My purpose…is in the here and now.

What is your purpose…?

In many people including myself, this evokes thoughts and images of this big, significant “thing” that you are working towards and someday will reach (hopefully).

This is the thing you were born to do, and only when you figure out what it is and DO it, will you find real life fulfillment by what you do and will reach your full potential…

We are told by pastors and motivational speakers alike, that we all have a very specific purpose that we were born for. That we need to maximize our potential. And that it will be just a terrible shame if you do not reach your full potential or end up following your destined purpose. We are told that we just need to follow certain steps or do a vision board or read a book etc, to find out what it is (which in itself is a mystery for so many) and then to pursue IT.

We are told to not live a mediocre life – no because we were created for SO MUCH MORE! We are told to be proactive, live life to the full, pursue our dreams…

I have in the past felt very motivated and inspired after hearing or reading messages such as these. I would buy the book or buy a new journal – filled with fresh inspiration and drive to figure out what my purpose is and how I can go about reaching it.

But in the past couple of years it has just left me feeling miserable, burdened, confused and slightly disillusioned and disappointed at times. I don’t think its unusual to feel this way when you find yourself somewhere in your 30’s (or 40’s…any age really) in a career that you are not crazy about but it pays the bills…perhaps realise that your career choice wasnt the best….that you perhaps wasted some time along the way….missed some opportunities…. the list is endless. Some call this a quarter or midlife crises.

These messages left me feeling like the life I have lived and am living doesn’t measure up because I haven’t FOUND my big purpose in life. This often also goes hand in hand with comparison with certain people in your peer group who you perceive to have reached their potential and living their PURPOSE.

I started thinking about this…. especially after being a stay at home mom for a year and struggling to figure out some questions around this issue. I found myself during the past year fighting my current role as stay at home mom, feeling insignificant on some days, struggling with low self-esteem because I felt I could only talk about baby stuff…

I became sick of feeling like this…

But then…what does this all make of where I am – RIGHT NOW. I am a recent stay at home mom for the past 13 months. I resigned my job because my baby was of such a demanding nature that I couldn’t get to a point of leaving him in full-time care while I work. I have to add that I had the privilege of having the choice at the time which I know is not at all possible for all moms.

So back to where I am right now and this BIG PURPOSE/DESTINY people are bombarding us with.

My thoughts are this…I think you have several purposes throughout your lifetime. I have come to believe that your purpose is in the here and now.

Where I am right now is my purpose.

Although in the eyes of society being a stay at home mom is not a PURPOSE, this is my purpose now. It is not a second-rate waiting for my bigger purpose kind of thing. No – I have purpose and “in” my purpose for this season. I am not “missing out” or constantly wondering what my big purpose is that I will reach one day. I am not fighting my season that I am in by worrying and feeling miserable about unanswered questions about my next step, my career in years to come, what I am “working towards” etc. In this season, my life is smaller.

I will still try to make time to pursue things that I like doing like exercising, painting or reading. I might still consider furthering my studies in psychology, because I enjoy studying and am interested in psychology. But I choose to not be burdened anymore by trying to figure out what my big SINGLE purpose is in this life and feeling that I just seem to not be able to reach it.

I know many will disagree with me – but these are my thoughts and what has helped me live a more positive satisfying life in the now.

I hope this encourages you…

Lots of love

Helene xxx

Sugar, anxiety and insomnia…and other tips to get you to sleep better tonight!

I have always been able to switch off my bedside light and fall asleep within minutes. Even on my travels, often sleeping in youth hostels sharing rooms, it wasnt an issue for me. Ever.

When my son turned one a year ago, it changed. For his 1st year I slept well in between multiple night waking and breastfeeding sessions. Now he was starting to sleep better and all of a sudden this mommy couldnt fall asleep anymore…shock horror!

Is this a joke – no – it’s very real.  Some even call it “momsomnia” or postnatal insomnia.

When you suffer from insomnia, you either struggle to fall asleep or you wake up and then struggle to fall back to sleep again.

