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A New Lease On Life…

11 Jul

With my hair straightened and blow-dried, I precariously applied a light coat of lip gloss.  I studied myself in the mirror one last time and thought, “Hmm…not too bad, girlfriend.”

The meticulous preparation and the subtle pep talk to self was reminiscent of being single and first dates.  But it wasn’t.  Instead, I left the bathroom and went to find my husband to ask for his opinion.

“Wow !  You look like a brand new person…” he beamed.

The moment his face lit up when I walked into the room, I knew I hadn’t just been placing tabs on myself.

I knew I felt good.  I knew I felt confident and comfortable in my skin.

But he proved that it was also visible.

The new me.

Walking to the bus stop, waiting in anticipation, I was eager to meet up with my newly acquainted friends.

I believe that people step into your life at the right time for the right reasons.  I found it to be true when meeting my husband.

Having only met these ladies once before, we established a connection in the first instance.  So much so that I went home not being able to sleep – my head whirling with the possibilities of where the friendship could take us.

The only natural progression was to see them again soon after.  To be absolutely sure we were on the same page.  That the initial profound conversations were not a fluke.

And they weren’t.

We immediately picked up where we left off – sharing secrets, trading stories, planning goals together.

It had been awhile since I felt involved.  Where my opinion mattered.  Where my past experiences in the corporate world were considered valuable.  An asset, even.  Delving into the conversations – feeding off from each other’s excitement and passion – I felt alive again.

I know I never died.

This is not to claim that my roles as a wife and mother are unsatisfying.  Or that my existing long-term relationships and friendships are inadequate.  Getting caught in the humdrum of life, sometimes there is little time left for family and a handful of friends.

So, how is it possible that I establish a new circle ?

Where did the need come from ?

The unquenchable search to figure out my purpose in life beyond motherhood.

That it is possible to find an even newer lease on life…

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(Almost) Wordless Wednesday – Happy 17 months !

29 Jun

To celebrate the twinlets turning 17 months yesterday, here are a few of my favourite photos from the early days to the present.

Happy 17 months, my little munchkins !
It’s been a fabulous ride.  Can’t wait to see what the next 17 and beyond bring.

Linking up with Trish at My Little Drummer Boys.  Make sure you join me.

6 days old: Keeping each other company in the NICU

One of our favourites...

5 months

12 months

Last Sunday

Date Night…

5 Jun

As some of you may have gathered from my Things I Know post on Friday, I was darn excited about going to the movies with Hubby for date night.

As it turned out, there was nothing showing in the cinemas that could entice either one of us (‘Hangover Part 2’, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 4’ ???)

Besides, we kept the arrangement for our beloved Nulla Nanna to come over as she had happily volunteered for baby-sitting duties.  We just couldn’t waste an evening by staying home.  Despite the miserable weather.

Dressed in my new slinky jeans, Hubby and I decided to tread some old territory.  The past haunts of our pre-twinlet yesteryears.

We went to our old pub where we spent many a drunken Saturday night with other child-free couples – drinking, talking and socializing.  Nothing out of the extraordinary for Sydney savoir faire.

But six years on, things definitely felt different.

The same table was there to take our usual order.  Inviting us to still enjoy our familiar, favoured beverages.

Yet, the pub noise was a little too rowdy and raucous for what we were now used to.  I was appalled with the rambunctious crowd next to us.  Their arrogant behaviour was full of profanities.

What was really happening ?  I was just showing my age.

My inevitable lean towards becoming a, dare I say, conservative mother.

Four years ago at this very pub, my future husband and I would occasionally have a private, yet polite dinner together.  We would tip toe around the topic of commitment, marriage and children.  He wasn’t ready.  I was eager and keen.

Now we were comparing twinlet photos on our phones, discussing their latest learnings and most recent cute moments.

Tonight, we talked about our future: where were we going to move to, in a city that was already so unaffordable for young families to maintain an urban lifestyle; what were the best options for day-care for our boys; what were my career plans beyond motherhood.

Breaking into the surface of planning for a young family with all its potential choices and paths.

Keeping all options open, yet staying as pragmatic as possible.

What a giant leap four years can do.

And besides now being a mother and holding responsibility for two precious souls, I still could enjoy the thrill of having a drink.

