Children, Family, Inspiration, Kids, Life, Mom, Parenting, Relationships, Uncategorized

From baby girl to lady, Happy 18th Birthday Jaymee – Birthday celebrations

For Jaymee, finally her birthday arrived!  What more can an 18-year-old ask for, than having your 18th birthday on a Friday.  Jaymee had been waiting with much anticipation and counting the days, and I had been dragging my feet with so much apprehension, I was in fact pretending that this was not really happening.  Maybe if I ignore it and pretend it isn’t there then it won’t happen right…?  WRONG! This is the real-world Lulu and you can’t stop this.  As much as I have to be super-mom, stopping time is way beyond my super-hero skills.

Leading up to her birthday from Monday, I was drowning in work and completely captivated with my professional life and putting off discussing plans for her birthday.  Just when I was living in wonderland and hiding from the big “becoming a lady” birthday thing, my gorgeous friend, Natasha, asked me what the plans are as she would be driving 50 minutes from her house to mine to spend Jaymee’s birthday with us.

How excited I suddenly felt, my friend would be driving so far out of her way, just to spend the evening with us.  I discussed what Jaymee wanted to do and she wanted us to take her out.  My friend asked if she didn’t mind the old ladies taking her out.  “Of course not, we are cool old ladies”, I laughed.  Jaymee really appreciates us taking her out and enjoys our company.  Jaymee had one request, that her brother could join us.  I enjoy taking both my foster children out, so I was excited that I would be taking both of them out.

On Thursday afternoon, Keegan (my son, 14) asked me to take him shopping for ingredients so that he could bake her a cake for her birthday.  Off we went to the shop and got everything that he required for her special birthday cake and he got home and got straight into baking.

The children went off to school on Friday morning – they walk, it is close to home and the Whats App statuses started with lovely pics and memories from all of her friends wishing her happy birthday.  My phone started ringing from around 7:30am and messages were pouring in on all platforms, wishing her well for her birthday.  I felt incredibly proud.  Everyone really loves all of my children and has accepted my foster children from day one.

While running around on site, I got a message from Jaymee asking if I could fetch her or send an uber because she would be unable to go out of the bottom school gate because she had so many balloons, from her friends.  I finished on site around 10 minutes later and called her to tell her that I would be on my way shortly to fetch her and her balloons and the boys from school.  When I got to the school, I saw her by the huge bunch of colourful balloons in her hands and I hoped that they would all fit into the car.  The children squashed them into the boot and got into the car.

Jaymee decided she wanted KFC for birthday lunch so we stopped off at KFC on the way home.  I have to say not my first choice, or even one of my first ten choices, but her birthday so her choice.  We left KFC and discussed our plans and what time we would be going out.

Having to wait for Natasha to come after work, we were not exactly sure of how things would play out.  Jaymee’s foster dad/step-brother came to wish her a happy birthday and we decided that we would go up to a nice vibey restaurant close to pass the time and wait for Natasha to come through.  We called for uber and were off.  Once Natasha arrived, she joined us and other friends who were there and then we decided on a total change of plans.  We would be going to dance at a place nearby instead of heading to Fourways, which was a lot more convenient and made sense.  We danced and danced, burning up the dance floor and did 15,000 steps according to my step tracker. The best thing about being at one of the local places is we ran into friends of hers and Trystan’s as well.  Trystan made new friends and fun was had by all as we painted the town red.

We had a great time celebrating, dancing and meeting people.  When the time came to go home, I had to be quite strict (particularly with my friend – the children are quite good at listening, her not so much!) and we went home. We walked to McDonalds at the other side of the parking for pad-kos (a quick take-away).  The thing about McDonalds is it is right there and who doesn’t need food after a long night of dancing?  I am pretty sure that that particular McDonalds makes most of its turn over after midnight on Friday and Saturday nights.  I have actually asked the question if it is socially acceptable to ask your uber driver to go through the drive thru at McDonalds a few times and the general consensus is “Yes”.  This time however, we walked over and called an uber afterwards.