It’s one of those things that can quickly consume you as you start struggling night after night and experiencing the repercussions of not so much optimal functioning during the day.  You start almost dreading going to bed even though you are tired.  The “Tired but Wired” saying became quite real to me…

It’s a vicious cycle… Insomnia creates anxiety and this creates more insomnia. I experienced over the past year that if I have a better night, the anxiety almost immediately starts to decrease dramatically helping me to go into the better direction of sleep again.

So what can you do – the standard advice that you’ll get…

  1. Sleep hygiene
  2. Herbal aids
  3. Melatonin
  4. Sleeping tablets
  5. Antidepressants (more to treat the anxiety)

These are the things that has worked for me to a certain extent recently and over the past year:

  1.  You absolutely have to do the sleep hygiene thing i.e. NO screen time for at least an hour before bed time and keep lights fairly dimmed in the house if you can.  I also started to have a bed time routine – for me this was drinking either camomile tea / hot water with apple cider vinegar and a bit of honey / milk with quarter teaspoons of nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger.  And also reading a book until I feel I can’t keep my eyes open any longer.
  2. Consider cutting your caffeine.  I decreased it to one – two cups of coffee max all before 11am.
  3. Be careful of sugar as this can worsen anxiety symptoms and for me any form of sugar and even cocoa (dark chocolate) I found could increase my alertness and keep me awake.
  4. Alcohol – yes it helps to relax you – but I am not sure what it is – but I found this also didn’t help my sleep, so bye-bye drinks for now! (Insomnia is so tormenting that you will do ANYTHING to alleviate it).
  5. Melatonin didn’t work for me unfortunately, the herbal stuff also not, I wish it did as it’s not habit-forming.
  6. An anti-anxiety tablet and/or a sleeping tablet helped me at certain times to calm down at night and just re-set and get a night of good sleep – but it’s not for long-term use…
  7. Watch your mind… I found that the more I panicked when I couldn’t fall asleep the worse it all became.  I started meditating on Bible Scriptures about sleep, anxiety and fear which helped me a lot.  I also pray as part of my bed time routine.  And I watch out like a hawk for those evil thoughts that try to make me go into panic and fear mode.  I replace it with TRUE thoughts – Renewing my mind with God’s TRUTH.
  8. I have had to almost become quite relaxed about the whole thing – knowing through the grace of God that I WILL be ok the next day even if I didn’t sleep.  I had to make a point of tapping into the peace, joy and gratitude inside of me despite my lack of sleep and not feeling great the next day. Worshipping Him throughout became my Spiritual Weapon of choice.

This thing has become a lifestyle, spiritual and emotional journey for me.  Not something with a quick fix (believe me I tried all of that, spent a couple of R1000’s on doctors who couldnt really help although I am sure they wish they could.)

I really hope this helps someone out there…

Love Helene x x x

 

Thinking of you dad, on your 81st birthday.

Dear Dad,

Today is your 81st birthday. You left this earth – our dad, husband, brother, son, brilliant doctor, world traveller… on 8 July 2014 – 4 years ago.

Today on your birthday, I think about you. I think about life. And some of it scares me, but mostly I am grateful and I realise that I have to surrender. Surrender to the Bigger Power Who is ultimately in control of our lives, of the universe. Otherwise I will have too many unanswered questions. Sometimes everything about life is too overwhelming for me to grasp or make sense of. And therein lies the power and beauty of SURRENDERING.

Dad, I knew you as my father for 36 years. I realise now though… that I barely knew you… Really knew you. Yes, you were my dad. But I knew nothing of your HEART, your inner struggles, the delights of your heart, your dreams, your disappointments, your fears… And this brings a tear to my eye as I write this letter to you.

How well do we really know our loved ones?

20180521_1441065187925244426657396.jpgI look at pictures of you when you were a young boy, about 12 years old. You look serious in the picture, with big brown eyes (I got those eyes from you). You’ve kept that serious, intense look throughout your life. It seems there’s so much behind those eyes, hidden to the world. I would have loved to know more about what was behind those eyes of yours.  I realise that you never found it easy to speak about your emotions, and that that’s also ok…

I loved the way you could laugh at a stupid joke, and how you appreciated it if someone greeted you by the hand (old-fashioned style) and really listened to you with genuine interest.

