Love in Hindsight III

In Post 1 and Post 2 of this series I looked back on my time as a pre-parent teacher and then as a parent in the present day.

While teaching and parenting are hugely important aspects of my life, they don’t define who I am.

It is interesting to note (to me at least) when I started blogging what information I added to my gravatar. ‘Mum’, ‘wife’, ‘sister’ and other titles were provided. But who am I?

Over the past two years I have seen myself on a course of discovery, trying to locate me and my passion. I won’t bore you with the long list of endeavours and ideas that floated through my mind.

Since the middle of last year I had thought about starting a blog but knew very little about what it entailed. On January 1 this year I decided that there was only one way to find out and that was to just do it (to borrow the famous Nike slogan). I could blog from home and it wouldn’t take me away from my young family. Yes! It was the perfect solution and it would be great. By choosing the theme and focus of my blog I would also be able to remind myself that there is love in the everyday moments of life with littlies.

Aiming high, which is always what I seem to do, I set out to write a post a day. Mum would probably say, ‘biting off more than you can chew.’ Yes, Mum, you’re right-as always (tongue in cheek).

Starting Free Little Words was the best thing I have done just for myself for a very long time. It is also the most time-consuming undertaking I have attempted in a very long time.

I don’t know about anyone else reading this but blogging, over the course of a week, has me sitting at my laptop or catching up on the reader on my phone for approximately 16 hours. That’s an ENTIRE DAY! Now, I don’t mean to shout at anyone but that’s a shedload of time.

Any new ‘thing’ that we choose to do generally takes time to learn and grow accustomed to. While I’m all for learning, there is a limit to the amount of ‘me’ I’m able to invest.

The one thing I am truly grateful for and would have given my left arm to rediscover was that I love writing. As the people closest to me would testify, I can talk underwater with a mouth full of marbles. I have a tendency to be a jabber jaws though and my mouth moves faster than my brain can handle. I trip over my words and get tongue tied, particularly when I’m nervous or anxious.

So writing is the ticket for me. Being able to think then write and order my words and erase when needed, is just plain awesome. Add to that, my experience with children and the love of rhyme and rhythm and I feel a natural affinity towards picture books.

So blogging has led to more writing but there just isn’t enough hours in the day to do everything. My manuscripts and ideas lay languishing on the bench at the end of every day, crying out for more words to join the fray.

So it has come down to this – my last post here on Free Little Words. I didn’t want it to sound so final even though it does.

There’s two young boys, who won’t be little forever, wishing that their mum would be slightly more present when she’s present. I owe them that much. Then when the lights are out and those eyelashes flutter as they dream sweet dreams, the words can spring forth to the begging blank page.

I leave you now with just one promise.

My journey on WP is not complete. I will be back; I’m just not sure when that might be. When I do, I hope you’ll welcome me back.

This mum/wife/sister loves to write.

♥ Kelly

 

Image from: here.

Love Got Off on the Right Foot

….or was that the left?

Ever have one of those days when everything just feels out of whack? Maybe your hair just wouldn’t cooperate this morning or you tried to put the wrong key in the lock? Milk in the pantry maybe or trying to put your pants on before your underwear? Something’s not right but you can’t put your finger on it.

My brain must have been replaced with the contents of a balloon this particular peculiar day.

The three of us had left home to have lunch with my mum. I asked Now 6 to help Just 3 with his shoes to save me 30 seconds and hopefully get us out the door on time.

We met Mum, enjoyed a light lunch and then went into a department store to find a gift for a child’s birthday party. The store was having its annual toy sale which normally means aisles full of boxes and no room to manoeuvre. Going into the depths of the toy section with two in tow without a trolley means anxiety meets hysteria. The unanimous decision, made by me, was to get a trolley.

Just 3’s legs dangled from his prominent position as I promised a stop off at a playground nearby if the two of them could manage to contain themselves long enough for us to get a gift and checkout. Unfortunately Just 3 had consumed half a milkshake at lunch and decided he needed the toilet just as we got to the toy section at the back of the store.

There are no toilets in this store.

Drive trolley like a mad woman to store entrance.

Offload precious cargo.

