blessings · challenges · Christmas · family · gratitude · happiness · In My World · new beginnings · photography · summer · unbreakable bonds

New Beginnings

Christmas Day 2018

As the year 2019 begins, my family is happy, which is all that I have wished for.

This time last year though, I had a different story to tell, although it wasn’t a situation I wished to talk about at the time. On the day of my grandson’s first birthday in July, my daughter-in-law ceremoniously decided she was leaving, moving one-thousand kilometres away, to live with her parents. My son had two choices – stay here and lose his son, or follow his wife, which was really no choice at all. Obviously, he left too.

To be married in March 2019.

For the next six months, I didn’t see my grandson. My son, however, couldn’t cope with being away from his family. He was torn between his birth family, and the one he had created. So in desperation, he tried living and working here during the week, and flying home to his other family for the weekend.

It was a massive strain on him. He was miserable. And I knew there were problems in his marriage.

Fun for the family, Christmas 2018.

As Christmas approached, I felt absolutely no enthusiasm. I felt my youngest son’s pain, and at times I felt as if my heart was bleeding for him. Consequentially, I didn’t buy any Christmas gifts, I gave my family money and asked them to spend it as they pleased.

The Christmas tree looked so bare without the usual array of gifts, but when my family arrived that situation changed as brightly packaged gifts began to mount beneath the tree.

Meeting the right person at the right time! ❤ Christmas 2018.

During the afternoon, we all went outside for a photo session. My heart wasn’t in it though, my son would be missing from the photos. It would be a permanent reminder of the unfortunate split in our family.

At one point, my eldest daughter and her husband handed each family member an envelope, instructing us to open our envelopes together. I imagined I would read my card later, once I had gone inside and had put my reading glasses on. But that all changed when I took out the card, which read –

Jingle bells, jingle bells,

jingle all the way …

Oh what fun

It is to say,

A baby is on the way!

Due to arrive

August 2018.

I was going to be a Nana again! 

Many reasons to smile again …

Fast forward to Christmas 2018 – My youngest son is home again. His ex had chosen another significant day to ceremoniously (again!!) announce the end of their marriage on their third wedding anniversary. But this year, he’s smiling again.

My auntie dunked me!

My boy is back.

My family are all friendly with one another again, just like they used to be (before the x joined the family).

Aunt Em loves me!

And most importantly, my grandson was here to help his four-month-old baby cousin, Aurora Ebony, celebrate her first Christmas. 🙂

Aurora’s Mummy and Daddy getting into the spirit of Christmas.

I think the photos speak louder than any words I could choose.

And in 2019, we have two weddings to look forward to! My eldest son is to be married in March, followed by my youngest daughter who will be married in April. ❤

Christmas 2018 photo session. 🙂

A year ago, I couldn’t write about my life, or my family. This year, we have everything to celebrate!

I’ll be Flower Girl at my Aunt Em’s wedding in April!

I wanted to share this brief version of the story of my 2018 to let anyone who is suffering know that nothing stays the same. Change is inevitable. And there is always hope for a better future.

Uncle Ben and Braxton.

For 2019, I wish everyone a year of happiness, a year of joy, good health and prosperity. A year where even if your life isn’t going completely to plan, know that there is always hope for a brighter future. xx

Watching the New Year’s Eve fireworks on TV with Nana and Poppy. NYE 2018.
Baby Aurora, New Year’s Day 2019.

 

 

 

A Sense of Spirit · birthdays · blessings · new beginnings · remembering

Dear Adam.

baby Adam

My youngest son turns eighteen today, and even though he knows that I blog, calling the friends I have made here my “Fairy Friends”, I doubt that he would ever think to read what I have said. Today though, I need to mark the day my youngest child becomes a man. Really? Is it actually today that he reaches maturity? No, I think not. A date on a calendar could never in a million years have prepared my boy for his initiation into manhood, when his fiancé gave birth to their first child, Samuel, a tiny little bundle who was born sleeping.

Adams car

The words in my heart need to be constructed here today, and sent out into The Universe, along with a smattering of photographic memories of my son, and you, my “Fairy Friends”, my wonderful small group of people who are so very dear to me, even though we have never met, can share in the day too. The day my son becomes “legal” ~ can buy lottery tickets, and cigarettes and alcohol, play poker machines, vote, borrow money, get a tattoo….these things are taboo to an under eighteen year old, kept away from them for their own protection, perhaps? To protect them from what? Nothing can protect us from living a life, from feeling love and heartbreak. Age cannot dictate a personality, nor enable kindness, compassion, or empathy, all of which Adam has been blessed with, so today, I wish to honour my son for the human being he is.