You truly lived your life well. And I will always remember you knowing this for sure. You decided early in your life what you wanted to achieve academically… And you achieved ALL of it. With hard work and an intense passion and dedication to medicine you became one of the top specialists in your field. You loved to travel – and did you travel! Later in your life you became a self-tought successful investor – no one could tell you anything 😉 You provided well for your family, you took the role of faithful husband, provider and reliable dad very seriously. Thank you for that daddy. Now that I am a married woman and a mom, I really do appreciate all of these things so much more…

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So… on your 81st birthday, I want to thank you for your dedication…your love…your sincere heart. I see you in heaven, happy and healthy – and that gives me hope and joy.

Love, your youngest – Helene (Lienksie) xxx

Mommies…let’s be real?

The other day as I was driving, an interview came up on the radio. The woman being interviewed has an incredible CV. She has a top post at a university, an online business and she is a mom of a 1 and 3-year-old…

At the start of the interview when she casually mentioned that yes she wears many hats and obviously wears them well…I switched off the radio.

I didn’t want to expose myself to another mommy claiming to the world that she indeed is a super woman…juggling many balls with grace…wearing all those hats with style.

I knew it would make me evaluate my own life as mommy again and end up making me feel somewhat like a underachiever of a mommy/juggler of life.

I am NOT criticizing her. All I am saying is this. Moms, let’s be honest, let’s be real? If you are one in a million and truly by some magic is able to be 100% mom, 100% entrepreneur, 100% full-time job mom…then wow you are truly gifted.

But if like me, you have realised that all your important decisions like for example whether to work or be a stay at home mom, comes at a cost.

The stay at home mom might feel the cost for her is giving up her career and her sanity on some days 😉

The working mom might feel the cost for her is not being able to spend as much time with her little one as she would like to.

Point is…lets be real about our choices we have to make, the consequences we have to individually deal with, the challenges and the joys we each face in our unique situations. That there is not a right or a wrong. Lets not judge one another for tough choices we have to make.

And lets not pretend. Why pretend? Do you feel to show vulnerability will make you come across as weak? Being vulnerable takes COURAGE and STRENGTH. And showing realness, honesty and being vulnerable is the only way that you can help another mom feel better.

Love Helene x x x

We walked down the aisle…

On the 8th of July 2014 my dad passed away.  I spent as much time at his bed side as I possibly could during those last couple of weeks.

He still walked me down the aisle on my wedding day.  He couldn’t stay long at the reception.  I am so happy that he could listen to my speech.  A part of it was specifically for him.  I probably didn’t realise at the moment that it was the last time that I would be able to tell him all those things.

About 6 weeks after my wedding day, he passed away.  I saw my dad cry for the second time – the 1st time was at his mother’s funeral.  This time it was on one of the days that I sat at his bed side next to him.  I think he realised that his time was coming and that we were actually saying goodbye every time I came into his room to see how he was.  We’ve never in my entire life shared a tear together and crying with him on that day putting my head on his shoulder, touched my heart in such a big way – I will never forget it.

I would go into the bathroom to cry on my own, almost every time I was there.  I think I perhaps cried more during this time than after he passed away.  It’s an undescribable feeling to see your parent slip away slowly every time you see him.  Every time he looked a little more fragile, his face a little more drawn, his hair a little bit more white and sparse.  The look in his eyes also changed over the weeks.

Another day I will never forget is the last time I saw him.  It was a Saturday afternoon.  He was sitting in his chair by the window with the oxygen pipes attached to his nose, the oxygen machine’s noise audible from behind the bathroom door.  My husband, my mom and I chatted about some trivial things which he just listened to quietly.  I had to leave for the airport.  I went to him to say goodbye.  I remember vividly touching his head and feeling how soft his hair has become.  I remember looking at his nose and thinking what a perfectly formed nose he has – good genes (as he used to say!).  I gave him a hug feeling how fragile and thin he has become.  I told him that I loved him very much.  And he told me that he also loved me very much.  In hindsight I know that HE KNEW.  I will never forget the look in his eyes when he looked up at me. His eyes looked big and darker than usual.  And it was filled with a mixture of sadness, love and a tired desperation of a man who has struggled and experienced inexplainable pain.

