Love Letter to my Sons

Wow. I can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted last. Things have been busy, crazy, fun, hectic and I have been busy, crazy, fun, hectic. We’ve had major milestones happen in our lives, we moved across country, Ty started Grade 1, Hayden was born, we bought a house. Like I said, busy, crazy, fun, hectic. I have dearly missed my writing, but haven’t found the time or the inspiration to write anything meaningful. This past year has been an amazing journey of self discovery, realisation, reflection, love, pain, joy and peace. I am sure that going forward I will relate all our adventures and the lessons we learned from them, but I wanted to open the floor with a letter to my beautiful boys. All the past year’s life lessons have been so important for me, for us, and these are the things I want my boys to know as they enter adulthood so that hopefully they will be able to cope with it better than I did. So here goes, forgive me if it’s a little rough around the edges, I am quite rusty!

My dear, sweet Ty and Haydi,

You both have brought such immense joy and love into my life. I cannot even begin to explain. I know you think I am annoying and that I nag, question, hug and smooch you too much. But I see you both as my little spiritual advisors and I just want to glean as much knowledge and love from you as I possibly can. Without the two of you, I would never have learnt to look within for the answers I craved so deeply. Whenever you have stood up to me or questioned my actions it has made me stop and examine my motivations and intentions. I have learnt so much from the both of you, and these are the things I want you to know and remember when you are making your way through this beautiful, wonderful, mostly confusing thing called life:

1. Love yourself first.

I spent a good part of my young adult life bending over backwards to accomodate people; “friends”, family, co-workers. I thought that if I made everyone else happy and feel loved, important and valued that they would automatically do the same for me. Boy was I wrong. While it’s obviously good to make your most beloved feel this way, don’t spread yourself too thin because all that you will feel is disappointment and hurt when your love and generosity becomes the expected norm and people turn on you when you can no longer give it. This happens when you have exhausted all your reserves of love on undeserving people that you have none left for yourself. So as hard as you try, you just can’t anymore. People won’t understand this, because you have always been about them. Be about you. Not in a narcissistic way. In a self love way. You cannot, truly, love others properly until you love yourself. And this requires making time for yourself and not saying yes to everyone all the time.

2. It is all you.

When you feel like the world is against you, it’s so easy to blame other people/outside conditions for your problems. We never want to admit that it is due to a fault of our own or our way of thinking that things have gone wrong in our lives. This was a tough pill for me to swallow, but now that I have, my life is so much happier and filled with love and light because I know that it is up to ME to make it that way. It sounds cliché, but it is so true, it’s not what happens to you that’s important. It’s how you deal with it emotionally that makes it what it is. You can take everything to heart, and cry about the unfairness of it all at night, OR you can accept it for what it is and find a way to make it work for you. The same goes for when things go right in your life. Don’t give luck the credit. It is all you! Where you are in your life at any given moment is due to your past actions. Life is not random. Everything you do (or don’t do) today affects your tomorrow. Remember that. And take responsibility for your life. The good, the bad and the ugly.

3. Practise patience. 

Following on from the above, learn to accept the things you cannot change, about people, about work, about that annoying rattle in the car that you can’t seem to find. See them for what they are and move on. You will find more happiness in the freedom that comes with this realisation and acceptance than any quick fix you try to employ to make your external conditions more bearable. Every time.

4. Make TRUE friends.

TRUE friends are people that speak to your soul. They hold a mirror up to you so that you can see yourself for who you truly are. Even during your worst times. They are people who love you for the right reasons, and will be there for you without expecting anything in return. People who don’t constantly demand your attention, but are so thankful when they get it. TRUE friends are those that feel like you’ve known them forever, just after you’ve met them. When someone says “After everything I’ve done for you”, their motivations were not pure and true. The kind of person who constantly wants affirmation for their good deeds, is not the kind of person you want in your corner, believe me. Because when push comes to shove, there will always be a bigger and better cause for them to support for the glory of it. You are no one’s charity case. Except mine <— On that note, you are always welcome home if you have run out of money and are living on two minute noodles. I will never judge you or ridicule you for coming home for a good cooked meal or to do your washing. It will be an honour to know that I am still needed in your life, even if it’s only for silly things.

5. Your mind is your most powerful weapon.

Against hurt. Against anger. Against pride. For love. For happiness. For peace. Use it for good, your own good, not others’ evil.

6. A rich life is not one filled with material wealth.

A rich life doesn’t mean status, money and power. A rich life is one filled with experience, culture, diversity, joy, love, laughter and the hard truths that hardship brings. Life is about love. Love for yourself. Compassion and empathy for others (a healthy amount – see point 1). The sound of your laughter in my home has made me rich in ways that no high paying job ever will, and I have never forgotten that.

