Another Parenting Milestone.

Another parenting milestone, and not one I was ever looking forward to.

Its going to be my first Christmas without my boy. :'(

He had been gone almost eight weeks – the longest its ever been for me not to see him at all – and he was briefly home from working in Mozambique so I got to see him for a few days.
But this morning I dropped him off as they head back to the dive centre with a massive trailer full of supplies and groceries.
And as I pulled the car into the garage at home I suddenly started crying when I realised I don’t know when I will see him again.

He’s working all through Christmas, and new year, and when they do come back into South Africa for supplies, they don’t come all the way to Joburg.

I miss him a lot, and I can talk to him on the phone, but its not nearly the same.

I Miss You, My Daddy Darling

20081026_6455

August 7th 2016 was the 46th anniversary of my mommy and daddy darling “going steady”. It was also the day my daddy darling died.

My dad was “Uncle Duck” to many, many people, a larger than life personality who made friends wherever he was, drawing you in to his space and making you laugh. Able to discuss almost any subject, my dad’s general knowledge was vast, yet you never felt like he was trying to lecture you.
If you’ve ever been to a wedding with my dad in attendance, you would have found yourself being fed peach schnapps on the dance floor, and you couldn’t say no!
And he was a prankster too!
My BBF and I spent weekends and school holidays in each other’s homes, and one weekend we were riding bikes when Gen took a tumble, grazing her knee badly on the gravel. We limped home, and she sat in the bath as we rinsed stones and grit from the cuts on her knee. Then my dad appeared, full of concern, with a tin of mercurochrome spray. He gently patted Gen’s injuries dry, spritzing a little of the spray on her knee as he worked, and then before she could blink he sprayed a bright orange-red stripe of mercurochrome from her knee to her ankle! She went to school like that for a week before it finally washed off properly!

My dad’s family was his treasure. He loved nothing more than spending time with all of us together, and any occasion was a reason to get together. I have treasured childhood memories of me and my sister B as little girls, gallivanting to the movies with my dad, just us three, watching The Fox and the Hound and Bambi on the big screen. He loved tradition! He dressed up as Santa to hand out Christmas presents. He went to great lengths to hide Easter eggs for his children and grandchildren to hunt in the garden. We were given bicycles for our 8th birthday, a good quality watch for our 14th birthday, and sometimes for sport – a tin of condensed milk and a box of jelly powder wrapped in newspaper, like he got as a schoolboy.
I remember one time, he and my mom caught and painstakingly painted doors and windows on a couple of garden snails, so that we little girls could “find them” in the garden and see the snails carrying their own houses!

When I was raising my knucklehead on my own, my dad was there if I needed him. No matter how hard it was for him to be a father figure for my son as well as being his grampa, he never let me down.

My daddy darling, you can be proud. My life is filled with happy, treasured memories of us.

I miss you so much.

And I will be careful, always.

My Son, the Professional.

Wow.

I am still pinching myself.

Our knucklehead is now a fully qualified, PADI certified, Dive Instructor, passing his exams with distinctions and sporting a CV chock-full of related qualifications like Rescue Diving and Emergency First Response training.
He’s now adding Free Diving Instructor to that list, and he is on cloud nine.

20160626_141944 - Copy 20160626_123803 - Copy 20160626_142614 - Copy

Last Sunday, the day after his exams, we went to celebrate with him and the other newly qualified candidates, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen the knucklehead happier. He didn’t stop grinning, and if you asked him how he was, he threw his arms in the air and literally whooped!

If you had told me, even two years ago when he had just started his internship, that we would reach this point, I would probably have smiled, hesitant to take it as a given, even though I had all my fingers and toes crossed that he would make this work!
And it has been ALL him. He has had to work and study and look after himself – cooking, cleaning, doing his washing… We paid for his internship and supplied him with groceries, but he had to do all the work!
He has matured and grown up so much.
He is so proud of himself.
And we are so proud of him.

