Moving forward from regrets…

Well it has been a couple of months since I last blogged, can’t even find a relevant excuse.

A great highlight though following on from my previous blog of life regrets, my youngest son met up with my first child and this in turn led to us all meeting up and spending a couple of days getting to know one another, how fabulous is that? I am forever grateful that he took the time to make the effort and approach my other son and break the ice. We will never have the normal mother son relationship but I wouldn’t expect that after 40 years, but this is definitely the next best thing. Now we all keep in contact via text and email, even with one of my other sons overseas, so there is some healing going on in our lives, and I can only hope this will grow and flourish into some kind of family relationship.

I have been out of work for ten months now and have become a bit of a stick in the mud stay at home person. I figure that every time I leave my home I am spending money on petrol so it is best to stay put. My constant job hunt has not led me to any employment so far and I find myself getting concerned that I will be unemployable soon…gosh that would be dreadful. On the up side I have been able to spend time with my elderly parents and look after my sister who had a hip replacement so this time hasn’t been entirely wasted.

Now I have become brave and am undertaking an online course to upskill with the computer. My previous job I was proficient in a couple of computer programs but looking into applying for other jobs I figured my all round computer skills needed to be extended. I am thoroughly enjoying the course and learning a lot which is giving me the much needed confidence to proactively apply for work. Also proving that my brain still has the capability of learning more. Maybe I aren’t over the hill yet!


Life Regrets….

I guess we all have them, regrets! Ones that direct the course of your life and have huge impacts on who you are as a person.

I went to a Baby Shower last weekend, it was a young lady we have known since she was a tiny tot now she is having her own baby. Afterwards I was reflecting on the day and thinking how lovely she looked, you know how they say you blossom when you are pregnant, well she was certainly blossoming and I thought how nice it was to see her enjoying her pregnancy with her friends and family. It is so different now to when I was having children, we wore these big unattractive shift type dresses or tent dresses because for some reason we tried to camouflage the fact we were pregnant. Now these young mums wear clothes like everyday dresses and they don’t worry about their obvious pregnancy state, I think it is so nice, and they look natural, carefree and lovely.

The other thing I was thinking about was how things have changed with the whole pregnancy thing. Our young friend isn’t married and not actually in a secure relationship even, when she first found out she was pregnant she freaked out, like what’s with that, if you have sex there is a high chance you may get pregnant. Back in the 70’s and earlier years, it was a bit of a stigma if you got pregnant out of marriage, you certainly wouldn’t be able to celebrate it unless you had an extremely open and accepting circle of family and friends. I know because I have been there, pregnant at 17 and hiding the fact for as long as was possible, even to hiding in my bedroom when family and visitors called, then been sent off to a far away city to have my baby where no one knew me and having an adoption arranged. It had to be the worst time of my entire life. The worst thing was that there wasn’t any domestic purpose benefit then or single parent benefit, so I actually didn’t have any choice as I couldn’t bring up a baby without financial help. So I stayed with a matron (I think that is what she was) then she arranged for me to stay with a family I had never met and I had to do their housework, cooking and babysit their baby for my keep. Not my most pleasant memories, but I was grateful for the help I had at the time, it could have been much worse, as I am sure others could testify to.

When the time came to have my baby, I went to a nursing home which was very scary for me at 17 having never experienced even been away from home really. It was a long hard labour and I didn’t have any instruction on what I was meant to do, and struggled through it on my own, but when that gorgeous wee boy arrived my maternal instincts kicked in and I thought he was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I was allowed to cuddle him for the first few days, I had bought him a lovely big teddy-bear and written the name I would have called him by and a note saying I loved him, around it’s neck on a necklace, but they soon took him away and even though I would love to have been able to keep him it was made clear to me that they had already made all the arrangements and I couldn’t change my mind. The staff there were not that nice and I was made to feel less of a person just for having a baby out of wedlock. Looking back if I had been more mature and sure of myself I would know that I could of changed my mind surely, I mean he was my baby, I didn’t know how I could look after him but maybe something would have fallen into place for me, but you can’t gamble on something like that can you? This was a wee baby who would have been totally dependent on me. They told me about the couple who was going to adopt him, they were a professional couple who were in their terms, well to do, so I imagined that he would have been well looked after and provided for. But looking back the saying or the song ‘all you need is love’ may have got me through because I sure loved that little baby and couldn’t imagine how you could feel such heart wrenching love in such a short time, only to have it taken away from you.

So they took him away and sent me back to where I was staying, but I had lost something very very important, a large gaping hole appeared in my life and at the time nothing that was going to fill it. So as you see, going to this recent baby shower opened up quite a few thoughts in my crazy mind, just how much things have changed today, I don’t imagine single mums now would even give it a moments thought about keeping their babies because they know straight away that our country will give them a benefit to look after that child, and I am glad they do because my experience is not something I would wish on anyone.