Forehead beaded with sweat, I made a dash with two attachments to the toilets.

Everybody pee consecutively.

Back to store.

Back in trolley.

Back to toy section.

Right-y-o.

Arriving at the playground after having unsuccessfully completed our mission, Just 3 steps out of the car and prepares to take off for the equipment.

It is then, and only then, that I look down at his feet for the first time today.

‘Sweetheart? Do your feet feel funny today?’

‘Um, no.’

‘Your shoes are on the wrong feet. Don’t they feel funny?’

‘…..No.’

‘Come here and sit down. We need to put them on the right feet otherwise you’ll probably fall over.’

My son doesn’t need any more excuses to trip over. He does well enough all on his own.

He may well have two left feet so his feet didn’t feel funny at all.

Only one foot did.

Image from: here.

I Love You More Today

moreI love you more today than yesterday.

Just when I think it is not possible to love you anymore than I already do, you manage to make my heart feel fuller than it has ever been.

It might be the look of concentration on your face as you build a block tower higher than yesterday’s. Or your confidence doing backwards rolls off the lounge that you weren’t able to do the day before. Or the new words that spill forth from your mouth that you didn’t know a short time ago.

My love grows as you do. Tomorrow you’ll show me more reasons to love you. You might tree-hug my leg when I’m least expecting it or tell me you love me just because.

No matter how much mess you make, how loud you are or how disagreeable you may be, as long as I don’t let tomorrow come without having told you I love you at least once, I’m happy.

I’ll love you for all of my tomorrows.

Image from: here.

Foot note: I re-read this today more as a reminder to myself than anything else. Tomorrow sees the school holidays start here in South Australia and I’m looking forward to the arrival of 2.15pm. Following that is 17 days where my primary responsibility will be entertainment coordinator to my two nuggets and writing will take a back seat. There’ll be no forgetting to say, ‘I love you’, but I might need to take many more cleansing deep breaths than normal.

Love is in the Hands of Fate

Holding a heart in cupped hands. Love and health care concept.Did that song on the radio play just for me, right at that moment, for a reason? If I turn around three times on the spot while patting my head and rubbing my stomach will that make one iota of difference?

Fate revealed itself in the few short minutes it took to drive the post box last night. Or did it? You be the judge.

By nature, I’m not superstitious. Being born on the 13th I embrace black cats, limbo under ladders, scoff at broken mirrors, 13, is naturally, my favourite number and I leave umbrellas open inside to dry. Actually I’m not sure on the last one – I think it’s just considered unlucky.

Luck is not something I rely upon or base my life around. That may have to change though.

For the moment I’m sticking with fate and I hope it is kind to me. I’ve done everything in my power and now the lap of the gods is where my little manuscript sits. Yes, editors are god-like figures to me right now. Soon enough though, they may be compared to the devil.

My family and I started a new little ‘tradition’ that will precede every letter that leaves our house to make its way to a publishing house. Each of us sealed that letter with a kiss (I did wipe the boys’ faces first to make sure none of their dinner was evident on the envelope). I dressed for the occasion and grabbed my keys. The song on the radio in the car was turned up loud. One last check of the address as I stood at the post box had me hesitating. Post the damn letter. Someone you know might see you in your track pants and ugg boots. What were you thinking, leaving the house wearing them?

Deed done. Return home and think.

Stop thinking otherwise it’s going to be a long three months.

I threw in a bit of love for good luck. A new tradition/superstition has begun. Fate will play her hand in due course.

I’d love it if you could join in the lunacy. If it’s lucky undies or other nonsensical doings that are crucial to your fate, please share your superstitions with all 13 of us.

Post script-this song had me singing all the way to the drop zone. Sheppard are Australian and they’ll be sure to let me down easy.

 

Image from: here.

Love in Overdrive

driving mum madLove’s driving me crazy.

There’s nothing like a confined space and two small people with loud voices both competing to be heard.

My favourite driving experiences are:

The School RunShort and sweet. Hmm, short yes, sweet no. Those few short minutes can feel like sheer torture. Is the bickering and banter their way of saying, ‘I’ll miss you or I’ve missed you?’ Whatever the case may be it’s enough to drive anyone batty.

