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To my children

Author L.R.Knost
“I hope you search for four-leaf clovers,

grin back at Cheshire moons,

breathe in the springtime breezes,

and dance with summer loons.
I hope you gaze in wide-eyed wonder

at the buzzing firefly

and rest beneath the sunlit trees

as butterflies fly by.
I hope you gather simple treasures

of pebbles, twigs, and leaves

and marvel at the fragile web

the tiny spider weaves.
I hope you read fairy tales and comic books

and sing silly, made-up songs,

and pretend that you’re a superhero

who rights all this world’s wrongs.
I hope your days are filled with magic

and your nights with happy dreams,

and you grow up knowing that happiness 

is found in simple things.
The dream I dream for you, my child,

as you discover, learn, and grow

is that you take these joys with you

wherever in life you go.” 

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Blog challenge 13 … about my family

Our family consists of me and papa bear

Us

My eldest daughter Tammi and her fiance Dean

Tammi and dean

My 3 older son’s, Dylan,Shaun and Byron.

Dylan;Shaun and Byron

My two younger son’s Ronan and Hamish (little bear)

Ronan and Hamish

And my youngest daughter Kerri Anne.

Kerri

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Dealing with uninvolved grandparents

I grew up on my grandmothers lap and consider myself most fortunate. There is no love that compares to the unwavering ,unconditional love of a grandparent. 

Over the years , it was my grandmother’s wisdom I turned to . Her advice and counsel I saught .  I knew no matter what she would fiercely protect me and love me through  my bad moods, trials and tears.

Not all granparents are loving

When my eldest child was born , I was estatic to share this bond with her and to watch my own mother become a special star in my daughters life.

It was also round about this time that I discovered not all grandparents are cut from the same cloth.

A few examples

My mother,  was an alcoholic who viewed her grandchildren as a nuisance and reminder of her age.   Up until her death she was completely disinterested in bonding with my beautiful children. 

My father , had left the country. In the beginning he exchanged a gift or two but  he last saw any of my children 17 years ago. Not once since has he directly enquired about them. 

My ex husband’s father, who was absent through his sons life, was even less interested. After a few months of sending updates with our first child,  he firmly asked my why I didn’t have an abortion and save his teenage son the embarrassment of ‘my‘ predicament. It was right there that his involvement stopped completely.

As for his mother, she had little time for the children. She was always too busy and I would run after her trying to involve her in birthdays and the children’s other events. She always had an excuse as to why she couldn’t attend. She lived with us at one stage , and was intolerant and rude to the children around her who just wanted to spend time with  her.

Gran to the rescue

Once again I was blessed to have my grandmother fill this imensely important role in both mine and my children’s lives. Unfortunately she passed away when most of my children were still too young to remember how special she was.

Each week she would phone to find out how they were. Each weekend she baked treats and hand made toys for them. At night , when she lived with us, she’d gather my 5 older children onto her bed singing with them and telling them wild tales ;taking them on imaginary adventures. 

The times that we lived far apart from each other she would write to the children, post small parcels and phone them. 

Always she made an effort to find out about their lives, milestones and interests.

So how do you deal with a disinterested grandparent ?

Grandparents hold such a special role in their grandchildren lives and it’s both frustrating and hurtful to know your child will not have an actively involved grandparent in their lives.

 How do you cope with this?

Make an effort 

Always make the effort.  Contrary to what you may feel or believe, you never want your children to feel you isolated an important person from their lives.

Send the photos,  text the milestones,  share the certificates. Invite your parents to birthdays and school functions. If the children are older, let them phone and draw pictures. 

Make an effort to visit them and encourage visits to your home,especially if they stay far away.

You will all remember our road trip to get Bear dedicated in his grandmothers church in order to include her in his special day.

Remind them that they are special in their grandchildren eyes

Send them quotes that your children have said about them. Make a big deal of grandparents day, their birthdays, etc.  

Shortly after my divorce , i took a photo of my youngest two children’s handmade cards for my mother in law and shared them on her Facebook wall. I wanted her to see I divorced her son but she was still special to her grandchildren.

Advise them on how to bond with your child

Some grandparents are just clueless. It’s been a while since they had children and parenting has changed. They may not know your child well enough to bond with them. Suggest a shared hobby.

I remember asking my mother in law to teach my children to build puzzles as she spent hours building puzzles of her own.

Know when to give up

As much as it is important to foster a relationship between your child and their grandparent , it is equally as important to know when to stop trying.

If you have put the effort in and receive no result , you will eventually be setting yourself and your child up for failure.

Protecting their emotions is just as important, if not more so , as encouraging bonds with family. 

