Sunday, October 15, 2017

Fickle and proud of it

Sometimes Anthony makes me cranky.  He leaves socks about our room and forgets to put them in the wash basket.  He snores ridiculously loud.  He can't multitask for the life of him, so I often end up talking to myself thinking he is listening, completely forgetting he can't read and listen at the same time.....unlike his talented, multitasking wife.
But these things are very easy to forget.  It's easy because he has made me so happy the last 14 years I have known him.

I was watching a cheesy love story type of movie a few weeks ago on an iPad while I cooked dinner.  It was one of those "love-at-first-sight" movies where their eyes met they both knew they wanted to be together.  The kind of movie I scoff at but sort of love all the same.

I scoff because I have never bought into the whole "love-at-first-sight" thing.  It seems completely fickle to me, thinking you love someone based upon appearance without truly getting to know that individual.  How can you love a person without actually knowing them.

I sat today in church watching Anthony.  He was up on the stand helping run the meeting while I was with our boys.  It reminded me of nearly 14 years ago when I first moved to Sydney and Anthony had just moved back to Sydney after 2 years in Brisbane.  Aside from my own immediate family, everyone around me was a stranger. As we went to church that Sunday, I knew no one, but I quickly noticed, sitting on the stand, a young man who caught my attention.  Within a few minutes of watching him, I could sense his quiet dignity.  I was drawn to him from the get go.  I hadn't even heard him speak a word, but I had already decided I liked him.   Of course I didn't admit this to anyone because I knew it made me sound like a big Ol' floozy!

Before I ever laid eyes on my two baby boys, I loved them.  I loved them for months before they took their first breaths.  There is a bond there that is so strong, we were linked for life without so much as a touch of the hand.

So as I sat in church today watching my Anthony, I realised I have felt some form of "love-at-first-sight".  I sat with contentment knowing I'm very lucky. I have felt it 3 times over and it might make me fickle or cheesy,  but I'm all good with that.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Cracking it

Anthony and I come from big families. I loved growing up in a big family and even though we were both provided with all we needed, part of being in a big family often means it's more challenging to spoil your children.  There is just less to go around and more people to divide everything amongst.

Having only two children, I am conscious of not wanting to spoil our boys.  You don't need a lot to spoil only two children.  There is this weird balance of loving to seeing them enjoy life and getting to experience things they love but also not wanting them to take for granted the things we are blessed to be able to provide them with.

One of our ways of approaching this was getting our boys their pamphlet delivery job young so they learn to earn money through work.  We were reluctant to pay them for doing everyday chores (like making their beds or cleaning their rooms) because they too live in our house and should be helping care for our house too.  We signed them up for a little job that we help with, and at first they enjoyed it, but it has been 2 years and the novelty has definitely worn off.  We have discussed it and decided we don't want them to quit though because they enjoy having their own spending money, and also because we want them to learn that work is a part of life.  

The problem is they haven't yet learnt that complaining isn't a part of being a good worker.  Most adults know that complaining about going to work is fine, complaining to family and friends about your job is even okay, but spending every moment at work whining is a sure-fire way to get fired!  Tony and Carter haven't figured this out yet.  I tried to teach them this by telling them if you complain at work, you get fired and get no money, so if they complain they would lost their pay, but still have to complete their job.  This KIND OF worked, but also made them resent their job.

Instead, trying to have a more positive attitude about their job seemed like a good path.  The whole setting-a-good-example path.  

Today was a delivery day and I took Tony with me to deliver the catalogues as Tarts and Anthony were a bit under the weather.  From the moment we left the house, Tony was complaining.   We got about a third of the way in and he had complained non-stop, despite me telling him to stop, that it was annoying, and to just get over it.

Finally, I cracked it!

In the middle of the street, I marched across the road, snatched the bag out his hand and told him to just walk to the car because I was over it and was taking him home because I would rather do the whole job myself than deal with an hour of whining and moaning.

