“Thanksgiving”…

I am not a fan of the American tradition of Halloween, and have argued  (and failed, and now given in!!) with my children about how  it is not a celebration we need to participate in here in Australia. However, as Americans get together and celebrate “Thanksgiving” today , it would be nice if we had a similar holiday here. I’d be happy to participate in that one!

I think it would be great to have a day where everyone was able to spend a few minutes giving thanks for the beautiful things in their life.   Actually saying them out loud in front of family and friends would make it even more self affirming. Or do they only do that in the movies??  As my knowledge of Thanksgiving is only made up of images of perfectly gorgeous movie families, in ridiculously gorgeous houses, with a stylishly dressed ‘Diane Keaton’ type of mother… I may have a slightly biased “Hollywood created”, view of what makes up Thanksgiving. But it would be nice if it could actually be like that.

I know that Gratitude Diaries have been a big thing ever since Oprah brought them to the world…but I’ve never committed to one. But I do know that there are many, many things I could write in one. As it comes up to the Christmas season, and our home starts to feel Christmassy with decorations being brought out of storage and dusted off, it now seems the perfect time to reflect on what our family has to be thankful for… and there’s a lot!

I actually started thinking of these things the other day when I was ironing, and listening to Robbie Williams ..(of whom I’m extremely thankful for!!!). In his very famous song “Angels” there’s a line where he says ….

“..and I know I’ll always be blessed with love..”

(I’m going to write that on a canvas and hang it up somewhere)

..I love that line…It sums up both my husband and my families. We are so lucky that whatever else happens in our lives , that line from the song will ALWAYS apply to all of us. How thankful I am that that is the case, and how amazing is it that I know that it applies to all the  children in our families, and will do their whole lives. It breaks my heart that that is not the case for all children.

At this crazy time in the world, I am thankful for many others things in my life , such as the sheer “normality” of our lives, bought about by the luck of the draw in living where we live. How ‘thankful’ I am for that.

So, while I won’t be cooking the turkey , or expecting people on my doorstep, as it gently snows..(always seems to in the movies!!)…as I dress our house for Christmas , I will be taking just a moment to think about the things I am Thankful for. … I hope you can too..

Happy Thanksgiving …..

 

All those shiny, happy faces up on stage…..

Last night we attended a Concert Band performance that involved our youngest daughter, our older two had participated in Concert Bands from year 5 till year 10, and this next daughter is following in their footsteps. For us, this means another 4 years of Band performances!!!

We are truly lucky that here in the ACT , our children have had the chance to be in these bands due to the ACT Instrumental Music Program, and I thank the teachers for their dedication and love of sharing music with the children.

The actual shows always go on for too long, but I understand they get few opportunities to perform in public, so when one arises, ‘every band and their dog’ wants to play as many pieces as they can possible fit in. I get that! But in reality every parent really just wants to see their own child perform and then make a speedy exit. But come on people…have the decency to stay and watch the other kids that have tried just as hard as your child. Don’t get up and leave once your school has finished, show some manners and stay…. ANYWAY…..!

Sitting in the audience watching kids on stage always has the same effect on me. Just looking around at all their faces often crazily brings tears to my eyes, and when I say often, I mean EVERYTIME! It doesn’t even have to be kids I know….any kid will do! And when I look at 100 shiny faces sitting there, doing their best to play the flute or the tuba….it’s a beautiful thing.

Thinking of all those children, from 100 different families, 100 different background situations all working together to make the band sound wonderful, is so great! I know from experience with my own kids, that some of the kids will be absolutely loving every minute of it, and playing music will be their  passion, whilst others will be struggling, perhaps even missing a few notes and bluffing their way through. But in the end it doesn’t really matter, cause it’s the “being part of a group ” that makes it so wonderful for them.

What is gorgeous in these Concert bands is that the kids get to see that if each of them does their own small bit, it can come together in the end to sound amazing!! From their start at the beginning of Year 5, where most did not even know how to read music, and now for 100 twelve year olds to bang out a song together, is truly an incredible thing.

As the year comes to an end, there will be 1000s of ‘End of Year Performances’ happening around schools everywhere. Don’t miss them parents , as they are so beautiful! The combination of children on stage, and music cannot help but make you feel good, and if it’s a great song, combined with photos of the year gone by representing  kids leaving Year 6 or year 12, then I dare you not to get just a little bit teary!!

