All posts tagged: family

Watching her cry from across the world

In bed, snuggled with cat, computer, and early morning cuppa. Click link on generic Facebook newsfeed. Suddenly watching a grief-stricken Mum, mourning her lost daughter after the bomb blast in Manchester. See her blotched red face, and the grey roots of her dull brown hair. Notice her own mother sitting beside her, and perhaps that’s her son, sitting on the floor at her feet, holding her hand with his head bowed? See her swollen eyes and running nose, thickening her voice, wailing for her lost baby. And as my own tears fall softly, think: ‘This is the true good of social media; we can share our vulnerabilities and losses. Her life has just been fucking ruined, and she’s sharing a miniscule amount of her pain on this day with us. She’s held in this nightmare by her family who love her, and she’s not alone. Thank god she’s not alone.’ We are all in mourning, all across the world, all the time: for our lost family members or friends, our beloved dead pets, our forgotten dreams. …

Gift from teenage son…

I heard ‘Almost17’ in the shower at 6am (we had to leave for the airport at 7); he soon came into my room fully dressed, with still-damp hair, where I lay in bed reading before getting up. Him: Move over Mum. Me: [Really??] OK Sweetie. [Sliding over, slightly stunned, but pretending I’m cool…] Him: Happy Mother’s Day. Me: Thanks. You know I think it’s a load of Hallmark crap don’t you, but that’s still lovely, thank you. Are you bringing me peppermint tea in bed? Him: No, I’m too tired. I didn’t get home from the party till 1am. *Rolls on his side away from me*. Spoon me Mum. Me: [REALLY??] OK Sweetie. [Spooning behind him, completely stunned, gingerly resting my arm on top of him and the quilt because, you know, I’m Cool…] Him: No, properly Mum, under the covers. Please let me sleep for another 15 minutes. Me: Sure honey… *Lie there holding my baby boy as he begins to twitch and dream, breathing deeply. For how many nights did I hold him until …

Eating with teenage son…

We’re chatting & laughing as we share my yummy nachos, when suddenly: Him: Mum… Me: [Giggling, cheesey corn chips halfway to my mouth] Yes Sweetie… Him: Have you seen that meme online which says ‘If I can hear you chew your food, I’m fantasizing about killing you’?   *Disclaimer: my son ‘Almost17’ is fabulously kind, sensitive, smart and honest. We spent 2 months sitting in an old Barn in the Dordogne region of France a couple of years ago, cooking, reading, & talking. HERE’S one of my fav longer posts from those days, if you’re interested ❤

Down the long lane

My mother, who lives in England, turned 80 on July 4. From Australia, I had organised a 3-day weekend get together in an old farmhouse on Dartmoor for our closest relatives, meaning 13 of us met up to celebrate. I hauled myself over to the UK, begrudging all those people who sleep easily on planes. Still, four good films in a row aren’t bad going. A couple of weeks before I left, I treated myself to a massage. As usual, I wondered why I don’t do it more often? It was such a lush experience, with hot white towels softly lowered over me, and warm wheat-bags resting along each limb, feeding the air with that fresh bread scent. No tinny dolphin music, just silence. It was in a private home, so no exterior noise, or impatient clients waiting outside the door for us to finish. The masseur created a wonderful sense of nurturing, with her deliberate, knowledgeable movements, and I sank into the experience. I’d had a horrible cough for a few days, so I …

Home for two weeks today, and had a visit from my [dead] Grandma

The jetlag has gone. The season of European winter, chilling my bone marrow, has gone. The tangled history of my childhood and youth has slipped more than 10,000 miles away again. My quiet heart yearning for France has been replaced by the delight of my dear friends, cute home, happy cat, and humid, tropical lifestyle in Australia. Son ‘15’ and I are having a little break from each other’s company (till approx. January 2016 he reckons), which gives me back the freedom I’d missed to just be Me: read, write, garden, walk on the beach at sunset, all without speaking, or providing for/tidying up after a teenager. Bliss. Can you tell there’s a ‘But’ coming? I remember learning years ago, on some college communication course, that anything positive you’ve said is then negated by the use of the word ‘But’ afterwards… So everything I’ve said above is actually true, AND YET I’ve also felt misplaced. Rebellious and resentful even. Coming home here is like coming back to your Mum’s house when you’re 23: you’ve been …