And that was it.  I had a dad for 36 years.  Not long enough in my opinion. He should have been around longer.  Since he’s been gone – theres been so many times when I thought – if only he was still around.  You are never prepared for these types of life altering occurrences.  How can you prepare – you can’t.

I cry instantly whenever I think of him.  And I still miss him.  You get so used to your dad just BEING THERE.  I was privileged to have a dad who I knew for sure loved me and would have done ANYTHING for me.  Not that he spoilt me – no it was a kind of invisible security net that I just knew was there  and if disaster would ever strike and I had nowhere else to go – he would be there.  If all else or everyone else failed – he would be there.

Since he has been gone, I’ve been wondering what is this lack that I feel.  And I think I’ve figured it out – for me.  I can’t speak for anyone else.  There’s a kind of safety that only a DAD can offer a woman.  A kind of love that is unique between a dad and his daughter.  And we weren’t particularly emotionally close – we didn’t have conversations about boyfriends or my emotions around a camp fire or had dad and daughter coffee dates.

But still – he was my DAD.  And THAT special safety and unconditional love I experienced from him, can’t be replaced.  It left me feeling almost a little vulnerable, a little more exposed in a way, out in the open.

This is life.  You grow up – become a woman who then perhaps becomes a parent and that safety net for someone else.  You become the strong one.  You learn that missing someone and being aware of these places in your heart left empty by people gone – is part of life.  And you pick yourself up, remember only the good and learn to live WELL together with these places of grief and sadness in your heart.  It doesn’t define you – its just and always will be a part of your heart.

All of this unpacking is getting me nowhere…

“I got hijacked at gun point infront of the psychologist’s practise at her house in Cape Town…”

The journey of mental and emotional wellness looks different for every single person…

For the past 8 years or so I have been struggling on and off with bouts of anxiety and depression which was mainly linked to certain significant life events/experiences (Situational depression/anxiety).

The 1st time I went to see a psychiatrist almost 8 years ago, she “diagnosed” me with an anxiety disorder and gave me a script for an anti-depressant – that’s it.

I spilled out my heart to her for an hour – about how I was starting to feel generally down, almost like I was looking for more meaning in life and starting to struggle with regrets and my current work and relationship situation. I was hoping for some advice, some tips… but no – just a piece of paper and off you go.

That’s where my love hate relationship with the world of psychology and psychiatry started.

After the psychiatrist visit, I tried out about 3 different psychologists – to talk it out. They call it talk therapy – and together with exercise, taking your medication (if you are on any) it was supposed to be the best way to manage anxiety/depression.

Well, psychologist number 1 kept on referring to her text books and showing me diagrams of how my parents kept me under their protective wings for too long and how that has affected me negatively.
…A lot of talking and getting nowhere.

Psychologist number 2 – I rocked up at her house in Mowbray and got hijacked in front of her house leaving me standing on the side-walk after having been robbed of all my belongings including my car at gun point.

…Funny thing is – she seemed rather calm and not too shocked about the incident – and I decided NOT to start a relationship with her – go figure?!

Psychologist number 3 – I had high hopes. She seemed like a nice enough soft-spoken afrikaans lady. Sympathetic eyes. I gave her 5 sessions. Did it help me – no. We unpacked and unpacked and unpacked (my past life) until it felt as if all my “clothes” were strewn across the floor – all “deurmekaar” – and I felt worse and couldn’t make sense of anything.

Everytime I asked her, so WHAT CAN I DO NOW TO MAKE THINGS BETTER, what kind of action plan can I take going FORWARD, like practical LIFE SKILLS… – she seemed a bit confused and unable to answer me. The last straw was the day I left ALOT more depressed than I was before the session. I actually let her know afterwards and she was oddly unsympathetic and too professional.

Since then I havent been to any psychologist purely because out of my experience I have come to the conclusion (for ME) that seeing a psychologist is a lot of money and a lot of talking and digging into your past (and yes getting some form of insight) – BUT getting you NO WHERE. But I am sure there are psychologists out there who have adopted a more practical approach, and I also have a lot of time for experienced life coaches.

