Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A little like Batman

We went to see "The Dark Knight Rises" recently. I LOVE Christian Bale. Perhaps even more than Anthony (jokes my darling). During the trailers, they showed a preview for Superman-Man of Steel. As our movie began, I noticed for the first time one contrast between Superman and Batman I never really noticed before. I pretty much just lumped them all into the "Superhero" category, but with different outfits.

What I noticed was Superman is naturally strong. He is inhumanly strong. He was born to be a Superhero.

Batman is completely human. He isn't exceptionally strong. He gets wounded like the rest of us, and several scenes in the movie show his scarred body. He wasn't born a Superhero, he has to work hard at it and has a whole host of crazy gadgets and vehicles to assist his work.

It was the scars I noticed most. They really showed the vulnerability of Batman. I didn't find them ugly though, they are evidence of his work as a hero.

I have scars too - we all do. I have them on my back, neck, shoulder, abdomen, knuckles, foot, and ribs. I used to find the big scar down my back a little ugly. I don't wear overly revealing clothes anyway, but I was happy that they weren't on show.

I can honestly say that I have no shame in my scars now though. They are definitely not evidence of a hero's life (unless eating chocolate on the couch at night is considered heroic), but they are evidence that I have lived a full life. A life full of a variety of different experiences - the way life is intended to be.

My scars are proof I have experienced pain through injury and sickness. They are proof I have experienced joy through the c-sections I had to give birth to our sons. I have scars that make me grateful for modern medicine and the blessing it is in my life. I have scars that remind me of being too impulsive and perhaps acting before thinking. I have scars that remind me of my faith in prayer to overcome disease and illness.

I have other scars too, some that cannot be seen. Different experiences in my life have caused small scars in me I think, not visible scars, but they are there all the same. These scars we generally hold dear to our hearts. These scars are reminders of difficulties we have all experienced and overcome.

My scars are proof that I have lived, and they are not ugly to me at all.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Do me a favor

I decided on Monday morning that I wanted to invest more time into being a better parent to our boys. I had no intention of reading any reference books, attending any seminars, or reading any parenting magazines (mainly because that takes effort). My only plan was to spend time with them doing activities they enjoy.

Carter has been attending Yarran (an AMAZING early intervention preschool for anyone unfamiliar with it) and they have a big focus on playing with your child to help their development. Seems so obvious, but the one thing I really don't do very well is to let them lead and guide the play. Too often I have a plan on what activity we will do and what we will get out of it rather than just playing for fun and seeing where it goes. Sometimes my attitude is to just 'do my time' with play so I can get back to my own 'to-do' list.

Monday I had Carter at home with me. There was weekend washing to do, bathroom to clean, and dinner to cook.
I chucked the washing on, put dinner in the oven and asked Carter what he felt like doing. He grabbed his scooter and announced we were going for a walk to the skate park. The skate park is a 5 minute walk, but took us about 15. We were the only ones there, but I got to watch my little fellow on his scooter. He is really confident and coordinated on his scooter, which is a stark contrast to his coordination when walking (from the amount of bruises he gets from falling over or walking into things it's a surprise we haven't been reported to DOCS).

We then went for a walk and headed home. In the afternoon we played baseball and did some drawing. I felt a little sad when I realized how much he loved my attention. Im happy he enjoys being with me, but sad because so often he bounces over to me with a ball in his hands asking me to come outside and play, but I tell him I am busy.

And I am busy, but I know if I really wanted to I could find ten minutes to play outside with my little buddy.

That same evening, I wanted to teach Tony how to play Phase 10. He is a bright spark and even though he is younger than the recommended age, I thought he would enjoy it and thrive on the challenge.

How right I was. In fact, he actually beat me his first game, and I wasn't even going easy on him!
It is a delight to watch his brain ticking over as he takes everything in.

Almost exactly 24 hours later, Tony appeared in front of me with Phase 10 in his hands and a hopeful look in his eyes. How could I resist?

I know I'm not a terrible parent or anything, but I am a little disappointed in myself that I sometimes forget that I actually 'enjoy' my children's company. That at times, dropping what I am doing and having some fun with them can feel like work. Don't get me wrong, they are work sometimes, they can be the hardest work of my day. But they are always the best part of day as well.

So....after two days of trying to devote more of me to my sons, how was I repaid?

Tony was awake for the majority of last night with a bad ear infection. Sleepless child equals sleepless parents. Carter had preschool at Yarran this morning and when I returned to pick him up, I was asked;

"Are congratulations in order?"