As the uber driver stopped at the house, Natasha was scrambling to pick up all the chips off of the seat that had been dropped, I have to say that I am a bit skeptical that all the chips were actually ours.  She apologised and made sure to pick up every last chip.  We thanked him and got out and went in.

Saturday was Rugby at the high-school, so we braced ourselves for the cold to go to the school and support the Rugby team.  Natasha and her daughter experienced the school rugby tunnel that we do for the first time.  I love the tunnel, it is the best way to see the school spirit and experience the vibe of high-school rugby.  We were completely exhausted after the rugby and as Natasha and her daughter left, we all went to have a nap.

My feet, legs and butt were hurting, and I was exhausted.  Thinking a nap would be fantastic and I would be up in a few hours to go to an engagement was very hopeful.  I decided my warm bed was the better option and I stayed home.  Trystan and Jaymee were both exhausted as well and they both went into hibernation until Sunday noon.  I offered Jaymee to go to the restaurant up the road for the last of her birthday celebrations, where we would meet my long-time friend, Tarin.  We had a wonderful afternoon, laughing and Jaymee insisting on selfies and that was the end of her birthday weekend.

As her birthday weekend came to an end, I could breathe and the world was a pleasant place.  Suddenly the weight was lifted and her being an adult didn’t feel daunting at all.  I had managed to over dramatize the whole idea of her becoming an adult completely in my mind and freak out.  Suddenly, I realised that she is responsible and already a beautiful young woman and how utterly ridiculous I had been.  Letting her become the best woman she can be by making her own mistakes and tripping a few times on the way isn’t as scary as I thought it was.  I will always be there to pick her up and I know that if she needs me that she will come to me.

Today, I am proud of my exuberant, beautiful and compassionate daughter and honoured to be her mom and be by her side as she becomes a young woman.

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Children, Family, Kids, Life, Mom, Parenting, Technologies, Uncategorized

Social Media – the wonderful, dangerous double-edged sword

We all love checking our Facebook and Instagram, having a look at what people are up to and how everyone is doing, although who is to say that people are showing the reality in their lives when they post something online. The problem is that people seem to run to Facebook or another social media platform as soon as something happens, be it good or bad. The concerning thing is that the bad things and negativity spread like wild fire. People get all revved up and it breeds hate, racism and even depression or anxiety.

I love being able to have constant contact with friends and family abroad and seeing their updates. Seeing pictures of my niece in Canada is my absolute favourite. I love sharing my photos and I love the “feel good” things that we share amongst our social media friends, or within our social media circles. I think in a way we have lost the human part of interaction to some degree, which is saddening.

Lately the dangers of social media have become top of mind for me. Sadly, more negativity seems to be doing the rounds on social media than ever before. Fake News is being spread at an alarming rate and when I look at the pages spreading Fake News there are hundreds of thousands of followers or likes. One I looked at last week, had over 350,000 likes. All spreading the Fake News and negativity, fueling people’s anxiety and fear mongering. People seem to blindly share without even checking if the story comes from a reliable source and the sharing is definitely not of a positive nature. The world of social Media is breeding hate, fear and worse.

Everyone seems to think that they can share anything and have all sorts of opinions behind a computer, people don’t even realise the danger of what they are sharing or how it may affect lives. Someone has an opinion about something that occurred and shares their opinion online in a group or on a page, this fuels responses and eventually people’s lives are being changed without the faceless social media mob even knowing or understanding the actual story. Even more scary is that people don’t even realise the damage they are doing.

We are all aware of cyber bullying and how badly it can end, however, do people actually think before posting an opinion or sharing something that they feel to be right when in fact it is far from it. Do people think before they post? Do they think about the damage they may cause? In the dangerous times of social media everyone seems to be a crime fighter even if they don’t know what they are talking about, everyone is a Doctor, and everyone is a Lawyer, everyone is an expert. Sitting with a phone in hand or behind a computer, it is easy to say what you want to… However, the reality is what you say could ruin someone’s day, week, month, year or life.

