completely insecure and question my friendships, peoples’ motives and my own. I sometimes feel like people are just tolerating me. I sometimes feel like people are just being polite. Sometimes… no, often, I feel like an inconvenience. And sometimes feel like I’m less important to some who are very important to me. But I’m just going to keep putting myself out there and taking the risk. The risk of hurt and disappointment and looking like a fool, yes..because I have come to realise that it’s the way we are meant to be. Open. Like Children. They wear their hearts on their sleeves and love with all of themselves. It’s beautiful and vulnerable. It sucks to be guarded and afraid all the time.
I’m finding that the vast majority of the time, the outcome of making myself real or vulnerable is a good one. Most people are NOT out to judge me. In fact I have found that when I have been honest with people, and they get to know my messed up side, they feel safe with me too, and a friendship can grow.
And with this whole opening up thing, I am becoming less afraid and more confident. I love meeting new people. I want people to come visit me. I want to visit people. I don’t care so much what people think of me or the state of the house, because I’m finding that most of the time they are more worried about what I think of them. Aren’t we ridiculous.
We have a stranger coming to stay in a couple of weeks. He was hitchhiking on Boxing Day and we picked him up. (This is also amazing for me because for a while I wouldn’t want to even give someone a ride because it would necessitate actually speaking to someone..oh God. I sound mentally ill.) Anyway, we gave him our details and yep, he’s coming to stay with us before he leaves the country. And I’m so excited, I can’t wait to get to know him. Like I said, I love people.
Just an ordinary kind of day…but not so ordinary really.
Long drive, books returned. Kids played, coffee sipped, sun soaked. Drive drive, lunches made, dishes done, floors cleaned. Baby loved, stories read, toys rediscovered. Tea party, mint and daisies. Friendly chat, neighbourly chat, skype chat. People. Food munched, baby bathed. Daughter home, sons building. Husband talking. Weeks planning, silly texting. Sleeping beauties. Cup of tea. Sigh.
Full. Happy. Grateful.
I haven’t posted anything for aaaagggggeeeeessss.
So what’s new?
Back at work today after a year off for parental leave. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s nursing, so it meant an early start and on my feet all day. It was a typically busy day in an acute surgical ward with all it’s dramas, but so good to be out there in the real world. The world of adults that is
I missed the kiddies though. Zo looked after two of them, and the two big boys went to play. All were happy and well cared for which took a load off my mind. I got home around 4 and by 7:30pm had come to the firm conclusion that working is by far easier than being a mother. And a hat tip to the mums out there doing both all the time. I have it easy…in paid work only one day a week.
Anyway….what else? OH! Check out this cool journal. I love the idea so much I bought one. I can’t wait for it to arrive so I can wreck it! It sounds ridiculous, but I’ve been so inspired by all these pics.
I went to the library yesterday and didn’t borrow a single book. Not reading.
Zoe made chicken curry for dinner.
I gave 5 home grown tomatoes to my neighbour. She gave me a block of chocolate. Then I gave her some chicken curry. She gave me chocolate almonds.
I’ve been missing you blog!
So, where have I been? Well since adding a fourth child to our family things have been rather busy. I get the impression it’s going to be busy for a while yet! He’s a fabulous little chap. Feeds and sleeps well most of the time and doesn’t give me any trouble. He’s growing up far too fast though… which makes me a little sad.
Still homeschooling. We’ve taken a bit of a different approach this Term. Samuel was just a couple of weeks old when the school term started and for the first two or three weeks we did all our workbooks and chores, and made dinner and did washing and shopping and everything else that is required to run a household. But there was a problem. I was shattered. I found myself grouching at the kids to get their school work done, and they didn’t want to. It’s such a yucky place to be. Learning wasn’t fun for any of us. And to reference a great quote by Albert Einstien, schooling was interrupting our education.
So….we stopped. Ha! We are taking it seriously easy this term, and possibly next term as well and giving our family plenty of time to adjust to a new baby. Also we have a couple of rather urgent home projects to work on. Now we are quite unschooly, which I have a sneaky suspicion is going to remain a feature in our educational approach. (Click the link to see what I mean by unschooling – scroll to the bottom)
How do our days look now? A late start to the day generally, somewhere between 7:30 and 8:30 depending on how much sleep I’ve had. The kids are usually up before me, and D gets them started on breakfast. After breakfast the kids are supposed to help with dishwasher and clearing the table, followed by getting dressed and making beds etc. This is a work in progress and some days one or two of them scarper off to the garage to watch cartoons or play computer.
