It’s hard to believe that six weeks have passed since I met my beautiful rainbow baby. My last blog post featured Miss I’s arrival into the world after a fast and furious labour. If you missed her birth story you can read it here and here. The moments and hours after her birth were magical. When she was placed on my chest and we lay skin-to-skin, my heart swelled to the point of explosion. I soaked up her newborn smell and gazed in amazement as she slowly but surely made her way over to my breast and began gentle sucking. Isn’t it incredible the way babies instinctively know how to find the breast? We lay together like this for a few hours and I resisted separation. But I was a meconium-covered mess, so eventually I agreed to a shower. And how good that shower felt!…
If there’s one thing that no pregnancy guide or baby book can prepare you for, it’s the shell shock you feel in those first few weeks of bringing your new baby home. Becoming a mum is life-changing!
Of course, we are told this but you can’t truly comprehend it until you experience it for yourself. New motherhood is a rocky ride! There is no induction. No manual. No training. You have to learn on the job! In fact, if the responsibilities and conditions were outlined in a job ad, I am not sure it would receive many applicants! And yet, many of us keep going back for more….
As a first-time mother you devote all your time and energy to your newborn baby. It’s a steep learning curve and being responsible for a little baby is all consuming. I’ve been reflecting on those early days of new motherhood. I remember when Mr NASD and I prepared to leave the maternity hospital with Miss A. She was sound asleep in her capsule and I was a mixed bundle of excitement and apprehension. When we got to the exit I remember thinking, “Are they really going to let us leave here with this baby?” I half expected an alarm to go off and security to come and take the baby off us. I mean, we weren’t experienced or responsible enough to care for a tiny baby, were we?
As it turned out, no alarm went off and no one paid us any attention as we left the hospital, and began our very slow and cautious drive home from the hospital. When we arrived back at our inner city home (because the ‘burbs hadn’t come calling yet) I remember staring at our tiny person in utter disbelief. We were home. We were parents. We had a baby. Officially we were grown ups!
Any day now I will be returning to newborn land, where days are characterised by (what seem to be) endless feeds, nappy changes and an unrelenting sleep fog. I remember those days well. And I am staring down the barrel of them again, after a four-year hiatus.
New motherhood brings so many changes. And I am not just talking about leaking boobs, a merciless fatigue and a weak pelvic floor! Amid the wild celebrations and emotional vertigo, there can be some intense emotional pressures and challenges. You hear it’s tough, often tiring and sometimes tedious (sometimes?), but you can’t really understand it until you’re living it.
For me, I found the physical changes easier to adjust to. I’m not saying I enjoyed living in a perpetual state of fatigue for 12 months, but I was able to cope with it. What I found more challenging, and less discussed, was the sense that as I had become a mum, I had lost a sense of my “self”. Having worked in a corporate environment in a role that involved travel, responsibility, decisions and change, I suddenly found myself alone at home spending a lot of time on the floor. I struggled with the monotony of motherhood; the lack of interaction, adult conversation, the “buzz” of an office. The soundtrack of the Wiggles played on an endless loop in my head and I tired easily over conversations about poo, sleep and milk.
By far the most difficult adjustment for me was the way motherhood altered my sense of space. In short, it destroyed it. My “Velcro” baby was so attached to me that I couldn’t be apart from her. I wanted to be needed, but I needed some space too. But it can feel impossible to keep a sense of your self when there is a person whose very purpose is to need you. I couldn’t reconcile these conflicting needs and so I gave myself entirely to motherhood.
I am sure my experience is true of many first-time mums. If only I knew then what I know now. Sacrificing yourself entirely for your baby does not make you a better mum. It makes you an exhausted mum and can compromise your health. I now know that my role as a mother is important but it doesn’t exclusively define me.
New resources are being developed all the time to assist mums with the transition to new motherhood, like Bupa’s mummatters. mummatters is a mobile tool that is designed to help women who are pregnant, or just had a baby, look after their emotional wellbeing. It emphasises the importance of ‘me’ time and encourages you to regularly ‘check-in’ with how you’re feeling, which is so important at this time. And if more help is ever needed, mummatters can help you find it.
Becoming a mother is life-changing. Literally overnight you become responsible for an extension of yourself; you become a lifeline. The good news is lifelines are available to you too. As I approach motherhood for the fourth time I feel so relaxed about it. I know that in order to be a happy mum, I must give back to myself to. And the mummatters app is a fabulous way for me to stay on top of my emotional health and wellbeing.
