Day 161 10 June – ouma’s chocolate jar

My mother always had a glass cookie jar at home, filled with an assortment of cookies with one of my favourite being the chocolate coated digestives. I remember as a child how my sister and I tried to sneak cookies from this jar, mastering the camouflage sound effects of coughing to hide the clanging of the glass jar lid as we carefully placed it back. You know you were unsuccessful when your attempt is followed by “Anli…Joy…sit die koekies terug!”

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Now my mom has a chocolate jar, where all the birthday and Christmas chocolates are stored. Today I taught my daughter the skilful act of camouflage coughing while we tried to sneak chocolates, but it ended up in laughter and we were caught out.

 

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Day 159 8 June – sweet sixteen

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My gorgeous niece turned 16 today!! Honestly, where has the time gone? This photo was taken at my wedding in 2003. She was one of our flower girls and was such a precious poppet. Clearly the day was too big for such a little person.

Sweet 16

Rosy cheeks baby girl,

sunflower headband and carefree giggles,

you crept in my heart ever so gently.

Soft blush cheeks teenage girl,

nail polish, fishnet stockings and boyfriend kisses,

you are finding your place in the world.

Day 156 5 June – family

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My sister made the most of her time here with us by taking the kids out for a morning shopping spree. It is that quality time that no material gift could replace.

My sister and I have a close bond with each other’s children. My sister is 4 years my senior and got married and had babies in her early twenties. I was still a university student and when she had her first daughter, I stepped in (almost as a surrogate mother) for the times when my sister needed some t.l.c and when she returned to work I looked after my niece several days a week.

When her second daughter arrived 16 months after baby #1, I was there more than I can count. I loved watching both the girls grow up and discover the world. They were a handful together, but they surely were a whole bundle of love.

By the time I had my first daughter my sister was so excited to finally become an aunty and while I was on maternity leave we spend many a day shopping, talking, having tea treats, taking the kids out and just enjoying each other’s company. I think we both knew that this time will not only fly pass in a blink of an eye but we may not have these opportunities soon as life tends to throw us all curve balls.

We both had 1 more child each (both boys), so when these monkeys get together, it is a wild-roller-coaster-fun-challenging-memory making occasion…even if 3 of them are now teenagers.

I love being an aunty!

Day 149 29 May – camping

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Gosh, it is that time of the year again when the kids head off to school camp. Both their classes attend the camp but my son’s class stays for 2 nights and my daughter’s class for 3 nights. The packing usually comes at a whirlwind speed as we are never prepared! Sorting clothes the night before, ticking off the last of the list the morning of. And once finished and loaded into the car it seems like they are off for a month with all the gear.

I remember my school camping days. I went on several as I was involved with an outdoor program developing leadership skills. I don’t think we were really ever prepared either for these camping trips as we were ill-equipped with camping gear, but I thoroughly loved the experience. Meeting and making new friends, challenging myself with activities I would never have dreamed of doing, and receiving recognition by peers and teachers. I was a bit of an odd ball but was very sociable and thrived on doing things differently. I was always surrounded by a large group of friends and together we made memories.

 

 

Day 136 16 May – solace

I clearly remember while visiting my ouma and oupa in Pretoria as a young girl, how often we used to walk through cemeteries. Ouma gave us the freedom to wonder around, reading the names on the tombstones, when they passed and how old they were. I tried to find the youngest child, and the oldest date. She told us that there is nothing to fear amongst the dead.

My slightly over-active imagination played out scenery of beautiful gardens, picturesque homes, floral dresses, picnics by the lakes, old cars, dust roads leading to fields of wild flowers, visiting loved ones by candle light. I wondered who these people were, did they come from a big and loving family, did they have siblings, were they in love. And often I wondered how they died. I wasn’t saddened by these thoughts. It was more as if a sense of gratitude and self awareness settled over me. I felt calm.

I admired the tombstones more than anything else though. Some were so old you couldn’t read the inscriptions. Others were huge, looming over their neighbors like giants in a chest match. Then there were those graves who had a single cross, old, chipped with no name, no identity. This is the only thing that will sadden me; the thought that a family might not have been in a financial position to afford a significant tombstone to honor their loved one.

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Today I wondered into our local rural town and decided to walk around the small cemetery. The one tombstone in particular caught my attention and as the grey clouds rolled in, bringing with it a cold snap, I stood in silence and solace admiring the life beneath my feet.

Day 110 20 April – chasing rainbows

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Today my daughter and I saw the most beautiful rainbow right above our house and we couldn’t help but think of loved ones who are not longer with us.

I remember my uncle Harry who drowned in the rough seas of Kwazulu-Natal on 23 December 2000. My oupa who passed away in May 2005 from deteriorating health conditions. My ouma who passed away in 2010 from a heart disease. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend her funeral as we didn’t have the finances for me to fly back to South Africa. I was heart broken and felt terribly guilty. I remember my uncle Dawie who committed suicide in May 2013 and left behind a wife and two sons. And we remember Erin, my daughter’s one rhythmic gymnastics coach who passed away February of last year from cancer.

Rainbows evoke memories but also represents rejuvenation of all things broken.

Chasing rainbows

Rejuvenate the soul

Fill our hearts with desire

Embracing hopeful adventures.

 

 

Day 104 14 April – F8

Good Friday and the start of Easter weekend.

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Today we took the kids to see an early evening movie at Event Cinemas. The kids watched Beauty and the Beast and my husband and I watched Fast are die heart fans of the Fast & Furious movies. Yes it is a wee bit over the top action but it is entertaining and we can’t look past the cars, or at least my husband can’t. I think he secretively has a man-crush on Vin Diesel…I know I do 😉

We kids went off to see Beauty and the Beast. That is a movie I still want to watch. It has always been a childhood favourite of mine and I’m sure that today’s special effects will make the Beast seem all to realistic.

Going to the movies is something I value. Obviously over the years it has become an expensive exertion for a family of 4, but it still remains a great time out. As a younger child my parents never went to the movies with us. To be honest I think we dragged my dad to the cinemas one time and one time only. By the age of 12 I was allowed to go to the movies with my friends. Mum would drop me off and pick me up strictly as soon as the movie is finished. Some of the movies I remembered are Aladdin (I still went on a date to watch it), The Lion King, Jurassic Park, and all of the Mighty Ducks movies. My friends were a strange and rowdy bunch. We were your typical 90’s gang, no care in the world and finding fun in everything we do. Meeting up at the cinemas was one of the treasured times spend together.

Warm buttery popcorn, sparkling coke and sweet chocolate M&M’s.

Bliss.