I really want to help people in the future who struggle with similar issues like I do, especially new moms – I really want to help people overcome and live a better quality life. I want to empower women of all ages as well as teenage girls and give them hope at a point where they might feel hopeless. I want to help them to start believing the TRUTH about themselves and reject the lies that they have been believing about their identity.

I am trusting God to show me how and when I can start helping others on this journey of mental health. I have decided to not push it and to rather just open myself up to opportunities and open doors and trust that things will fall into place in time. Perhaps do some further studying, although I doubt that the formal route of Psychology is the answer for me…

For now, I am still learing every day. I get up every morning and realise it is something I have to manage actively (more so on some days than others).

For me what works currently is a combination of watching what I eat (more on this in my next blog), exercising, trying to do things that I like (aka “self-care”) and most of all watching what I am thinking about.

What is very important to me is to try to walk closely with God every moment of every day. To incorporate prayer into my daily life. To ask Him for guidance, grace, favour and strength for every moment. To help me to live mindfully in the moment, to be grateful, to love, have mercy and grace for myself and others, to forgive easily…

Chat soon, love Helene xxx

Eks ‘n nuwe mamma

Ek wil al bitter lank weer iets skryf.  Dis terapeuties vir my, maar dis asof ek amper nie die woorde aanmekaar kan ryg vir als wat in my aangaan nie.

Ek is ‘n nuwe mamma.

Ekt altyd gedink die stelling hierbo klink en gaan heerlik wees. Dit gaan my vervul, my gelukkig maak, betekenis gee, rustigheid gee… ag sommer net alles wat goed en mooi is! Sommer net so – automaties.  Nou ek weet as jy ‘n mamma is wat dit lees dink jy seker – yeah right!

Ek wonder hoekom ander vrouens in mens se lewe jou nie regtig voorberei op wat kom nie.  Miskien wil hulle dit nie vir jou spoil nie, want jy is dan nou so opgewonde met jou ronde magie en al jou voorbereidings vir baba.  Of dalk het hulle werklik vergeet.  Of dalk selfs sekere gebeurtenisse of herhinneringe uitgeblok…? Almal is bly vir jou – en dis reg so!  Maar ek voel tog so bietjie eerlike harde realiteite sal my dalk kon help om net so bietjie beter voor te berei.

Waarop fokus ons voor die tyd…?  Baie van ons spandeer baie tyd en geld aan die baba kamer.  En die maternity shoot.  En die baby shower.  En ek se nie dis verkeerd nie.  Nee… Ek dink net daar is plek vir ‘n ander tipe voorbereiding saam met al hierdie lekker tipe voorbereidings.

My seunskind is al oor die 7 maande en ek moet bieg -die baba kamer is seker onder aan die lys van dinge wat saak maak, ‘n verskil maak.  My maternity shoot fotos le erens in ‘n folder op my laptop, en ek lyk vir myself vreemd daarop -amper asof dit ‘n fase is wat ek nou half voel is so ver in die verlede – dis asof ek na ‘n ander ek kyk.

Soos ek hier op die grond in ons kamer sit en tik slaap my liefie op ons bed.  Hy het sy dummy uitgespoeg en ek wonder hoe lank ek nog het om te tik… Sy gesiggie is die van ‘n engeltjie…

Ok so laat ek tot die punt kom wat ek graag wil probeer maak voor boeta ontwaak…

Waarop ek myself graag sou wou voorberei op ‘n emosionele vlak… (en ek weet almal is anders en almal se ervaringe verskil…maar ek moet se meeste mammas wie nie omgee om oop te maak en eerlik te wees nie, stem saam met van dit wat ek nou gaan noem…tussen in ‘n paar ander mammas se insette oor wat hulle graag sou wou weet voor die tyd…).

1.  Jy gaan ‘n nuwe vlak van uithouvermoe in jouself ontdek wat begin by die kraam proses.  Om deur kraam te gaan kan baie lank en baie seer wees – maar jy kom daar deur.  Nagte met baba kan baie lank en alleen raak, maar jy kom daar deur.  Jy is moeer as wat jy nog ooit was maar weereens kom jy op ‘n manier daardeur en lyk alles beter in die oggend.  ‘n Skreeuende en skoppende (of self krappende) baba wat gesus moet word vir die hoeveelste keer…en raai wat – jy kom daardeur.