As the years have gone by I can’t say I ever got over that experience, you just learn to live with it and get on with life. I was so fortunate to go on and marry a lovely man and have three more gorgeous sons whom I adore. But isn’t it amazing how an everyday event can conjure up all sorts of thoughts and memories in your mind and take you back to a moment in time that you wish could have been different. I am so happy for my young friend and she will make a great mum, she has sisters and aunties who can all help and support her when she needs it.

That had to be the cruellest, bumpiest corner I have had to negotiate up till now.

That next corner had a few rough edges on it…

Well I admit I have spent the odd day actually feeling a bit out of sorts with everyone and everything. I know beyond a doubt that lack of sleep is the worst thing for moods. I have been going to bed later because I haven’t been working, but still waking up early so my sleep patterns are all over the show and it is beginning to tell on my well-being.

Have you ever noticed that with life things are never all smooth sailing? It has become the norm when I am having a great time and everything seems wonderful, that I start to wonder, what the heck is going to go wrong surely this can’t last. And sure enough some drama comes along to rock my boat. Some may say that it is negative to think this way, but in fact it is just life because things can’t be wonderful all of the time and anyone who tells you that is leading a very charmed life or just plain stretching the truth about it. I have learnt to really enjoy the good times because life is a roller coaster ride and we are going to have those ups and downs. It is how we learn to deal with it that is important. Get outside in the sunshine and fresh air, always a good medicine, phone a friend and arrange to meet up for lunch or a coffee. So many times when I have done this I have found out to my amazement that right about that time they were feeling much the same as me and are so uplifted to be asked out for a good old catch up, we both end up feeling heaps better and ready to face our worlds again.

Did you ever have your parents say to you as a child, “Cheer up, there is always someone worse off than you”. It used to annoy me because I would think well that’s other people why should that be important to me right now, I am worried about me at the moment! Well I have become my mother and hear myself saying those words now and even though it is one of those annoying obvious statements, it is genuinely true. You only have to go down the street to witness this, read the news or phone someone whom you know is struggling with a serious health issue. It soon brings your own problems back into focus and makes you realise that hey maybe you aren’t so bad off after all.

I think as a mother we carry the burdens of our children, well if you have a sensitive, caring nature it is part of who you are. All those young mums out there, a word of advice, absolutely treasure the years with your children while they are still young and dependant on you. Don’t fill your days up with running around here and there trying to entertain them, stay home once in a while and let them just be children and spend quality time with them. Those years pass so quickly, one day you will be sitting in your quiet orderly tidy home and wonder where on earth the past fifteen years have gone. Once the children have got to a certain age they don’t need you as much, oh yes they will always need you in a sense, but all of a sudden you aren’t the centre of their universe anymore and you will find that other outside influences are more desirable to them than spending time with their parents. You are their biggest role model in those influential years, don’t blow it because you don’t think you have time in your day to fit them in.

I would have those years back in a flash if it was possible, how wonderful to have your children just wanting you to push them on the swing, build lego with them, or having a cuddle at night as you read them a story. Such precious memories! Yes we have struggles and problems bringing up children, and when they become teenagers those problems change to different sorts of dramas, and then when they are adults the dramas are still happening but on a different scale again. So if you think that once your kids leave home your worries will end, well sorry but I have news for you and it’s all bad. I once read an interview with a well-known counsellor who was asked, “When do I stop being a parent?” His answer was “Never, we parent our children until they leave home, we parent them once they have left home, we parent them when they get married, we parent their children, we parent our children and our grandchildren until we die, and then the cycle starts all over again with them”. Quite a sobering thought isn’t it? So we need to dig deep sometimes for that wisdom and consistency that will be the examples they all need to survive this world and all that it brings.

I enjoyed the preschool and primary years best even though there was always a lot of pressure time wise with running to school activities and sports etc. I liked the fact that our world was kind of cocooned in a way without too much outside influence. Once they get into secondary school things change and you start to get the attitudes and typical teenage hang-up’s, but even during this time and their later teen’s life can be good. Having lots of teenagers around was always a great way to keep young and up to date with what was going on. Our angle was to have them all at our place so we could keep an eye on them and they were always happy to be around as long as they got fed and watered they entertained themselves. So we had a lot of sleepovers and went through lots of food, carted them around where they needed to go, and generally had a lot of fun and laughter.

Don’t get me wrong though, we had lots of stressful tough times too, like teenage love and then once they got their drivers licence we had a ‘need for speed’ mentality, boy racer cars and the occasional drink driving which we had always drummed into the kids about not getting in cars with someone who has been drinking and definitely don’t drink yourself then try to drive home. Our way around this, as we live in a rural community so it was always a drive away to a birthday party or whatever the occasion was, was to be the taxi driver. Sure it was an inconvenience for us many a time but we always knew that they and their friends would always get home safely. So they knew to phone us whether it be at 11pm or 2am and we would always go and collect them. We didn’t encourage our kids to drink in fact I would have been much happier if they never tasted a drop, young ones all seem to turn into silly idiots when they so much as smell a bottle cap, but it was going to happen whether we approved or not so it was easier for my worry lines to act as taxi driver.