I once saw a post on a community WhatsApp group about a suspicious vehicle…. mine!! I had parked outside a house where my daughter had been visiting to fetch her. Due to the large amount of drama within the family that lived in the house, I decided to sit outside the house and message my daughter that I was outside. The funny thing about teenagers is their phones are permanently attached to their hand until a parent needs to get hold of them. When she didn’t answer or read my message I phoned instead, then sat waiting for her to come out (teenage girls can take their time!). Suddenly I was a suspicious vehicle. I don’t feel like I look very suspicious at all to be honest. And I certainly was not doing anything suspicious. I sent a message to the community group complaining that some people on the group were creating unnecessary fear-mongering. The community was on the lookout for a suspicious vehicle with a mom and daughter in…well played! I feel like the world has gone slightly crazy. Everyone has something to say about everything and everyone.

As users of social media, we should use it responsibly and also think about the consequences before we post or share. Can sharing something cause pain to someone or cause a negative reaction. Can something we share cause racism or worse. And most of all, actually checking that the “so called” news you are sharing is true before sharing it. Please insure that your children are well informed and educated when it comes to social media. Make sure that they are not posting anything that could get them into trouble or talking to people that they do not know and could pose a danger to them.

Social Media is an amazing and wonderful yet dangerous thing, it should come with instructions and a long list of rules! Laws worldwide are being put into place and you could land up in a spot of legal trouble for saying(or should I say typing) the wrong thing. Social media is public domain, we don’t just attack random people in public (or most of us don’t) so get a grip and remember if you wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, then don’t post it on social media. Think about what your sharing of negativity does, how it affects everyone who sees it. Spread positivity instead, make people smile instead of making them angry.

Be a light in the darkness, because no light can be hidden in the dark of night.

Media Online article

Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Taking back my life

Depression, the huge mistake I made which caused it and getting over it.

As a child, life was fairly easy. I was always good at making friends and was always able to stand up for myself so bullying wasn’t ever a problem for me. I had a really happy childhood and things were always bright and I have so many happy memories. In my early adult years, I began to become more popular and thrived on the positive attention. I was well known in my circles and would be greeted with adoration by people within my community. I had an incredible amount of friends and I was completely driven by their love for me. I spent so much time doing everything I could for my friends and I would run from one event to the next to please everyone. After all I was loved and needed to return the favour. How can positive attention be a bad thing? I mean everyone loves attention, right?

I was indeed filled with confidence as I walked through the streets of my city. I had a very positive energy about me and I eluded complete control of this incredibly amazing person who I thought I was. I had created my opinion of myself and my self worth based on how everyone saw me…which was great while everyone cherished me and made me the centre of attention.

I had literally handed over the remote control to my life to everyone else. I had no control of my life. Not only had I allowed myself to build Me on how everyone else saw me but I managed to hand my remote control over to people who would soon destroy my happiness. When a house is built, the most important first step is building a strong foundation. My house did not have a foundation and therefore could never withstand the harshest of storms.

As my life was hit by some harsh storms, I crumbled. The person that I had built on everyone else’s opinions could not stand alone. I became very depressed and felt completely hopeless. I had absolutely no want to live and more and more I felt that dying would be the best escape. I had no idea that I had in fact caused this problem. It was not the people who had broken me down because if I had built myself worth and self opinion on ME, I would not have been so easily broken.

Six months after being diagnosed with depression I found myself hitting rock bottom. The best thing about hitting rock bottom is that the only way to go is up. When I had nothing left I was forced to learn my mistake and I started my journey of recovery.

Living my life for everyone else had left me completely exhausted and unable to even get out of bed in the morning.

I sat down all by myself and started to get to know me. At first I wrote down my positives and negatives and though the list of positives which I could think of was only one or two things, the negative list seemed endless. How could everyone around me have seen me as an incredibly strong and amazing woman when I myself was unable to think of more than two positive things about me. Luckily I was soon to realize that my mind was completely over powered by depression and I did in fact have lots of positives. So with time, my list grew and the negatives did not seem all that bad anymore. Now was the time to make it. Now was the time to stop giving my energy to everyone else and now was the time to build my self worth on me.

Getting to know me and the journey of self discovery is one that teaches me every day. I have so much to give but never again will I allow people to just take. Giving is on my time and by my rules. I love giving and I truly feel the need to give back as I have been so richly blessed along the way that it would be a complete sin to not pass on blessings.