Despite him telling me how much he didn't want to be working, as soon as I told him I am sending him home, Tony tells me he wants to do the job.  This is how kids work, they push and push and then you crack it and tell you they WANT to do they very thing they have been saying they don't want to do.  IT IS INSANE.

We get in the car and Tony insists he wants to finish his job. a moment I am not proud of, I lost it!  I pulled the car over in a most dramatic fashion and ranted and raved for a good 3 minutes (even though Tony will tell you it felt like much longer).  I didn't swear (we aren't a swearing family), but I did use a word that Tony said he has never heard me say before and for which I apologised after.  I went on and on about how I was trying to be positive but he was being such a misery guts and it was making the whole thing miserable for me.

After realising his mother was a lunatic, Tony wisened up and told me he was willing to change his attitude and he wanted to stay and finish his job.

So we played a game while we worked and the next hour was fun.

As we got in the car to go home, I did what all parents do and pointed out how my crazy had a purpose.  Actually, I apologised for losing it and then said;

"So Tony, can you see that after you decided to change your attitude, the work we had to do stayed the same, the bags were just as heavy, we had to walk just as far, but it was better.  The only thing that changed and made it more pleasant was your attitude.  Changing your attitude about things can change the whole experience."

I thought it was a good lesson.  But in hindsight, I missed the part of the lesson that was meant for me.  Tony did change his attitude, but I also made an effort to make it more fun and came up with a simple game to play as we walked.  I needed to change my attitude too.

As we drove home, Tony patted my hand and said;

"Don't worry, I won't tell anyone you said a bad word.  Some things just aren't necessary to tell everyone."

I did tell him however, that we as parents make mistakes all the time and although I regret my behaviour, I want to show our boys we can move on from mistakes and won't hide them.

I'm fairly certain that moment of my bad behaviour will be stored up and used against me at some point in the future though.


Friday, April 7, 2017

Boring...but so happy to be boring

Thirty two years old! I remember my Mum turning thirty well and I would have been about Carter's age, which weirds me out a bit but there it is.

I like where I am so far I my thirties though. It's a place I can only describe as content.  It's not perfect, and there is still lots of room for improvement, but I'm ok with that right now, hence the contentment.  

One of my greatest self discoveries in life has been that you can be happy in almost any situation. That happy isn't always joyful, singing from the rooftops - that would be annoying! But there is a kind of quiet inner happiness I have found that everything will be alright.....somehow, and to try and choose happiness in the mean time.  
And that it what I feel right now.  

I know I have the gift of being loved.  I have my darling husband, my boys, and my family who love me.  
Anthony has loved me for thirteen years now.  I knew he loved me then, but boy do I know he loves me now!  It's that fierce kind of love that I know he truly knows my heart and I know my heart is safe with him.  He drives me nuts at times and I'm proud to say I give as good as I get, but even the crazy is livable.

I also have the gift of having people to love.  I love having 'my people'.  I must admit that my social circle has shrunk somewhat of late with the changes my health, and just life in general, has brought.  It hasn't changed my feelings towards these people, just that for now it's hard to do the 'have to's'  at times let alone the 'want to's'.  I'm ok with this for now though because how things are now might not always be this way, and I want to be happy in the now. 

I find a lot of satisfaction is the quiet life I have had served to me on a platter with my back pain and epilepsy.  I actual am reveling in it.  I knew I was on the quiet side, but at thirty two I now realise I am an introvert.  No, not a shut-it, but a genuine introvert.  I don't gain energy from socialising in a busy way, even if I enjoy myself socially.  I can be out and have a great time, but have this innate need to come home and tuck myself away for a bit because I feel drained and recharge when I am in my home - nice and quiet.   I always just thought I got tired easily, but the more mature me has seen something new.  I feel excited by a quiet schedule with lots of time to just quietly 'be' and think.  It's not boring to me, it's fulfilling.  I especially enjoy hanging out with friends just one-on-one.  Getting to just have a simple chat and a good laugh is one of my favourite things - particularly when food is involved!

So thirty two year old me is still the same old Jo, just a version that knows myself better and is happier for it.  I guess you can say I am all grown up now 😉