So our lives are much quieter now and if you ask me “Do we miss it?” the answer is a resounding YES! It is great to have lots of young ones around with all their noise and problems and over the last few years we have often borrowed other people’s young ones, having them in for meals and visiting when they call us for some advice or help. It keeps us in a younger mind frame and keeps us up with the things that young ones face today. Over the last few weeks two of our sons have been home to stay for different reasons and both of them had BBQ gatherings with a few drinks out under our trees catching up with friends, and yes it was super! Every part of being a parent can be rewarding, it is up to us to make the most of every moment because with the bad there is always lots of good times as well. Don’t be in a hurry to get them all off your hands, enjoy each day as it comes.

Thoughtful quotes

I love reading inspirational and thoughtful quotes, so often they just catch you right at the moment you need them or give you something really big to meditate on. Recently I read these following quote and they really made me think, as I have spent many years listening to people who have major issues or dramas in their lives and often they are so caught up in what is happening in their life at that moment they sometimes don’t even think that maybe you are struggling with something as well.

Dr.Calvin Miller put it like this: ‘When people listen to others speak, sometimes they’re silently thinking, “I am loneliness waiting for a friend. I am weeping in want of laughter. I am a sigh in search of consolation. I am a wound in search of healing. If you want to unlock my attention, you have but to convince me you want to be my friend.'”

And William Arthur Ward wrote, ‘Blessed is he who has learned to admire but not envy, to follow but not imitate, to praise but not flatter, and to lead but not manipulate’ Your charisma and ability may get you to the top, but only your character and commitment will keep you there. Trust is built on telling the truth and following through on your commitments. People take action for their own reasons, not yours. and what we learn about them always results in a greater reward than what we tell them about ourselves. It doesn’t matter what you are doing, deep down they want to know, ‘Can I trust this person?’ Well….can they?

Life can be sweet

Well I just celebrated another birthday, is it my imagination or do they come round quicker and quicker each year. My best friend and I have a tradition that we always take the other out for the day on her birthday or as close to it as possible, I love this, we share coffee, lunch, the odd pedicure and stroll art galleries and dress shops enjoying each others company. I had a seriously blonde moment and thought I was a year older than I actually was, how did I manage that?? I was over the moon when my friend pointed this out to me. I am learning not to feel guilty about taking the time to sit in a café with company, it is something I have not been able to do for years with working full time, so I have decided to fully embrace the experience.

So this middle age thing is difficult to get your head around sometimes. When you are a teenager or in your twenties, people who are over 50 seem ancient and you think it is so far away. But here I am and I can’t believe how fast those years have gone. I have struggled to come to terms with loosing my job and had moments of wondering of what use I am and what am I achieving? All a bit silly really but very real. Anyway the last couple of weeks I have had more phone calls and more visitors popping in and one dear old friend said to me, well if you were at work you would have missed all this, so maybe this is just another season in my life that I have to ride out and make the most of. I am learning to live in and enjoy the moment, who knows what is around that corner.

The Beginning of the urge to Blog….Where it all started

Around the Next Corner

Do you ever wonder what’s around the next corner? Do you spend time at night, when it would be far more beneficial to be sleeping, lying there pre-empting what is going to happen next? I confess I have spent a good part of my life doing that, and to what end I ask? A very wise person once said to me “It does not change any outcome however much time you spend worrying about it”. Well guess what, that is actually correct. It has taken me a long time to realize that and yet I still lie awake at night trying to sort the problems of my small world. Any of you mothers out there will fully understand what I am saying I’m sure.

Late last year I was faced with what I thought was a huge bump in my road, the job I had worked in for eighteen years, a job I loved and had poured my heart and soul into, was put through the paces of “restructuring”. Have you ever wondered what “restructuring” actually means? Well I have come up with a good definition, particularly in the job market, it is simply a cheaper way of saying you are redundant, and it means the company do not have to pay you any redundancy or severance package. I admit that right up till the last moment of my employment I still hoped that my employers may have come up with a token bonus for all my years of faithful commitment to their business. But no that did not happen. So I spent several weeks determining that I was not going to become all bitter and twisted about it, I mean I have faced tougher things in my life, so this too would pass. Although admittedly I did leave town for a few weeks, I went and stayed with my mum and dad who live a good six hours away, so I knew there was no risk of bumping into anyone I knew while I licked my wounds. Have you ever noticed how when things get tough in life we often head for mum and dads? It doesn’t seem to matter how old we get, there is something healing about been amongst the familiar with no expectations.

