Mommy, where do babies come from?

After having a conversation with my sister over the weekend I was reminded yet again of the amazing things that come out of kids mouths. My 5 year old nephew is a prime example and constantly challenges my thinking with his blunt questions and his simple view of the world. I wonder sometimes when life became so complicated and when I stopped being a kid.

You see my little nephew is quite a little firecracker with loads of energy, just looking at him tires me out. He’s such a free spirit, constantly jumping off things, rolling over things, tumbling onto things, running into things and throwing things over. He’s also quite a smarty pants and constantly questions my logic.

I recall many interesting conversations while driving him to and from his swimming lessons on a Wednesday afternoon and they would normally go a little something like this:

Him: Do you know where you going?
Me: Yes, I know where I’m going.
Him: But how do you know, if you’ve never been there before?
Me: Because I looked it up on the map.
Him: Are you sure you know though?
Me:  I think so, yes.
Him: I think you’re lost!
(You got me)

He questions everything and I love him for it, although it sometimes drives me insane and makes me blush with awkwardness. He doesn’t know it yet, but he’s one of the reasons I cling to the childish bits that still remain in me. He reminds me that there is a certain innocence in youth, an innocence that allows for wonder and bewilderment. An innocence which doesn’t discriminate against stupid or obvious questions; which encourages you to jump, skip, hop and dive into the unknown, always knowing that there’ll be someone there to catch you or put a plaster on it if you should fall.

Source: Google Images
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Mothers & Daughters

I’ve never had a daughter before, but I have loads of experience on being a daughter. My sister and I being the only daughters amongst our brood of five have been fortunate to be raised by a modern day Wonder Woman. My Mum has loved us, nurtured us, cut us down to size, spoilt us and raised us to be the courageous women we are today. I’m not sure how she managed to pay such special attention to each and every one of us, with five kids running around, but I can only hope that if I should have a daughter one day, I’ll be able to measure up to the kind of parent my Mum is.

I’m a huge fan of spoken word and this little rendition by Sarah Kay called “B”, is one of my favourite pieces. It gets me choked up every time and compels me to aspire to be a great mother one day.

“This world is made of sugar. It can crumble so easily, but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it.”


Image source: http://piccsy.com/

The art of laughter

There’s a saying that goes: ‘Of all the forms of courage the ability to laugh is the most profoundly therapeutic.’

There are few things that I find more fulfilling than a really good, hearty laugh. Hearing my 5 year old nephew’s boisterous laughter, as he squirms and squiggles through my endless tickles is one of my favourite things on this earth; and there are few things as delightful as spending time with my Best Friend and hearing the sound of our shared laughter filling the room.

There are many battles that we all face daily, but there are few things that are not easily cured by a good laugh. I often find that when I feel like life just gets to be too much, the silliest incident will have me rolling on the floor, crying my eyes out and enjoying a really good laugh; and once its all over, I miraculously feel light and rejuvenated.

Try to find something everyday that makes you laugh. Our daily lives are filled with chores, activities, schedules and meetings, so its often difficult to find the time to just take a minute to breath. But, in between brushing your teeth, remembering to take your vitamins, delivering your weekly report to your boss, picking up the kids from school, find a minute or two to have a good laugh. Because, its true what they say…’laughter really is the best medicine’ (and the cheapest)! 🙂


Image source: http://piccsy.com/

The statute of limitation has expired on most of our childhood traumas

Dr. Gordon Livingston was a US author and psychiatrist, who wrote a critically acclaimed book called Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart, wherein he 30 truths or life lessons (which you can read more about here ). He believed that every individual is in control of his/her destiny, despite their past of current situation. The fourth chapter in his book was called ‘The statute of limitations has expired on most of our childhood traumas.’

The chapter goes on to explain that despite what has happened to us in our childhood, whether it be severe traumas of neglect, we are still in control of our destiny, and in order to move forward we must first be willing to let go of the past, in order to move into our future.