Mall Crawling!

~~~ this blog post was not solicited by any person or organisation, I wasn’t paid or asked to write it ~~~

My son and I have always been mall rats, enjoying spending time window shopping and browsing in shops, and as our knucklehead is home for the weekend, the three of us decided to go and check out the new Mall of Africa today. We were dying to try the Krispy Kreme and Starbucks, but as it was a Saturday afternoon the queues were a little crazy, so we headed for Cinnabon instead.

requisite #mamalove selfie

We strolled around checking out the shops for hours, with my Glugster and the knucklehead getting stuck in BT Games and The Gadget Shop while I checked out places like Claire’s and Accessorize! 😀
We were very happy to note that the Ster Kinekor has a Cine Prestige (and an imax), so for future date nights we don’t have to drive for miles to see a movie in absolute comfort!
I was supposed to visit Kaz Lingerie on the mall’s opening day, but the insane traffic and crowds put me off completely, so I popped in there today. If, like me, you are particularly well endowed when it comes to boobage, and you need quality bras that won’t break the bank, Kaz is the place to go!! The ladies are incredible and they go out of their way to find the perfect bra for you! I had to giggle though- when my Glugster and I headed in there, the knucklehead waited outside! 😛

Ooh – and I was very impressed with the bathrooms! There were plenty of stalls in the ladies loo, and they were clean (which I think should go without saying in a brand new mall), but what I really liked was the one basin that has been lowered, the handbag hooks on the walls that are within reach of the loo, and the fact that the stalls are big enough to step into AND close the door behind you – without having to straddle the toilet seat! AND I wasn’t bashing my elbows on the walls of the stall!

20160507_IMG_143341

We spent an age in Hamleys toy shop, where I was delighted to find Schleich horses that I can add to my collection, and then we headed back to the food court for a very late “lunch”.
All the fast food places had queues for days, so since we were actually feeling like pizza we decided to try out Hello Tomato – which we had never heard of before seeing it today!

20160507_IMG_155131

While we waited for our pizzas, which were really yummy on thin crusts, the knucklehead went to carve his name in the wooden Africa-shaped boards they have set up in the food court for visitors to “autograph”.

20160507_IMG_154032

After we’d eaten we headed for the Checkers to try and take advantage of some specials they had on offer this weekend, but by then the mall had started to get REALLY busy so the queues for tills were crazy. We headed for the express tills as we only had 9 items, so we weren’t too long waiting, but the shop was uncomfortably full by then, with not a lot of room between the tills and the start of the shelves, so we decided to head home.

There is only one parking meter at each entrance at the moment, so you queue for a bit to pay for your parking, but you can pay by card – like the Gautrain ticket machines, so you don’t have to first go and find an ATM if, like us, you never carry cash anymore.

The mall itself is very beautiful, and inside it feels open and light and airy, and today we only really checked out the one level so we will definitely be heading back there, although it won’t be on a weekend if my husband has any say in the matter. 😛

Don’t Wait!

Four years ago, I got a phone call in the afternoon, after a completely normal, even pleasant day.
I was told that my six year old nephew, with whom I had a deep bond, had been killed in a car accident.
I didn’t stop crying for days. It still seems surreal. It still seems too incredible that I will never again hear his voice or talk to him.
I know that a part of the reason I still feel his loss and his absence so keenly, is because I allowed the anger and bitterness I feel towards his guardians to prevent me from at least talking to him on a regular basis. I regret it. I wish I could change it. I wish I could honour his memory and his nature with love and forgiveness.

In the preparation for his memorial service, we were looking for pictures of him through the many we had. Pictures of him with his father, him with his cousins, him with us, and I found lots of wonderful pictures of him with my knucklehead, and even a few with him and I together. I wished there were more. Those pictures are my treasures.

I realised with a start, during that exercise, that I had maybe a handful of pictures of my knucklehead and I together, and he was already a grown up! I had mostly been behind the camera while he was growing up, taking the pictures, but as is typical of many women – I had avoided the camera because I was too fat, had no make up on, was taking the picture… Whatever. And now it was too late to take those pictures.
I wish I had taken those pictures, or had someone take pictures of me with my boy. Pictures with bot of our faces in them.
Now I take a selfie with my son, or I hand my phone-slash-camera to someone else, every time I see him. I love these pictures.

BeFunky Collage

I also take selfies with my family when I see them – my mom and dad, my sisters, my gran… To me the pictures are very special. I know not everyone sees photos as all that important, preferring to make memories rather than take pictures, but my pictures are a part of my memories and I look at them often.

I never part company with my son, or my husband, or my parents and siblings, without telling them I love them. I never want to feel the heartache I feel now because I didn’t talk to them enough.

Don’t wait to take pictures of you and your children together. Selfies are fun. Play silly buggers in a photobooth. Celebrate special occasions. Don’t wait till you’ve done your hair or you’re better dressed.

You can’t go back.