Now that I have managed to navigate around that corner I wonder what is around the next one. Once I recovered I discovered that it is actually very refreshing and liberating to suddenly not have to run by the clock. Ever heard the old saying, “Stop and take time to smell the roses?” Over the weeks following my sudden departure from the work force, I have taken time to smell the roses, literally. We have several very lovely roses growing around our home and so I have been able to enjoy their endless blooms. Also what a surprise, all my hanging pot plants are surviving, I think I have discovered why they didn’t survive when I was working full time, a little thing like not finding time to water them regularly, it helps immensely in the survival rate of those colourful dependent little blooms, so now they are all thriving under my daily loving care.

I must admit I had a few hurdles to get over with this stay at home time like, my husband had to be trained that no he couldn’t expect freshly baked scones, cakes and biscuits and the three course meal every day, actually if I managed it every fortnight was a small miracle, the baking that is, I do feed him every day. But even that has been so “nice”, now we live a more normal life of actually seeing each other and not working around both of us working different days and sending the occasional text message to check the other is still breathing.

How fabulous it has been to take the leisurely latte with a friend, or go and visit someone whom I have neglected over my working years because I never seemed to be able to find time to fit everything in. Sure it is much harder living on one wage, we have had to tighten our belts and when we do the shopping we ask the question “Do we really need it?” It is quite surprising what we can actually do without. I have discovered things in my cupboards that I can use up, at the moment I can see the bottom of our freezer because I have been utilizing everything I can. Mind you I am embarrassed to admit that I was making a potato salad the other day for guests coming, and went to get the salad mix I knew I had in my pantry only to discover that it expired in May 2009, oops! Needless to say I didn’t use it, I had to make a homemade one from scratch and it wasn’t too bad even if I say so myself. Another thing, expiry dates on packaging, except for the most obvious like dairy products etc., the expiry date is only a guide, our motto is “good up to the expiry date, then best after it”, but don’t repeat that.

I have had a great time doing projects that I have long wanted to get onto, like my son and daughter-in-laws photo album, (they got married two years ago). Well I got not just one album done but five, how great is that? I had so much fun doing them and spent several days at it. I designed digital photo albums, all online and what a lot of enjoyment can be had with producing your own creative flair and touch on something that is so personal. I recommend it to anyone wanting to unleash their creative urges. In this day and age most people seem to have hundreds or thousands of digital photos. Along with the wedding album I was able to do another album for another son and his wife which I only used about two hundred and eighty six photos in. I made it in time for their Christmas present and it was their journey from first meeting through to the present, seven years later. I figure that I can make another album in a few years’ time to highlight more of their lives together. Both families were so moved with their gifts that it made all the effort more than worthwhile. Now I am working on an album for my parents which will have photos of their family tree with all their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Apart from that I have had the most therapeutic time out in our garden which I have never had much time to spend in. Mind you it does infuriate me how those weeds continue to grow even when I seem to be pulling them out every day, and what about all that pruning, how did this garden survive while I was working? Thankfully my husband loves spending time in the garden as well.

Now onto the next project, I have to do some redecorating, that is painting and wall papering, and in between that I am trying to teach myself how to use another computer publishing programme which I have never been familiar with. I figured that while I was at home, before I have to enter the insane world of nine to five work again, I would investigate some other areas that I may be able to work from home in to help our finances. You see I love working on the computer, one could say I am addicted to it, so it would be just down my alley to be able to use that passion for a valid reason. A few years ago I completed a Certificate in Editing and Proofreading so I thought this would be a good place to start. Wow, I mean who would have thought it would be so difficult? Maybe because we are in a smaller country there isn’t quite the same opportunities. I have read a book written by a lady in America who is earning six figures from just proofreading, how cool is that? But then that is America, I mean the land of great financial gain and all that. I have discovered that money isn’t everything, although it certainly helps to make the world go round, and what a lot of pressure and stress we put on ourselves to make more and achieve more when all the time we can survive on a lot less and have more time to enjoy and appreciate what we actually have.

So wish me luck as I embark on this next little journey and I wait expectantly to see what is around that next corner, because let’s face it, life is good and you may as well make the most of each day appreciating who and what surrounds you which we so often overlook in the busyness of life.

Now I have that off my chest I shall go to bed and blissfully sleep without a care in the world…yeah right!

Internet Naivety….

Well my naivety has come back to bite me. I have realised that in my search for work I have been scammed again!! Where are all the honest to goodness companies  who do actually have work they want done? There seems to be so many people/companies out there that have a sole purpose of ripping you off. Does this happen to other people, I guess it must do because otherwise these predators wouldn’t still be going. The internet is a wonderful tool but can be so disheartening also. Surely there must be an outlet for a ‘real’ honest company that places people in work with ‘real’ honest companies. If anyone knows of one, please let me know.