Thursday, September 27, 2012

Goodbye my friend

Tonight there were a few tears in our house. Tony had to "retire" a very dear friend of his - Cena Bear.

About three and a half years ago, just prior to when I had surgery, I knew my boys ( then almost 1 and 3) were going to need to spend a great deal of time away from me. To help them cope with this, I took them both to Build-a-Bear to 'make' a bear of their own. Tony chose a little white bear and dressed him in boxer shorts, a gardening apron, and thongs. There were about a hundred different outfits ranging from cheerleaders and fireman to sporting outfits and tuxedos, BUT underwear and an apron was what seemed right to Tony.

When it came to providing a name on the birth certificate, 2 year old Tony suggested "Mummy", then "Daddy", and then "Cena Bear" which was good enough for me.

Cena Bear has rarely left Tonys side, particularly at bed time. He has been washed many times, re-sewn over and over, brushed, and redressed. He wears a Santa outfit all year round. He has been to hospital with Tony and always travels on overnight trips with him. He is Tony's buddy.

Last week as I was switching off all the lights for the night at 11pm, Tony was stirring. Thinking I must have woken him, I went and checked on him and found he had thrown up everywhere and by the looks of it he had fallen back asleep IN IT!

Unfortunately Cena Bear did not come out it unscathed. I tried my best to clean him and wash him, but I could tell it might be time for him to "retire".

So today while we were out I saw some Teddy bears and I asked Tony if he wanted to pick one. After choosing a bear with a green blanket, he was all excited and I suggested to him that perhaps we 'retire' Cena Bear and this could be his new Teddy bear.

He immediately looked at me with little tears in his eyes and said;

"I don't want to 'retire' Cena Bear, I love him."

I explained to him that if he doesn't get to 'rest' from his Bear-ly duties, he is going to fall apart and I won't be able to fix him.

So tonight as bed time rolled around, I told Tony its time to take Cena Bear to meet Big Ted (Anthonys Teddy bear from when he was little). We said Big Ted had been retired for a VERY long time and had been waiting for a friend.
This took some of the sting out of it all, but as we put them in the storage box together, Tony's face crumpled and it brought tears to my eyes. I could suddenly remember how much I loved my Teddy bears and how real they were to me. I of course knew they weren't real bears or anything, but they were real friends in my eyes and I couldn't stand the idea of one of them spending the night on the floor. I realized for Tony, he is packing away a friend and replacing him with another. It was genuinely heart breaking to watch

I heard Tony introducing his new bear, Mayfield, to his new room. The instructions were very detailed;

"This is our bed. You will sleep near the wall so you don't fall under the rail. Don't touch the light bulb, it's hot. You don't need to be scared of that picture on the wall - that's just the Wiggles. Oh, and we are vey lucky, there are no daddy-long-legs up here. You will just love it!"

I'm sure Mayfield will be very happy here.

Monday, September 17, 2012

You speak my language?

I know I am stating the obvious, but being a parent changes you. You go from feeling like your life is semi under control to feeling like you are living in an insane asylum. No one sleeps, there is lots of screaming, people are naked, there is more food on the walls/floor/furniture than in any ones mouths, and you can't understand a word anyone is saying.

I used to believe the saying that some things go without saying.

I used to believe some things should never be said at all.

That was then. This is now.

Every day as a parent, I find myself saying things I never imagined coming from my mouth. I KNOW I'm not alone in this.

1. "Do I smell poo or a bum burp? PLEASE say bum burp!"

2. "Let me smell your finger."

3. "Spit it out and bring it to me, I will eat it."

4. "I know it hurts but I'm not going to kiss your bum."

5. "All the blocks are the EXACT same-stop fighting over the same one!"

6. "Stop strangling your brother and tell him you love him!"

7. (yelling as loud as I can) "How many times do I have to tell you to stop yelling!!"

8. "If you don't eat your bowl of ice-cream, you're in big trouble!"

9. "Pull your undies up BEFORE your pants."

10. Hop in the bath and I will bring your dinner to you."

11. "Do I hear laughing? If you are laughing I won't be happy!"

12. "I am going to the toilet! Can't I have one second to myself?"

13. Stop picking your nose, we are having dinner soon."

14. "One person on the toilet at a time."

15. "PLEASE tell me that's chocolate on the wall!"

16. "That is not food, spit it out.....ah forget it!"

17. "I am not a tissue/rubbish bin/slave!"

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Great Grandma indeed

My husband, Anthony, works at a high school. I think he has a gift with teenagers and works very well with them. Some of the kids he works with have been dealt a pretty rough hand in their short lives. Their home lives are unpleasant and unstable. I don't know these kids myself, but I feel for them and it always saddens me to think of what their future holds with the lives they have.

I actually try not to think about it too much because it makes me really sad, but I know that despite their circumstances, their futures are not yet written. Who and what they become is influenced by their parents and environment, but it is in no way the deciding factor. The deciding factor is the individual themselves.

I know this because I have been fortunate enough to have known many people in my life who have overcome tough circumstance and become wonderful people. One is my Grandma.

My Grandma had a tough life from the get go. Her mother left her and her sisters at a very young age to be raised by relatives. She was often moved around from one relative to the next and never really shown love and security like a child should. She became timid and nervous because she was always worried about putting a foot out of line and being moved again.

At the young age of 14, after what would have been a very tough childhood, she left school and moved out by herself and worked full-time at a factory. I find this so hard to fathom. At the age of 14 I was probably still spending all my pocket money on Hubba Bubba.

Years later, she met my Grandpa (who lost his mother at a very young age) and they were just perfect for each other. Both were so loving and gave the other the devotion they deserved.

My Grandma didn't know the type of home that a child needs to develop with confidence and hope. I have no doubt there wasn't much kindness and affection given to her. But despite this, she is a gentle, kind, affectionate woman. There is never any doubt in my mind how my Grandma feels about me, she showed me all the time.

We loved going to Grandma and Grandpa's house because when we got there there was a table with all our favourite foods all laid out for us. I think they got a brief kiss and hug 'hello' before we set up camp at the table and didn't leave til we were bursting. Then we would flop on the couch to watch "Inspector Gadget", "The Boy Who Could Fly", "Milo and Otis", "Project X", or "The Wizard of Oz". Grandma only see's the best in others and she never has a bad word to say about anyone else. She just has a reverence about her that I love.

Now that I am an adult, I can see that there was a choice that my Grandma made. She could become a certain way BECAUSE of her circumstance, and this would have not been ideal, but been understandable. But instead she decided to become a certain way IN SPITE of her circumstance - to become better. I love this. I love that the situation she was subject to did not define who she became.

Sometimes we are in bad circumstances because of our own poor choices, but other times they are thrust upon us. I don't think its entirely possible to come out of such a circumstance unchanged. We have to change to get through it. But what is undecided is how it changes us.

My Grandma is an amazing Grandma and a beautiful woman, but more than that she is an example of a quiet strength to not let circumstance define you, but to hope for and become something better. Love you Grandma xxxx