Soon Six

When photos like this pop up on my Facebook timeline to remind me it’s already been a year since her Kindergarten graduation, it gets me thinking.

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I was so scared. She was excited, I was terrified. Kindergarten years are easy. They’re full of playing and activities, no strict rules and no sitting down for homework. Year 1 was different. For Cesca, more so. It meant a new school building, travelling to and fro on the school minibus and adapting to sitting down and doing the classwork.

But she did well, very well in fact. She was always one to love knowing more and challenging herself that bit more, and this year offered her that and more. And she loved it.

My little Kikkina is turning six and I simply can’t believe it. She comes up with with the most bizarre and sometimes most uncomfortable of questions, and there is no way of escaping their answer. I love her company and talking to her is like conversing with a young teenager. She is still the sensitive type, does not just talk to anyone, and observes everything and everyone.

I sometimes find myself imagining what an adult Cesca will be like. Will she be the quiet and observant type or will she be the brash and outspoken one? At the present she is a bit of both, so that will be a beautiful thing to find out. Will she ever like anything else besides pasta, pizza and breaded meat? Will she still jump on me and give me wet kisses while giggling ‘boobies’ in my ear? Will she remain a worrier over the silliest of things and be a stickler for perfection? I think and I wonder.

Enjoy your last few days as a five-year old my little flower.  You are growing up too fast for my liking, especially this past year when I have seen you blossom into a young girl –  a kind-hearted one who has a smooth way of getting along with other children. Always be yourself and never apologize for it. You fill up our lives with words, more words, a hundred questions and an eternity of love.

Happy Sixth my Kikkina 🙂

 

Spring-Cleaning

I love this time of the year. It’s just the right time for the cold weather to calm down a bit, and we get to enjoy some beautiful sunshine without the sticky and stinky humidity our summers bring.

Whilst March is always a tough month, one I do not like at all, it also heralds the beginning of spring. And of all four seasons, it is most definitely my favourite.

I associate spring with new beginnings. After March, April starts with the promise of warmer breezes and bluer skies. I finally put my heavy jackets to rest and take out my cardigans and lighter layers, with the hope that I am not tempting the fates into throwing at us more wind and cold. I set my boots aside with a huge sigh of relief. I can finally wear sock-less flats and perhaps even dare to show my feet if the weather permits. That is after getting a pedicure, with a pretty coral colour perhaps. I slowly start removing layers and layers of clothes, scarves and socks. Skin is scrubbed and buffed, dead and dry skin discarded of,  and body parts hidden by the winter cold start getting properly prepared for the outer world to see. I start pushing myself that bit harder at training because visions of me in a bathing suit start popping up every morning at 6am whilst squatting, and panic starts kicking in. The days become longer, and so can our walks. Gozo at this time of the year still stubbornly holds on to the last of the green grass, before the brown, dried-up ambience sets in – typical of our summer.

Now is also the time when I start pining after a new hairstyle, look up new, fad diets and amazing superfoods. I restart my Bucilla kit for the tenth time because I suddenly realize that I can finish it in time for next Christmas…but only if I continue working on it for more than a couple of days.  I start a frenzy period of internet shopping because suddenly not one single female in our household has any single item of clothing to wear. I go through the girls’ wardrobes with a heavy heart because I have to empty the winter clothing, half of which will never be worn again.

After reading Island Fairy’s post, I immediately downloaded the Headspace app. Today is Day 2 of my meditation practice. With it just being ten minutes long, it’s something I can find the time for more easily than an hour-long session. I have also grabbed hold of my copy of The Universe Has Your Back, and started reading it again. I go through periods when I can not read some books. They just do not appeal to me and I physically hide them away till I feel ready to give them another go. After reading the reviews on this book, after eagerly waiting for it to arrive, once it did, I was just put off it. I read the first chapter, found myself blocking over it, and I had to stop. I now feel that the time is right to give it another go. I’m thinking that ten minutes of meditation a day and some pages of this book, will help my mind go along with the sense of new and fresh beginnings this time of the year brings.

This is perhaps my own version of spring-cleaning. I think we all have our rituals this at this time of the year. Some which we perhaps do not realize unless we sit down and think about it. I can go through spring with a clear head. It is perhaps the only season where my energy levels are higher than usual, and things are that bit more possible and happier. Summer is too hot for me to muster any enthusiasm, autumn is too busy for clarity, and winter I do not particularly like. I guess spring is my season.

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Chasing the Sun

Stuck

It was inevitable that the sick bugs would catch up with us. We are still not in the clear, but going on and on about the negative won’t help us with anything, so enough of that. Onwards and upwards, onwards and upwards.

