Last weekend, we had the privilege of catching up with a very close friend for dinner. Now, surely that isn’t something blogworthy? It’s possibly not even worth mentioning on Facebook. It’s like issuing a press release announcing: “I had a Vegemite sandwich for lunch”…blah, blah, blah, blah.
Well, I disagree. It’s been a good five years since we last went out for dinner with Emma. That’s not because we’ve been slack, lazy or had “good intentions”.
Sometimes, just getting out to dinner takes military planning. My friend has two young kids with special needs and she had escaped for the weekend “on respite”. That’s what it takes to have dinner with Emma. Things at our end weren’t that much easier. My auto-immune disease has flared. My prednisone has gone up and if things don’t turn around soon, my specialist is talking hospital. The pathology lab has also rung us twice lately concerned that I’m about to have a heart attack. After one stressed trip to Emergency, we are attributing those results to the auto-immune disease which seems hell bent on getting more attention. It’s wanting star billing and wasn’t happy just appearing at the bottom of the trailer. This means I’m not really about to have a heart attack. It just looks that way…I hope!
Considering how little we see Emma, I shouldn’t have felt guilty about going out but for a moment, I did. As much as I believe in seizing the moment, I still hesitated. Our kids had just come back from Camp Breakaway and I felt pretty bad about going out and leaving them behind. I also wondered whether I should be “resting” instead of going out. Actually, I knew I should probably be at home taking things easy but I wasn’t going to do it. I really wanted to see Emma and have a fabulous night out and celebrate. Emma has a very special place in our hearts. She introduced the two of us and our world might have been very different without her.
You can also see from the photos just how close Emma and I are. We are even wearing matching outfits and as I said, we don’t get together often but it almost always happens. I will point out that I gave her the owl necklace for her birthday so that matching bit was intentional.
So you see our dinner was really rather extraordinary. The fact that the three of us could sit in a restaurant and just talk was truly amazing!!
Emma and I met up again for coffee on the Sunday and were joined by my daughter. Having coffee with your daughter is something so many people take for granted but with my health situation, I don’t. I haven’t seen Emma’s kids for a long time but I gather that going out for coffee isn’t possible at this point in time. They do lots of things together and Emma is an awesome Mum. She loves her kids to the very depth of her heart and fights tooth and nail to help them reach their potential just like any other parent. However, most of us don’t have to lobby, campaign and fill out 500 forms to pull that off!
I had the feeling that Emma and I both wanted to stretch the day out as long as we possibly could. We were just around the corner from the beach and I suggested that we pop down for a last look before we left. I wasn’t sure whether she would go. She was already on borrowed time but she did.
Again, it was a very ordinary thing for the three of us to go to the beach. No one looking at us would have had any idea just how amazing it was for us to be there. Emma made a few remarks about the extraordinariness of a little girl walking along the beach collecting shells with her Mum. I had my camera with me and I was photographing Miss doing cartwheels in the sand in her petit skirt. She was so pretty. I watched her looking at her hand and footprints in the sand as she cartwheeled down the beach. She also collected star shells and little bits of bright pink coral. Emma showed Miss the crab bubbles in the sand as the waves receded and I couldn’t help wondering why life had to be so complicated. Why should going to the beach with your Mum be such a privilege and why do so many people just take it all for granted? I know I don’t.
I was also having my own thoughts quite grateful that Emma knows me. Knows the real me that I’ve always been long before I had kids and she could share “me” with my kids if required. I know that all sounds a bit intense but nobody knows the future and that’s what makes the present so, so precious. I’m not talking about being morbid. It is just a reminder to seize the day, seize the moment and squeeze out every last drop. You don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
That said, even I don’t do it.
I really wanted to raise these issues in light of a recent blog I read by Stella Young on Mamamia. Stella Young is a disability activist, comedian, knitter and the Editor of Ramp Up, the ABC’s online space for news, opinion and discussion of disability issues. I recommend reading her post at
I liked some of her comments but I really believe we should be doing more to encourage others- not less. So what if we are celebrating the mundane, the everyday? For some of us, it really is extraordinary, inspirational…especially for people living with “invisibilities”. Just think about people living with anxiety, for example, who might be too afraid to leave their home. They need some inspiration!! If you can do it, I can do it. Seeing is believing. Moreover, I’d much rather have Stella as a role model than so many trashy celebrities.
I have people tell me I inspire them and I am so grateful because they look beyond my messy house, my parenting imperfections and they see what I do well. They understand that I face some hidden obstacles yet still manage to live life to the full. I say bring it on!!! We need so much more of that and so do our kids!
Thinking about seizing the moment and being inspired, I’ll just finish this off with this last little postscript because this week Miss was really inspired and I am so grateful.
Miss had had a term of violin lessons and gave up after too much screeching. Understandable perhaps but disappointing because I’d seen how much she’d loved it, connected with her violin and I thought she’d regret it. I just didn’t know how to ease her over those initial speed humps of learning a new instrument. I have practiced the violin almost daily and persevered myself to be an example to her but it wasn’t working. I have also been attending her violin lessons and keeping her spot warm. We had also tried switching her over to piano but she was still reluctant and getting very, very naughty in lessons until I decided to go it alone. It was all too hard and I was really loving my violin lessons with my beautiful teacher!
Well this week, Miss performed in Central Coast Showcase with the school choir and heard a young girl who was totally sensational playing her violin. She came home completely unprompted and said: “Mummy, I want to play my violin again.” I was so excited. Of course, I saw this as turning the corner…a new beginning. I’m not a cynic and sometimes it pays not to be because today she practiced. She was the one asking for her violin and we went through the pieces together. She actually played quite well and there weren’t that many squeaks after all.
That’s what inspiration can do! Bring it on