B.F.F.


A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere.  Before him I may think aloud.  I am arrived at last in the presence of a man so real and equal, that I may drop even those undermost garments of dissimulation, courtesy, and second thought, which men never put off, and may deal with him with the simplicity and wholeness with which one chemical atom meets another.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I think one of two things are possibly happening to me. Either you truly do get more emotional and sentimental as you get older, or my contraceptive injection is wearing off (I’m due to be re-jabbed end of this month) and my hormones are experiencing some sort of imbalance. Whatever it is, I have experienced so many poignant moments this last week; tear jerking moments that made me feel like weeping with emotion – GOOD emotion! Moments that I want to encapsulate into a small little bag to take a peek at, over and over again. To name a few, the love letter that my mother wrote to me on my birthday, the phone calls, messages and emails I received all through the week, some from my favourite people in the world, and others from people I had lost contact with, but who still remembered it was my birthday, how special is that? All the beautiful gifts – well thought out, meaningful gifts – the thought of which made me more emotional than the gift itself; the people in my life know me SOOO well and that makes me feel so wonderfully gooey inside! The right ‘ol spoiling I got from my hubby and even my babies and hearing my boy sing happy birthday to me about 54 times, while his sister clapped in tune. I just felt so HAPPY.. but the moment I really want to blog about is Saturday afternoon.. and I will try my darnedest not to use the word emotional again!

I was surrounded by my friends.. and you know that moment when you feel like everything is moving in slow motion and you hear soppy music in the background, and you go around the table looking at everyone, and they’re all smiling back at you.. not really? Well perhaps you need to experience a hormone imbalance to experience such a moment but anyway, I looked at my friends and I felt so blessed and honoured to be in such good company. My friends have been with me through thick and thin – and I mean that both literally and figuratively – I’ve known some of them from the time my waist was small and my boobs were perky. Others I’ve picked up through marriage; when you marry a man, you often marry his friends too. And others I have met through work.

I love sharing my life with these people who really care about me and my wellbeing, people who can identify with the situations I find myself in, people who are there just to listen, to give advice, to berate and correct me, people who know when my kids birthdays are and let me take their real Tupperware home containing leftovers.. this is what colours my life. With being so far away from my own parents and siblings, these girls and their families have become my family away from home. My friends are a smorgasbord of characters, which is why I guess I love them all so dearly. I know who to turn to when I need some calm in my otherwise crazy life, I know who will tell me off immediately if I step out of line, I know who will give me savvy business advice or who will lend me the perfect dress to hide my less than perfect trouble areas. They are the wind beneath my wings when I’ve had a particularly hard day with the kids, or when the hubby and I are having a tiff. There’s no better remedy for a sore and tired heart, than a heart-to-heart with a good friend, who has walked the same plank.

So this is to my friends. I love each of you in a different and very special way. Thank you for sharing this thing called LIFE with me, and I thank God for each of you every day. I have no doubt that our friendship will span many years, as our kids grow up together and they too develop inseparable bonds, as we have. xxx

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.  The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.  ~Henri Nouwen

Advertisements

YAY for Grandparents!


Is it normal for a grown person to be so excited at the prospect of seeing their parents? I’m soooo excited!! We’ve been counting sleeps and at last Liam can stop asking me “is it Thursday yet” because yes, tomorrow is Thursday and my folks  get here in the morning! Not sure who’s more thrilled, me or the kids, but whatever it is, our house has an expectant air about it and I love it!

So I’ve done the quick fix.. this refers to filling up your fridge with useless items that no one will probably eat, but it gives the appearance of being full, and you always want a full fridge when your parents visit because it means you are a good wife and mother who takes care of her family (even though your family won’t eat half the stuff you’ve bought like gherkins and olives and pepperdews, but hey I may want to make a fabulous salad or something?). My husband always looks at me quizzically when he opens the fridge pre-parents-visit: yesterday there was mayonnaise, jam, a few random apples, tomatoes, eggs and Mrs Balls chutney. TODAY there’s not even space for leftovers.

I’ve asked Zoleka to change the linen on their bed, and to place a refill tube of Stay Soft under each pillow – if you haven’t tried this before, please do.. it gives your linen the most incredible fresh smell without overwhelming your senses as you sleep! The good towels are out and we’ve cleared space in the cupboard for their clothes and toiletries. My husband wants to know if the King and Queen are visiting. Look, I try to make their stay as pleasant as possible in the hopes that they will never want to leave. I love having my parents in my house, other than the fact that my father hogs the TV remote, it’s always a time I treasure.