I do not like this time of the year. The first three months of the year carry too much sadness for me, for one particular reason. I honestly wish I could blink and be in April, but that is just wishful thinking on my part. So I am trying to be as upbeat as I can, I am trying to focus on the positive and move forward. But I do get my moments when things just weigh me down. Bettina contracting a nasty virus, Cesca with the fever and me with a cold and foot and ligament pains which do not seem to get any better. Then there are birthdays, anniversaries and other moments I do wish I could forget and erase.

So in a bid to try and pull myself out of a sad rut that this time of the year always brings for me, I am looking out for positive things, words, images, stories. Anything.

  • I read. I go with whatever flow my mind tells me to follow. Be it a steaming romance, a tear-jerker or a self-help book, I just go where I feel I must.
  • I let Cesca brush my hair and call me the prettiest mama’ ever.
  • I take the painting set out and let the girls make a mess, focusing on their giggles and silly drawings instead of the dirty clothes and messy floors.
  • I lose myself in television series which make ma laugh and cry. I imagine myself living in Downton and being as snobbish and annoyingly correct as the Dowager herself.
  • I try to find more time to spend with the girls and stop myself from complaining when it’s bedtime and they want me to read them a book. I shut up and cuddle up with them in bed.
  • I buy things for myself. After years of neglecting my wardrobe to my daughers’, I now enter a shop and go to the women’s section first. And horror of horrors I sometimes steer out before my legs lead me to the children’s section.
  • Online shopping. Always works wonders.

And if all that fails, I just sit still and let myself be overwhelmed with whatever I’m feeling at that moment. Be it pain, sorrow, a strong sense of loss, anxiety, grief. It literally feels like heavy waves hitting you where it hurts most. I have learnt that some things are too strong and sensitive to just escape from. You need to feel some things, let them hurt you and temporarily take over your all.

Then when the waves stop and I feel calmer, I start feeling better. Sometimes you just have to really hurt, feel the pain in order to start getting better. It works with me.

That’s the rest of my month figured out. April can not come soon enough.

* Speaking of waves, Gozo has just lost a national landmark today! Weather and nature finally took their toll on our treasured Azure Window and what once stood so proudly as Dwejra’s main attraction, has now collapsed and disappeared. 

 

milk and honey

A couple of weeks after writing about the importance of running, of how running equals a healthy lifestyle, I go round to spraining my ankle. And I was not running (in the literal or figurative sense of the word) when doing so. I was planking – the one and only exercise which probably does not involve any movement. So I have (literally) stopped running for a couple of days now and I’m going crazy (just a little bit of that and lots of exaggeration perhaps). But I do miss it.

The upside of not training is getting a couple of extra minutes of sleep in the morning. Which for me translates as a couple of extra minutes of reading the night before. And I have to share and recommend a book I have just started, but which I am breezing through.

The book is called milk and honey by Rupi Kaur. I read some amazing reviews of it on Goodreads and it got me all curious. And a couple of pages in, I am hooked. It is a collection of poetry – long and short verses which tackle hurting, loving, breaking and healing. I do not read poetry but these lines just struck me in a way that I have to share with you.

Running

That’s all I seem to be doing most of the time. Running, chasing things, chasing time, catching up on everything, dashing around, checking my watch and hurrying around.

My running starts early in the morning, but at that time the running is welcome. In fact, it’s my morning exercise session which keeps me going for the rest of the day. Then there’s playschool, school, school-bus runs, work, housework, homework, cooking, religious lessons, ballet lessons, meetings, errands, empty kitchen shelves…it’s all about running.

I often complain about the running and the errands, about the busy life I lead, and the feeling of always having something else to do. I am awake for more than 17 hours everyday, and yet I never find half an hour to wash my hair or clear the shoes wardrobe.

But if the running stops, then what happens? As much as I am rushed off my feet every day, I crave the running. The running keeps me going.

The running means everything is good.

The girls are healthy and active. They’re playing, emptying toy chests and sprawling small bits of Lego around. They’re eating and making messes everywhere. The television has sticky handprints on it, which we only see when they’re finally sleeping and we’re semi-comatose on the sofa. We have at least one screaming match a day, some hair-pulling, a couple of face scratches here and there, and then lots of giggles and laughs. We are never quiet. We are never tidy.

We are working, we’re busy, we leave home early to make a better life for us all. We communicate via our mobiles till we meet late at night. We rarely eat together because of our busy lifestyles, but we never miss out on our chats. They’re quite hasty at times, and they usually end halfway through with one of us sleeping on the sofa, but they happen. We sometimes manage a bottle of wine on weekends, even dinner with friends, and we are enjoying building a home we will hopefully move into soon. Everything at its’ own pace, but happening. We’re lucky enough to make the best out of any family-time we have, and when that happens that gives us a short breather before being thrown back in into everyday routine.

