Thursday, 25 December 2014

Another Journey Around the Sun

In a run of generosity my eyes only opened at half past five this morning instead of half past three, an extra two hours sleep really fills the energy bar up. Usually I'll use the quiet of the early morning hours to write or read but this morning as the sun was up I thought I'd get up and use the time to do my chores and a few secret things before the girls began to stir. I got off to a good start, hung out the washing emptied the dishwasher, sorted the rubbish bags and recycling for collection, made the Mauritian's breakfast and switch on the kettle for coffee. Then it all turned to custard!
With the rising of the offspring came the carnage! It was a silent attack at first, both trying to fit onto one beanbag to sit and look at the newly acquired fishes in a tank. With the growing rivalry came the whining which prompted mediation, separation and breakfast. Apparently it is not wise for the mediator to have a shower at these fragile times, on emerging clean and refreshed from the bathroom she encounter a fully-fledged sibling cat fight complete with hair pulling, kicking, pinching and biting not to mention screaming. Risking her very existence the mediator dives into the fray to separate the warring factions and demands an explanation for this horrid behaviour. The cause of the disagreement was an electronic device that they both wanted to use and neither wanted to share. The solution was to remove all electronic devices that could possibly cause conflict and they were advised to go outside and play in the warmth and brightness of the rarely seen World's end sunshine. The Peace agreement was signed and an uneasy truce began. The mediator, however remained on high alert, with guns handy in case threats had to be made to achieve peace. After a reasonable peaceful time the mediator relaxes her vigil slightly and steps into the kitchen for some refreshment, which was interrupted by an atomic explosion as the two factions again exploded into vehement disagreement.
Now completely at the end of my very short supply of tolerance I fairly exploded myself! "Enough!" I yelled as loud as only I can, freezing them both in the process of pinching each other. "If the two of you do not go outside and find something to do either together or alone I will cancel Christmas! You know I can because I have Santa's phone number! Do! Not! Push! Your! Luck!" Suitably chastised the Butterfly took the Lollipop's hand and lead her quietly outside to the trampoline, where she remains with her sketch book and pencils. The Lollipop has since made her way back inside and is sitting on her bedroom floor playing with her toy kitchen. I finally got to make myself that elusive mug of coffee, put my Melissa Etheridge Christmas album into the CD player and sat down to finish the last blog of 2014!
On reflection 2014 has been a mixed year with so many different emotions to look back to. We made a bad financial decision which wobbled us for a while but we managed to recover enough to breathe a sigh of relief. Only to be surprised with a request to vacate our home that took a chunk out of what savings we had managed to rescue. I had to stand by and watch helplessly as a good friend's ten year marriage dissolved into hatred and mudslinging, shared her sadness when she buried her mum and toasted happiness as she celebrated her sister's marriage.
I spent two amazing weeks surrounded by so many of my family as we gathered together to celebrate my baby brother and my Favourite Eeyore getting married. Reconnecting with Aunts, Uncles and Cousins can only be described as pure happiness as we managed in so short a time to create yet more forever memories. Being blessed with the chance to finally see my brother the Fireman after almost fifteen years, to reconnect with some of my nieces and nephew and see my Grandnephew again filled me to bursting point with so many emotions. You just want to bundle them all together and take them home with you just to preserve those feelings of pure joy. Yet while I floated on a cloud of happiness I also felt a deep sadness that my own children and husband where not with me to enjoy the ride. Saying goodbye is always hard, but having to say goodbye to so many people who have helped shape my entire life this time really did feel like my heart was breaking. Then I stepped through my front door and back to the familiar and I knew I was where I belonged and life was back to our kind of normal.
When we moved homes we lost some awesome neighbours but we gained some really good friends. Affectionately known as "Aunty E" and "Uncle Arry" (No his name is not Harry!) they have become an important part of our daily lives. I made a new friend, the Florist, who has sent my girls flowers just because, babysat on her day off and drank far too many glasses of wine with me. Except for the time we went to movies and had wine out of water bottles! We have spent the year simultaneously worrying about the health of and drinking to the health of a friend who has not had the nicest 2014. A distance has grown between us and friends who have been around almost from our first year here, though it saddens me a little I know our paths no longer run in the same direction and they will meet up again when time decides. We can now officially say that we have a friend who is a qualified acupuncturist and will begin recommending him as soon as his practise opens in the New Year. Both the Mauritian and I have been pouring over pictures of his niece born in June, what a beauty she is! The Mauritian is such a proud Uncle but that pride is always tinged with the sadness that it will be a long time before he meets her. The wondering couple of Africa2Anywhere have recently welcome the arrival of their little boy. This little guy brought their wonderings to a screeching halt but he has brought only happiness and smiles to everyone who knows him. I can't help wondering if his grandfather, our Master of Ceremonies, had a say in the timing of the littlest M.C's arrival. In January we will be welcoming yet another niece, as her big sister, Turn the Paige, waits with impatience for her real live doll. If she is anything like her cousin she is driving her mother nuts with a thousand questions about babies and where they come from and talking about all the stuff they are going to do when she arrives.