I know the sound is terrible, but tried to record this without being too obvious…what could be more beautiful than a bunch of 12 yr olds, (think of how they are normally!!) coming together to concentrate long enough to play “The Circle of Life” from the Lion King!!!! I’m crying just remembering it!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For my girls leaving school..

The girls have 4 days of official school left..Graduation and formal will be later in the year, but there are 4 more days of actually getting up and going to school.

It would be good if on that last day of school, a switch was flicked which would allow them to drop the dramas of school life, and move on to be a responsible adult in the real world. When you are in Year 12, you can’t imagine how much life will change once you leave. It is unimaginable that friends you have now, may not be your friends forever. Unimaginable that everyone is on the brink of going in different directions..

If our girls choose a gap year, or travel, or head to university…that will be there choice. We will support them whatever they want to do..the most I can hope is that whatever they decide to do , they commit to it, and do it well. But there are some things I want for them…

I want them to be happy, but I want them to know that they will be unhappy sometimes too.

I want them to be safe, but I really want them to find adventures also.

I want them to have enough money that they can live well, but I want them to know what it’s like to have to budget and spend wisely.

I want them to have the things they want, but I also want them to have to work for those things, so they appreciate them .

I want them to have good friends, but I want them to know it’s ok to be alone at times too.

I want them to be liked, but to know that it’s ok, not everyone is going to like you.

I want them to find their own style, but I want them to know that it doesn’t define them, they can dress like a hippy one day, and a Kardashian the next, it’s meant to be fun!

However there are some things I just want for them…no options.

I REALLY want them to have a job they enjoy, and have a passion for. If they can’t find one, then I want them to make it happen for themselves and start their own business.

I REALLY want them to learn to cook well. I want them to know what foods go together, what herbs to put in what, and how to get the timing right so that the roast lamb is ready at the same time as the roast potatoes….it’s a skill!!

I REALLY want them to appreciate that a tidy house can be satisfying but requires a lot of effort. Keep on top of it and it won’t be so stressful. Clean the kitchen before you go to bed every night..makes for a much better start to the day. And make your bed each morning..makes for a nicer end to the day.

I REALLY want them to trust their instincts, not everyone out there is as nice as they first appear. Learn to read people, and don’t let just anyone into your life.

I REALLY want them to respect themselves, and never doubt that they deserve to be treated well …always.

I REALLY want them to have a loving, caring partner, someone as great as their Dad is!

I REALLY want them to know that family is the most important thing, and we will always be here…no matter what.

Now I know they will probably never read this, (how embarrassing to read something your Mum has written!), and I am sure they don’t want to be sat down and be spoken to….but who knows, one day in many years to come, they might come across it, and I hope that all my wishes for them have come true. But just in case girls, I may whisper all this into your ear when you are next asleep!!….so listen carefully!!

We have visitors and it hasn’t stopped raining since they got here….

You know when you want your hometown to put on its’ best face when you have new people visiting …..well, this week Canberra has not been on board!! We have 2 boys from England and Northern Ireland here at the moment, and the sun has not shone since they arrived. So annoying….!!

But being boys from the Northern Hemisphere, it hasn’t stopped them from using the pool everyday…not something that is tempting for the rest of my family. But I am glad they have enjoyed it!

They are on a Gap year, and have been experiencing life on a sheep station in New South Wales, now a few days in Canberra before hitting Sydney and then making their way up the East Coast to the Gold Coast…

Today they visited the College where my twins are completing Year 12. I know not all schools would accommodate a couple of strangers sitting in on a lesson, but I’m sure it was interesting for them to compare it to their schools back home. A local Canberra College compared to Eton must have seemed very different.

One of the boys is the son of my cousin, and it has been nice to see the interaction between him and my daughters, with them getting to know family that lives so far away. His mum is bout the same age as me so we saw lots of each other growing up. It’s nice to keep the connection going.

However it would have been better Canberra, if you had provided sparkling days where visitors could enjoy the lake and how lovely it looks on a good day. Cloudy, and drizzly just doesn’t cut it! For our next lot of visitors I request sunny days please….