I have learned exactly what I should not be doing and what I do not want to do. Things that drain me are being cut out of my life.

I cannot choose which cards life has to deal me but I can choose how I play the cards which I am dealt. I choose to paint a beautiful picture and leave the sadness and regret behind. I will take what I need to from construction criticism but I will not allow negativity to define me. I am worth so much more than what everyone thinks of me and I will continue to walk my journey as the whole me. I choose to love the things that are positive and accept the things about me that aren’t so great. I am a whole person and I am the only perfect me.

In the famous and wonderful words of Dr Suess “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!

Be yourself, build your own foundation and when the storm comes, your house will remain strong and steadfast.

Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Not all days are going to be sunshine – My tips to get through the down days

After overcoming depression, I learnt that not all days are going to be good days. Some days the sun just doesn’t shine. Every now and then depression comes to remind me of what I went through but at the same time reminds me how far I have come. I have come a long way since the days when I could not get through, since the days I thought that I couldn’t carry on. The best thing about hitting rock bottom was that I could only go up from the bottom and up I went! I was strong enough to overcome depression and grow through the experience and most of all the journey of getting to know me. You never know your strength, until you need to use it. When I needed to sort my head out, suddenly I had the strength to do it. Never be afraid to talk to those closest to you or to ask for help. Seek professional help if you need it, I know I did.

When the day is dark, I have a guide to get through, these are my 12 tips:

  1. Fake it until you make it – When you aren’t happy, smile anyway. Take a look in the mirror and smile at yourself.
  2. Dress up – Put your make-up and your heels on, looking good helps you feel good. Wear the little black dress you hardly wear or a nice suit. Wear whatever makes you feel fabulous (Leave the sneakers and baggy pants alone on days like this!)
  3. Have a healthy great tasting breakfast, for me plain yoghurt with berries and seeds is a great tasting healthy way to start the day. Salmon is a fantastic way to start the day too, salmon, avo and cream cheese is enough to put a smile on your dial!
  4. Do a couple burpees or jumping squats if you prefer. You don’t have to go overboard, no one is asking you to run a marathon. 10 – 20 is enough to get your blood pumping and lift your mood.
  5. MEDITATE – this one was very difficult for me to grasp but in the world of technology, there are so many helpful apps to get you started. My favourite is “Guided Meditations – Pitashi Mobile Imagination”. This app eases you into meditating with a number of beginner meditations. If there is one thing that is going to take you to new levels in your mental state, this is it! Meditate, meditate, meditate, I cannot say it enough!
  6. Call your bestie up just to say hi and have a chat, this can make you feel a million times better.
  7. Put on your favourite feel good tune (dance around the room if you like). Music is amazing, and it can lift your mood immediately.
  8. There is plenty of motivational stuff online, google or check in at your favourite motivational blog.
  9. If you are religious, pray and have some quiet time.
  10. Give yourself positive affirmation – you are amazing, you are alive, and you are blessed, remember that.
  11. Imagine a place where you are at complete peace. When you do this, engage all five senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. For example, imagine you are walking next to a river. You are watching the sparkling blue water as it lazily drifts slowly and you listen to the way it trickles and murmurs as it flows. You bend down to touch the slightly numbing, icy water, cupping your hands, you bring some tangy, cold water to your mouth, you sip it and feel alive. The air smells fresh and drops of water hit your face.
  12. If all else fails…. chocolate. Dark chocolate apparently stimulates the production of endorphins and contains serotonin which makes you happy. What better way to help lift your mood?

You are in control of your mind, you are the only person who can pull yourself together. Don’t beat yourself up for the bad days but always remember that after the rain, comes the sunshine, after the night comes the day. Tomorrow the sun will shine and with the brand-new day, you get a new start.

