Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wednesday 11 April

If it isn't one, then it's the other, isn't it. Those of you who've been reading for a while, know that my mum has had more than her fair share of health troubles. Touch wood, she seems to be doing well now. And just when things are on an even keel, it's my dad's turn to start worrying everybody. I'm in Holland at the moment, after a week with (emergency) visits to A&E and the cardiac unit, several tablets and worrying phone calls. This morning he had an endoscopy for investigation and nothing serious has turned up, so it looks as though it is all a storm in a teacup. It was very hard to imagine my strong, energetic and full of life dad being seriously ill, and I feel better for being near him. It's only a flying visit - with a bit of luck, I'll be home by the weekend again, and then we're back with the three of us in a few weeks' time for Koninginnedag (the Dutch Queen's birthday, when she'll be visiting dad's town).

A few weeks ago I found out through my Popular Crafts swap partner for April, Claire, about The Curiosity Project. I'd not heard of them before but this month they started a new project called Out of the Blue, which grabbed my interest straightaway. You buy or make a little gift and leave this with one of their labels in a public space, you take a photo and upload it to Flickr or Instagram, and then hope someone will pick it up. The label explains what the gift is for and gives directions to the website, so the recipient lets the website know when and where the gift was found. I don't know why but it immediately appealed to me! I could imagine someone picking it up, going to the website for more information and thinking 'that's a great idea, I'll do that too' and before you know it, the whole world is giving each other little presents, for no reason other than to be kind - wouldn't that make the world a better place?
As it is Easter holidays, I got the kids involved, and we did our first one last week in Starbucks. We bought a pack of stroopwafels and left them with the label on the table next to us.

Imagine two very giggly children when an older lady turned up, sat down, and curiously picked up the label and the biscuits. Imagine our disappointment when she left them there, untouched! But that is part of the project, not everybody will pick up your gift or go to the website.

Last night I left a book that my other swap partner, Mandie, had sent to me. This time I left it on the ferry - thought it was an interesting place to leave a little gift!

According to the Curiosity Project blog, we have yet to have an entry from a recipient, but now that I'm in Holland, I'm hoping to pick up a few bits and pieces to leave around in Britain.

Go on, go and have a look at the website and do your own random act of kindness!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Thursday 5 April

To my big girl, mijn grote meid

Thirteen. A real, official teenager.

Teenagers. They are stroppy and moody. They eat and sleep all the time. They are messy and rude and answer in one syllable grunts.

So far there is very little of that in you. Yes, you eat all the time but in the last year you have grown an incredible amount. We now have the same shoe size, you have gone into adult clothes sizes and I wouldn't be at all surprised if you were to get even taller than me. You like your sleep too but there you take after your father - it's so hard to get you to bed in the evening, but then you catch up in the morning and are grumpy if your brother and I (who are both morning people) wake you up so we can have breakfast together. And yes, you are messy, but you were never likely to inherit the tidy gene with two fairly messy parents, were you!

You though, are cheerful, you are helpful and well spoken, you're thoughtful and hard working, you're funny and great company. I miss you when I haven't got you to come to town with me. I like watching telly with you. I love our new thing of talking about books together. And you know what? I don't think you will ever become that typical teenager. It's just not, you.

At thirteen a child is well on its way to adulthood. A long way to go yet - you still need me there in the background, making sure the steps you are taking on your own in the big wide world are the right steps, and to dry the tears if they turn out to be the wrong steps. But I can see in you what you will be like as an adult. And it is so much fun to be there with you along the way.

Happy birthday mijn grote meid, I'm so very proud of you and love you very much.

Mamma xxx

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sunday 1 April

To my kleine mannetje,

You were due to be born on 2 April. Scarily close to 1 April. But surely with babies, they never arrive when you think they will so very unlikely to be 1 April, right? But, like your sister three years before you, you decided on Easter Sunday that it was time to make a move, and several hours later you were born, like your sister, at home, on Easter Monday - yes, 1 April. Your father did suggest halfway through my labour that we should tell people you were born on 31 March or 2 April, but I wasn't having it. 1 April was your birthday, just one of those things.
Your birth was a bit eventful. You were predicted to be big, but nobody expected you to be 11lbs and get stuck on your way out. But you did and there were a few tense minutes during which I realised I had to do as I was told by the midwives. You arrived looking purple but crying straightaway, and half an hour later you had a more normal colour. It took me several weeks to realise that what had happened was a little frightening and not as straightforward a birth as your sister's had been. But you were here, 11lbs and all, and you were healthy, and that was all that mattered.

Ten years have flown by. I probably say this about you and your sister every year, but you've changed a lot this year. You finished primary school in July and started Middle School in September. You were so ready to start and although you were very tired to start off with, you took to that school like a duck to water. You are curious and love to learn, and the school has recognised your eagerness and knows exactly where to push you to get the best out of you. You are more grown up too, wanting your hair different (and I had to laugh the first time I went to school and noticed all the other boys in your year with exactly the same hair) and asking me not to buy clothes for you anymore if you aren't there with me. But in other ways you haven't changed much at all. You are still the little boy who loves cuddles and whose best Christmas present was the little TV monkey I knitted for you.
The older you get, the more you remind me of your grandfather, my dad, and your uncle, my brother, who much to my sadness doesn't want to be in our lives. I imagine you two together, talking about expensive, fast cars and sharing jokes as you have the same sense of humor. Your generous, caring side comes from your grandfather, and I sometimes wonder if you will end up doing something in the medical field, just like him. And very occasionally I will see bits of myself back in you, like when you told me the other day that there was no way you would want to act in front of the whole school as it was embarassing - you were happy helping out backstage.
But in most ways you are just you, always cheerful, full of energy, forever hungry, always ready with a little bit of general knowledge, still very easily pleased.

I am so very happy to be your mamma and see you grow up. I am very proud of you. Happy birthday kleine man. xxx