Of course I have to call on Zoleka again to really try her best to make sure the house is spotless. I don’t usually smooth my finger across the table tops to make sure Zoleka has cleaned well, I trust that she tries her best considering she has to cook, clean, wash AND look after Hannah girl. But my mum keeps a clean house and I feel sort of obliged to make sure that I meet her standards. Again, this is something my husband can’t understand but it’s just something that moms and daughters do, I want her to think I am as good a housekeeper as she has trained me to be, even though I suck at it; if it wasn’t for Zoleka, our house would look like the aftermath of a hurricane every day.

But the highlight of my parents visiting is that Liam and Hannah will have nothing to do with us when their grandparents are around and BELIEVE me, there is no love lost there, in fact my husband and I can’t wait to be relieved of our parental duties, that’s what grandparents are for after all. The kids will hardly look at us and will not allow us to do anything for them – I mean how awesome is that! When my parents visit, Liam does tend to morph into a little monster who doesnt listen to a word I say, unless I say it with a smack, but I try to ignore his shenanigans, because I know he is trying to impress his grandparents with his “coolness” which actually translates into him being too big for his boots. Hannah also loves all the attention, and who wouldn’t.. grandparents get excited when their grandkids do basic things like breathe, so she also brings out the diva, with her every whim being attended to.

So yes, other than the hubby (who thinks all this hype is wasted on my parents who really don’t care about anything other than spending time with their grandchildren), our household will probably not sleep tonight as we await the arrival of Granny and Pa!

Drum Roll Please…


This weekend is going to be pretty big for a few reasons:

1. I am leaving both kids with Zoleka for the first time.

We try and make sure she only has one kid at a time for extended periods – for obvious reasons – they will DRIVE YOU INSANE. However, they are both now at an age where they are easy to care for.. they play together, they ask for food if and when they are hungry, they can change the channels to watch whatever they want to on the telly, so this keeps them quiet for a while. You really just have to be around to make sure they aren’t tempted to do anything silly.. like find my make up bag and spill all its contents onto the floor and proceed to paint pretty pictures with my lipstick, blusher and foundation. Or switch the washing machine on and let it run empty for an entire cycle. Or bang the T.V remote around until it breaks into a trillion pieces. YES, unsupervised they are destroyers. Anyway, the point is, my husband and I are going out alone and we’ve decided that it’s now time for Zoleka to run the family business. To facilitate the smooth running of this auspicious occasion, we’ve decided that we’ll cut Liam’s day time nap so that he is utterly exhausted, which means at precisely 7pm, he will fall down wherever he is into a deep coma which should last until the following morning, so Zoleka won’t have too much to do other than make sure he is bathed and fed by 6pm and in a safe place so that he doesn’t hit his head too hard when he falls down at 7pm.

2. Hannah goes to Children’s Church

Please understand that we have been sitting in the Parents Lounge at church for two years solid. No sooner was Liam ready to go to children’s church, Hannah came along and we were banished to this room again. We have seen parents come and go, we have seen babies born and grow and graduate from the Parents Lounge.. and here we still are. Don’t get me wrong, the Parents Lounge is great, it’s well equipped with a live feed to the main church auditorium so you don’t miss a thing, there’s fabulous changing and breastfeeding facilities, and comfy couches, but let’s be honest.. it’s a room full of babies aged between 0 – 15 months, they are loud and messy in ALL regards.. they cry loud, laugh loud, talk loud, poop loud. It’s a bit difficult to get a touch from the Holy Ghost when you’re slyly watching that baby who looks like it wants to poke your baby’s eye out, but you don’t want to cause a scene, so you make like you aren’t watching. A few weeks ago, we attempted to leave Hannah at Kidzone (children’s church) – I received an sms half way into the service saying that my child was hysterical. When I got to her class, she was standing in the middle of the room yelling, she wouldn’t let anyone near her.. it looked like a theatrical performance with all the teachers and other babies standing at a distance staring at her, while she stood in the middle of the room “singing” at the top of her lungs. So last week, with much trepidation, I left her again. This time I didn’t get a call or an sms, but I was tense and fidgety all the way through the service, anticipating the call! When I went to fetch her, I could tell she had been bawling, but she was quite calm – until she saw me, and then the water works started. However, her teachers said she was pretty good, she cried for a bit but soon got involved.. so THIS week I am really looking forward to sitting with the big people, being part of the church and fully engrossing myself in the service, knowing that Hannah will be fine and will hopefully be getting her own Holy Spirit touch! 

3. It’s the last weekend of my 20’s!

I’m always talking about the milestones my kids have reached.. but next week I reach a milestone of my own.. I turn 30! God has been good! I have no qualms about getting older, in fact I am embracing my coming of age. I am also quite pleased with myself, other than being a millionaire, I have accomplished everything I said I would by the time I hit 30. I am happily married, my family is complete, I have job that I enjoy, I repeat.. God has been good! I don’t feel 30 and I certainly don’t look 30, I think I look about 16, with a few wrinkles and a few fat rolls… I feel GREAT! So as I bow out of my 20’s, I’d like to state that it has been an adventure with many highs and lows and I eagerly look forward to my future. Give me my sunglasses, because baby my future looks BRIGHT!

