I have two daughters living with me, both close to becoming adults. Unlike their older sister who left home every year from age 16 to 20, these two seem willing to stay forever. And it often bothers me that the conversations around adult children living at home are so negative. So, I am trying to think of different conversations and of ways to make it work. Continue reading “living with adult children”
actively engaging with nonviolent communication, reading, doing exercises, writing in my nonviolent communication blog and just feeling my feelings as they occur
allowing myself to really enjoy and appreciate my relationships with my partner and children and to express that to others even when it feels awkward
being creative when and as I feel like it, enjoying having a number of crochet and sewing things on the go and attending to each whenever I feel like it
getting outside for a stroll around the block, or moving my craft stuff into the sunshine and working there
keeping things in order at work with weekly and daily to do lists and if stuff does not get done bumping it to tomorrow and going home on time and not thinking about it even if everyone else works a bit over
feeding the chooks and spending a little time with them
My old Granny is fading. She has been in and out of hospital for the past few months with a number of infections, including one in her chest that seems intractable. At one point it seemed she was actively dying, but it does look like we will have her for a little longer, that she can go home again at least for a bit, and enjoy all the attention she is getting from her children, grandkids and great grandkids. (And she is enjoying it too 🙂 )
Gran has started to reminisce. We all love listening to her old stories, but it is a bittersweet thing for her, to remember and to be the only one left. She has outlived all her friends from the old days, her parents, all her siblings, all those connections to Ukraine, to her childhood, her teens, her young adulthood, all gone.
Personally, I am also feeling some emotional impact, apart from the grief about Gran. That is, I keep getting washed over with nostalgia. I look at my young adult daughters and I wonder where my babies, my little ones went. Where is the girl who wrote in grade one I will be a carpenter and build my mum a house and we will all live in it and we will love each other? Where is the four year old who confidently pronounced that we could fix the shower leak with zelly zorclan (Selly’s all seal)? Where did my little miss who perched on the loo with her nose buried in her skirt disappear?
When I was a girl in primary school one of my teachers said to me you won’t believe this but your life will go by in a flash. Make the most of it! He was right. I didn’t believe him and also, here I am, 46 years and two days old, marvelling at it all. How wonderful it has been, how glorious, how hard too, and how blessed I am 🙂
Melissa West is a yoga teacher. I have never met her, but she has hundreds of beautiful yoga videos available on youtube. For free. Her yoga is for real people with real bodies so people like me with a blown knee can do it. And people like me who aren’t skinny all over and smooth bodied and smooth faced can do it too. And if you are a person like me and you do Melissa’s yoga, you will soon know again that your lumps and bumps and squishynesses are perfect and beautiful and as deserving of a nice swimsuit as anyone else’s.
But really Melissa’s yoga is about real life too. Yoga for courage to apply for the job and attend the job interview. Or to ask for help, to acknowledge a mistake. Yoga for grieving – to say goodbye, to feel it, really feel it, and let it be for a bit, or even let it go. Yoga for going inwards and remaining strong when the world shouts that you are too old, too wrinkly, too fat, and not enough of this and this and that. And yoga for having a go, trying your hardest and collapsing in a heap, a giggling heap, laughing your head off as you realise that some big drama in your life is not such a big bloody deal after all. That was my favourite yoga moment.
Or maybe my favourite yoga moment was when I did a twist and grasped my wonky knee and encouraged by Melissa’s philosophy was gentle with it and placed it just so and felt a real rush of love and admiration for my bony old knee and all we have been through together and gave it a little pat – there there old girl. That was nice too.
But maybe the best bit is that it is those moments that keep me coming back – not weight loss, age reversal or the general yogarobics crap. Just me, loving me and loving the body I’m in.
Today we – my daughters and one boyfriend and Dave-who-is-bankrolling-this-whole-gig are going on a wee holiday to the Gold Coast. The first-to-move-out is popping by and swapping her luggage for her sisters so the young ones are travelling down together. Dave and I are officially the olds. We get to bring the stuff.