The Trip to the Grandparents: similar to the School Run just longer in length. There’s also the added anticipation of arriving. The excitement builds to a crescendo just as we pull in the driveway. My eardrums feel as if they might explode and the grandparents think that a tornado is about to hit the house. It is obvious to all concerned that I have little/no control over my terrors.

The Big Day Out Drive: setting out at shortly after the sparrow’s have sung their morning tune and arriving home close to dinner time denotes a Big Day Out. Wherever we may be headed we have a packed lunch, picnic rug, esky and bag (filled to the brim with spare clothes, hats, sunscreen, etc). The expected, ‘Are we there yet’s?’ start when we’re approximately half way there. It’s been smooth sailing the whole way if we don’t have to stop for petrol or the toilet en route.

The Great Escape: we’ve prepared for this for weeks but nothing can prepare us for the journey ahead. The car is crammed with half the contents of our house. The tailgate on the wagon will only just close. There’s pillows between the kids on the seat. It’s like we’ve tried to build the Great Wall between them so they can’t touch or see each other. The kids have got numerous things to keep them occupied. A game of ‘Eye Spy’ starts before we hit the freeway. If we’re lucky they’ll nod off (syncronised is heaven) for a while shortly after, ‘Are we there yet-i-tis?’ has commenced.

The Solo Cruise: doesn’t happen too often but when it does, Oh Boy! A chance to listen to adult tunes at any volume you please. Window up or down, whatever takes you fancy. And that annoying noise coming from the back of the car? It’s completely gone!

Mum’s taxi will be off again in the morning with the boys I love on board.

How do you cope with the calamity of children in cars for the quick trip or the long haul?

Footnote: After originally publishing this post in February, I decided to revisit it today as it was one of the first ‘pieces’ I wrote that exceeded several lines in length and had some substance. It is also the basis for the idea of my first picture book manuscript. My self-imposed deadline of June 30 is looming. I think my set of wheels needs a car detailer.

Image from: here.

Seeking Love

Love found me today.

On the walk through the school yard you caressed my hair.

In the car you stroked my fingers.

I lost you for a moment when I arrived home. I sat by the window waiting for you to reappear. I closed my eyes and could soon feel your presence.

You were right behind me when I hung clothes outside; ever present, watching over my shoulder.

We played hide and seek in the yard. You hid behind trees but I never tired of finding you, time and time again. Every time I did, you embraced me. You would leave me with a smile and flushed cheeks.

These bones of mine kept moving trying to keep up with your constant motion.

Near the end of the day we stopped at the park to enjoy the last hour we would have together today. We both knew I’d see you again soon enough. Even still, I wished you could stay that little bit longer. I didn’t want you to go. Not right now. Not just yet. The last thing you did was kiss my forehead. I sat on the bench and watched you go until I could no longer see you.

My soul is thankful for the day we shared. You have left me with a warm and full heart.

If I concentrate enough I can still feel the warmth of your touch. Until you return I will suffer a sadness so profound.

I love you, son. I love you, sun.

Image from: here.

A Passion for Love

Love your passion

What’s your passion? What’s life without it?

Whether your passion is for your job, a hobby, helping others or personal growth, our passion for fulfilment should be the driving force behind what we do.

I recently found my passion. I don’t know why it took me so long to find it when it was right under my nose for some 20 years. I think I originally located it almost 10 years ago but for whatever reason it fell by the wayside. Now, apparently, I’m not the same person I was a decade ago. Every cell in my body has since been replaced but the embers of that same fire have been reignited.

Perhaps it wasn’t the ‘right time’ then. Every fibre of my being tells me it is the right time now and nothing nor no one will tell me it’s not. If there are naysayers in my path, I will listen to their words and move on without a backwards glance. My dreams will become possible with passion.

That passion in my heart will allow me to accomplish great things.

Image from: here.

I Love You When I’m Hanging Out The Washing

Pegs used to make I Love YouIt seems like washing day rolls around all too quickly but hanging out your clean clothes reminds me of how much I love you. They are also a reminder of how much you’ve grown and what you’ve been up to (and in to). Even though you’ll make them dirty again soon, I love you.