M:  Wees super georganiseerd voor baba kom want daarna raak als meer chaoties en deurmekaar en vind nooit iets nie en dis van uiterse belang om ‘n goeie netwerk staatmakers te he wat kan kom uithelp en bystaan.  Ek was ook angstig, ja dis oorweldigend om skielik verantwoordelik te wees vir so ‘n klein en fragile kindjie wat skielik blootgestel is aan die buite wereld uit hulle veilige kokon buit jou liggaam waar daar soveel gevaar is.                                  

2.  Jy gaan vir ‘n paar uur of ‘n paar dae op ‘n high wees van verwondering vir die bondeltjie wat jou kindjie is.  Dis ‘n surreal gevoel.

W:  Die groot verantwoordelikheid, en dat jy altyd oor hulle bekommerd gaan wees vir die res van jou lewe.

3. Jy gaan by die huis kom en sukkel met jou liggaam wat nou net deur die kraam proses is – alles is seer.  Jy gaan uitgeput wees en sukkel om te slaap.  Jy gaan nie weet wat om te doen met jou nuwe baba nie.  Voorgeboorte klasse kan jou net so klein klein bietjie voorberei – die real thing is mos maar iets anders.

Z:  Ek sou se die belangrikheid daarvan om iemand te he wat self geborsvoed het.  Dis nie so maklik soos wat hulle dit laat klink nie.  Die behandeling in die hospitaal vir die borsknoppe is ‘n mors van geld en die kool koppe werk!! Melk ekstra melk uit in ‘n diep warm bad om stuwing te verlig en he ‘n eletriese borspomp nog voor jy tuis kom.

4. Baba gaan tien teen een vir die eerste 2 weke of so net drink en slaap, maar dit verander hier by week 3.  En dan kan jy of gelukkig wees met ‘n content/text book baba wat op haar eie slaap en speel OF jy kan geseend wees met die ander kant…

I:  Ja…ek dink die depressie wat mens kan ervaar en gevoelens rondom jou lewe wat so radikaal verander het en jy bang is dit gaan nooit weer lekker wees nie.

5. Baba kan sukkel met reflux en of koliek en dan sit jy met ‘n klein babatjie wat skreeu en huil meeste van die tyd. Jyt geen benul wat dit aan jou en jou verhouding met jou man kan doen totdat jy daar is nie.

M:  Die boeke wat jy gaan lees gaan jou glad nie voorberei vir wat kom nie!  Niemand kan jou help nie, net jy want dis jou baba en jy is sy ma!  Kry een persoon wat jy kan vertrou en bly by daai persoon se raad, anders gaan dit jou mal maak, want almal het verskillende opinies en raad, maar dit geld nie noodwendig vir jou baba nie!  Don’t sweat the small stuff!  As jou man die baba op ‘n ander manier vashou as jy is dit nie die einde van die wereld nie!

6. Jy gaan sukkel met slaap en dit opsigself kan jou laat depressief voel.

E:  Ontspan, kinders breek nie so gou nie, vertrou jouself, gee jouself kans om net op bab te fokus en moet nie dat te veel mense jou se wat om te doen nie.  Slaap wanneer bab slaap en lag vir jouself.

7. Jy mag dalk ‘n mate van depressie en/of angstigheid beleef en dis meer algemeen as wat jy dink.  In baie gevalle is dit bloot ‘n gevolg van slapelose nagte, ‘n skreeuende baba, onsekerheid, fisiese uitputting ens.

A:  Jy kan nie jouself 100% voorberei nie en elke dag is anders.  Jou kleinding is uniek en nie een oomblik kan jy voorspel nie.  Moenie bang wees om te vra vir hulp nie.  It takes a village to raise a child – Absoluut!  Dit maak jou nie minder van ‘n ma as jy vra nie.  Jy is die beste mamma wat jou babatjie voor kan vra.