How did you find the transition to new motherhood? Did you feel like it altered your sense of self? What was the hardest adjustment for you?
*This post was brought to you by Bupa.
It’s no secret this has been a tough year for me. Here, on my blog, I celebrate the ups and the downs, the wins and the woes, the good days and the tough days. As we all know – motherhood is not all dandelions and daisy chains. It is hard work and I like to present motherhood in its entirety. Mostly I don’t airbrush it or filter it through a lens.
Recently it took me to have a mini breakdown to acknowledge I needed that thing mothers struggle to ask for – HELP! So many things led to this point: a difficult pregnancy, our ongoing struggle to find a house, financial pressures, being forced to move out of our rental at 38 weeks pregnant, a serious iron deficiency, and the list goes on. I felt completely overwhelmed.
Like many mums I prioritised everyone and everything else around me, neglecting my own wellbeing. I knew I was sinking but I felt if I could just stay afloat a little longer, everything would be OK. Well the problem with this theory is that there’s a limit to how long you can stay afloat without running out of puff. And I ran out of puff and broke down. My chest felt tight and my shoulders were heavy constantly. I put it down to my iron levels, but when an iron infusion failed to have any impact I knew it had to be more than that. My load was too heavy and I needed help to ease it.
One of the most liberating things you can do for yourself is to admit to yourself, and others, that you need help. I have learnt there is no shame in admitting you are having a tough time and not coping. The chances are people will rally around you to help. Here are three simple measures you can put in place to ease the pressures and stress of motherhood.
3 ways to ease the stress of motherhood:
1. Accept help
Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Realising that you need help and accepting it can help make you a better mother and wife/partner as your stress levels decrease and your ability to cope with everything that life throws at you increases.
Over the next few weeks friends and family rallied to help me. People cooked for me, took care of school and kinder drop offs and had my kids for play dates. Everyone was only too happy to help. My husband talked to his boss about working some flexible hours so he could help out with the school runs and life became infinitely easier.
2. Learn to say no
No, it’s such a powerful word isn’t it? It’s strange: given that “no” is one of the first words we learn as kids – why do we have such trouble saying it as adults? Women are people pleasers, so it’s fairly common for them to over commit to things when they would rather not.
I can relate. I am a serial people pleaser, so I tend to say “Yes” when I often mean “No.” But overextending ourselves to others can deplete us of vital energy and space if we are not obligated to ourselves. It’s OK to say no to things. In fact, it’s absolutely essential that you do.
3. Create a village
We are all familiar with the expression “It takes a village to raise a child.” The problem is many of us don’t have family living close by and the village is hard to create. But you can gather supporters around you and tools to help you manage your load. How lucky are we that we can turn online for support? I have found some excellent digital resources. Online support groups have helped me feel less alone when I experienced the grief of miscarriage and there are some great web tools available to new mums.
Bupa’s mummatters is an excellent resource for anyone who is currently pregnant or has had a baby in the past 12 months. Of course, you can use mummatters if you have a child older than 1 year, as you may still find it useful. Regularly maintaining your emotional wellbeing is important. I let mine slide recently and I don’t want to let it happen again. And that’s what I love about the mummatters tool. mummatters can help you get a better sense of how you’re going. And, if more support is ever needed, mummatters can help you find it. It is also free and easy to use, private and confidential and designed by experts. Big ticks!
You can create a village in many ways – through friends, mothers’ groups, online support groups, and turning to online tools. Bottom line: help is at hand, you just need to build a network of support to ease your load and stay on top of your health and emotional wellbeing.
Do you have any other tips for easing your load?
*Disclosure: This is the second in a series of mental health posts brought to you by Bupa.
School holidays. Two words that are likely to incite excitement and dread in equal measure. The upside of the school break is that our kids get a much-needed break from the busy days of school. And let’s not forget about the parents who get much-needed respite from making lunch boxes and the endless school drop offs, pick ups, readers and extra curricular activities!
But, often our fantasy of such a break and the reality of the break are diametrically opposed. When my kids were little I wrote this post about my attempts to keep them entertained with my sanity in tact. I managed to entertain them, but the sanity part is debatable! Now they are a bit older, I look forward to the holidays with a fair degree of enthusiasm. The school term is so harried and I welcome the down time and slow parenting. But, after weeks of anticipation, four days of bliss, the “Mum, I’m booooored” line will inevitably echo around the family walls.