 

Footnote: This was my second post on my blog. I think the whole thing fitted in the reader without having to click on it. I created this photo when my intention was to have ‘I Love You’ in every post. These early posts were written as if I was speaking to my kids. Somewhere along the line my voice started speaking to my fellow bloggers about my boys instead. I think I also got a little bored of the ‘dear diary’ style of writing I was doing. The photo for this took longer than the post, from memory.

I Would Do Anything For Love….

……but I won’t do that.

How do you go about asking for a favour from someone?

I find it extremely difficult and I don’t know if that’s because I don’t do it often so have had very little experience in doing so or because I would rather be the ‘doer’ of the favour. I enjoy doing things for others. It’s probably selfish if you think about it. I get a kick out of the feeling from having helped that person. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just the teacher in me or that part of me that makes a good teacher. Giving is receiving.meatloaf

So in honour of I promise I made recently I’m going to attempt to make this as brief as possible.

Clear and concise.

Short and succinct.

Alright, enough with the babble!

I need to ask a favour *gulp.

Some of the Freequent flyers here know that I’ve been working on a top secret page-turner.

I have completed the manuscript for my picture book. Being a picture book it has less than 500 words and, as yet, has no pictures. It is being sent to the publisher on Monday who will take care of all the big details such as finding the illustrator, publication timeline, marketing, etc.

So what would I like you to do for this so-called favour, I hear you ask?

I would love for you to read it and comment as you see fit. The only other thing I ask is that you are completely and ruthlessly honest with me.

Whether you are a parent, teacher, writer or lover of reading. Even if you are none of those. You’ve read children’s books or had them read to you. You all bring valuable experience to the table.

In return I will owe you one because, for me, a favour should always be returned in some form or another. What form that takes is completely up to you.

Please remember, though, I won’t do that.

I’d love your help. If you’re willing, please email me and I will forward a copy to you then I’ll chew my nails to the quick.

 Kelly

Love’s Going Bananas

Does Monday roll around quicker than any other day of the week? There’s a touch of fruitcake-iness going on here today and this mum is definitely in a Momdaze. Trying to shake it off will probably be a fruitless exercise.

The banana phone is renowned the world over for giving us a glimpse into kid’s imaginations.

If the conversations that have been relayed through the crescent-shaped fruit could be recorded and put into a book I’m sure it’d sell millions of copies.

My offspring would be able to contribute a few humdingers.

Last week Just 3 picked up his banana from the bench. He took it, sat down and started to have an animated conversation. I listened, not sure who he was talking with. After some pauses, where one can only assume the other person was talking, he said, ‘Mummy can’t come to the phone right now. You like to leave a message?’

As he peeled his banana and started to eat it, I said, ‘Buddy, I’m right here. You could’ve handed the phone to me.’

‘They didn’t want to talk to you and I wanted to eat my banana.’

Ah. Out of the mouths of babes.

Image from: here.

Run For Your Love

running love heart legs

Running out of love.

Are you a walker or is jogging your thing? Do you pound the pavement religiously?

I’ll be honest with you.

I’m a walker. At best, I’m a jogger. Today I did a 1k circuit with my students. Their times were all around the 3 minute mark per lap. Most of them did 3 laps. I did two, at a jog, and managed that in just over 10 minutes.

I was pretty proud of my time as it’s the first time I’ve jogged because I felt like it in maybe 2 years (and keeping in mind I’ve got some 25+ years on my charge of whipper-snappers).

I normally jog only out of necessity.

Like when you’ve got your dressing gown and ugg boots on, it’s raining outside and the morning paper sits on the lawn; yeah that might be worth a jog. The main motivation being, not to get caught out by the neighbours and having to read a soggy paper. Otherwise, no chance.

I don’t run. Not unless I have to. Like when one of the kids is several metres away, falls badly and seeks immediate help. When danger is imminent and moving swiftly becomes a priority.

Running is reserved for those moments where a quick sprint is a primal response. If a mugging was on the cards I’d hightail it like the Bolt himself.

Other than that, I like a nice stroll. That’s my thing. Leisurely strolls at a pace that matches Just 3. That I can handle.

