I found my old recipe book, from when I was ten or so. I have promised to make rusks for the girls and knew I had my gran’s recipe somewhere. I am grateful I kept this old recipe book, not only for the only rusk recipe worth keeping but for the wonderful memory of me and my ouma and a typewriter. I loved those days and my rusks might not be as good as my gran’s but they will be filled with wonderful memories and so much love.
I love what Lynn said about her being precious. About what is precious to her. This unchartered territory thing of teens is quite challenging. Often delightfully so, but sometimes, I am alarmed. And not at the teens. I seem to be ranting a tad, but I too tend to be a little precious about the things that I hold dear. And I hold all children dear. I know I’m not a prude and I really think I have quite an open and often novel view of the world. But I just don’t think its ok for parents to have parties for 14 turning 15 year olds and provide alcohol. I’m not sure if they are just lost, misguided, trying too hard to be cool parents or have just given up. Which would be sad. Maybe I’m just old fashioned. But that would mean being a bit behind, a bit unaware, maybe a bit blinkered. Not having an open view of the world as it is today. And I think I do. So is being ‘a cool parent’ refusing to set boundaries and consequences. Just giving up on parenting. Not caring enough. I know kids will experiment and should experiment and I know I shudder at what I got up to as a teenager, and that it is necessary to challenge the boundaries, and I know we would prefer to have our kids misbehaving in our homes. But really. The boundaries need to be set to be able to be challenged. Alcohol was never provided at our parties when I was 14. Or 15. We were not encouraged to get trashed. Am I wrong? Have I really got it that wrong? Am I really just old fashioned? And if that is what it is, then I am really cool with not being a cool parent. Because I love my kids far more than I love being cool.
I am very grateful to my niece Georgia who is doing an assignment on life changing experiences and is using me. I am grateful not because I think I’m worthy, but because it sent me on a trip down memory lane as I had to source photos for her. And it reminded me especially oh how much I love and am grateful for my never straight never curly hair, my not quite as thick as they were eyebrows, my sparse eyelashes. Oh, and my health. Thanks Georgie for reminding me how much I still take for granted and how much I have to be grateful for. And that includes you.
I am grateful for cupcake mix. Because today after school, I was the best mom ever.
Realising how young Jem really still is and being grateful for her little quirks got me thinking about something that does actually bother me a bit. I’m a little taken aback by how some parents let their young girls and by this I guess I’m referring to girls of thirteen, fourteen and under, dress. We are encouraging our daughters to grow up, yet we are the very ones who shake our heads in regret at how quickly they are growing up. I do agree we need to let them be themselves and grow and experiment but we also need to be parents, guiding and explaining and sharing. I thought about this a couple of weekends ago as a group of girls walked down Thomas Street, tottering on heels they couldn’t walk in, some wearing skirts that barely covered their fannies, hair and make up done to the nines, walking in a pack. They then crossed the road, clearly uncertain what to do with this so called womanly fabulousness. And got ice-creams. They were all about 12 or 13, apparently year 7’s. Inappropriately revealingly dressed and thankfully nowhere to go. And they looked ridiculous. Like girls who were playing dress up. But weren’t. All self aware, and self-conscious wearing bustiers but with no busts. Well, some of them. I loved Noosa then for those girls, but I truly truly did wonder, what were their moms thinking
Jem wore the wrong uniform to school again today. Mondays are not her day. Nor mine clearly, as I had to respond to the frantic call to please bring her sports uniform. Just as I was muttering to myself about the fact that she is so irresponsible and far too old to still be so disorganised I was confronted by BigBoy on her bed wearing her bowler hat. I am grateful for BigBoy because he reminded me that she is still a little girl. And because he made me smile, really smile, and remember how much I love the fact and always will, that Jem has always had her head in the clouds. Has always had time to stop and smell the roses. Time to put bowler hats on her soft toys. Time for things that really matter, things that bring her joy. I hope she always does. Who cares about uniforms anyway.
I am grateful for a day punctuated with colours, vibrant purple berries on poffertjies, fresh green produce, exquisite red flowers and most especially the wonderfully blue blue sky. From a morning market breakfast to a patio lunch. And everything in between.
Today for a million and one and then some reasons I am so very grateful for the simplicity and stability of us, of B and I and Kate and Jem. I am grateful for the love we share. For the knowledge that we are all we need.
I am grateful for friday nights. A glass of red on a cool late autumn evening is even better on a friday. In fact everything tastes and seems better on a friday. I think its because friday nights are magical, they are never the same. Sometimes they are gentle and quiet and sometimes they are hectic and best forgotten and often they are not as expected. And sometimes, especially with B away, they are too quiet. But tonight as I enjoyed my red, my quiet evening was turned on its head with the unexpected arrival of a couple of boisterous teenage boys. So tonight, I am grateful for a friday night filled with unexpected fun and much hilarity. The quietness was getting to me.
A friend recently mentioned how anxious she sometimes gets when she has to meet up with a whole bunch of women. Anxious about whether she’ll fit in, whether she’ll be suitably dressed, whether she’ll be accepted, whether she’ll be liked. And not because she is insecure about who she is, but because she is an individual, she is different because she is open, she is honest, she is a strong woman, who respects others choices but won’t make them her own. I so get my friend. What I don’t get often, is other women. Sadly, sometimes I just don’t trust women. I love my women friends, but I do have to say I don’t often love some women. Women are very often other women’s worst enemies. And I know it often stems from insecurities, a need to be better, be prettier, be wittier, be more popular. Often a fear that they won’t be accepted. That they aren’t good enough. And that by putting others down, they’ll feel better about themselves. Well they are good enough. We all are. But I truly do no longer have time, empathy yes, but time no, for those women who subtly (or not) via a look or a nasty comment disguised as not, or a smile that doesn’t quite reach the eyes, let their insecurity mask their human-ness. If there is such a word. My wish is that we can all live and let live, celebrate our differences and our strength and meet each other with warmth in our eyes. And our hearts. We are sisters, after all.