We are going to do some holiday things – go to a haunted house, have fish and chips for tea on the beach (the best bit) and walk around the Burleigh Headland too (the other best bit). And in the evening we will retire to separate apartments. For the first time we booked one for them – and one for us. And in the morning, Dave and I (or maybe just I) will sneak out and go for a walk on the beach (ok – this will be the best bit too) and not worry about the girls missing out or anything. And the girls (who are really women now) will probably sleep in peacefully after a night of watching bad movies and giggling at the sorts of special effects that make me sick. These are happy thoughts to be thinking.
When Dave-the-bankroller first booked this holiday I felt a little sad. Mainly because we never felt we had enough money – or time – to take many holidays as a family when our young women were kids. Now I am looking forward and know that having been through some rough patches, we can all cope with all kinds of crap and be happy. And I feel content and quite satisfied. I actually for the first time feel all grown up. These are happy feelings to be feeling.
A photographer once said to me For godssake don’t smile your eyes disappear. He meant well. I guess professional photographers mostly work for people anxious to look a certain way – with big doe eyes, or something.
But though his words were true (and have become more true over time) I didn’t care then and I don’t care now because when I look at my eyes I see something special and amazing, I see a beautiful story that started back and back past my mum past my old granny Vik and through her mum, Anna and then back and back through all the grannys who I never ever met, back to a particular one who was born to a peasant girl in Central Europe somewhere. To the one who gave me my particular eyes.
My story goes that this baby girl (I like to think of the baby as a girl) was fathered by some Mongolian hoardsman who may have ridden through with his mates and destroyed the village and murdered those who didn’t get out of the way and left the rest hungry and hurting and scared.
And so maybe my so-many-greats-ago-granny was going to be abandoned or killed at birth, but instead when she opened her eyes her mother looked into them and despite everything, there was that moment.
Mine is a story of women and girls. Of women of the earth and potatoes and of goose girls and girls who spent their summer days gathering good grass to keep the cow fat and happy through the winter. Of women who grew and soaked and beat the flax to make linen. Of women and little girls who whitewashed their cottage with lime to keep it in good condition year after year over generations. Of women who endured cold and hunger and cruelty, who bore many more children than would survive and who loved them anyway. Their stories aren’t written down with pen and ink, though I know some of them through my old granny Vik who still tells them today. However, they are written in my body, inscribed in my eyes.
It is that these stories I see when I look into my eyes. All those grannys. Some of them are stern and serious. But most of them smile and nod back at me, their eyes disappearing as they do so.
The ground I dig is far away from theirs, but I love it like they did. I love my chooks and the neighbour’s goat too. I like trees and birds and being outside in the fresh air and sunshine and starshine. I love my family, the ones living now and the ones long gone. And I will keep passing our precious smile around for as long as I am able.
A little time ago I quit a degree. Not because I don’t value university education – I already have two degrees in education – it’s just that I realised that I want a different kind of education now, and that this kind of education is all around me, not just in the university.
I want to become accomplished at nonviolent communication and I am getting a powerful education in this via an informal online course and weekly calls to my lovely empathy buddy, and by practicing nvc whenever I remember to… I aspire to become self-sufficient in vegetables and am learning why my zucchini flowers fall off and how to grow bigger beetroot and yummier pumpkins from an online guru and through a gardening group.
I learn about growing native trees and bush regeneration by doing it with my bushcare group. I learn about caring for chooks by hopping over the fence and asking my dear neighbour, what’s up with this old girl then? I am becoming a master crocheter by chatting to little old ladies on the train and youtube and Ravelry. And I get awesome professional development from my many generous colleagues at work.
Even better, I learn all sorts of wonderful things about people and humanity and the thousands of meanings of life by just chatting to people who come to the library helpdesk with all their questions, their comments and their stuff.
I am a lifelong learner. Anyone who is curious, a bit of a dreamer and willing to ask questions can join me.