Obviously bewildered I responded with a befuddled look. I was then informed that Carter had announced to his new Yarran preschool teachers that his Mummy and Daddy were getting married and then given them all a celebratory hi-5. I had to tell them we have been married nearly 8 years now.

And....the icing on the cake - going to pick up Anthony from work and taking a 'busting' Carter to the staff room toilets only to have him blast the taps when he washed his hands and water splash ALL OVER the crotch of my pants! It seriously looked like I had wet my pants!

I am more than happy to have the favor go unreturned next time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

And the first shall be last

I had a thought the other day about how common marriage is.

When you think about it, it's pretty amazing the number of people who get married. I know the divorce rate is rather high and it's higher than it was decades ago, but it's still pretty amazing that so many people still get hitched.

The sheer fact that there are so many people who have just happened to find someone they like enough to voluntarily commit to spending EVERY single day with them, sharing half of everything they have, combine their DNA to create little people who will suck the sleep and money from them (among the other joys of parenting) - well the odds of that happening as often as it does is incredible!

I don't think our marriage is the same as it was 7 and a half years ago. There aren't many 'firsts' anymore. We have bought our first car. Gone on our first holiday. Had our first child. Had our first fight. Had our first Christmas. And the list goes on and on.

Things change.

Actually I think it would be concerning if our marriage hadn't changed. It would mean we hadn't grown. We hadn't evolved. We hadn't learnt.

If you asked me seven years ago what I thought made a marriage 'work', I would have said it was good communication, making time for each other, compromise, and a whole lot of love.

Now my answer has changed. It has grown with time and experience.
What I think makes our marriage work is knowing that above all else, we matter most to each other. I know that when I am at the end of my rope at the end of a long day, Anthony will did a little deeper and find the patience to get the boys to bed before I snap. I know that when Anthony is exhausted, I will muster the extra energy to tidy up and get things done. We put each other first when it matters most, but also in the little things. I know I matter to Anthony. I know I am loved.

There are very few firsts left in our marriage, but I don't miss the excitement of that 'new' feeling.  I love the security and closeness that we have now.  I love that in some ways we know each other as well as we  know ourselves.

I doubt I was the first to ever nag Anthony, but I certainly plan on being the last.  He is stuck with me now.   SUCKER!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

On second thought....

Why is it that when you are out and you spot someone you recognize but don't know overly well, you don't say "hi"? I'm sure everyone is familiar with this kind of scenario.

At the shops, spot someone you met once/used to work with/went to school with/met at so-and-so's wedding and your first instinct is to go and say "hi".

But then that little voice chimes in telling you;

"Na, don't go over, they won't remember you and you will just feel stupid."

So you walk on, avoiding any eye contact, and continue on to the food court to get a Cheeseburger with added mayo (don't knock it til you've tried it).

It took me a while, but logic tells me that if I recognize them, wouldn't it be likely they recognize me?

Unless they are a 90 year old woman, or have been in a memory altering car accident since our last meeting, it's very possible I will say hi, re-introduce myself and will get a;

"Oh hi! How have you been?"

I see a pattern in my life though. So many thoughts pop into my mind that seem like good ideas, but then a second thought follows that makes that first thought seem silly and I end up scrapping it all together.

"Maybe I should give 'insert name' a call......actually she is always really busy and I wouldn't want to bother her."

"It seemed like 'insert name' was a little upset today, I should see if she's alright......but I don't want to interfere in case she doesn't want to talk about it."

"I should try and put my 'insert skill/talent' to use and try a new venture....but I don't want to make a fool of myself and mess it up and fail."

Generally speaking, my first instincts are good ideas. They are positive things. It's ALWAYS that second thought that follows straight away that talks me out of it.

Sadly, it sometimes gets to the point that it becomes my instinct to talk myself out of good things. A new suggestion, a new idea, a new venture, and my first instinct will be to provide a hundred reasons why I can't do it.

Logic tells me it isn't risking failure, embarrassment, or bothering a friend that's stupid. It's talking myself out of something good for no good reason that's stupid. It's missing out on helping someone else, or doing something enjoyable, or that will better my own life, that makes no sense.

So, as a starting point, from now on I will make a better effort to make eye-contact and say 'hi'' to those people I recognize at the shop. Worse case scenario - I will get a blank look, get all embarrassed and flushed, and skulk off and get two Cheeseburgers instead of one.