So, for many of us (honest) mums, the school holidays comes with a certain amount of dread. How will we keep the kids entertained for two entire weeks with our sanity and bank balances in tact? I like to mix up the holidays with a good balance of slow, at-home days, and activities outside the home. Here are my top tips for keeping the little ones entertained:…
Well, it’s official. I am now 40!
I can’t say I’ve been looking forward to this day, but now that is it here I am feeling A-OK about it. It’s only a number after all, but the number terrified me for a while. I suppose it’s because I don’t actually feel forty. I kind of don’t think I look forty, either, but a healthy dose of self-delusion could be at play. Certainly I’ve aged A LOT since I had kids, and the lines around me eyes are evidence of this past decade, but then again, a lot has happened in the past ten years.
My 30’s were good, really good. I got engaged on my 30th birthday and married the love of my life six months later. In our early years of marriage we travelled to some incredible countries including India (for our honeymoon), Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Italy and Slovenia! Our Eastern Europe trip was terrific fun. We were footloose and fancy free and we ate, drank and drove our way across some of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. We were deliriously happy as we had officially decided to start trying for a baby. Oh, so daily “siestas” were also a highlight of our holiday!
At 31 we were expecting our first baby, Miss A, who arrived shortly before my 32nd birthday. I have never been happier in my life than in the year that followed her birth. Life was everything I wanted it to be and I enjoyed motherhood immensely. At 33, we welcomed Miss J into our family and our lives and life got a little “busier.” She was not a good sleeper, and an unsettled baby and I found juggling a newborn with toddler difficult and draining. Which in hindsight makes my decision to go for a third rather “questionable”. But I’ve always been an impatient person so three under three seemed like a perfectly reasonable predicament, er I mean, situation!
Mis H arrived eager and ready to join the family when I was 35. She walked fast, talked fast, and waited for no one and nothing. Life was MANIC!!! I can’t really comment on the next few years as, quite frankly, they are a blur. For some odd reason I thought it would be a good idea to start a blog (because life wasn’t really busy enough, right?) and so you can read about those early times here and here. I honestly don’t know how I survived the first couple of years after Miss H was born. Having three preschoolers at home for three consecutive year is utter madness. I wouldn’t recommend it, but now that I am through it, I am very happy my girls are so close in age.
So although our lives are no longer filled with adventurous travel, hip bars, independent cinemas and urban restaurants, we are very happy. I feel like life has settled into a nice rhythm and I can’t really ask for more in life. Except a home, to own. But we’re working on that one 🙂
I feel confident my 40’s are going to be fabulous. Instead of resisting this age, I am now embracing it with full gusto. It begins today and I intend to celebrate my four decades with great enthusiasm. I officially launch my “Festival of Forty” today. I’ve got some fun things planned for the next few weeks and I am going to share my celebrations with you all.
Be sure to pop back here in a few days as I’ll have something very special to share with you….
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!
I am ready for “life to begin”. I think 40 is going to be fun!
Thanks for following and sharing a little bit of my world with me.
Pick your battles. For many of us, this expression takes on a whole new meaning when you become a parent. I am seven years into my parenting tenure and I’ve experienced my fair share of battle wounds. This child-rearing gig is physically, emotionally and mentally draining. Compromises and sacrifices are part of the daily grind. But how do you survive the bumps and not sacrifice your sanity?
The answer is simple.
Choose the battles that are worth fighting and ditch the ones that aren’t. Surrendering, when appropriate, is a powerful tool to have in your parenting armour. Knowing when to drop a battle is crucial. Some battles that are worth the fight, but many are not. Here’s a guide to the most useful, and useless, battles:
Parenting battles WORTH the fight
In an age where self-entitlement amongst kids is rife, this is a battle worth fighting. We must win the war on manners and this extends beyond the obligatory pleases and thank yous. I reckon this is something that needs constant reinforcing. And, yes, sometimes it’s tedious and you get so sick of saying “what’s the magic word?” in a voice you barely recognise as your own, but the truth is there should be no magic to it. Kids need to learn respect, empathy and etiquette. And even if my dinner hardly qualifies as “cooking” I still expect to be thanked for the fish fingers and frozen peas!