Just because I love him.

pre school

Dear Adam,

When I saw your face this morning it felt no different than any other morning, or any other birthday for that matter, when I have greeted you and wished you happiness for your special day. Legally, from now on, you no longer need your father and I, but knowing you as I do, I know that you already understand that we will always be here for you anyway.

You’ll always be my baby, in more ways than one, you are my child, and my last born baby, and my heart will continue to travel along with you throughout your entire life, no matter where you are, just as it has done for the past eighteen years.

Recently, I have been complimented, more than once, on raising such a wonderful son, a son I can be proud of, and although I have done my best to instill in you a decent set of moral values, have taught you right from wrong, and encouraged you to seek anything which your heart desires, I cannot accept full responsibility for the person you have become. Every person is born with their own unique personality, and Adam, I really scored it lucky on the day you were born.

My beautiful baby boy with the huge blue eyes, you were so contented, barely ever cried, adored your family, loved music and called all of your favourite things “Narna”. And oh, the looks I would be given when out shopping, as I pushed along a stroller containing a one year old who could whistle! You were always on for a chat too, joining in with your baby babble-talk, laughing on cue during conversations, and always waving the longest goodbyes.

Your school teachers thought you quite remarkable too, when you arrived at school being able to tie your own shoe laces, and you could even count to one-thousand. I remember with great fondness the friends you made when young, some at school, some through sporting activities, many of whom you have remained friends with to this day.

My little football player, the black-belt karate kid, cricket playing wizard and piano player extraordinaire, how I have smiled throughout the past eighteen years, admiring your talents.

And then there’s the compassionate Adam, the young boy who always stood by and helped the under-dog, those with disabilities, and kids who were bullied at school. No one dared mess with you, did they my boy? You never shied away from a fight, not when it was something you believed in.

At high school, you discovered girls, and oh my goodness, what a long string of “girl friends” there were too! I gave up trying to show interest after a while, there were too many to remember, and I always knew that when someone special came along, you would let me know.

And you did. What was it that you saw in Mary that made her stand out from the rest? I believe that you and Mary are kindred spirits. With Mary, you really did recognise your “other half”, didn’t you, the person you knew that you were destined to stay with forever.

Last year, as you and Mary whispered together nearby, I would occasionally pick up words dropped along the way, hear your plans for when you were married, when you had children, when you would always be together, so earlier this year, when you knew about the baby and told me that the three of you were to all have the same sir name, I knew this to be your dream.

Dreams do come true, my boy, perhaps not always at the time you expect them to, but when you and Mary are married in less than two weeks time, little Samuel will be watching over his mummy and daddy as the three of you become as one. Your beautiful Mary is a huge part of your dreams, Adam, and Samuel will never be forgotten. His little brothers and sisters will be here before you know it, so don’t fret. You know your heart and you know Mary’s heart, separate to yours physically, yet one heart through love.

Just so’s you know, the video of a nine or ten year old Adam, which we had promised to show at either your eighteenth or twenty-first birthday, is being safely kept for your twenty-first birthday bash. With a wedding coming up in less than two weeks, we think we will save that one for now. What a laugh your children will get when they see their daddy dancing a strip-tease when he was just a little boy!

Your love, your gentleness, your strength, sense of humour and compassion, they will always see you through. I am so proud of you, did I already tell you that a thousand times over? I think I did, but just in case you missed it, always remember Adam, I am, and always will be, your biggest fan, devoted to you, here to support you throughout the hard times in life and to treasure the happiness that finds you also.

