Thursday, May 9, 2019

Gifts from my Pops

It’s my Dad’s 70th birthday today.  I have felt a little heartsore all week but I know it is a culmination of the house move as well as the approaching big birthday that is finally here.

Before he got sick we decided on this big plan to celebrate the ‘rents both turning 70, their 50th wedding anniversary and Tertia aka ou sus turning 50.  We would all go to Mauritius on a grand family holiday.  Paul & Lisa would come down and Nina and her Paul and the Bisson critters and Tertia & Marko and their lot and my own family to join the fogles for this island holiday.  And then he got sick and we did 16 months of cancer which was f*cking brutal and he was gone.

My dad never really got old although he sometimes acted like an old fart.  It’s not fair though.  I am jealous of people with their old dads.  Of golden wedding anniversaries and 70ths and 80ths.  But I have my mother which is huge and I am beyond grateful for that.  Many have no parents.  Adult orphans, it’s just too sad and I am so sorry if that’s you.

So no party for my dad or phone call or presents to mark this major birthday.  But he did leave us some gifts so I honour him by remembering them and being mindful of them. 

Thanks for connecting all of us Dad.  You only ever wanted us to be close to each other, to mom, to have everyone around.  When you got sick we drew even closer in and made this little bubble.  Old wounds were healed, forgiveness granted and accepted and a new gentle kindness we still keep and practice today. 

Thanks for leaving Mom well taken care of.  It was always your intention to ensure she would never have to worry and we as her kids are very grateful to know she is sorted.  To know she has her lovely home and can travel and live a good life.   Don’t worry about dodgy men!  We will make sure no one steals her bucks.

Thanks for your presence I feel much more than I could have dreamt of.  For never being too far away.  For continued guidance as we hear the words you spoke so often.  Those words that were sometimes so damn annoying yet I would love to hear them again.  You gave us a good foundation.

Thanks for Daniel.  For what you put in to help me to parent him.  He had you right until 21 and I wish your other grandkids could have had that too.  Geez I hope you know how he is doing.  Totally fulfilling his destiny and all we wished for him.  He says you have been so on his mind lately and every night when he lies in bed and thinks about business and their vision going forward, he thinks of you too.  That is 100% the thing I miss the most, having you be as proud of him as I am.  Calling you to brag a little.

I miss you and Mom.  I miss Mimi&Pops.  I miss watching you interact with the grandkids.  I miss you walking around my garden and showing me your own gorgeous garden.  Mom and Hans have done you proud and it’s looking amazing btw!  I miss your stories of your camper van fokermobile adventures.  I miss the mundane every day things about having both my parents around.  Sleeping over and chatting to you about my races and my plans and old friends you always ask about.   I miss you and Uncle B and how you laughed and joked and teased your whole lives.  I miss you Dad, a lot.  Happy happy birthday!

Monday, April 8, 2019

My 47th year in review

I like to reflect on the year gone by at the end of a previous year and then the day before my birthday.  Tomorrow I turn 48 years old which seems absolutely impossible of course.   Legally I have been an adult for 30 years already yet somehow I don't feel quite grown up or having my shit together.  Fortunately the secret is out and no one else does either.   We are all merely pretending to one degree or another.

So what did I achieve in my 47th year?  Actually why am I still achievement driven?   So goal orientated and always pushing?  You know what, I am not going to worry too much or over think it, I just am.  I like new challenges, I like putting myself out there even if my anxiety and dystonia really hate it.  I like the rush and I like having a sense of purpose.  I am living my best life.

I lived a whole year without my dad.  I related to my family with a big chunk of it missing and we supported and loved each other and found a way to live full lives without our Pops in it.  He remains part of all we are and all we do but the missing feels more normal now.  Like an achey body part that gets triggered by certain things and soothed by others but is as healed as it will ever be.  It's part of who I am now and it's familiar and it's OK.

I went to Holland with my mom.  We had yet another amazing time together and I loved seeing my aunt Veronica and her family too.  I feel Dutch, I look Dutch, I love the food and the country side and riding the big old bicycle Myrtle and the whole vibe.  It was a very special trip and we make the best travel companions.

I moved house after 16 long years.  I tried to make friends in Stellenbosch but I could never quite break in and after a while it was just fine.  I had acquaintances but no real deep friendships so I took to the mountains and I loved the solo healing time there.  I found groups to run with and I savoured every second of living in this beautiful place.  I am very sad to leave it but I have accepted it and will be back in Somerset West shortly.  Nothing is forever and I will do my time there for the next few years and be happy again before we head out to the next home be that city bowl or overseas. 

I attended my graduation and wore that gown and sash and had the moment I had pictured for the 6 long years it took me to earn my degree.  The previous time I attended a graduation was around 25 years ago.   I haven't use my degree and I am not practicing as a social worker but I am finally ok with that.  Nothing is wasted and I am forever changed in a good way.  One day Daniel will make an absolute fortune and we will set up a NPO together which I will run.  He has always known he will need to give back when he is really successful and I have the time to wait.

I ran my 1st marathon.  I literally said I would never ever run one.  I only started running at 42.  All those years I could have been sporty and active but I reckon this body of mine has many years left of being physically active.  I really intend living a long time and I am trusting both God and science for good health and longevity.  If I hit 88 I get another 40 years.  That's super exciting because I can do so much in 40 years and go to so many places!!

We renewed our wedding vows in Skiathos where we had our first romantic holiday 17 years prior.  Marriage is damn hard work, a constant organism that needs to be nurtured and fed and looked after.  Sometimes we wilt a little and things aren't so perky and then we get back on track and do life together.  We have more and more evenings alone and in 3 and half years time, our youngest is done with high school.

I job hunted.  I made my CV and I put myself out there and I faced rejection and I then I did it some more.  And then I met Isabel who offered me a job and we clicked and Frances & Tertia said why not.  Say yes, you have nothing to lose.  No it's not your area of expertise and yes you are sucky at admin but just say yes and figure it out.  So I did and I do love my job and I am still figuring it out but it is what I am most proud of in my 47th year.  I got a real job and I earn a salary.  A small one but a salary non the less after a very very long time of earning nothing.  I am really proud of myself. 

I continued to raise my kids and have my friendship with them deepen and develop as they get older.  I feel incredibly fortunate to be close to all 3 of my kids.  I am well aware it is beyond priceless.  One of the things I really want to work on in my 48th year, is becoming closer to Sofia.  I have to stop calling her Sofie.  She asks me often and I guess I was hanging onto her junior school self.  I need to get to know her all over again.  She is such a closed book and I want that connection.   I love her.  I love my Rebeka and I love my Daniel.

We had our dream trip to the UK to surprise my brother Paulie.  His fave Mama and his 3 sisters.  We loved our week together and the opportunity to get to know Lisa a little better too.  Knowing how absolutely thrilled my dad would have been, made it extra special.

All in all I would say I had a pretty damn fine 47th year.  My forties have been the best time ever.  I am grateful I have 2 more years in my forties.  I really dread turning FIFTY but maybe I hit fifty and I love that decade too.  A new town, grown up kids studying and working and a grandbaby or 2 should make that decade incredible.  But right now I have my 48th year with my new exciting job, my move back to the house, a trip to Italy in June and the every day little bits of happy I am very grateful for.  Happy birthday to me!