I know we’re meant to be raising daring and robust risk-takers but I rather fancy my kids alive and well. Fortunately my kids are naturally risk-averse (read: scared shitless of being more than a millimetre from my side) so I don’t have to worry about anything more sinister than a grazed knee. But many kids seem all too eager to run out onto roads, and have a particularly violent response to being restrained. So I reckon seat belts, car restraints, stair gates, pram straps, and safety-approved cots and high chairs, well that stuff is worth the effort. Emergency departments don’t rank highly on most parents list of milestones!
Let me be very clear on this one. Glitter is WORTH the fight. I can accept the crayons, clippings and clag that contaminate the house when you have young children, but there ain’t no place for glitter in my house. It is evil. This festive asbestos leaves an irrepressible trail of destruction. And if anyone should ever send your child and invitation to their little princess’s party with glitter in the envelope, your response should be swift. Defriend them.
Parenting battles NOT worth the fight.
- Birth plans.
The best laid plans come undone is a well-worn adage for a reason. The birthing process is something we have little control over. And I reckon most women who have been through labour would classify it as one hell of a battle. Cervixes sometimes don’t cooperate, kicking your calming birth techniques to the curb. Try as might to coax my first baby into the world, my obstinate cervix had other ideas. After 34 hours of hell, I couldn’t have cared how that baby crowned! While pethidine, an epidural, stirrups and a vacuum extraction weren’t high on my wish list, a fair degree of force was required to convince my baby out was better than in. DITCH the bullet point birth plan. Better to have an open mind and your only birth plan should be to have a baby.
- Rigid sleep routines for babies.
Here’s the thing. No two babies are the same. Some babies are good sleepers, others are not. Full stop. I don’t care what any parenting expert/guru/whisperer says, you can’t FORCE a baby to sleep. Some like being rocked to sleep, others need to be swaddled tighter than a Mexican burrito. Many babies need to be coaxed, coerced, and cuddled to sleep. Some love the car, many don’t. And there are some babies who sleep effortlessly through the night at six weeks of age. These babies are the exception, and false advertising for the rest of us. Babies fall into all sorts of sleeping categories: light, nocturnal, party animals, cat nappers and if you’ve ever had a colicky/reflux baby you have my sincere sympathies. There is little you can do. I read Tizzie Halls ‘Save my sleep’ and instead of saving sleep, it smashed my sanity. The military approach was not for me and I was a frazzled mess. When I surrendered this battle and relaxed, the baby slept through the night and has done ever night since. #couldbeslightexaggeration
- A tidy house
Learn to live with the clutter and craft. I know some will not agree with me here as the mere sight of crumbs and clag induces heart palpitations, so if this is you, develop a system to control the chaos. Your fridge will be decorated with hand-painted masterpieces for many years. Think they’ll like the handcrafted timber toys over the plastic rubbish? You’re dreaming. Kids love colour. Kids love plastic. Kids also like toys that make noise. Invest in earplugs and plenty of storage baskets. You can’t beat it so better to live with it and preserve your sanity.
- Forcing toddlers to eat
This is where parenting really gets colourful (pun intended). I am convinced toddlers derive a sick pleasure from seeing their parent try every trick in the book to coax something down their throat. They learn quickly that they can’t be forced to swallow the mushroom risotto that you’ve spent the whole afternoon cooking because some food expert told you kids love it. And don’t be fooled by past behaviours. Just because they’ve eaten pumpkin puree every day since they started solids, they will suddenly despise it. This will be fairly evident as it will be hurled across the room with merciless force. In fact, they have decided they don’t like orange food. And the following week it will be green food. Unless you particularly enjoy having food thrown in your face, regurgitated all over the floor, or blood curdling screams that will make the neighbours phone child protection, DROP this battle. Present, let them reject, and go back to your instagram feed where you can feed on house porn and a life that in no way resembles your own!
This guide is by no means exhaustive. Which battles are you happy to fight or drop? Let me know in the comments below!
I have a 4-year-old, 5-year-old and a 7-year old. Life is as noisy, busy and full as you would expect. But it is also less harried, less taxing and less chaotic than the previous chapter.
The early years of motherhood are turbulent. Virtually just yesterday I was deep in the baby-toddler trenches, living in a permanent state of exhaustion and chaos. Having three children under the age of three was, aside from utter craziness, in a word – intense. Midnight feeds, nappy-changing and sleepless nights, along with the mind-numbing tedium of Groundhog Day made early motherhood grueling.