May tomorrow bring you lots of smiles. 🙂

Family, Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Love, Relationships, Uncategorized

The incredible love in the touch of a blind man

My Grandpa fought in the second world war, he served at Montgomery in the western desert, with the Cape Town Highlands. My Grandpa met his beautiful soul-mate, Irish lass, Margaret Greenlees in Cape Town. Fate played a huge part in him meeting his Queen. When I say fate played a huge part, I say this because Granny was never meant to end up in South Africa. When Granny was a little girl, her dad left Belfast on a ship to go to Australia. His plan was for him, his wife and two daughters to start their new life in Australia. Fate had a different idea. Fate decided that the ship would dock in Cape Town. My Gran’s dad was completely taken by the beauty of Cape Town and he telegraphed his wife to tell her to bring the girls and come to Cape Town and that is how Granny landed up in South Africa. Grandpa married his Irish beauty; Madge and they began their life together. They had four children, My dad (Neville), Alwyn, Gary and their only daughter, Wendy. My Grandpa was a man, filled with character. He wrote and sang a song for each of his children, recorded on a tape which we now have on a CD.

My Grandpa worked very hard all his life and made a great life for his family. Granny was a house wife and her dedication to her husband and family was unmatched. She was a true lady in every sense of the word and she stood at Grandpa’s side all his days. Grandpa started gradually losing his eye site. I remember him explaining to me when I was a little girl that he could see me, but only in the form of a shadow.

I spent a lot of time with my Grandpa, we had an incredible bond. I would sit on his lap for hours and insist on sleeping over at their house. Grandpa had been incredibly proud of his children and his grandchildren were dearly loved by him. He knew us all by our voices and would ask Granny to explain what we were wearing and how we had grown. He was absolutely besotted with each one of us and would carefully watch how we were growing, through his hands.

I remember my Granny bought him a watch that he could push a button and it would tell him the time in a lady’s voice. The amount that he took in just by listening was incredible. He was always ahead on all of the facts and everything that was going on in our lives. Every moment he had with us, was deeply appreciated by him and the air was filled with a peace and love when we entered a room where he was sitting.

My Grandpa had a great love and appreciation for the Irish heritage of his wife and his love for her was one of a kind. The bond that they shared was something that was appreciated by everyone who met them and obvious to all that their love was true.

Every time I walked into the house I would run up to my Grandpa and he would put his hand on my head and see how much I had grown. There is no way of explaining what happened when his hand touched me. There was a love that was passed through his hand to me. It was an incredible thing, I could feel his love for me through his touch. Energy is transferred through the hands as we know from reiki, healing through touch by energy transfer. But I know what I felt was love. Chatting to my cousin recently, he said he felt it too and remembers the love that he felt through my Grandpa’s hands and touch.

We could not see the love he had for us through his eyes, but we could feel it through his touch. What an incredible experience we had, feeling the love he had for us from his caring touch. So deep was the touch of his love that we remember it so well and smile as we share the memory of it.

Recently I saw a friend who did some work on my back. In his words, “energy can be transferred from one person to another. When we are in harmony, we call it love.” I know without a doubt at all that what I felt through Grandpa’s touch was love. A pure, intense affection that I have only ever felt from him.

Grandpa died when I was 19 on the 1st of April, leaving a massive void but a family blessed to have shared a life with the astonishing man that was Richard(Dickie) Roberts.

My Granny cried as she told me the words that he had told her before he died: “I can’t be a burden on you anymore my Madge”. She had told me that he had never been a burden, though he was blind and that she would have chosen to keep him by her side if she had the choice.

In Grandpa’s death I found the most extraordinary bond with the stunning woman that was my Granny. The night that my Grandpa left us, I slept next to my Granny and what followed was years of an intimate, profound connection between my Granny and me.

I was extremely fortunate to share such a deep bond with my Granny and the hours and hours of conversation was invaluable. No amount of money could have bought the stories of her childhood and life that she shared with me. We shared many a giggle and many a tear.

I know that my Grandpa would have been filled with pride and joy to see the affection which grew between me and my Granny with his passing. I was blessed by the touch of love from my Grandpa, the lasting memory of how his unfathomable love was felt, the undeniable comfort when he touched my head, my hand, my heart. And the blessing of the extinguished relationship that grew between his beautiful queen and his granddaughter who had always been the apple of his eye/ear.

Memories live forever, and the Monarch and Queen of the family will always be remembered for the sterling people that they were and how blessed we are to have had at the head of our family.