I know we’ve probably all been in one of those situations where we revert back to a childhood memory or something we learnt (directly or indirectly) from our parents or siblings. Some of these memories or traits are positive things that we carry with us from childhood, others though, such as the memory of your parents’ abusive relationship; or being molested by a family friend are best left forgotten.

Granted, its not as easy as just getting over these traumas which leave their scars on us for life. But in order to avoid repetition thereof in your future and move forward in life, you have to let go of these traumas. Its always easier to blame something or someone, but instead of blaming your current circumstances on your past, why not decide to take control of your life and steer it in the direction that you want it to go. Don’t let your past define your future!

Image source: http://piccsy.com/

Be Bold and Mighty Forces will come to your aid

I normally start every year on a bit of a high, with lots of dreams, hopes, plans and enormous amounts of ambition. Every new year feels like a fresh start to me. A new beginning, a new challenge and an opportunity to make things happen.

This year, was no different. It started off with a bang, looking bright and shiny and new! I was so amped to get going, I could barely contain my excitement. I was looking forward to so many things: being a student again; moving back home; seeing my family again; catching up with old friends and making new ones; doing some volunteer work; soaking up the sun; exercising; and making a start on my many little personal projects I’d been meaning to do for so long. 
It was all so exciting and I felt like a ball of energy heading for success. Then came the mountain! It hit me right in the face, knocked me off my feet and dropped me on my head with a loud THUD! Bringing me right back down to reality. What a buzz kill! Sure, I knew it was coming. I knew it wasn’t all going to be easy and breezy, but the hard bits always hit you from behind and always so unexpectedly.  
So needless to say, there have been many challenges in this year. Many late nights and early mornings devoted to conquering assignments; many depressing days filled with sulks over the ‘long distance’ in my long distance relationship; many days spent planted at my desk while the rest of Cape Town enjoy the sunshine; and too many days wishing this would all soon come to an end. 
The mountain, has been a massive challenge and there have been many times where I’ve had to pull on my ‘big girl panties’ and just suck it up and now that I’m nearly at the top, I’m literally dragging myself toward the finish line and wishing that the ‘mighty forces’ like Luke Skywalker would just show up and give me a push toward the finish.  In a race, you always hear people say that you should ‘finish strong’, but by God, I’d just like to finish right about now. It’s tough, but I’m determined to get there in one piece and looking forward to finally bidding my student days farewell. 
So here’s to meeting the challenge, surviving the highs and the lows and here’s to kicking that mountain’s ass and then breezily cascading down the waterfall on the other side (a girl can dream, can’t she?).  Only ten more weeks to go and I can’t wait to bid farewell to 2011 and welcome the new challenges that await in 2012. Here’s to the last stretch, lets make it count!
Image source: http://piccsy.com/

Street Art Revival

Street art has had a revival thanks to the Begging Board Project! I stumbled across this really cool creative project a while ago and have only just gotten around to sharing it with all of you. 

I think  this fresh take on street art by Avantgods is absolutely brilliant and adds a bit of character to the usual ‘please give small change’ signs we all see on the side of the road.

If I saw a guy walking around with one of these wicked signs, I’d certainly be digging into my pockets.

Check out some more of their work here:
http://www.avantgods.com/post/7537384118/small-change-begging-board-project

Why I have conversations

I spent a lot of time in my previous job speaking to people. Many of them who were near to then end of their lives, many who were terminally ill or were dealing with life altering conditions. Some were young, as young as 8 years old and still afraid of the Boogie Man. Others were ancient, 80, 90 years old and had survived not one, but two World Wars. All of them fighting their own battles, but each one of them had one thing in common, they needed someone to listen, someone to talk to.

For the most part, I was there to make sure that they were taken care of. Administering meds at different times of the day, cooking up nutritious meals for breakfast, lunch & supper, that sort of thing. But, that was the easy part, because although all of these things contributed to their well-being, the only thing all of them wanted was someone to talk to, someone who would really listen to them.