But slowly things began to change and our family rhythm switched gears. Initially it was quite subtle, and I almost didn’t notice it until I realised I was breathing, and moving at a slower pace. More significantly, I found myself laughing more and enjoying motherhood. As I ponder this rather seismic shift, I wonder if I am nudging closer to the golden years of parenting; the fabled “sweet spot.”
Here are nine signs I might be on the cusp of the sweet spot:…
Meal times can be a stressful experience with young children. Give your child peas instead of corn and the emotion that surfaces can be quite spectacular. The evening power battles are endless. Before having children, I never imagined getting them to eat a variety of nutritious and delicious food would be such an effort, and often an ordeal.
I grew up in a family of five daughters. Life was busy (and noisy) but we always came together for the evening meal. Our dinners weren’t just meals, they were occasions. Food was something to be excited over, and to be appreciated. I am now trying to encourage the same family meal experience with my own children. Recently I came up with an idea to make mealtimes more fun, because one thing I’ve learnt as a parent is: the more fun a child has, the more open they are to trying new things. And the less stressed I am as a parent!
How to make mealtimes more fun
The midweek meals jar
They say no two children have the same personality and it appears no two children have the same palette, too. I have three children and do you think they all like the same food? Not a chance. Consequently, each of my children has different “favourite foods.” Tired of the whining over whether I boil, roast or mash the spuds, I developed an idea where each child will get their favourite meal once a week. I started this recently and it’s been a big hit.
What you need
- Mason jars. Jars are not just for jam; just take a look at Pinterest for infinite ideas. For this activity you’ll need one empty jar or perhaps two – one for savoury and one for dessert.
- Bamboo forks and spoons. You can purchase these online or from party suppliers. Alternatively you could just use paddle sticks, which are readily available from craft shops.
- Washi tape. This lovely patterned tape has many versatile uses. I have a truck load of it and use it for all sorts of craft activities. Of course you don’t need to use it, and it may not be the most attractive table centerpiece, but kids love colour!
- A sharpie.
How it works
The concept is simple to create. Make sure you involve your children in the set up. It’s fun, and also helps with meal planning for me.
Ask each child to nominate his or her favourite meal (or better still, 2 or 3 ideas). I allowed my kids one healthy choice and one that was more of a “sometimes” meal, like fish ‘n’ chips. I asked them each to choose a dessert too, although desserts are not a regular feature of our meals. Weekends only. Once you are satisfied that everyone has had a voice in the family (don’t forget mum and dad) you can then write the meals down on the bamboo forks with your sharpie, or even better, ask your kids to do it. The more involved they are in the process, the more fun they’ll have, and the more fun they have, the better the outcomes. This is a simple equation and easy to follow for even for the most mathematically challenged mama!
Pop the jar in the middle of the dinner table. At the end of each dinner, ask someone in the family to pick a fork from the jar for the following night’s dinner. It may not be their “favourite” meal, but this way they learn about fairness and that their favourite will be drawn at some stage.
Try this at home. It’s fun, simple, cheap and eliminates the dreaded, “What am I going to cook for dinner?” scenario of witching hour. And you should see how happy they get when they actually do pick their favourite fork!
*Depending on your repertoire and meal rotation frequency you may need a bigger jar. I don’t have many ideas so we’re on a weekly rotation at our house!
What are meal times like at your place? Do you have any tips or tricks to help ease the stress of dinnertime? Please share your wisdom, or war stories. All welcome!!
As mothers we are skilled at many productive things, but we are especially skilled at putting ourselves last. We prioritise our kids’ needs ahead of our own, and we constantly look out for others, neglecting to replenish ourselves. We too often forget to fit our own oxygen masks.
It’s no secret last year was a rough one for me. I seemed to jump from one disaster or disappointment to another. I don’t want to bang on about it, as I don’t think it’s helpful to dwell on the negative, but I do think it’s important to listen to your body, and your heart, and recognise when you need a break.
Towards the end of the year I felt like I was going to combust. I felt drained; emotionally, physically and mentally. I went to my GP and asked for blood tests to try and uncover a medical reason for my unrelenting fatigue. The blood tests came back normal. I was disappointed. I wanted a medical explanation for it, like low iron. I’m a vegetarian after all so that would have made sense. But my lovely GP assured me that there was indeed a medical explanation for it. Exhaustion. Burnout. She suggested a strange concept called “rest.”…
Tomorrow will bring both joy and sorry. In the morning I will watch my daughters perform in their first ballet concert. My eyes will well with tears of love and pride as I watch them pirouette and plie on stage. And then, in the afternoon, I will gather with my family to farewell my late auntie’s home. We will laugh, and we will cry as we reflect on the many happy memories created and shared in that home.