Happy Birthday Adam ~ I love you, always. ~~ Mum. x

Me & Adam

Model Adam

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Adam at Eumundi 9th Dec

Adam today, with Mary, and their dog, Forrest.
Adam today, with Mary, and their dog, Forrest.

~~~~~~~~

blessings · Changes · daughter · freedom · new beginnings · son

So much has been happening in my world lately!

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November has been a time of change, of beginnings and endings, of children growing, learning, and maturing (sometimes trying to push the issue of maturing!) Decisions are being made and confusion reins supreme in my home.

The changes are not bad, just…..well…..changes!

My baby boy finished high school. Now that’s a monumental occasion for any parent, I know. For us though, it’s our last….our youngest child, going out into the big wide world, walking through the high school gate for the last time ever, from the familiar day to day hum-drum world that he couldn’t wait to end, then it did end, and he felt the sadness of not knowing any more where this next phase of his life would take him.

So many emotions, all rolled up in one big “change”. Happy to be free to make his own choices in life, yet not yet knowing exactly what he wants to do. Pleased to know that he is no longer answerable to school teachers, free of assignments, homework commitments, “arrive on time or else you get a detention” threats, yet he still felt a sadness of leaving behind him some of the happiest years of his life.

On the last morning, before he left for school, he posed for me with my new “grand-daughter puppy”, little Forrest. I can’t say that I was thrilled when he told my that he and his girlfriend would be buying a puppy, but how could I resist that cute little face? (The cute little face of Forrest, I mean…..oh, okay, you’ve got me…..I can’t resist the cute little face of my baby boy either!)???????????????????????????????

Here is Adam, all dolled up in a suit, with Forrest (a slightly younger version of Forrest, in late September) the night of the High School Formal.

And then, last week, parents were invited to the official graduation ceremony at the school. More photos were taken, of course, well at least I tried to take photos! My daughter, Emma, wanted to have a photo taken with her baby brother, and Forrest wanted to get in on the act as well.???????????????????????????????

That little girl cannot sit still for anything! She’s a little ball of energetic fun, the whole world is her playground and every creature in it is her friend! Here’s another one of Forrest getting in on the act ~???????????????????????????????

Big brother Ben thinks it’s all a big game as well, so Forrest has an ally! Finally, I managed a “good” photo. I thought it might be fun though to add a few bloopers first!???????????????????????????????

It looks as though, in the last photo, I have asked Adam to “say cheese”….I promise I didn’t! I think he had had enough of photos by this time though…..

Also, on the same day last week, Emma bought a new car! She was so excited…..her last car had been bought in my name, with her being so young…..this one has her name on the registration papers!???????????????????????????????

Oh, she doesn’t look that happy in that photo, does she……I promise she was, we were probably talking as I clicked the shutter……here’s a better one, she’s smiling now ~

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She even bought a new dress for the occasion, which will also be her birthday dress. She has a birthday coming up soon, and says the car is an early birthday present to herself.

So that’s a couple of the big events that have happened in my world lately. It’s been go, go, go every day!

It’s great to watch my children grow, share in their achievements, see the excitement they feel as they make major life choices for themselves. As for me and their father, we are so proud of our four children. Lately, we fall into bed exhausted each night, we worry, we talk, we wonder, but mostly we smile and laugh about the incidences of each day…..

And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Australia · blessings · Byron Bay · daughter · gratitude

Byron Bay Lighthouse

The Byron Bay Lighthouse.
The Byron Bay Lighthouse.

“Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page. Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are passed.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher.

The rocky cliffs heading down to the sea, but where are the mountain goats?
The rocky cliffs heading down to the sea, but where are the mountain goats?

I came across the quote by Henry Ward Beecher recently and thought it to be very sound advice, especially so if you wish to forget anything that has happened in your past life that has caused you pain.

The old lighthouse keepers house, now a museum.
The old lighthouse keepers house, now a museum.

Well, as much as I wish to follow Henry’s advice, I’m not ready to do so yet, as I have something wonderful to share with you all today, and it happened last year! But do note that I used the word “wonderful”, it was an exciting day at the time and I’m excited to be sharing the event with you now.

Rooms now display old photos and information of interest from the days of old.
Rooms now display old photos and information of interest from the days of old.

My baby girl Emma and I love browsing around markets, especially markets selling alternate, but good quality wares. We had heard a whisper that the market at Bangalow, about three-quarters of an hour drive south and held on the last Sunday of each month was such a market.

Two Estuary Cod fish.....No, wait, isn't that Emma?!
Two Estuary Cod fish…..No, wait, isn’t that Emma?!

I’ll have to write another post about the market itself, as to combine two destinations into one story would be way too long, as Emma and I met a couple of interesting characters at the markets, whose stories are worthy of sharing.

Can you imagine waking up to this view at your front door every day? That's what the lighthouse keeper used to do!
Can you imagine waking up to this view at your front door every day? That’s what the lighthouse keeper used to do!

Today is the story of the lighthouse, at Byron Bay, situated on the eastern-most point of Australia and just a hop, skip and a jump from Bangalow, where Emma and I went to have lunch after we had finished the rounds of the market.

Some info for those of you who like to know the actual factuals....
Some info for those of you who like to know the actual factuals….