7. Never lose your enthusiasm or childish inquisitiveness.

Approach every new experience with an unbiased mind. This is a tough one, because we are predisposed to adopt our parents’ and friends’ attitudes towards things because they are the biggest influences in our lives. Always remember that my opinions are MY OPINIONS. They are not yours. They are based on MY EXPERIENCES. Not yours. If you ask for my advice, I will give it to you. But do not let it be the basis on which you make all your decisions. Dad and I can be examples for you in certain aspects. But don’t try to emulate our lives or be like us. We want you boys to have your own lives, and your own experiences. Sometimes the unknown is scary, and most people don’t understand it and react negatively to it. Forget those people. They are small people with small minds and will just hold you back. Open eyes, open heart. Let that be your mantra.

8. Never forget that we love you (and that you love each other).

No matter what you decide to do with your life. No matter how many “mistakes” (mistakes are subjective after all) you make along the way. No matter who you love. No matter where you live. No matter how you choose to practise spirituality. If you choose spirituality at all. Our biggest hope and dream, is for you both to be happy and fulfilled, peaceful and loved. How you choose to attain these states is up to you. We will support you along the way. We may not always like it, but that is our problem remember? Don’t ever feel like you can’t come to us for help. In any aspect. If we aren’t around anymore or if we just can’t help you, don’t ever forget that you have each other. Support each other, love each other and never lose contact with each other, no matter where in the world you end up. Even if it’s only sporadic contact. Let there always be contact, and let it be loving, understanding and joyful.

I hope you managed to read all the way to here without rolling your eyes and dismissing me. If you have, I just want to finish by saying that I can’t wait to carry on with this amazing journey with you and watch you both grow into the beautiful human beings I know you will be. I am already so proud of you boys, you are my light and my love and I did not live until you came into my life.

Love you munchkins, thank you for everything.

Mom

Getting your kids to help with chores

After years of saving and living on top of a landfill, we finally saved enough money to get our garden landscaped and suitable for human use. It took ten days, 14 bags of cement and 110m2 of instant lawn but we finally got the garden we always knew it could be! We’ve had picnics and drunken afternoons lounging on the grass, it really has been the best improvement we’ve made to our house. But with all my health ups and downs lately, we’ve stopped watering it as often as we were. Now you might be wondering how unbalanced hormones might influence the frequency with which you water your lawn, but believe me, when you’re spending the better part of your Friday afternoon in the emergency room being tested for stroke and heart attack, the garden moves down to the bottom of your priority list for the rest of the weekend.

aging cartoon

Kind of like an over ripe banana

Don’t panic, it was neither a stroke nor a heart attack. It was a migraine combined with a tension headache. So I had migraine symptoms, along with the left hand side of my body from the top of my head to my knee going numb. Scariest. thing. EVER! All blood tests came back clear for infection, and of course all dangerous scenarios were ruled out. So I have been prescribed some schedule 9 376 486 338 587 painkillers and muscle relaxants so that it hopefully never happens again. Ah the joys of getting old.

During a lucid moment on Sunday, I realised that we have been letting a few things slide because we’re basically exhausted from all the other crap we have to deal with on a daily basis. Nevermind the fact that all three of us now have a cold… Anyway, my solution to it was to create a chore chart. For all three of us. I told the boys that seeing as Tyler is SO big now, and that he’s going to be going to Grade 1 next year, it is WAY past time that he started helping out more at home and being rewarded for his efforts. We employed the use of a “Naughty or Nice” chart when he was going through his terrible tantrum stage and it worked like a charm. It basically taught him that it was better to take a breath and speak nicely to Mommy and Daddy instead of acting like a complete depraved animal when he didn’t get his way. The exercise taught us all to be more patient with each other, we are all just human after all!

Chore Chart

You really can find ANYTHING on the interwebs

The Chore Chart is basically an extension or upgrade of the Naughty or Nice chart. But we are all on it. So I have my chores, the Jeffersonian has his and Tyler has his. It is broken up into days of the week and split between the three of us. At the end of every day we tick off our completed chores, and if they’re all done we each get a smiley face, if you didn’t complete yours your spot remains blank. I wanted to have all three of us on the chart to show Ty that chores are not a form of punishment, rather that we are all working together to make our home lovely. There are rewards for 5 smiley faces in a row, and for 10 smilies we get to go out for dinner – CAN YOU IMAGINE?!?!! What a treat! (Mostly for me hahaha!) But the best part, one of Tyler’s chores is to water the garden! So basically it’s a win win for me, I get some help around the house AND ensure my new garden stays healthy and hydrated. I mean, what is the point of having children if you can’t make them do shit for you!?!??! And hopefully I can teach my son something about responsibility and taking pride in where he lives in the process.

Teaching Children Respect Meme

I know a couple of grown-ass people whose parents should’ve been told this…