My children have grown in leaps and bounds and learnt new things with much enthusiasm as children do giving me many proud mommy moments. Our Butterfly join a Dance School and jiggled, swaggered and sang her way into her first real stage production on a real stage in a real theatre to an audience of at least one hundred. When she finally realised what was happening, about four hours before the actual show, she looked at me with wide eyes and said: "This is my dream come true mum, I always wanted to be on stage!" The best part was she was so happy she smiled so broadly throughout the performance and battled to sing. Again this year she sign up for cricket, she never missed a practice or a game despite being the slowest runner and the only girl on the team. Her bowling has improved so much that she even managed a wicket and she is beginning to understand the rules of the game enough to run between wickets with her bat grounded and way out in front of her. When I told her coach I was surprised she'd stuck it out as the only girl he said he didn't think she even realised that and in fact was the most encouraging member of the team and was quite good at keeping the team motivated and listening. How can I not feel good after hearing that? Finally after nearly eighteen months of hard work and saving pocket money she had collected enough to buy her fish so the Mauritian went researching. She now has a tropical fish tank with all the extras and now nine fish because the first lot died and the pet shop didn't have enough to replace all eleven. No matter we've made some new friends in the process and the Butterfly can again see the result of disciple and working towards a goal. Compared to her extraverted sister Lollipop is a little shyer and quieter in company, until she gets to know you then there is no stopping her. After a horribly disrupted start she eventually settled into Kindy and happily hops down the road to have a few hours of play with kids her own age. Her teachers often comment on how friendly she is and how well she interacts with the other kids, I'm always relieved to hear this because even though she is always eager to go to Kindy she always seems overwhelmed and unsure. Maybe she's just really good at making me feel bad. They are both so different: One likes to draw, dance and sing and craves the company of other people almost continually, the other likes to play pretend in her "kitchen" or with her dolls or create things with Playdoh and building blocks and is happiest with her own company. Yet they are both so alike with the same sense of humour, same levels of confidence and independence and the very same stubborn streak! They don't go a day without some sort of disagreement, yet neither do they go to bed without having had a good giggle together. The Butterfly adores her little sister and the Lollipop worships her big sister! When I see these two together and how well they fit together I realise that despite any outside negative forces all is right in my world.
After navigating through some really bad head space the first half of this year the Mauritian is more relaxed, confident and finally happy in his own skin. Watching somebody as extraverted as the Mauritian crawl inward and begin to self-destruct was painful. Trying to help someone who refused to help himself sapped me of the energy I needed to focus on my children and the balance our day to day lives so I stopped trying. Now I don't know if my stepping back and saying that I couldn't help any more was the catalyst or if he had already reach rock bottom and the only way he could go was up but soon after shades of his old self started to appear. It's good to have him back to his old self, there are still a few kinks that need straightening but those are issues that will only fix with time and patience.
Me I'm much the same, maybe a centimetre or so narrower thanks to the minimum four kilometres I had to walk getting kids to and from school through the cold, wind, rain, hail and sunshine since we moved in August. On reflection this year has been a good year, yes there were the regular ups and downs but nothing that a positive attitude, perseverance, a laugh or a bottle of wine couldn't fix. I think this year can be filed away as successful, we have moved up and forward, we have made new discoveries about the world and ourselves and taken it all in our stride. I believe when we sit down as a family, open our "Happy Box" and read over all the positive things we did each day over the past year we will realise what a good year 2014 has been. That is despite the fact that I also discovered menopause, perhaps one day I'll see the funny side!
In 2015 our Butterfly will no longer be a junior at school any more, year three will bring her more opportunities, new things to learn and more responsibilities. In 2015 Lollipop will be at Kindy for more days and for longer hours I hope she realises this and embraces it. The Mauritian has set some goals for 2015 that he seems determined to reach before its end. In 2015 we will have had our residency permits for World's End for five years and we will begin the process of applying for citizenship the final step away from the country of my birth. We always said that we would leave citizenship for a later date, it's not essential so there really is no rush. But five years later we both feel we need to take that final step because the truth is World's End is now our home, it is the place we will grow old together and watch our family grow. Africa is in my veins she will always be a part of who I am but she is not home any more. 2015 will present us with the challenges and curved balls that life likes to throw, but that's okay because I believe life gave us a trial run this past year and I think we did alright.
So as the earth comes full circle once again in her perpetual journey around the sun I wish you all a happy, blessed and merry Christmas. May your homes be filled with the sounds of happiness and your hearts be filled with joy! I hope you take the embers of 2014 and use them to set fire to 2015 and move forward into a bright new light with new begins, new opportunities and the strength to carry on despite the hardship.
Love, Light and Happiness