 

Children, Family, Kids, Life, Love, Mom, Parenting, Relationships, Uncategorized

Shove the drink, just give me the bottle! My baby girl is almost 18!

Before Trystan and Jaymee joined the nest, I was a single mom to Keegan, my then little boy. I had planned on no more children, I found being a single mom really difficult and I thought I would save it for the perfect moms out there and give having any more children a miss. If I had been told that I would foster two teenagers I would have never ever believed it. I was quite content with my life as it was. When I suddenly had two abused foster teenagers, things were suddenly very difficult, but I have been blessed beyond my wildest imagination. Having the foster children has been challenging at the best of times but incredibly rewarding. I would never change a thing, I love them dearly and they are my family. My life is complete with them in it.

I remember giving my dad grey hair as a teenager. Girls are a completely different kettle of fish, my poor dad had two of us. Girls are challenging to say the least and after giving my dad so much grief there was no way I was having a girl. But as it happened I was going to be given a twelve-year-old little blond Jaymee.

Boys are really simple, they have small problems and they are sorted out very easily. There is never drama around boys, they have little hurdles that are easy to get over. I have to say that my boys can shock me at the best of times. As a girl, boys do some really weird things. I grew up very close to my brother, Aidan – nicknamed Beans by me as a little boy because of his incessant need to repeat the “Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart” …we all know the rest of the rhyme! Beans and I were very close since we were little, but he constantly shocked me with the completely random and often off-putting things he did. Boys are strange in that way. Having said that to this day, I absolutely adore my brother, he is such an amazing guy and I am so lucky to have him as my brother and he makes me very proud. By the time Keegan came along I had seen it all with Beans, and I had time to adjust, growing up takes time and gives mom a chance to find my way and adapt.

Trystan and Jaymee joined the nest over 6 years ago now. Back then Jaymee was my beautiful princess. She was as sweet as maple syrup, then she became a teenager overnight. This ladies and gents was a scary time! I had a psychologist on call and oh boy, did I call her…all the time. Needless to say, she snapped out of the worst of it pretty quickly. She has grown up into a lovely young lady and I am very proud of her.

Jaymee is a blond haired, blue eyed girl, she is strong willed and knows what she wants and she doesn’t take nonsense from boys. I have taught her well, even if I have to say so myself. I can see the wild streak bubbling under the blond hair. I generally take her out and she spends the night with me. I love taking her out and she loves coming out with me. I can make sure that she is safe, and she can have fun, it is a win-win for both of us.

When I say I have a beautiful daughter, I don’t mean to brag and I am not being bias but she is stunning. She also looks a lot older than she is. All of this making it very scary! I know how well I have taught her and I know I can trust her, but I don’t trust men! I mean drinks get spiked at an alarming rate these days and horror stories go around weekly about young girls being abducted and the list of missing people just grows. Kidnappings are a massive problem and we are constantly warning about child trafficking. These are scary times to have children.

In these scary times we are living in how I even imagine that my daughter will be 18 soon and I will have to let her spread her wings a bit. After all she will be an adult. It actually feels completely unreal, Jaymee, an adult, seriously, where has all the time gone and how did she grow up so quickly? Feels like just the other day she was still little and playing with teddy bears and watching horrible Disney shows.

How scary it is to think that I am going to have to allow her to be an adult, give her the chance to make her own mistakes and hope that she doesn’t get hurt. Trusting her to make the right choices, allowing her to fall and giving her room to spread her wings and not expect her to have my baby sitting her all the way. I have a feeling that this is harder on me, just like Keegan’s first day of Grade 1. Taking him to school on his first day, bawling my eyes out to watch him run off to class in excitement at his first day of big school. I feel the same way now, I feel like I did on that day. Walking into the massive school gates and feeling that the school is far too big for my little boy! How was he even going to find his way around this massive school? Keegan loved school and just fitted right in. He found his way and didn’t even think about the size of the school. In the same way I know that Jaymee will find her way and be just fine. So, this is it, I must allow her some freedom and give her room to find herself (while chugging on a bottle of wine or maybe something even stronger).

Go out there my girl and remember everything I’ve taught you, and most of all have fun but be careful.