Roll on the weekend!

Spring has sprung!


Spring has truly sprung, and if these warm days are anything to go by, it’s going to be a hot, hot Summer – bring it! We are enjoying the longer days, and the shorter hemlines. And how much easier is it to dress a toddler in summer clothes, as compared to layers and layers of winter clothes? It takes half the time and half the energy for both the dresser and the “dressee.” So in the spirit of a new season; a new beginning which always calls for a new wardrobe, I decided to spring clean the kids’ cupboards this weekend and here are a few emotions that I experienced as I undertook this tedious task.

Happiness!

At last I reap the rewards of having my two babies so close together! Hannah fits perfectly into all of Liam’s short sleeved vests, t-shirts and shorts from last year. They are perfect for knocking about in at home, and I have no problem with girls wearing Ben10, Spiderman and the rest of the Marvel superhero cast. This means I can spend the majority of her summer wardrobe budget on cute frilly PINK summer items, as the basics are taken care of! I was happy to chuck out all the thick woolly jackets, jerseys and baby growers, the tracksuits and the long johns, the thermal vests and so many pairs of stockings and tights – how many does one little girl need??

Frustration!

Yes, I get this with every clean out and it annoys me no end – brand spanking new items, tags still intact that they’ve grown out of, before they could even wear them. And although I know I’ll be giving these away to other babies who will make good use of them, it still frustrates me! This equates to taking a hundred rand note, lighting a match under it and watching it go up in smoke. Of course the other frustration was Liam throwing a hissy every time I threw something into the “to go” pile, he couldn’t understand why I wanted to give away his precious Sharky top, even though the sleeves sit half way up his arms, or his Ben10 tracksuit pants, even though they fit him more like three/quarter shorts, than long pants. Seems he is going to be a hoarder, like his mother.

Sadness!

Just a small little touch of it…As I battled to refold all the new born items (folding these has always been a pet peeve because they are so darn difficult to fold!), I couldn’t help but feel a bit sad and nostalgic. The hubby and I have almost certainly agreed that we’re done doing it for procreation, and we’re sticking to doing it for fun. But as I fought with these little items (I ended up just wrapping them into a big ball and stuffing them into the bag), I felt sad to think that I wouldn’t be pregnant again, that I wouldn’t feel a little mouth nursing on my boob again, that I wouldn’t rock a baby to sleep ever again! Wow, as I’m typing this I feel quite broody..

Ok that feeling’s gone! Whew! Point is, it’s quite a big chapter to turn the page on and although it makes me a little sad, I have wonderful memories.

Trepidation!

As I packed I thought about how fast they grow.. In a few years we’d be dealing with big school, and PTA meetings, and teenage stuff and I felt scared because I can barely look after them now, while I am still able to restrain them in their strollers.. How will I do this when they are old enough to outrun me?

Warm and fuzzy!

When I stood back and admired my handy work of 3 black bags full, and I looked at the special items I had put aside, too precious to throw out.. Like their christening outfits, their hand knitted jerseys, and their soccer kits which they have outgrown, I felt all warm and fuzzy inside.. my babies are growing – not only out of their clothes, but mentally and emotionally. Soon I’ll be able to ask for a cup of tea or have a whole conversation about why their curfew is set at such a time or get a foot massage in exchange for pocket money.. can’t wait!!

A photo collage of my favourite girl, Hannah Ruth.


A daughter is a mother’s gender partner, her closest ally in the family confederacy, an extension of herself.  ~Author Unknown

When you were born, I was in a bad space. I cried a lot. I was not ready for you, or rather, I thought I was not ready for you. But from day one, you wormed yourself into my heart and every day I think to myself there’s no way I can love you anymore than I do, but as you grow I find myself wanting to squish the life out of you because you are just that adorable and lovable and squish-able and I feel like my heart will explode with this deep love I have for you.

These photos depict your journey from babyhood to toddlerhood – you grew so quickly! Some days I want to press pause and just keep you as a little girl for a while longer.  You love to explore new things, you aren’t afraid of much, even the neighbour’s big barking dog. You love getting dirty; be it sand, grass, cake or yoghurt, you love to feel it, lick it, pour it all over yourself and just for good measure, roll around in it. You are a bit of a bully-boss, especially to your big brother and your other little friends, but I love your tenacity, you know what you want, and you know how to get it.