The warm, tingly feeling of a crisp white wine and the comforts of conversation that come with.

Walking back to the car in the rain, hand in hand with my beloved, I could see how all that was familiar has stepped into a time capsule of the past.

Life now is good.  It’s not complete.  But it’s certainly happy and content.

The movies can wait until another time.

Musings of Mama Grace © 2011

The Art Of Forgiveness

29 May

Have I mentioned how much I detest our neighbours upstairs ?

I love our other neighbours.  But this couple above us really test my patience.

Similar to many in our area, we live in an old building, consisting of four units where creaky floorboards and tissue thin walls are inevitably part of the territory.

Part of Sydney apartment urban living means that you have to tolerate neighbours who elephant stomp.  Late night muffled bedroom noises of heated conversations are par for the course.  You somehow immune yourself to hearing upstairs’ toilet flush (and other *ahem* toilet activities).

That stuff, I can deal with.

But then, we enter an entire new level of misdemeanour.

On several occasions, usually in the early hours of a Sunday morning, Hubby has had to force himself out of bed to knock on their door to politely ask to keep the blaring noise of their stereo down – only to have our intoxicated neighbour slam the door in his face.  He does eventually turn down the volume.  Begrudgingly, I’m sure.

By the time Hubby returns to bed, I am completely riled up over such intolerable behaviour.  Hubby gets upset too but isn’t as demonstrative as I am.

So, I have become this grumpy neighbour and I make sure I let them know.

When the wife bumps into me at the front foyer and greets me, I will barely mumble a reply.

Hanging the clothes out on the line, I completely avoid eye contact with the husband as he walks straight past me to get to his car.

Admittedly, all this pent up anger and angst is emotionally tiring.  Yet, I have let it continue to brew inside me.

Until the other day.

While I was cooking dinner, Hubby happened to look out our back door.

“Our neighbour has left his car interior lights on…” he said.

Just as I grumbled, “Serves him right,” I realised that Hubby had made his way upstairs to actually tell him.

Yes, the same neighbour who has slammed the door in my husband’s face so many times I’ve run out of fingers.

It was then I realised that I was learning the art of forgiveness.

Right in front of my flat nose.  Right under my own rickety rack roof.

I’m not here to tell you what a saint my husband is.  (It’s State of Origin season, so he is not so ideal at the moment).

Likewise, I am even further from such benevolence.

But six months away from our second anniversary, I had an “Ah ! I get it !” moment about married life.

I started thinking about our wedding vows.  How we promise to forever love each other, be there for each other, keep each other happy.

That is all undeniably important and sacred.

But how about the importance of living through example ?  Learning life virtues from your partner ?

As parents, we expect to be role models for our children.

Lest we forget to be role models to each other.

So, the other morning, as I was routinely hanging out the washing and my blessed neighbour walked by, I gave him a smile – albeit a little forced.

I even threw in a cheery, “Good morning…”

As much as I hate to admit it, it actually made me feel okay.

Musings of Mama Grace © 2011

From Leg Warmers To Legal Battles

24 May

Taking a five minute breather from a day of grizzly twinlets ridden with a stomach bug and cleaning up vomit, I surfed the news and stumbled on an article of great interest.

A 40 year old woman has finally won a legal battle granting her ownership of her dead husband’s sperm.  She can now go ahead and plan to have that baby she and her husband always wanted.

Not only did this woman’s story intrigue me.  I also realized that we went to the same high school.

We weren’t friends.

However, I do recall her hanging around the corridors, wearing the standard ’80’s attire of mini-skirt, leg warmers and white runners.

Just your typical high-school teenager.

Now, 20-plus years later, there she was with her wedding photo on the SMH website.

Not only was she making headlines – but her tragic situation and plight in love and passion has also caused a dent and difference to society as we know it.

Congratulations to Jocelyn for breaking through the system.

I hope this will be the breakthrough for her to finally have her baby.

Musings of Mama Grace © 2011

Trying To Make Sense…

23 May

Today was a day of many questions and doubt.

Entering the church filled with so much sorrow; how was it possible to also feel intense love ?

Wondering when all the insurmountable emotion will transform itself into a cosmic force to bring her back.