The weather of the day was warm, but not the ridiculously unbearable humidity that we sometimes suffer through during the warmer months here. The sun blazed away in the blue sky and all was well with the world.

The room just nside the downstairs of the lighthouse, where people can wait, "patiently!" for the next tour to the top....  :)
The room just inside the downstairs of the lighthouse, where people can wait, “patiently!” for the next tour to the top…. 🙂

Since my childhood days I have visited the lighthouse at Byron Bay. It’s a beautiful area and the point where the lighthouse is located holds magic in the air. There used to be wild mountain goats grazing on the steep inclines leading up to the lighthouse but I didn’t see any the day Emma and I were there. I think Emma thought I’d gone a bit potty when I told her to look out for the mountain goats! Sadly, we didn’t see any.

More actual factuals, this sweet little building was built in 1901. In the displays they even have the original plans of the two buildings.
More actual factuals, this sweet little building was built in 1901. In the displays they even have the original plans of the two buildings.

Every time I have been to the lighthouse I have wanted to go inside. I became even more fascinated by the interior’s of lighthouses during the days when my children were young and loved watching a TV show called “Round the Twist”, based on books written by Australian author Paul Jennings, where the Twist family lived in a lighthouse. Strange events took place in and around the lighthouse, with a magical and sometimes supernatural slant, all of which had me riveted to the TV set as firmly as my children were, to watch the show.

And this would be the door to the inner sanctum, the door I have dreamed about walking through, closed.
And this would be the door to the inner sanctum, the door I have dreamed about walking through, closed.

The Byron Bay lighthouse has never, not once, in all the years I have visited, been open to the public, but lo and behold, on this fine Sunday afternoon when Emma and I arrived there, it was open! Oh joy of joys, I could finally go into the lighthouse!

But wait, today they will open this door! Things are looking up, my friends!
Today they will open this door! Things are looking up, my friends!

“All who joy would win must share it. Happiness is a twin.” ~ Lord Byron quote ~ 1788-1824.

Is this really happening? Yes it is, I'm inside the lighthouse!
Is this really happening? Yes it is, I’m inside the lighthouse!

But wait, it gets even better….one of the friendly volunteers asked if we would like to go on the next tour, to the top of the lighthouse! Would I what!! I must admit that I think I may have heard a slight groan from Emma, when she found out that to be on the next tour, we would have to wait for nearly an hour. Hadn’t I waited for her to finish her ballet classes for eight whole years? Hadn’t I ferried her to friends houses until she was old enough to drive herself? Hadn’t I done so with barely a single complaint uttered? Now it was my turn for some fun; I made her wait. There were no further groans.

I admired and photographed it all, every single nut and bolt I could see. Okay, maybe I missed one or two nuts and bolts, but wow! :)
I admired and photographed it all, every single nut and bolt I could see. Okay, maybe I missed one or two nuts and bolts, but wow! 🙂

I should have counted the stairs as we climbed the course to the top, with me leading the way, but I didn’t. My camera was too busy clicking away at every turn in the stairs, at every flat platform, at every window, at every nut and bolt in the wall. I had waited for this day for a lifetime and I didn’t want to miss a single detail. It didn’t disappoint.

Here lies all of the gadgemetry to project the beams of the light, right up at the very top of the inner sanctum..
Here lies all the gadgemetry to project the beams of the light, right up at the very top of the inner sanctum..

“Roll on, deep and dark blue ocean, roll. Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain. Man marks the earth with ruin, but his control stops at the shore.” ~ Lord Byron ~ 1788-1824.

Here stands "Emma the Brave" casually posing for a photograph on the lighthouse balcony, as my legs go to jelly.
Here stands “Emma the Brave” casually posing for a photograph on the lighthouse balcony, as my legs go to jelly.

The top of the lighthouse was really fascinating and our friendly guide knew all the ins-and-outs of every specific mathematical detail there was to know about the structure of this fabulous creation, all very interesting on the day, however I’ve forgotten most of what she told us. I was there for the feel of the building, the magic of the area, the stories of the lighthouse keepers, the sounds of the ocean and the joy of the people who shared the tour to the top with us. Those feelings remain.

Realising that I couldn't live in the lighthouse, we headed down. Such opportunities must remain with the fictitional characters in children's TV shows.
Realising that I couldn’t live in the lighthouse, we headed down. Such opportunities must remain with the fictional characters in children’s TV shows.

At the very top, I wimped out. I go jelly legged at heights and as much a I would have loved to have gone out onto the very narrow balcony surrounding the top edge of the lighthouse, I declined the offer. Well, I did venture out onto the balcony for two seconds, whilst holding the door and not looking directly down, and I even considered letting go of the door and walking a few steps along the balcony….it ended at mere consideration and I stayed inside. Maybe next time.

"Hello down there!" This young man was chastised by his father for holding up the trafic. I assured him that I didn't mind and that I had taken his photo. :)
“Hello down there!” This young man was chastised by his father for holding up the traffic. I assured him that I didn’t mind and that I had taken his photo. 🙂

And there will be a next time, Emma and I have decided, and we will be taking my other daughter with us when we go. This much magic needs to be shared. 🙂

And the journey down the stairs continues. I didn't count the stairs on the way down either....
And the journey down the stairs continues. I didn’t count the stairs on the way down either….and my legs again turned to jelly when I learned over the balustrade to take this photo!

“Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray.” ~ Lord Byron ~ 1788-1824.

The Beaming Lighthouse.
The Beaming Byron Bay Lighthouse.