The episodes of Life

I must admit I had been dreading Christmas Day mainly because last year sucked so bad when I had Christmas lunch alone and for the first time I didn’t awaken in the same house as my kids. The lesson I learnt yesterday is that Christmas does change through time and that the phases whilst frightening in anticipation are perhaps simply a way of marking the episodes of life.

My earliest memories of Christmas are of days spent at my Grandparents houses. Like most kids, my sisters and I would be up early creeping up to the loungeroom to see if Father Christmas had come. We would then run down to Mum and Dads bedroom to awaken them, not knowing that they were already awake and waiting for us. After exchanging presents there would be the visits to the neighbours to wish them Merry Christmas and to exchange even more gifts and then sometime in the late morning we’d jump in the car and head off to Merlynston for Christmas lunch with my Dad’s family. I’ve written before about how many of Dad’s Aunts, Uncles and cousins, as well as his brothers and sister all lived within about five blocks of each other in that mostly unknown suburb in Melbourne’s north, so after lunch there would be a lot of quick visits to half a dozen other houses in the area.

My memories of those lunches are of the smell of roasts taken from the wood fired oven mingling with that of freshly baked scones which I enjoyed with lashings of butter and vegemite. I know for those of you who like your scones with jam and cream that makes me a bit of a philistine, but that’s the way I like it.

From lunch with the Joyce’s we’d go to tea with the Smith’s and there was a fair contrast from the gentility of Nana Joyce to the loudness of Nana Smith and the teeming masses of Brunswick. The house was full of cousins and aunts and uncles

But those days changed when my cousins got older and got married then spending time with their in laws families. Mum decided that it was time that Christmases were held at our place and my grandparents then used to travel to our place each year until they passed away. The aunts and uncles then also chose to stay away so those large family Christmases with the extended family passed with my childhood into memory.

Things changed again when my sisters and I got married and had our own children. We still come together on Christmas night at one of my sisters houses and all of the kids still come but in the next few years will no doubt have their own family obligations that will intervene.

Yesterday I waited for my daughter’s phone call telling me it was now time for me to go around to their house and exchange presents – this year was also the first year they had moved out of the family home. So it was 8 am when I got the call went around, had a cup of tea, sat for a while and then came home to my own house. This year rather than eating alone, the lady I live with and I had a roast lamb dinner, then took the dog for a walk in a local park, before going our separate ways to family dinners. One day when the pain of separation eases we may be able to spend time with each others family on Christmas Day but till then I guess what we had will do. This year was not as bad as last year and I’m sure will get better as we all move forward.

And thus another episode of life moves from anticipation, or apprehension into memory never to be experienced again.

The episodes of Life

I must admit I had been dreading Christmas Day mainly because last year sucked so bad when I had Christmas lunch alone and for the first time I didn’t awaken in the same house as my kids. The lesson I learnt yesterday is that Christmas does change through time and that the phases whilst frightening in anticipation are perhaps simply a way of marking the episodes of life.

My earliest memories of Christmas are of days spent at my Grandparents houses. Like most kids, my sisters and I would be up early creeping up to the loungeroom to see if Father Christmas had come. We would then run down to Mum and Dads bedroom to awaken them, not knowing that they were already awake and waiting for us. After exchanging presents there would be the visits to the neighbours to wish them Merry Christmas and to exchange even more gifts and then sometime in the late morning we’d jump in the car and head off to Merlynston for Christmas lunch with my Dad’s family. I’ve written before about how many of Dad’s Aunts, Uncles and cousins, as well as his brothers and sister all lived within about five blocks of each other in that mostly unknown suburb in Melbourne’s north, so after lunch there would be a lot of quick visits to half a dozen other houses in the area.

My memories of those lunches are of the smell of roasts taken from the wood fired oven mingling with that of freshly baked scones which I enjoyed with lashings of butter and vegemite. I know for those of you who like your scones with jam and cream that makes me a bit of a philistine, but that’s the way I like it.