So I’ll just stick to running with you on the inside-where it counts.

Have a lovely run!

Image from: here.

Love Goes On

Love the life you live.

There are those that may feel, on some days, positive life quotes should go kiss their patootie. Maybe you’d like to drop kick it out the nearest window. Grind it to a pulp with your fists?

This one is all glittery so maybe give it a chance?!

Are you good at living life to the fullest? Can you change your perspective based on thought alone? Or does it take action?

When I feel like life’s giving me the middle finger because shitty things are happening around me, I just go looking for hope in the form of love.

I have to; need to, because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to drag myself out of the funk.

I don’t do stress very well. I don’t wear it; able to shrug it off like a coat. It consumes me from the core all the way to the surface.

Over the past 5 months I have read many of these ‘love’ related quotes, sayings, affirmations. I’ve stared at hearts and scrolled through 1000’s of images. And it works.

I may not have gained 10,000 followers in my first week of blogging or been asked to write a feature article on love. But I am still a winner. I got the reward I sought.

Love.

There is more love in my heart than ever before. I am a better mum, wife, friend and, most importantly, a better me.

So if you’re feeling like crap and you’d like to believe that you can feel better than you do right now read the quote above. Heck, read it 100 times. While you’re reading it your brain will be busy processing that. It’ll give you some time off from the other thoughts and help serve as a reminder to love your life.

We all know we only get one. Would you wish the way you feel about your life on someone else? If not, why would you want it that way for yourself?

After all, life goes on.

Live or love life?

Image from: here.

I Love You Tonight

Post-it note under my son's pillow before he went to bed

Today I stuck a post-it note under my son’s pillow before he went to bed. Kids look so peaceful when they’re asleep. We say ‘sweet dreams’ and ‘I love you’ to each other every night. I love him when he’s sleeping.

 

Footnote: This was my very first post back on January 1st this year. I don’t know whether to be proud or embarrassed by this post. In reflection, I can’t believe I had so little to say. Like learning to run I guess I had to walk first. A distinct memory is etched in my brain of the very first person to like this post and of how excited I was. That blogger, who has not been seen since, will always hold a special place in my heart. I hope you don’t mind bearing with me as I revert to baby steps while revisiting old posts while my attention is focussed elsewhere.

 

 

Crazy Little Thing Called ♥

Love is a little crazy.

There’s a touch of weird lurking here so don’t say you weren’t warned.

Is it just me or has there been a steady stream of bloggers heading for the hills of their own minds?

There’s a little bit of crazy talk going on around these parts and I’m sure I’m not the first one to pick up on it. I’m not that fast on the uptake.

I think I’ve already arrived at this point once before. Last time it was more like a ‘what the frigging heck am I doing?’ It’s changed now to a ‘I know what I need to do.’

Through the RCC I mentioned a self-imposed deadline to send off my first manuscript by June 30. That in itself proves I’m crazy. But not being one to back down without a fight I will stick to it. Only problem is, I haven’t even finished it yet. After that, I want to sit on it for a bit and revise/edit yada yada. Now please don’t hound me in the comments section for belittling the editing process or writers in general. A picture book is normally under 500 words. No biggie. Every word just has the weight of the world on it as there are so few of them.

Anyhoo. I wanted to take up a little blog space to thank some people. Don’t worry, it’ll probably only take as long as it would for you to say, ‘well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.’

I’m not going to name drop. You guys all know who you are. My followers. No, not the 325 of you. The 10 or so true followers that have read almost EVERYTHING I have written.

Poetry and poems.

Whinges and whining.

Troubles and tantrums.

Humour and heart warmers.

10 words or 1000. You’re here every day.

I caught up on my reader today for the first time in over a week. Boy it was a relief and I felt great. On top of the reader for 0.4 seconds until one of you posts something I must read. Not because you expect me to; because I need to. I haven’t read a ‘real’ book in 3 months and my manuscript hasn’t seen one ounce of love in 5 weeks. As for my completely understanding, wonderful husband, well, he needs some extra loving.

This is not a ‘goodbye’,’ see you soon’ or ‘not sure when/if I’ll be back’ post. I’m not totally off my rocker.