Just to be able to look at the sky and say to Whoever is up there, “Okay, enough.  We’ve experienced the horrible, unbearable pain without her. Can we just return to life as it was ?”

Trying to make sense of death – but particularly one that was so untimely.

One that robbed an intelligent, talented, beautiful 23 year old from her bright future.

Amidst the uncertainty, there is the unquestionable generosity of spirit and love she had for others.

DQ, thank you for being part of – and touching – our lives.

Until we meet again and see your magical smiling face.

Musings of Mama Grace © 2011

Parenting: My Learnings…Thus Far…

20 May

The same dear friend who inspired me to write the Twintuition post, wanted to also hear about how I’ve changed since becoming a parent.

Jeepers !  That’s going to take an entirely different blog (Watch This Space).

So, just to give the topic a slight tweak, I’m going to list five points derived from what parenting has taught me.

What has allowed me to graduate from my L to P plates.

There are bound to be far more experienced parents out there who will read this and scoff, “Pfff…I already knew that.”

However, from time to time, don’t we need to sit back, reflect and see how far we’ve come ?

“It doesn’t get easier, just different”

In the first six months of being a mum and in the rare occasion I went out to get some sunshine with the twinlets, I would relish comments of other parents (particularly those of twins) who would give such comforting smiles and say, “Don’t worry, it does get easier.”

“Does it ?  Does it ???”  I would ask in earnest, hoping that they had the answer to my prayers in regaining sleep and sanity.

Well, I would like to meet all these parents again now.

I would like to knock their blocks off for sending me up the wrong path of expectation.

I have discovered that throughout the first year, the transitions to the next level of development and growth are subtle, creating the appearance that we’re getting better at it.  While actually, we’re not.

We’re just getting better at adjusting to their ever changing needs.

It’s all about constant reinvention.

“Everything is temporary”

From the full-body wrestle screaming protests on the change table (and wondering where the heck your child found the strength of Samson) to those blissful moments when you’re sitting cross-legged on the lounge room floor and they will just involuntary sit in your nook and snuggle right in.

I tell myself to soak up all of these memories in the making.  Because one day – quicker than a blink of an eye – we will be heading towards the next stage of their childhood.

Although I will gladly say goodbye to the screaming protests of nappy changing, I will certainly miss their precious innocence.

“No matter how many times you stuff up, children trust you implicitly”

I cannot tell you how many  times the twinlets have had to suffer from our mistakes.

  • Accidentally giving them ‘Pure Cream’ rather than ‘Full Cream’ milk in their bottles, resulting in Little N’s dramatic vomiting episode
  • Pinching the skin in their inner thigh with the safety belt buckle of the car seat (Ouch !)
  • Cutting their finger nails too short, cutting instead the tip of their fingers (Double Ouch !)

I’ll stop here before I get reported.

Yet somehow, our children have an inbuilt sense of steadfast trust.

How do they have move on and forget, while we still need time to catch our breath from the disaster ?

Where they come back to you, look at you confidently in the eyes as if to say, “Yup, I’m ready for my next bottle now…”

And you make damn sure that this time, it is full cream milk.

“Everyone has their own way of doing things”

Therefore, we cannot judge.

We are forever being told that our own instincts are the best guidelines for raising our own children.  Why is it then we can be so critical of how the parent next to us does it ?

Pacifiers versus thumb-sucking; Baby-led weaning versus pureed food; Breastfeeding versus formula…the issues continue.

I can be worse than Judge Judy at the best of times.  But parenting has taught me to have an open mind by connecting with other parents.  We groan and moan over the same problems but there’s value in finding out what their solutions are.

Inevitably, I end up thinking, “Gee, I never would’ve thought of that.  Maybe I’ll give it a try…”

“Worry, worry and more worry”

At the 20 week appointment with our obstetrician, it was discovered that Little N (only known as Twin A at the time) was significantly smaller in size and we would have to keep a close monitor throughout the rest of the pregnancy.  From then we always had the possibility of early birth looming over us.

That was also the day Hubby and I realized how nerve-wrecking parenting was going to be.

Since then, the anxiety hasn’t stopped.  Even with matters that are far well in the future: schooling, friends, drugs, alcohol, driving cars.

Apparently, this is all just the tip of the iceberg.

What’s your list ?

Musings of Mama Grace © 2011

 

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