From then on we just follow our interests or go to whatever activities we have on that day. The kids are spending more time I the computer / dvd’s than I’d like but I’m trying not to stress about it and know that gradually we can change that. Apart from that, Ryan who just turned 3 helps with dinner nearly every day. I don’t really enjoy cooking with children, but he loves to help and he’s learning. Emma (7) reads and reads and reads. At bedtime we have to make her turn off the light. Sometimes as late as 9:30 or 10pm. Benjamin (5) has also taught himself to read this term. I spent $23 on a phonics book for him and he got bored after about 5 pages but is reading well anyway. He’s got an inbuilt confidence because he’s seen Emma learn to read. I love it that because he’s not at school, he doesn’t know that sometimes children find it hard to learn to read. He’s just gotten on with it.
We go to the library when we feel like it. Each week the kids go to swimming lessons, and have a big play at the pools. Emma still does ballet, and we go to a sports group too arranged by the home school network. We are starting to make some new friends too and next week after sports, the kids are going to get to ride a horse owned by one of the other families there. We bake sometimes and try home science experiments. Emma wanted to grow stalactites and stalagmites using baking powder in solution and string. She got the idea from a book she loves called 101 Science Experiments for Kids. All suitable to be done easily at home. It’s taking up too much space on my kitchen bench but it was so fun to try. From time to time we will write a letter or card to someone. Emma helps make the shopping list.
Today we visited a friend who held a ‘Tonga Day’ at her home. Other home school families joined in…I think there were 17 children ranging in age from 9 weeks (my bubba) to about 7 or 8. A Tongan friend of my friend dressed the mums and kids up in traditional wear. We made Tongan lunch together and made posters of the Tongan flag. We spotted Tonga on the world map and looked at photographs. While we worked on lunch the kids milled around and came and went, but our Tongan friend told us stories about her family, and Tongan culture. We saw her open a coconut (with a knife…which beats my ‘drill a hole, drain the milk and hurl coconut at concrete’ approach), and grate it. This was later squeezed by hand in to a watermelon and pineapple drink. The kids all got to chew on some sugar cane. We watched her prepare all the food, which we later ate from banana leaves together. We tried taro, cassava, green bananas, and chop suey. After lunch she danced and sang for us. What a fantastic day.
And occasionally we pull out some workbooks, and maths.
There’s a whole lot more we could be doing, but at the moment its more important we get some simple things done. The first is a happy home, peaceful and joyful and in order. Then some good healthy food everyday. A home clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy. Some good books, some busy bodies, some stimulating conversation. Ideas, friends, and fun. And here another quote from Einstein:
“It is, in fact nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wreck and ruin without fail. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty”
~ Albert Einstein
US (German-born) physicist (1879 – 1955)
Before I go, some links that I’ve enjoyed lately, along these home schooling lines:
I could really relate to this article: Escaping the Homeschool Matrix - Steve Walden
Loving this blog: Simple Homeschool
Something really lovely happened to me today. But before I tell, I should probably give a bit of background (and wear my heart on my sleeve a bit – eeek how terrifying!).
I have been feeling a bit glum lately… I guess it’s the new baby arriving soon, that highlights our lack of family here. I am usually fine with it, but it’s at special times and particularly hard times that one misses your own people the most. Also, with two good friends moving away, I was feeling a bit bereft, and that while we have lots of people here that know us, it felt like no one really knows us. Does that make sense?
To any friends reading… you must understand that its no ones fault but my own because in many ways I have been rather closed to people. Don’t know why really…been a bit defensive perhaps and slow to let people in and really know me – the good the bad and the ugly. I’ve even been reluctant to have people come to my home. Last weekend through another circumstance I made a conscious decision to let people into my heart. You see, when its family they are family regardless, but when you don’t have family, you have to invite/allow people to get close to you and for me it doesn’t come naturally, it has to be a conscious and uncomfortable choice.
Anyway…today my friend Tina popped in unexpectedly because she wanted to bring me chocolate. But, while shopping for it she got carried away and ended up bringing a whole box of groceries. It included, a whole chicken, mince, bacon, ice blocks, lollies, chocolate, biscuits, juice, oil, sugar, detergent, cheese, strawberries, cauliflower, butter, yoghurt, chips, pasta sauce and maybe something else I’ve forgotten. It was such a surprise! And such a thoughtful and helpful one too.
It means I don’t have to go shopping for a while yet, which is a great relief as I’m finding it a tiring chore now that I’m so very pregnant. Also, it means money we would have spent on food this week is saved….and that will make the world of difference for us as we are on a tight budget right now. But above all of that it was so nice that she thought of us and gave something so generously. I felt so spoiled. Thank you Tina.
Also, another friend Nicola is organising a baby shower for me. I didn’t really expect one this being my 4th baby and all, but it is such a blessing. It turns out that by the fourth baby things are wearing out bit so any contribution is very welcome. Again….it’s not so much the actual baby shower that touched me, but that someone thought of me.