Saturday, 13 April 2013

Sorry kid, I don't like your mum.

How do you handle organising kids play dates when quite bluntly, you don’t like the parents?
My children have got a range of different friends, some of the parents I get along with really well with, others it can be a little bit awkward and then there are some who I would be downright frightened to leave my children in their care.

Generally speaking, I know people are all different and I will suck up my feelings and smile politely for the duration of a playdate, well because it's for the kids. Right? 

But now I am being faced with a more difficult situation, The Princess has a little friend that she talks about constantly and every time I go to the preschool this little girl comes and holds my hand and begs me to let The Princess come over for a play. The little girl herself is a lovely, kind and friendly child and normally I wouldn’t hesitate, but it is her family that is currently giving me a little crisis of conscience.

You see this sweet, polite little girl has never had a nit free day in her life, every time I see her it looks like her hair is alive and running. Her mother is a friendly enough person but jitters constantly, repeats herself, has pupils the size of pin points and smells strongly of bourbon at 9 o’clock in the morning.  
I have had the little girl over for a play at our house, but I have been making up excuses for over 12 months now as to why The Princess can’t go over to her house and while I feel bad for denying the little girl a much wanted visitor, I just don’t and won't feel comfortable putting my daughter into that environment.

There is another child my eldest son is friends with who’s family I wouldn’t be friends with myself because as snobby as it sounds, they are different people to me and quite rough around the edges I guess. But I certainly don’t class them as dangerous at all, and at nearly 11 I feel he is now old enough to decide who he wants to spend time around so I let him stay over there and wash the cigarette smoke smell from his clothes when he returns.
I remember having a really close friend myself when I was about 10/11 and I would keep very quiet about what went on at those play dates choosing to stay over at her place on Fridays walking home from school and catching a bus home rather than getting lifts from my mother knowing I wouldn’t have been allowed to go in a million years if mum knew half of the drug use, alcohol abuse and generalised complete neglect that was going on in that house hold.

I suppose the fact that I hid it from my mother meant in a way that I was old enough to know it wasn’t a safe way to live and I felt bad for my friend that that environment was her life, but appreciated mine all the more for it.
The difference here is I am not as naive as my mother, I know exactly what pin prick pupils, black eyes and the smell of booze at 9am means, I also know that getting nits occasionally might be a fact of being at school but no kid should ever be ridden with the bloody things every single day of their life, and as guilty I feel for the sweet little girl who is stuck in the middle just wanting to have friends, I simply can’t in good conscience let The Princess go over to her house.

So I guess my question today is how can you refuse continuous play date requests from families you are uncomfortable around without being hurting a small childs feelings and at what age do you think it is ok to take a step back and let your children decide for themselves what type of people they want to be friends with?



Tuesday, 9 April 2013

10 Little Fingers, 10 Little Toes

My baby niece has just be born,  

I walked into that hospital room holding hands with my husband, unaware of how this first meeting would turn out, would I feel any unhealthy attachment to the baby? My own flesh and blood?

I had felt no more than the usual proud aunty feelings during the pregnancy, after all it was just an egg, a tiny microscopic cell all the hormones and hard work was done by my Sister In Law. But there was always the little worry in the back of my mind that actually meeting my niece, my biological daughter, could stir up unwanted emotions. What if she looked like me or my other children?

I took a deep breath and we opened the door.

She was beautiful, her mother lay on the bed cradling the tiny baby, glowing with pride and dreams for her new daughter. That sheer beauty of a first time mother staring into her babies eyes, pure love and anticipation knowing that she is embarking on a journey that will change her life forever in the most wonderful ways.

The proud father was sitting next to the bed exhausted from a night of no sleep but without a care in the world, just smiling at his first born child with a look of absolute devotion in his eyes.

We were the first family members told of the arrival and it was nice for the four of us to have some quiet time to bond a little before hoards of visitors arrived. We marvelled at how amazing the journey had been and how thankful we were that we live in an era where miracles really can happen.

My sister in law handed me her baby, and as I held the precious little girl in my arms she opened her big owl eyes and looked up at me, as our gaze met an immediate feeling of relief washed over me, and although I knew I would love her until the day I die, she did not feel like my child, she had found her true place in the world.

So many stars had lined up perfectly to bring her into existence and at that moment it was clear that everything was exactly as it was meant to be.


Monday, 8 April 2013

Old Leaves


See this?

This is an old leaf.

This leaf has many lines and wrinkles, its colour has changed through the short months of its life from green through yellow then red, eventually falling gracefully to the ground below and becoming brown, its final colour before slowly crumbling away as dust beneath its mother tree, back into the earth that created it.

That old leaf is symbolic of the very essence of basic life not so different from our own. We are born, we grow and change and wrinkle until ultimately our life ends and we once again become one with the earth, all simple specs, and particles of energy harmoniously at one with each other.

As human beings we have a habit of over complicating and over analysing the world around us, everywhere you look people are rushing around absorbed in the stress of their own little lives, far too busy to actually enjoy them.

Some feel it is our given right to win the lotto or get that promotion and feel so deeply disappointed when such things don’t come to pass. Yet most of us go about our day to day giving very little thought to the reliance we have on every part of natures’ miraculous and perfect coexistence to simply be able to breathe in the air around us.

Yes I too am guilty of self-absorption, forgetting to want what I already have, not forgiving all that I should and taking the things I cherish the most for granted far too often. But recent health problems and the impending arrival of a new life in the family are bringing about the winds of change within my soul.

My little world is surrounded by colour right now, and each leaf tells a story reminding me of how precious our conscious time really is and how much beauty is unconditionally provided all around us if I will just pause for a moment to take it in.

The thing I am trying to grasp from the world right now is courage. I am becoming a master of theory but I need the strength to stand up practise what I preach and act upon the lessons I have learned along the way so I may grow from them and pass these gifts on to my children.

When my turn comes around to crumble as dust on the earth below, becoming at one again with all those fallen leaves that lay before me, somewhere on a bare branch as the sun glistens in a droplet of morning dew, a bud will form and from it, the great circle will continue.

See this?
This is a new leaf.
And this is me.....

 turning it over.