You see, they’d talk all day, most of them anyway. Talk to their daughters 3000 miles away, enquiring about their health and what they were eating. They’d talk to their doctors who’d ask them about their symptoms and medication refills. They’d talk to their friends who never stopped by anymore, because their lives were far too busy. Talk, talk, talk! Lots of talk about lots of important things, but all they really wanted to talk about was what was on their minds.

I guess that’s where I came in. I’d sit and listen for hours as a 98 year old war veteran suffering from cancer, would tell me about scaling the Straits of Gibraltar. I’d listen to a 9 year old girl, who suffered from more than 10 epileptic episodes a day, tell me all about her imaginary friend Bunny and their magical adventures. I’d listen as 48 year old artist and icon, dying of an incurable brain disease, shared her life stories with me, using what was left of her memory and limited vocabulary. I’d listen to them all talk about love, life, loss, about their fears, their hope and dreams, about how they’d been forgotten, how all they wanted was for someone to care, all they wanted was to say the things they never got to say.

I have conversations with people because sometimes all anybody needs is someone to listen, sometimes people just want to hear about your problems to escape their own bleak reality. Sometimes it’s just good to know that there’s someone else in the room and you’re not alone.

Most of the time, it wasn’t so much what they said,  but what they didn’t say that stayed with me. Their eyes and body language spoke louder than any words could ever and the saddest part was that their daughters 3000 miles away or friends who only remembered them by means of Christmas Cards once a year would never hear those unsaid things, which could not be said in a letter or in telephone calls. The conversations I had with these individuals are some of the most memorable and treasured conversations I’ve had in my lifetime and they will stay locked in my heart forever.

Image sources: http://piccsy.com/

The Mammas and The Pappas

It’s been quite a few years since I moved out of my parent’s house. I was about 18years old the first time I moved out and I remember thinking to myself… FREEDOM!!! Well, a lot has changed since then and when I made the decision to move back home last year and back to the comfort of my parent’s den, I must admit that it all seemed very daunting.

How could I ever live with my parents again, after being on my own for so long? After doing my own laundry, grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning, all at my own leisure. Well, it’s been 9months now and surprisingly, I’ve survived. Admittedly it took some adjusting. Getting used to not cooking your own dinner, having dinner at 18h00 instead of 22h00, in fact having dinner at all. It’s all been a bit of learning curve, kinda like learning the things you’ve un-learnt for so long.

My Mom and Dad are two of the most unique and bizarre parents I’ve ever known. My Dad is proper old school. I’m talking flannel plaid pajamas, khaki shoes, ‘always keep an extra pair of clothes with you in case it rains’ old school. Anyone who’s ever met my Dad will probably tell you that he’s a pretty straight talking, serious business looking type of man, who happens to like Oprah. My Mom (another Oprah fan) on the other hand is a social butterfly, all bubbly and cheerful  with many a blonde moment. Always cooking up a storm and her melt-in-the-mouth cakes are probably one of the reasons why my diets never last very long.

As much as I love my independence, I’ve gotta admit that I’ve quite enjoyed having the comforts of home again, like the fridge always being fully stocked and never running out of biscuits. Yes, it’s been challenging relenting a lot of my independence and allowing my parents to take care of me. In fact, when I first moved back home I constantly had to reassure my folks that I was fine, I didn’t need anything, I had my own money and they didn’t need to always factor me into their plans.

But, the more I tried to retain my independence in my parent’s home, the more they insisted on taking care of me. Till, eventually I just let go of all my inhibitions and let them do what they did best, love and nurture. Because  sometimes the best gift you can give someone is allowing them to take care of you. 

I’m all grown up now, but my parents are still my parents. And even though I can walk, talk, eat and do most things all by myself now, sometimes it’s just nice to know that you don’t have to do it all on your own. So here’s to my Dad who gets up at 06h00 in the morning when it’s freezing cold and dark outside, even though he doesn’t need to get up for another two hours, just to wave me goodbye as I speed off to work. And here’s to my Mom who’s always faffing about me, worrying that I don’t eat or sleep enough and brings me warm cups of tea when I’m stuck at my desk for hours. To The Mammas and The Pappas, what’d we do without ya?