Cutting muslin

Remember when ‘hybrid, multi-arts exhibitions’ were all the rage? Live theatre or sculpture in front of projections, scrolling across tulle or muslin? My life’s been feeling like that lately. So removed am I from the reality of my true work/home balance that I’m starting to feel like a performer in someone else’s show. Never more so is that true than when I go back to the small seaside town I grew up in (see previous joyful post about it HERE). Last weekend I popped down on the coach for a couple of days, which is a 4-hr trip. We used to call it ‘Little D by the Sea’ in the old days when CB Radio was a brief, furious fad (remember that?) [I can’t believe how old I just sounded] I left ‘15’ to groove his way round London with his cool cousin and Uncle, our first break since we left home Sept 14. ‘D’ remains the same slightly worn out tourist destination it always was (you really DO need to read about it in …

Mum vs Teenager & Teenager vs Mum

Let me start by saying son ‘15’ is awesome. 90% of the time, he’s smart, funny, pretty thoughtful. But oh boy, that other 10% is so stubborn, so critical, so dismissive! And of course, that’s his job: he’s being a Teenager, which involves the rejection of, and rebellion against, parental control, advice, and even experience. I get that. I did that. I did that massively, and my Mum (who turns 80 next year) would probably add that I still do. But when we’re in Barcelona, a place neither of us has ever been before, and a place I’m pretty certain I’ll never come to again, and it’s our first full day here, and I’ve bought tickets online worth $80 to get into the Gaudi-designed ‘Park Guell’, and we need to be there by 10.15am for our entry in the 10.30-11 time slot, and you, dearest ‘15’, want to watch surf movie clips on Instagram while dawdling over getting ready to go (me having been up for nearly 2 hours already, and gone to get the necessary …

I seem to have packed my routines as well

Ah yes, the freedom of Travel with a capital T: being ready for anything, meeting anyone, changing plans in an instant. No work commitments, no diary appointments, no regular routines getting in the way of spontaneous adventure… When we first arrived in the Barn, I was finishing a 2-month ‘cleanse’ of no sugar, almost no wheat, minimal carbs, and various herb concoctions before and after eating (on the advice of both a doctor and naturopath, trying to deal with a water-borne parasite I’d picked up somewhere- Hello Blasto 😦 ). Within a week I was having fresh bread spread with unsalted butter and homemade jam for breakfast, or croissants and pain au chocolat; incredibly rich and varied omelets for lunch followed by more cheese and bread; chicken or fish with garlic potatoes for dinner, finished with more cheese of course. The other day I even drank a glass of champagne in the afternoon, which honestly for me is the equivalent of Keith Richards going on a three-week bender. So we can say I’m letting loose …

Our last swallow has flown South for summer

We arrived 2 weeks ago in the Dordogne (rural France at its best), down by train from Paris through late summer fields and villages. Old stone walls glowed gold at sunset. The air was warm, thick and welcoming, like a fresh baked cinnamon bun straight out of the oven. The ‘Barn’ has stood for more than 300 years, and been in the family since 1981, thanks to the pioneering and determined spirit of Aunt ‘M’ (she of the infamous parking fine in previous post HERE). The solid stone building was full of energy and chatter: twin girls here with their Dad, an Uncle from England, cousins, partners, ‘M’ the matriarch, a visiting octogenarian, old friends and locals alike popping in. Badminton games and barbeques. Loads of washing taken in and out, beds made up, beds stripped down. Wine bottles brought home, and emptied with loud laughter. Old stoneware bowls filled with baked potatoes, garlic, cheese and cream, matching the smoked salmon and rosemary baked chicken. Various neighbours invited for afternoon snacks, as we piled chips, …