The running means everything is functioning as it should be.

There is a reason I write this on a Wednesday. Tuesday is my busy day. I wake up on Wednesday thanking the skies that Tuesday has passed with everything being done and everyone in one piece. It’s a short-lived feeling, a couple of hours long, but enough to keep me going on.

When the running is paused, something is amiss. Someone is sick or something is cancelled. It is then that I crave the routine, the running and the feeling of being rushed off your feet.

So here’s to running. Let’s do a lot of that in 2017.

 

 

Loose Tooth

A couple of days ago Cesca returned home from school all excited and bubbly, jumping up and down, barely able to talk and nearly screaming out, “Mama, mama, I have a loose tooth!”

I got that awful feeling of your gut becoming locked in place and then free-falling to the ground.

She’s my little baby, how can she even be talking about loose tooth and tooth fairies? Wasn’t that supposed to be happening till a couple of months more – enough time to prepare myself for this awful thing called growing-up? What difference does a couple of months make you ask me? Not much, true. But for me, at this time in my children’s lives, it means the world and that bit more.

The girls are growing too much, too fast, too quickly. We just attended Cesca’s school Christmas Concert, and realized it was her third one to date. Already! And next September, Bettina starts school. Bettina, whom I still regard as my little one, is soon off to mingle with new children in uniform, in a new school. I can honestly say that at times all these changes just make my head spin.

The rest of the times I just give in to the inevitable and realize that notwithstanding my wishing and praying, they just grow. I cherish our moments, I try to take as many photos as I can, and I want them to make as many beautiful memories as possible. I teach them what they need to know, especially with Cesca, given her age. I teach her that it is okay to be that bit different from all the rest. It is okay to dress up as Batwoman if she wants to, and if she does not like pink then that really does not matter. She does not need to have the exact same pair of school tights as the rest of her friends, and if she wants a fringe, then it’s okay to have one even if her friends do not. I try my best to let her be her own person and go from there. If there is one lesson I want her to learn at this point, it’s that it’s okay to be different.  Moulding her into something she is not was never something I wanted with my children. And with Cesca, I could never do that – not even if I tried.

I hope she keeps surprising me with her words, making me laugh with her spontaneous dancing moves, and giving big hugs to her ‘bestest friend in the whole wide world’ 🙂

 

 

Love Warrior

I don’t know if you following this blog’s Facebook page, but if you do you might have read how I recently got hold of a book I had been wanted to read for a while. Love Warrior was a book which I got to know of through social media and my book buddy L, who sent me links after videos after links about it and its’ author Glennon Doyle Melton. She also runs Momastery, a blog with a Facebook page, which is inspiring to say the very least. Curiosity got the best of me and I got the book.

Love Warrior is everything every single critic I read said about the book. There are certain books which do not suit everyone. There were periods in my life where I would not have been able to read this book. I started The Secret many times, but for the life of me I could not read it – it made me feel too uncomfortable. And I know that if I had read Love Warrior a couple of years ago, I would not have been able to.

Love Warrior is a flowing read. There are however passages which I found myself reading and re-reading because they were so simply-worded yet so true, and it struck me how sometimes the so-obvious is the last thing to hit us as humans. It starts off with the author narrating the broken-down state of her marriage, but then kicks off in a deeper level, unearthing issues which led her to be the person she was, resulting in some serious changes who led her to be warrior that she is.

I have marked favourite parts of the books. I feel that this is a book to keep, not to lend, but to mark it, scribble on it and make it yours. It is a book to keep for reference, for guidance at times, and to go back to when you need assurance on certain things.

Let me share my favourite quotes. There are many, so many more, but these make the cut:

You are not supposed to be happy all the time. Life hurts and it’s hard. Not because you’re doing it wrong, but because it hurts for everybody. Don’t’ avoid the pain. You need it. It’s meant for you. Be still with it, let it come, let it go, let it leave you with the fuel you’ll burn to get your work done on this earth”

Remember, don’t be a lady – be a Warrior. The Warrior feeds all three of her selves: mind, spirit, body”.

And this…God’s words to us:

“You! You are my beloved! I made you and everything you have ever been or are or will become is already approved. Nothing you can ever do will make me love you more, and nothing you can ever do will make me love you less. That is finished”.

My lovely L has now lent me her The Universe Has Your Back and reading the reviews, I have to admit that I’m really curious about starting it.

I think now is my time to read these books. I would not have been able to read them a while ago. But now – yes.

If you can read Love Warrior I urge you to. It’s thought-provoking and raises some really good points for discussion. I’d love to know what you think if you’ve read it!