From lunch with the Joyce’s we’d go to tea with the Smith’s and there was a fair contrast from the gentility of Nana Joyce to the loudness of Nana Smith and the teeming masses of Brunswick. The house was full of cousins and aunts and uncles

But those days changed when my cousins got older and got married then spending time with their in laws families. Mum decided that it was time that Christmases were held at our place and my grandparents then used to travel to our place each year until they passed away. The aunts and uncles then also chose to stay away so those large family Christmases with the extended family passed with my childhood into memory.

Things changed again when my sisters and I got married and had our own children. We still come together on Christmas night at one of my sisters houses and all of the kids still come but in the next few years will no doubt have their own family obligations that will intervene.

Yesterday I waited for my daughter’s phone call telling me it was now time for me to go around to their house and exchange presents – this year was also the first year they had moved out of the family home. So it was 8 am when I got the call went around, had a cup of tea, sat for a while and then came home to my own house. This year rather than eating alone, the lady I live with and I had a roast lamb dinner, then took the dog for a walk in a local park, before going our separate ways to family dinners. One day when the pain of separation eases we may be able to spend time with each others family on Christmas Day but till then I guess what we had will do. This year was not as bad as last year and I’m sure will get better as we all move forward.

And thus another episode of life moves from anticipation, or apprehension into memory never to be experienced again.

Parents and the damage done.

“All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.”
Mitch Albom – the five people you meet in Heaven

How sad that quote is true I thought when I read it. What damage was done to me and how has that legacy made me damage my own children? But it also made me think about the whole story. I realised that whilst all parents do damage their children, many are also there to pick them up when they fall, to kiss away the hurts and sooth the aches and pains.

Sometimes as kids we don’t realise that.

We don’t necessarily give our parents the credit they deserve for the repairs they do to the damage done. I am sure that there are bad parents but I am equally sure that most of us do our best. That we do sometimes struggle with doing the right thing by our kids but that the last thing we want them to do is grow up hurt or damaged. We want them to know that if their pristine glass is smudged that we will do our utmost to wipe those flaws away.

And you know, the smudges can be removed, they don’t have to be forever. The relationships we have with our parents and our children will ebb and flow with circumstance. There will be times when we are angry, other times when we hurt, still more when we concentrate on the flaws in the glass rather than the depth of its beauty. Sometimes the reflections cast from those flaws are not those of the people we are looking at but our own images staring back at us. All of these things, the blemishes and imperfections as well as the sheer beauty we can find in others are all parts of the complexities of the love that binds us.

Parents and the damage done.

“All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.”
Mitch Albom – the five people you meet in Heaven

How sad that quote is true I thought when I read it. What damage was done to me and how has that legacy made me damage my own children? But it also made me think about the whole story. I realised that whilst all parents do damage their children, many are also there to pick them up when they fall, to kiss away the hurts and sooth the aches and pains.

Sometimes as kids we don’t realise that.

We don’t necessarily give our parents the credit they deserve for the repairs they do to the damage done. I am sure that there are bad parents but I am equally sure that most of us do our best. That we do sometimes struggle with doing the right thing by our kids but that the last thing we want them to do is grow up hurt or damaged. We want them to know that if their pristine glass is smudged that we will do our utmost to wipe those flaws away.

And you know, the smudges can be removed, they don’t have to be forever. The relationships we have with our parents and our children will ebb and flow with circumstance. There will be times when we are angry, other times when we hurt, still more when we concentrate on the flaws in the glass rather than the depth of its beauty. Sometimes the reflections cast from those flaws are not those of the people we are looking at but our own images staring back at us. All of these things, the blemishes and imperfections as well as the sheer beauty we can find in others are all parts of the complexities of the love that binds us.

Parents and the damage done.

“All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.”
Mitch Albom – the five people you meet in Heaven

How sad that quote is true I thought when I read it. What damage was done to me and how has that legacy made me damage my own children? But it also made me think about the whole story. I realised that whilst all parents do damage their children, many are also there to pick them up when they fall, to kiss away the hurts and sooth the aches and pains.