This is a lull in the halls of love. I’m giving you guys a break. Your reader will be a little lighter and a slightly easier to manage without me taking up space. Actually, cancel that. I’ll be taking up space with stuff that’s already taken up space before. Not a fan of reblogs to be honest but it beats the looney bin which is where I’m worried I’ll be headed if I don’t find a new lease on love.

Oh and don’t think you’ll be getting off that easy. I’m relying on you lot for my daily dose of laughter. I need uplifting quotes and heartfelt poems. Update me with where you’re up to with all your goals and help me choose my next actual book to read. I’ll also be commenting my behind off so no need to be concerned for my mental health. I’m going to be a blogtrotter!

Finally, I would like to take my crazy brain with me having you know:

what I’ve sought

what I’ve learned

what I’ve shared

what I’ve gained

what I’ve pondered

what I’ve found…..

…..is LOVE!

And for that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Kelly

Peepshow Love

boy peeking boy bathroom door toddler peeking peekThere’s an open door policy here. It exists for a number of reasons. Some of which may become clear by the time this gal comes clean.

Shower time for me is a crap shoot. It is a futile exercise at times. I am damned one way or the other.

That darn bathroom door needs to stay open for the moment otherwise I may exit to find any number of catastrophes have occurred while I’ve enjoyed the steamy fog that surrounds me as I exit the shower and try and find the mirror. In the process of having to leave the door open I submit myself to the cold air whooshing past my ankles and up around my mid-section as I try to towel off in 1 1/2 seconds flat.

So that door stays open while I try to get some time to attend to parts of my anatomy that haven’t seen some care in quite some time.

Last Saturday I found myself in the midst of a peepshow.

Thankfully I wasn’t the main attraction. My wrinkly and jiggly bits are not worth a look-see.

I was treated to a peepshow by my little peeps.

As I exfoliated, my little dudes cruised past the door with workmen’s hardhats on. A drill and saw completed the look along with a hi-vis vest on one. Giggles rang out as they raced out of the room and down the hallway.

The pitter patter of mini elephants announced their return. A dinosaur and a cat had taken centre stage. With a roar and a meow they were off again.

The third pass was heralded by sword-wielding, mask-wearing superheroes who treated me to a duel to the death. After a miraculous recovery by the slain victim they charged off to fight the baddies.

Earlier days came to mind when I used to prop each son in their rocker just outside the bathroom door. Back then I provided the show and they were the ever captive audience. I’d play peek-a-boo and delight in their belly laughs while trying to clean up my act in the process.

While the peek-a-boo days are coming to a close it got me thinking about how to help them unlearn this behaviour. You see, I am concerned. We spend the first few years playing this wonderful game with our babies and they are always overjoyed to see what is underneath the hands. As they get older they pull the hands away. Then there’s hiding under sheets and blankets and surprising the unsuspecting passer-by who may do a very good job of acting shocked.

We play hide and seek and like to uncover things. Kids try to sneak a peak at their Christmas presents, lifting that corner of sticky tape and replacing it perfectly back on the pattern of the wrapping paper so nobody will be none-the-wiser. We like to uncover and look. Under things, through holes, carefully pulling back the curtain of life to peek at the goings on of the neighbours hoping not to get caught in the process.

Advertisers prey on our desire to have just a little peek. There’s sneak previews of upcoming TV shows and sneak-peaks at products that are yet to become available. Be the first to sneak a peek at something;makes us feel special. That we’ve had the chance to see something that others have not. Our interest is piqued. We want to peek just a little more.

There must be something about looking without getting caught. Spying, yes that’s probably what it’s called. I’d like my cool cats not to be killed by curiosity. I’d like them to have a healthy respect for other people’s business and keep their noses where they belong (inside a book would be great)! So unless they’re invited, I’d prefer them to keep a safe distance.

peek

I definitely don’t want them to be the ogling type who can’t look someone in the eye. Their eyes should not wander below their belts. But they are boys who will grow into men.