Image sources:

The Last Lecture

a.k.a Have you figured out the second head fake?

In September 2007, Professor Randy Pausch gave a lecture on ‘Achieving your childhood dreams’. He was one of many Academics who had been invited to give a ‘Last Lecture’, the aim of which was to teach the most important life lessons they had learnt if they had only one lecture left to give. In Randy’s case it was significant that he was giving his ‘Last Lecture’ at the time, since he had been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer earlier that year and had only been given three to six months to live, so in essence, it really was his Last Lecture.

I watched a recording of his lecture today and deduced three things from it:

#1: It’s very long: 1 hour; 16 minutes and 27 seconds to be exact 
(You can watch the full length version here or the shortened 5minute version here)

#2. He’s a pretty ordinary guy


#3. He lived!

His lecture focused on three aspects: his childhood dreams; figuring out the dreams of others and some lessons learnt. Throughout his lecture he referred to something called a ‘head fake’, which is something you learn indirectly by experiences and observations, etc. One thing I observed while watching his lecture was that most of what he learnt he learnt through his interaction with people. People such as his mentors, his bosses, his friends, family and colleagues. So what did he learn?

-From his Mentor (Andy Van Dam): ‘Sell something worthwhile, like education.’
Andy told him that he was a good salesman and that people would use him for his salesman skills, so if he was going to sell something, why not may it something that actually means something?

-From his Bosses: ‘Respect authority while questioning it’
Randy says that there’s always a reason why your superiors are ‘superior’ to you, because they’ve worked hard to earn it. However, one must always question your authority while respecting it, because you cannot just accept without asking why.

-From his Friends and Family: ‘Loyalty is a two-way street,’ ‘Treat everyone like an influencer & make every influence count’  and ‘You get people to help you by being honest’
People respond to people who are honest. It’s not about how much you know or who you are, but how you treat others that matters.

-From his Colleagues: ‘If you wait long enough people will surprise and impress you, you just have to have patient’ (John Snoddy)
John taught Andy that every person has a good side, you just have to wait long enough to see it, it may take months and in some cases years, but the good will prevail.

At the end of his lecture he said that the head fake of his lecture was that: ‘it’s not about how to achieve your dreams, but how to lead your life’. His second head fake was that the lecture was not designed for the audience present, but for his children. It was his legacy to them and what he was leaving behind for them.

Randy was by no means a spectacular person, he was simply an ordinary individual but the way he lived his life made him remarkable and the legacy he left behind is something to be admired. Once he graduated, his Mom would introduce him to friends and acquaintances by saying: ‘this is my son, he’s a doctor, but not the kind who helps people.’ He may not have been able to save himself or others from life threatening diseases, but I believe he saved many by his words and more importantly his actions.

Image sources:
http://img.timeinc.net/time/daily/2008/0804/a_wbr10q0421_0421.jpg
https://marshmallowmonologues.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/26d87-6a00e553f7844e883401156f72e07e970c-800wi.jpg
http://favim.com/orig/201105/21/life-life-lesson-live-love-map-you-only-live-once-Favim.com-52229.jpg
http://willlukang.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/life-lessons.jpg

Hurt

”D’you know what happens when you hurt people? Ammu said.
‘When you hurt people, they begin to love you less.
That’s what careless words do. They make people love you a little less. ‘
A cold moth with unusually dense dorsal tufts landed lightly on Rahel’s heart.
Where its icy legs touched her, she got goose bumps. Six goose bumps on her careless heart.

A little less her Ammu loved her.
And so, out the gate, up the road, and to the left. The taxi stand.
A hurt mother, an ex-nun, a hot child and a cold one. Six goose bumps and a moth.”

Source: The God of Small Things (Arundhati Roy)

Image Source: http://epicalliance.blogspot.com/2011/05/healing-broken-heart.html