Sometimes as kids we don’t realise that.

We don’t necessarily give our parents the credit they deserve for the repairs they do to the damage done. I am sure that there are bad parents but I am equally sure that most of us do our best. That we do sometimes struggle with doing the right thing by our kids but that the last thing we want them to do is grow up hurt or damaged. We want them to know that if their pristine glass is smudged that we will do our utmost to wipe those flaws away.

And you know, the smudges can be removed, they don’t have to be forever. The relationships we have with our parents and our children will ebb and flow with circumstance. There will be times when we are angry, other times when we hurt, still more when we concentrate on the flaws in the glass rather than the depth of its beauty. Sometimes the reflections cast from those flaws are not those of the people we are looking at but our own images staring back at us. All of these things, the blemishes and imperfections as well as the sheer beauty we can find in others are all parts of the complexities of the love that binds us.

Your Parents Must Be So Proud…

Skipper at My Life Starts at Forty has written a post with the title “Your parents must be proud…” in which she states that she believed she could never live up to the expectations of the comment and as a result rebelled to make her own way.

I lived with people saying much the same thing to me as a kid or having Mum in particular saying that other people had told her she should be proud of me. I was never sure why that was the case. But I did feel the weight of expectation, always scared to speak my mind or disobey. If I was told to be home at 11pm I made damn sure I was.

But was it really fear or a desire by me to live up to the expectations of other people? I was told around 10 years old that I was the man of the house and I had to look after my mother and sisters. I have spent the last few years trying to figure out what that meant. Unlike Skipper I didn’t rebel, I conformed, maybe that made people proud of me, maybe it turned me into the boring anti-social nerd I sometimes feel I am.

Life is so constructed, that the event does not, cannot, will not, match the expectation.
Charlotte Bronte


And perhaps not only the event but the life itself will not match the expectation in the long term. I find myself wondering about how my kids will turn out, whether they will succeed or not in whatever they may choose to do, and I try very hard not to put the weight of my own expectations on them like I had placed on me. Whilst I hope that things will turn out better for them than perhaps they have for me, we all make our own way, with our own mistakes. Hopefully when we fall someone will be there to offer their hand and help us up. But only if we want it.

So whilst I think that, unlike Skipper, I tried way too hard to live up to other people’s expectations with a desire, if not to make them proud, at least not to disappoint them, I hope that my kids escape the need to think they owe me that. At the end of the day I’ll be proud of them anyway.

Your Parents Must Be So Proud…

Skipper at My Life Starts at Forty has written a post with the title “Your parents must be proud…” in which she states that she believed she could never live up to the expectations of the comment and as a result rebelled to make her own way.

I lived with people saying much the same thing to me as a kid or having Mum in particular saying that other people had told her she should be proud of me. I was never sure why that was the case. But I did feel the weight of expectation, always scared to speak my mind or disobey. If I was told to be home at 11pm I made damn sure I was.

But was it really fear or a desire by me to live up to the expectations of other people? I was told around 10 years old that I was the man of the house and I had to look after my mother and sisters. I have spent the last few years trying to figure out what that meant. Unlike Skipper I didn’t rebel, I conformed, maybe that made people proud of me, maybe it turned me into the boring anti-social nerd I sometimes feel I am.

Life is so constructed, that the event does not, cannot, will not, match the expectation.
Charlotte Bronte


And perhaps not only the event but the life itself will not match the expectation in the long term. I find myself wondering about how my kids will turn out, whether they will succeed or not in whatever they may choose to do, and I try very hard not to put the weight of my own expectations on them like I had placed on me. Whilst I hope that things will turn out better for them than perhaps they have for me, we all make our own way, with our own mistakes. Hopefully when we fall someone will be there to offer their hand and help us up. But only if we want it.