If the grandparent makes no effort after your attempts , it is most likely the healthier option to stop trying and wait for them to want a relationship with your child.

My father in law, now in his late seventies , wants to connect with his adult grandsons. I have left this choice up to them. They need to decide if they actually want a relationship with someone who wasn’t involved in their lives.

Moving on

Whilst it may be difficult and hurtful to step aside from disinterested grandparents know that you can break the cycle by one day being the type of grandparent you invisioned in your children’s lives.

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Keep your family memories

Are you making memories with your loved ones daily ? Or have you let life get in the way and are too busy to stop and enjoy those you cherish most ? 

Yesterday we took bear for a quick walk on the beach. We were both lazy . It was after 5pm and yes supper needed to be made, bear bathed and evening washing packed away but these are not the things bear will remember. …

He will however remember that his mom and dad loved to walk on the beach with him.

As the mom of older children with lives of their own I speak from experience when i say all too soon your precious little one is gone and you mostly have the memories of their childhood and some random phone calls and visits to show for it.

Start storing those memories now. 

Take the time to craft with your child,  do activities together, make that video, take that photo. …

Keep your memoriesūüíú

Some brilliant ideas to preserve memories are :

Build a family website 

Write letters to your child to give on landmark birthdays

Make videos

Start a Facebook page for family photos 

Invest in photo books or albums

Write annual family newsletter

Have regular photos taken as a family.

Make fridge magnets of your photos.

Make time casuals. 

Encourage journalist. 

Keep memory boxes from holidays and special events.

I know of several people who’ve lost a loved one who would give a moment of time to have some of their memories back.

Today … spend some time making memories for tomorrow.  

 

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5 best couple gifts

I’m not a big fan of gift registers for many reasons .

Whilst I understand their function I was brought up to believe a gift is given from the heart and so you should be great full for what you recieve.

I also feel it rude to demand a particular gift and quite uncomfortable for those who can’t afford items on your list.

As for the tradition of asking for cash ….that just makes me cringe. 

Whilst planning our wedding goodies I happened to find some fantastic ideas to gift couples that I thought I’d share with you for if you like me and prefer to just ignore the registery and buy a gift to give.

Couple shirts

These are too cheesey not to be cute. Not sure if I’d personally find them that adorable to wear out in public but they’d be great for a photo or seven.

Personalised scatters

These are my favourite and I plan on having some printed for us. Such a thoughtful and practical way to remember a special day.

Sensory gifts 

Gift the couple a gift to  match each sense.for example sound …a favourite cd,  sight…a photo of them in a cute frame,  smell …a Reed diffuser for their room,  taste …a box of chocolates and touch …a fluffy throw for the bed.

Shell and stone pictures

Make a romantic image by using shells and stones to form a romantic picture. There are many examples online.

Word images

These can be created using free image generators online and can incorporate the couples names and sentimental details.

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She devil

Friday we were in Muizenberg waiting to meet a woman whom I was buying some second hand wedding decor from.

We sat in the car, radio softly playing and bear Asleep in the back seat.

Friendly waves

I looked up and saw a young girl , in her teens maybe early twenties smiling and waving at us. By her enthusiasm i assumed this was the woman we were meeting, and Pappa rolled down the window.

As she came closer I noticed her thinly worn demin jacket and grungy clothing. Her hair was slightly unkempt and her eyes glased over.

Then came the speech

Without ceremony she saw her chance and jumped right in with her well thought out speach

“Hi. Do you guys have a fourteen rand for me to get something to eat.?”

Papa and I looked at one another. It was obvious this young girl had no intention of eating and I’m sure by the state of her eyes she was looking for a fix of sorts.

Before we could answer she spat out …

“This is very embarrassing for me ” and tried to conjour up a false set of tears.

Irritation

By now I’d about had enough and politely told her we didn’t have any money on us at all.

She continued to beg “How about seven? ” “what about five?”

A stern NO! Sent her on her way and we continued to wait for my mason jars and cake knives.

Flashing fingers

Not long after we’d sent our young friend on her way she came past skipping. We remarked that she must have found her donation of happiness and as i looked up found our princess of scquallor flashing us a huge double finger whilst she skipped away.

Humour

I should ”ve been revolted or upset but the mom in me kept seeing a young rebellious child doing what they can for attention.

I’ve had way too many rebellious teen moments to concern myself over a finger.

And , most teens believe they right …. she clearly believed we were wrong for not giving her what she demanded, hadn’t earned and did not belong to her.

As a mom i hope she learns her lessons soon before life teaches her the hard way,