It’s been less than six months since she died. I remember my family’s shock as we immediately plunged into grief, upon hearing her diagnosis. We had little preparation. We were told that she didn’t have long, but no one predicted that she would live for less than four weeks.
When it was time for me to say goodbye, I felt sick with grief. The finality of my last visit filled me disbelief and despair. You see, she was so much more than an auntie; she was a second mum to me and my sisters – a confidante, a friend. One of the best. I wanted more time with her. I wanted more conversations. I wanted more family celebrations.
For 39 years her home gifted me with so many happy memories. My early childhood years were punctuated by sleepovers, billie cart races and swims in their backyard pool. It was a modest, above ground, no frills variety but we thought it was the best. We spent many a summer afternoon jumping in and out of that pool, playing Marco polo and running amok while our parents were nowhere to be seen. Pool safety wasn’t the concern it is these days. And if they were watching, they were usually sipping their G&T’s and paying us little attention. We loved it.
But it was in my adult years that my love and respect for my auntie grew even more. She was a great supporter of my adventure-seeking streak and she encouraged me to travel and embrace my creative side. She “got” what I was looking for in life. She also got what I was looking for in love. In fact, she had a hand in introducing me to Mr NASD. Yes, it was my auntie who believed we would be a good match. It turns out, she was right about that too.
Upon having children of my own, as if often the case, my respect for the mother figures in my life skyrocketed. She was so happy to see me become a mum. I remember introducing her to Miss A as though it were yesterday. She and my mum came into the hospital and rather than being greeted by a radiant and euphoric new mum, they were met with a very pale and sick mum and a crying baby. I handed Miss A over so quickly and asked them to pass me a vomit bag and call the nurse. I watched as they both held my baby with experienced hands that soothed her into an immediate sleep. It was rather mesmerising. I wondered if I would ever be so capable.
So it was with a heavy heart and aching love that I penned my farewell to my auntie upon hearing her devastating diagnosis. I didn’t feel that I could say everything I wanted to say face to face, so I wrote her a card. If you’ve ever had to write a goodbye card to someone you love dearly you will know it is one of the hardest cards you will ever write. More a thank you card than a farewell card, I wrote of my gratitude. I thanked her for her unwavering support and love. I thanked her for years of cherished and rich childhood memories. And I thanked her for being my mum’s best friend, a love and loyalty between two friends that is rare and blessed.
I was pregnant when I visited her in her home for the last time. It wasn’t official but I was hopeful I was on my way to becoming a mother of four, just like her. Sadly I lost the pregnancy just a few days after her funeral. I clutched my card as I walked towards her house. A cruel sense of injustice and déjà vu met me at the driveway. I had walked up this driveway to say goodbye to her husband, my beloved uncle, who died in the same bedroom from the same cancer 15 years earlier. Yes, life can be that cruel.
It is both confronting and a privilege to have the opportunity to say goodbye. I wanted our time together to be happy so I took in some old family photos that we made us laugh. I also took something certain to make anyone smile, even when facing fear. I took my ipad and showed her a video clip I had filmed earlier that day of the girls dancing around our living room in their ballet costumes. Who wouldn’t smile at the sight of tulle, twirls and carefree cuteness? And smile she did.
Her eyes danced as she held the ipad and gave my girls her full attention. Attention was her greatest attribute and she offered it up generously. When she was with you, she was fully with you. They say that listening, as opposed to hearing, is a rare and powerful quality. She mastered the art of listening without effort. My heart ached as we watched the video together on her bed and in that moment grief and joy enveloped me in stark dichotomy.
Tomorrow, I will watch my girls dance together on stage for their maiden ballet performance. They have improved a little since I took that video! And later in the day we will gather together at my auntie’s home again to give the cherished family home of 50 years a final and fitting farewell. I will walk down the driveway one last time knowing her home represents all that is good about family and connection. And knowing the lady who gifted us with those memories will remain in my heart forever.
Thank you, Auntie J. I will keep talking if you’ll keep listening.
Your loving niece,