So whilst I think that, unlike Skipper, I tried way too hard to live up to other people’s expectations with a desire, if not to make them proud, at least not to disappoint them, I hope that my kids escape the need to think they owe me that. At the end of the day I’ll be proud of them anyway.

Your Parents Must Be So Proud…

Skipper at My Life Starts at Forty has written a post with the title “Your parents must be proud…” in which she states that she believed she could never live up to the expectations of the comment and as a result rebelled to make her own way.

I lived with people saying much the same thing to me as a kid or having Mum in particular saying that other people had told her she should be proud of me. I was never sure why that was the case. But I did feel the weight of expectation, always scared to speak my mind or disobey. If I was told to be home at 11pm I made damn sure I was.

But was it really fear or a desire by me to live up to the expectations of other people? I was told around 10 years old that I was the man of the house and I had to look after my mother and sisters. I have spent the last few years trying to figure out what that meant. Unlike Skipper I didn’t rebel, I conformed, maybe that made people proud of me, maybe it turned me into the boring anti-social nerd I sometimes feel I am.

Life is so constructed, that the event does not, cannot, will not, match the expectation.
Charlotte Bronte


And perhaps not only the event but the life itself will not match the expectation in the long term. I find myself wondering about how my kids will turn out, whether they will succeed or not in whatever they may choose to do, and I try very hard not to put the weight of my own expectations on them like I had placed on me. Whilst I hope that things will turn out better for them than perhaps they have for me, we all make our own way, with our own mistakes. Hopefully when we fall someone will be there to offer their hand and help us up. But only if we want it.

So whilst I think that, unlike Skipper, I tried way too hard to live up to other people’s expectations with a desire, if not to make them proud, at least not to disappoint them, I hope that my kids escape the need to think they owe me that. At the end of the day I’ll be proud of them anyway.

Masks

Sometimes I wonder who the real me is. It seems that we spend a lifetime putting on the masks of expectations, that of the son is different to that of the father, or of the brother or husband. For me the policeman mask is very different to that of the CEO, or the cleaner, factory worker, shop assistant that I have been in the past.

The facade of confidence is more evident in some masks than in others as is the air of vulnerability. And even within the masks, are similar ones that display different emotions, to the point at times, when they may even appear to be a totally different mask.

So who am I? Well the truth is an amalgam of all of them. Very few people have seen the real me. I don’t really believe that is too different to other people, or maybe it is. Are some people so open that they are exactly the same person no matter who they are with or what situation they are in? Or do we all selectively put them on or shed them to fit with a certain situation. Where does the honesty kick in or the lie begin? And why do we do it? Is it fear or even ego?

Is it worse for a man than a woman because to be the provider is to have a desire to be seen as strong and without weakness? Or do women face the same issues? Is the mask of the carer, the mother, the daughter, the wife, the worker, the boss any more an amalgam of the true person than those of the masks of a man?

Rhetorical questions my friends, are there any answers.

Masks

Sometimes I wonder who the real me is. It seems that we spend a lifetime putting on the masks of expectations, that of the son is different to that of the father, or of the brother or husband. For me the policeman mask is very different to that of the CEO, or the cleaner, factory worker, shop assistant that I have been in the past.

The facade of confidence is more evident in some masks than in others as is the air of vulnerability. And even within the masks, are similar ones that display different emotions, to the point at times, when they may even appear to be a totally different mask.

So who am I? Well the truth is an amalgam of all of them. Very few people have seen the real me. I don’t really believe that is too different to other people, or maybe it is. Are some people so open that they are exactly the same person no matter who they are with or what situation they are in? Or do we all selectively put them on or shed them to fit with a certain situation. Where does the honesty kick in or the lie begin? And why do we do it? Is it fear or even ego?

Is it worse for a man than a woman because to be the provider is to have a desire to be seen as strong and without weakness? Or do women face the same issues? Is the mask of the carer, the mother, the daughter, the wife, the worker, the boss any more an amalgam of the true person than those of the masks of a man?

Rhetorical questions my friends, are there any answers.