Recently I was away from home and on my own for the day. It was quite a novel experience and one I enjoyed immensely!
I went for a run along the Yarra Trail (in Melbourne) and ended up at the Collingwood Children’s Farm cafe for a sit down and a reviving cup of tea – OK and a muffin 😦
Sitting there looking around me, I was immediately taken back to the time in my not so distant past. As a young mother, I would often take my three daughters out and about to similar places. I saw many mothers, and some fathers, having a fun time enjoying the fresh air, the animals, the bonding with others and simply being out of the house for a few hours.
There were also the upset toddlers, the tired mothers, the disgruntled babies and the not-so-fun stuff going on. That’s just a part of life as a parent though.
I felt nostalgic for this time of my life and envied these young families in some ways. I am in a completely different place now, having been retired recently and old enough to be a grandmother. I still remember the feelings I had as a young mother, the feelings of inadequacy, the worry that I wasn’t up to the task, that I wasn’t a capable mother and yet I was responsible for these dependent little humans. The good days and the bad days. I still wonder how they survived and grew into such amazing, clever creatures. I think my husband had a lot to do with it!
Fast forward a few years
Fast forward to 2017 and my eldest daughter has written a post with a letter to her 2006 self as she was setting out on an adventure to live and work in England (all the way from Australia). It talks of her concerns, her homesickness and her love of family despite us being halfway across the world from her.
When you step on the plane you’ll be thinking of the adventures you’re going to have, the people you’ll meet, the countries you’ll go to and the new life you’ll have. What you won’t be thinking about is what you’ll end up missing out on at home while you’re away and rightly so in your mind you’re only going for a couple of years. Not much will happen in that time. Although it’s glaringly obvious, you forget life will go on even if you’re not there.
A few weeks ago it was Dad’s 60th birthday and you won’t be there for the party. Yes you saw him a month earlier on an amazing family holiday and celebrated with everyone then but you miss out on being there now. You’ll Facetime (FaceTime is amazing just you wait) and talk to everyone and see how much fun they are having together and they will laugh at how rugged up you are when it’s so warm there and then you’ll hang up and smile but that smile will fade into tears. Tears of sadness that you’re not there, guilt that you’re not there and longing as you wish to be there and not in your lounge getting ready to put the washing away.
Home is where the heart is and you’re fortunate enough to have your heart on both sides of the world.
Upon reading her post, through my tears I’ll admit, I thought back to that day at the farm cafe and remembered my nostalgia for a time when life was simpler in many ways and my babies were still so dependent on me.
I continued to watch the goings on for a while, thinking back over the years, and simply enjoyed the moment.
My daughter is still living in England and is engaged to a lovely English fellow. They plan to stay there as they have made a great life together with many friends in a supportive network. I am proud of her and all that she has achieved, it’s not been easy for her at times.
Comparing our lives
A few years ago I wrote a post about each of my daughters (and my mother) comparing our lives at the same age. It was a very interesting exercise and one we all enjoyed. Here are the updated links – Life at 28 and Life at 25 – I’ll be updating these as the girls age and take on new roles in their lives. Here’s the link to the one I wrote on Melanie, at 30 and a bit.
She still needs me as her mother and she will always be my baby daughter, no matter how old she gets. I saw this quote recently and I think it says it all : a mother is your first friend, your best friend, your forever friend.
I must add that it was lovely to spend time among young families, as it seems wherever I go lately I’m part of a completely different demographic 🙂
Words of advice
I have no words of wisdom to add except to say that parenting is fun and it’s also hard. It’s important to do the best job you can at the time and not to run yourself down. I can honestly say it is the most worthwhile job I’ve ever had. The years fly by far too quickly so enjoy the moments as you make them. Take the photos, write the stories down, keep your memories alive and tell your children how you feel – they grow up so fast these days.
One day it will be you writing a post about your babies 🙂
Do you get nostalgic for times gone by too, or is it just me??
Enjoy your day!!
November 2018: I’ve updated this post a little and am linking it to Denyse’s #Lifethisweek with the prompt of: I remember
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