Am I expecting to much of my men-in-the-making? Take a peek back here in a decade or two and all will be revealed, except for me. I’ll be in the bathroom with the door locked.

building site

Summoning Love

rainbow-heart

vapour trail to motion slow

strained synapses fire sporadically

consumed strength from inner structure

muscular wasteland waits on the tick

process impeded on sun’s descent

digits fail to depress

closer to calm’s entrance

prompting summation of time

craggy surface seeks reprieve

lashes meet and mesh

screaming silence into lobes

utter not mindless words

invasive

persuasive

enticing

demanding

the beckoning arms of stillness.

Rebellious Love

rebellion‘What’s gotten into you today?’

‘Why are you behaving that way?’

‘That’s just plain silly, that is.’

These phrases have passed my lips many times. Normally I’m talking to a kid-my own or one of the many intelligent students that I have met when teaching.

Today, though, these words were aimed at myself.

Have you had a day where there’s just a touch of silly about you? Conformity just not cutting the mustard?

Today was my day.

I taught a class of Year 3’s today at a school that has over 1000 students. After finishing my paid duties for the day I walked with one of the students out of the classroom. Her mum and I have been friends for many years. She’s also a teacher and we hadn’t seen each other for a couple of months.

Her daughter told me that her mum picked her up from the kiss and drop. For those who are unfamiliar with this term- stop car, kiss child, they get out and you drive off. In the afternoons-join cue of cars, drive like a nonagenarian, reach front of cue, child jumps in and then you drive off. No stopping for more than a few seconds. You can’t get out unless you want to be berated by seething parents desperate to un/load their cargo. This procession is overseen by a teacher who directs the flow. Some are very serious about their role and are tyrants. Others are a little more lax and more likened to a traffic cop whose stuck on duty past shift change.

Being as I am a responsible adult I herded my friend’s daughter across the cul-de-sac between cars when they had stopped for the next child to begin their journey homeward bound. Her mum’s car was about 12th in the cue to leave so I had the chance to fit in a 2 minute conversation with her as she rolled around to the pick-up point.

We disposed of pleasantries quickly and did a quick catch up while I was on foot next to her car. Promising to see each other soon, she departed the mayhem.

As I walked past the teacher on duty I was given a stern look and I believe she said something about safety.

‘My apologies,’ I replied without missing a beat.

As I walked with a bit of a swagger to my car, I could not help but smirk. My brain was registering the ‘rebel’ label and it felt good.

I drove past that teacher as I left the teacher’s car park and turned my head so she couldn’t see and poked my tongue out.

Apparently the dutiful, responsible and role-model aspects of my personality had clocked off when the bell went at the end of the day today.

Rebel without a cause, you betcha! I fit that bill today.

The rule maker was the rule breaker today.

I’d love it if you don’t tell my kids though.

Image from: here.

Love Makes the Top 10 on the Bucket List

Got a bucket list this year?

Making goals and achieving them can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling. Whether it’s called a bucket list or not doesn’t really matter. We all have dreams and desires which we strive to reach. From the smallest moments to the once-in-a-lifetime experiences, most people try to live a life that’s full to overflowing.

For me there is only one thing on my list this year.

So instead of wracking my brain trying to come up with experiences that would fill my life with moments to treasure, I asked my boys about things they’d love to do.

Their top 10 list consists of:

  1. Go to a museum (again).
  2. Locate and visit playgrounds they’ve never been to before.
  3. Attend an AFL football game.
  4. Swim in winter.
  5. Watch a 3D movie.
  6. Hold a snake.
  7. Go camping (not in the backyard).
  8. Attend a basketball clinic.
  9. Go on a family holiday that involves flying on a plane for the first time.
  10. See Taronga or Melbourne Zoo (a first for the whole family).

The kids needed some prompting with ideas but these are largely their own suggestions. They are yet to expand their view of the world and understand what it has to offer. We’re looking forward to enjoying these activities together as a family. My reward will come from sharing these experiences with them.

We never labelled this list, hence avoiding the need to explain what a bucket list is all about.

We will endeavour to complete all of these before the end of this year.

Love is in the bag bucket.

In The Habit of Love

Love is a habit.

‘We first make our habits and then our habits make us.’

This saying has been one that has retained its place in my memory for many years.

I can’t tell you why. Possibly because I’m in the habit of remembering quotes and phrases that may possibly come in handy sometime.