8. Jy mag dalk een van daai mammas wees (ek was en is nog op tye so) wat ALLES op lees, google, facebook…. Weet dat dit jou kan MAL maak.

M:  Indien jy ‘n moeilike baba sou kry, is dit baie normaal om baie die eerste paar weke te voel jy kan nie cope nie.  Emosies van kan nie meer nie, moedeloos en cope glad nie.  Min slaap wat op jou inwerk.  Jy voel amper asof jy van jou kop af wil gaan.  Weet – dis normaal om so te voel en dit gaan beter raak – almal het nie facebook perfekte babas nie!!  Moenie dit as jou verwysings raamwerk gebruik nie.  Moenie dink daars fout met jou nie.

9. Daar gaan altyd ‘n ander mamma wees wat meer “together” voorkom as jy.  En dan gaan jy tien teen een nie lekker voel oor jouself nie.  Daar gaan altyd ‘n soeter/makliker baba wees as joune.  Jy gaan jouself op tye vergelyk met ander mammas en babas – ekt altyd ander babas omtrent uit hulle prams uitgestaar in die winkel sentrums want ek kon nie glo hoe soet die babas net daar le nie.  Ek kon nooit net gaan rond loop in ‘n mall met baba nie.

Seker die grootste aanpassing vir my was tot op die stadium – dat ek ‘n nuwe identiteit het as mamma met nuwe verantwoordelikhede, vreugdes, uitdagings en heelwat “limitations”.

Een van die dinge wat vir my iets wonderlik geword het maar eers ‘n uitdaging was, is dat niemand my nog ooit so NODIG gehad het nie.  My baba kan fisies nie sonder my leef nie.  Hy het my nodig vir sy melk en om by hom te wees 24/7.  Aan die begin het ek geworstel daarmee, my vryheid gemis.  Dat ek nie net “at a whim” in my kar kan spring en afsprake maak soos ek wil nie.  Dat ek en my man kan kom en gaan soos ons wil nie. Dat ek kan uitbly vir so lank soos ek wil sonder enige bekommernis.

Laaste woorde…op my moeilikste tye het ek ‘n paar mammas gehad met wie ek kon gesels wie ook “moeiliker” babas gehad het – dit het my so baie gehelp.  Almal het omtrent vir my gese -dit word beter!  En dit het… Liefie lyfie is nou 7.5 maande en ek geniet hom so baie – ek bere sy gesiggie en sy glimlaggie diep in my hart vir altyd.

 

We walked down the aisle…

On the 8th of July 2015 my dad passed away.  I spent as much time at his bed side as I possibly could during those last couple of weeks.

He still walked me down the aisle on my wedding day.  He couldn’t stay long at the reception.  I am so happy that he could listen to my speech.  A part of it was specifically for him.  I probably didn’t realise at the moment that it was the last time that I would be able to tell him all those things.

About 6 weeks after my wedding day, he passed away.  I saw my dad cry for the second time – the 1st time was at his mother’s funeral.  This time it was on one of the days that I sat at his bed side next to him.  I think he realised that his time was coming and that we were actually saying goodbye every time I came into his room to see how he was.  We’ve never in my entire life shared a tear together and crying with him on that day putting my head on his shoulder, touched my heart in such a big way – I will never forget it.

I would go into the bathroom to cry on my own, almost every time I was there.  I think I perhaps cried more during this time than after he passed away.  It’s an undescribable feeling to see your parent slip away slowly every time you see him.  Every time he looked a little more fragile, his face a little more drawn, his hair a little bit more white and sparse.  The look in his eyes also changed over the weeks.

Another day I will never forget is the last time I saw him.  It was a Saturday afternoon.  He was sitting in his chair by the window with the oxygen pipes attached to his nose, the oxygen machine’s noise audible from behind the bathroom door.  My husband, my mom and I chatted about some trivial things which he just listened to quietly.  I had to leave for the airport.  I went to him to say goodbye.  I remember vividly touching his head and feeling how soft his hair has become.  I remember looking at his nose and thinking what a perfectly formed nose he has – good genes (as he used to say!).  I gave him a hug feeling how fragile and thin he has become.  I told him that I loved him very much.  And he told me that he also loved me very much.  In hindsight I know that HE KNEW.  I will never forget the look in his eyes when he looked up at me. His eyes looked big and darker than usual.  And it was filled with a mixture of sadness, love and a tired desperation of a man who has struggled and experienced inexplainable pain.