You laugh a lot. Like way more than is healthy for a little girl, you laugh until your milk comes out your nose, usually at your brother performing antics for your pleasure. You love him. You love him so much, I think he is your favourite person in the whole world. But I’m not sure, it’s a tie between him, Zoleka and Daddy. You pull the funniest faces, you have the juicest thighs and you have this gorgeous mop of curly hair that truly has a mind of its own.

I always wanted a daughter and I am so pleased that I got you! You fill a void that I didn’t even know I had. You remind me every day that God really does have our best interests at heart and even when we don’t see His plan and purpose for our lives, He is hard at work in the background. You were my unexpected blessing and I am so glad that He chose you for me. 

Love you Hannah Pushkin Pudding Baby xxx

Home is where the heart is


 This month marks the end of an era – a very bittersweet moment for our family, as my parents move out of the family home. Yes it makes all the sense in the world; my parents are getting on in years and all four of us are grown up with our own families now, it make no sense for them to stay in a big house which requires lots of maintenance when the rooms are empty, except for when we visit. They are downsizing into a lovely modern unit, in a secure complex, just right for the two of them to spend their retiring years in. But still, I cant help but feel just a little “emo” at the thought of never going “home” again.

It’s the only house I’ve ever known, it was built the year I was born, my father physically helped the builders lay the foundation, plaster walls and tile the floors, and I lived there for the first 19 years of my life. My friends think it weird that I lived in the same house for my entire childhood, I think it’s sort of romantic in a Gone With the Wind kind of way – this house steeped in history and memories. I shared a room with my sister, and I would jump into her bed when I was scared at night, I think my preference for sleeping with the light on, is born from sharing a room with my sister who used to burn the midnight oil with her school work, while I was forced to stick to my bedtime curfew. To this day, our bedroom cupboards still bare the remnants of my childhood stickers and scribbles on the back of the bedroom door. Our house is set on a hill, and we would spend hours and hours sliding down the grassy bank on leftover bits of cardboard. My dad and brothers would mow the lawn, and my sister and I would have to rake up the grass and leaves. We would fight over who was going to be the “washer,”  “drier” and “packer-away” of the dishes after dinner. I remember laying underneath the coffee table in the lounge, watching tv, and sitting around the breakfast nook, doing my homework while my mum cooked dinner. I’d ride bikes with my cousins in the back yard, and then later rollerskates. We’d play cricket, using the big black rubbish bin as the wicket, and in the summer we used to lay on the grass with our bodies lathered in Baby Oil, in an effort to catch a tan (before we realised the dangers of sun damage!). After my hidings, my mother used to send me to the toilet at the end of the passage to reflect on my bad behaviour, and if I remember correctly, she used to lock me in there! I used to spend hours singing and dancing in the yard, watching my reflection in the house windows – I was a dancer and seriously thought I was going to make it big, until I grew up and realised I had the flattest feet and the knockiest knees and Broadway was clearly not an option for me.

We would have dinner as a family every night, around the dining room table with the tv off – my two brothers and sister, my parents and I, a tradition that I have tried very hard to maintain with my own family. After dinner we would say our evening prayers, and we’d nudge each other under the table, because my parents expected us to pray spontaneously, and none of us ever wanted to! Our house was a thoroughfare for all our friends, our aunts and uncles and cousins and of course my visiting grandparents from Cape Town. My other granny lived with us and she was a gentle calming presence in our home, we all felt her absence when she died, I was in standard five at the time. I grew up in a noisy environment, if it wasn’t the kids running riot, it was the adults sitting around enjoying a cup of a coffee, reminiscing, or planning our next holiday. We went on holiday OFTEN. Both my parents were teachers so our school holidays were never dull or boring, we’d pack up, usually with our cousins and spend our summers at time share resorts. And if we happened to be home for the holidays, we’d help my mum bake and she’d let us lick the bowl or we’d walk to the local swimming pool and spend hours in the water. We have so many good memories in that house, and my children too have come to love Granny and Pa’s house. They look forward to our visits to Durban, sleeping in Granny’s bed and running around in the open spaces which us Joburg dwellers in our compact townhouses, are not used to.

It seems strange to think that another family will live in OUR house, they will redecorate and put their own personal touches and paint over all our memories. I hope that they will be as happy in that house, as we were. That the love and good times we shared will reverberate through those walls. My husband and I still haven’t found our dream home, and I guess my deep desire to buy a house and root my family deep into its foundations, stems from my own childhood in a house that was far more than just a house – it was a home. With its ugly carpets and blue bathroom tiles, it was the place I felt most safe, most secure, sheltered and loved. My wish is for my children to grow up and feel this way in their home, I want them to love coming home – even after they’ve flown the nest, I want them to know that our home, is still where the heart is.

28A, we will miss you.