Habits can be food for the soul. Bad habits can eat away at the very essence of one’s core.

Daily life is driven by habits.

Some of mine keep me on the straight and narrow.

List making is a skill I acquired probably in my Uni days to keep up with assignment due dates, lecture times and extra curricular activities. This habit rolled over into my teaching career where a ‘to do’ list was essential.  I still make lists; can’t function without them. There is something completely satisfying about checking items off a list. Before bed, I empty my head of the next day’s duties. Each morning I face the ‘pigs might fly’ scenario. I’ll be darned if those squealing pink trotters will grow wings while I’m on a mission. Every item will be checked off before I’ll allow my head to hit the pillow. Only exhaustion will stop me every once in awhile.

habit

There’s one thing that is never on my itemised and ordered agenda.

Love.

The day I need to include a reminder to love is the day I’ll stop making checklists then those pigs better fly on stealth mode.

Old habits are hard to break.

Are new ones easier to make?

Watching the kids I see habits forming. They watch me too.

The blanket that needs to be smoothed and perfectly placed. Toast cut into four triangles. Patterns and routines. Rinse and repeat.

After all we are creatures of habit hoping to create a sense of order and control in an otherwise chaotic existence.

A new habit for me is writing.

I love it. It’s cathartic, rewarding, addictive.

The only part of the habit that is cause for concern is the capacity of my brain. Words become prompts for my tireless brain. Titles vie for attention in my hemispheres. Stories jump around in my grey matter begging to be let out. Some flit in and out in a moment-vanishing like fog, leaving me grasping at tendrils, willing the idea to be front-and-centre once more.

There will never be enough time to share the millions of ideas that float in and around me. The ones I carry, those that I forget and others that are left in the wasteland hoping to someday see the light of day.

To fulfil my habit is not only the desire to write but to read. To immerse myself in all the stories from all parts of the globe. To share, start conversations and relish in the great ones.

Perhaps a new habit is required.

I’ll need some time to create it.

Sometime soon would be perfect.

The new habit I’ll love.

Show Me the Love

moneyShow and share the love.

On Momdaze it’s difficult to think creatively, write about current issues or delve deep into my psyche and bring forth something worthy of discussion. With this in mind, I bring you humour at the beginning of the week.

The day will come when I, as a parent, am told something I was totally unprepared to hear by my child’s teacher.

Until that day comes, I feel it is only right, if not my duty, to share one of those moments that I had as a teacher which had me giggling and then cringing.

This story is almost folklore in the school that it happened at over ten years ago. Innocence met a bunch of hidden truths and learned a valuable lesson.

Show and tell (a.k.a news time, show and share, sharing time, news, etc.) takes place at schools across the globe every day of the school calendar. Kids bring in something they’d like to talk about in front of their peers. Sometimes they just share news of current events from their own lives. It fosters confidence in oral language skills and speaking in front of an audience.

The kids were gathered on the carpet and two had already had their turn this particular morning. Adam brought a paper bag to the chair at the front and was ready to start.

After greeting everyone he pulled $500 in notes from inside the bag.

‘This is my Dad’s money. He had it hidden under his side of the bed at home. I saw him put it in there and he told me he won it on the horses. He asked me not to tell Mum because she thinks he just loses all the time.’

While the children oohed and aahed at the large amount of money being waved in front of them, my eyebrows were trying to come back down from hiding in my hairline.

Adam finished his turn and I promised to look after it until home time.

I don’t know if there has ever been another time in my life where I have been responsible for $500 that doesn’t belong to me. I knew being mugged was unlikely but wasn’t sure what to do with the money to keep it safe.

It was decided to keep it at the office until the end of the day and then give it directly to the parent.

Mum came to pick up Adam that day and the moment he saw her he burst into tears.

I told him not to worry and that I would explain everything to his mum.

He said, ‘I’m not worried about getting into trouble with Mum. I’m only upset because Mum is going to be so cross with Dad. I bet she’ll probably take his money away and ground him from the horses for a long time.’

Show and tell taught me a lesson that day. I’m pretty sure Adam’s dad learned something too.

To find a new hiding place, possibly?

Image from: here.