And that was it.  I had a dad for 36 years.  Not long enough in my opinion. He should have been around longer.  Since he’s been gone – theres been so many times when I thought – if only he was still around.  You are never prepared for these types of life altering occurrences.  How can you prepare – you can’t.

I cry instantly whenever I think of him.  And I still miss him.  You get so used to your dad just BEING THERE.  I was privileged to have a dad who I knew for sure loved me and would have done ANYTHING for me.  Not that he spoilt me – no it was a kind of invisible security net that I just knew was there  and if disaster would ever strike and I had nowhere else to go – he would be there.  If all else or everyone else failed – he would be there.

Since he has been gone, I’ve been wondering what is this lack that I feel.  And I think I’ve figured it out – for me.  I can’t speak for anyone else.  There’s a kind of safety that only a DAD can offer a woman.  A kind of love that is unique between a dad and his daughter.  And we weren’t particularly emotionally close – we didn’t have conversations about boyfriends or my emotions around a camp fire or had dad and daughter coffee dates.

But still – he was my DAD.  And THAT special safety and unconditional love I experienced from him, can’t be replaced.  It left me feeling almost a little vulnerable, a little more exposed in a way, out in the open.

This is life.  You grow up – become a woman who then perhaps becomes a parent and that safety net for someone else.  You become the strong one.  You learn that missing someone and being aware of these places in your heart left empty by people gone – is part of life.  And you pick yourself up, remember only the good and learn to live WELL together with these places of grief and sadness in your heart.  It doesn’t define you – its just and always will be a part of your heart.

Beauty for ashes

Recently I experienced God speaking to me in an unusual way – through little children.

Today he spoke to me through… A little sunflower bud.  But not just any old sunflower bud.  No this one is a survivor, one of a kind, the 1st one to show her beautiful face and orange petals in the whole flower pot.

I am notoriously not so good (don’t want to say bad, because I don’t think its THAT bad – as my husband thinks), with things that need water and some TLC to grow and well…stay alive.  Ive been living in Seapoint for about 7 years and have tried… around 3 times to get herbs and other plants to grow.  It could have been the harsh environment of being exposed to wind, sun and air blowing in from the ocean…or it could just be my neglect…

So when I saw this little sunflower look up at me this morning, at first I just thought Ah, cute!  But as I went for a long walk this afternoon, it got me thinking.

These sunflower seeds Ive planted in a big flower pot – have barely survived our 2 weeks away over Christmas and New Year without water.  Then we started getting hot weather and torrential winds which I am convinced haven’t been as bad in Seaport since Ive lived here.  Needless to say, the leaves hang, and were badly scorched by the sun and wind.  I thought it would just be a matter of time before all of them were burnt, brown and well… DEAD.

And then I saw her…

I see myself in her.  Over the past couple of years especially the last 4, Ive been well…exposed.  Almost like my sunflower has been exposed to the elements – Ive been exposed to…life…feeling more like blistering sun and storms to me.

This left me a bit burnt, with brown limp scorched leaves – like my little sunflower.  But then… what emerges… a perfect, untouched, beautifully formed sunflower.  Bravely opening up and lifting her head towards the sun.

The burnt pieces of the flower are like my body and soul/mind.  Especially my soul.  Apart from the occasional migraine and tight knotted muscles in my back, my body has been strong and faithful through it all.  My soul and my mind and emotions – well thats a different story.  Every day I battle with my burnt and battered soul.  Some call it emotional baggage…some call it ISSUES.  Well, I see it as my little leaves that have just really taken a beating by all the elements that they’ve been exposed to outside.

Lets get to the good part….. The sunflower!  Well, I see this as my SPIRIT.  My spirit is untouched.  It’s beautiful, its perfect, its brave and reveals itself in the midst of a war zone of damage.  It’s a source of hope and beauty.  The beauty of holiness.