I've just returned from visiting the place where my mum and dad's ashes were scattered. They are at a special place in the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria and this wonderful place, their resting place, as it were. is absolutely perfect. On our trip we experienced that drizzle that only seems to fall in Victoria! You know, the one that can last for days yet is light enough so you can go about your business - that is, if you don't mind getting a bit damp.
It just doesn't rain like that in Sydney - we get all the lightening, thunder, southerly storms and just rain . . . you know, rain. Like it is in the books. Oh, sometimes we get lots of it but it is all over and done with relatively quickly. Having spent most of my school holidays in the car going to Melbourne to visit our relatives and then the boring trip back, I became quite a NSW expert on Victorian weather.
When I was a kid, mum, dad and I would usually drive down to Melbourne overnight and then stay about 2 weeks - sometimes my elder sister came with us and that usually just meant lots of fights in the car. Most of the time though I was the only kid - both in the car and in the house and things could get very boring. I have quite clear memories of being stuck inside for weeks with no one to play with, the briquette stove burning away and the weather was freezing cold outside.
Anyway, I totally digress . . . again! I am still learning this writing stuff and often either over-explain myself or go back and proof something and wonder how the reader (if ever there are any readers of my stories) would be able to make the connection I am hoping they could.
We had a family holiday - everyone came along. Two cars and one motorbike. And let me tell you, there were moments of brilliance and . . . . then, well, there were moments of not such brilliance. But, as we all know, THIS is what family holidays are all about and with all that was happening, it seemed as if we would all earn our Master's Degree in Blended Family Holiday Mad Bugger Behaviour.
Everything aside, I owe my deepest thanks to those I love. Thanks to everyone, I managed to get down to the special place and say g'day to my mum and dad. It has been so many years and I was thrilled it was actually going to happen. And, after my visit, rather than feel really sad like I thought I would, I actually felt lighter of heart and so blessed to have been given this chance. I love you, my family, and thank you for this gift that means so much.
Spending three nights and then mornings and whole days with the fam was really good. My grand babies are fantastic human beings and I would say that spending so much time with them was the highlight of the holiday for me.
This may sound kind of insane but it occurred to me (as it has many times) that they love me . . . They really love me. Oh, indeed, this is wondrous fair . . . I feel so special when they run to me with their arms out and their bright, beautiful eyes sparkling with happiness - and it is especially incredible to know that their happiness is because they have seen me and want to share something with me.
Grand children are worth getting to know. I can't stress this enough. If you are lucky enough to ever have any then for god's sake, include them in your life.
My own grandparents did not really bother with getting to know me very well. They saw me a couple of times a year and, even then, it was an awkward, standoffish kind of vibe in the room - certainly nothing like how my grand babies seem to respond to me!
If you want your grandkids to be crazy about you, then be crazy about them.
Grab them with both hands, find out about them and their lives and enjoy them. See the world again through innocent eyes, help educate them, be a positive example and be a bit silly. . . . yes, silly. For some strange reason, it is me being just a bit silly sometimes that is the icing on their cake!
Nannas have a sterotype just like many other things so every time you can shake up the boring sterotype stuff then go for it. I did - I just got my full motorcycle license and I really enjoy riding. Let me tell you, it is no mean feat learning such a skill at my age . . .
Even if you are geographically distant from your grandkids, call them or email them. Just don't ever think that it is not ok not to get to know them!
That would be such a huge mistake because they just happen to be some of the most awesome and loving people you will ever have in your life. Grandkids light up your world. They make birthdays and celebrations fun, they make every day an adventure.
At the end of those magical fairy princess stories you make up and share with them, your job as nanna (and therefore Elder) is to help them learn about imagination and morals, as well as the wonderful world of reading and books. What our grandkids give us in return is a dose of something we have almost forgotten even existed, let along how to actually achieve . . . I am talking about the art of the simple delight of fully living in the moment.
And this, my dear reader, is because that is their secret - the reason children are so extra, super beguiling - they live only right now. Consequences . . . ? What on earth are they? They have no need to worry about anything much more than the flavour of the icecream they want right now!
For most kids, clothes, shoes, a place to sleep, toys, food . . . you get the picture - just kind of magically appears in their lives when they're needed. A child has no need to plan, find money for or go and buy anything. Things just ARE . . . this makes it very easy to live just in this particular moment.
We know that life takes more planning that just waking up each day and hoping that things will go well for you and yours. It is important to remember that sometimes, just sometimes, putting down your cares and woes about what has gone before and what is yet to come actually allows you to just breathe . . .
And that breath could be the one you need to chase your giggling grandkids around the backyard . . . it could be the one you need to laugh with over a witty six (almost seven) year old joke, perhaps it is the extra breath you need when reading their favourite bedtime story (again).
I reckon you get the picture . . .