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But words will never harm me.

I was chatting to my daughter and grandson last night via WhatsApp video, always an absolute joy when I’m away. I miss them so much….

My daughter was telling me that she took him to the park in the afternoon which he loves.

There were some other children there, older than him by about a couple of years, playing with the bark and play pretending it was ice-cream.

My grandson (not yet 2 years old) trotted over and tried to make friends. He picked up some bark too and offered it to the little boy, who rejected it and dismissed him with a snarky comment πŸ˜”πŸ˜”

His little face crumpled with disappointment and hurt. He wanted to join in and be friends. He’s such a sweet little soul and so generous.

My daughter related how her heart contracted with the pain of his rejection, the expression on his face.

And I knew exactly how she was feeling. My heart contracted with imagining how he felt and remembering how I used to feel when she was rejected at school and at any other time in her life. It pains me greatly to know that he’s going to go through these times as he grows up.

It reminded me of the little ditty my Mother taught me when I used to get bullied at school : ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me’.

I recall chanting that ditty many times over the years, until my daughter some years ago said that actually it’s not true. Wounds from sticks and stones do heal in time and you tend to forget about them. But the words remain stuck in your head to go endlessly round and round, sometimes interminably as you grapple to make sense of why someone has said such hurtful things.

My heart ached for this little boy, just starting out on his journey through life and it brings tears to my eyes thinking about the painful times he is going to have to contend with.

I wish I could teach him how to not take the nasty things people say to heart, but I’m useless at that coz I’m still struggling with something my sister said to me at my daughter’s wedding nearly 3 years ago….

My daughter said she’s going to teach him to “not give a shit what people say”, but ultimately some barbs hit hard and go deep and the pain never goes away.

My grandson truly is a sweet, gentle, caring, generous little boy, and it pains me greatly to know that along his journey in life he too is going to feel the pain of nasty words. I do hope his Mummy can teach him how to not let them affect him too much.

To learn that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but I won’t let your words harm me”. To learn that words deliberately or carelessly directed at you are more about the person saying them than about you.

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31 Days of Gratitude and today I’m grateful with a full heart for the love of a good woman. Today would have been my Mother’s 86th birthday.

Mom and C as a baby

my Mother and daughter. taken 3 years before my Mom died.

I’m grateful that I was born of a strong woman with good genes. Although many of those genes passed me by (except her good looks of course πŸ˜‰ ) some of those that managed to find a hold are my love of chocolate, curiosity and reading. My Mother was an amazing cook and baker. Her cheese scones were to die for.

I have wonderful memories of my Mother playing with us, taking us out into the snow in South Africa (a rare phenomenon where we lived then), her wicked sense of humour and her love for her children and grandchildren.

31 days of gratitude, the love of a good woman, love of a mother

My mother as a young woman, me with the dark hair (7) and my sister with blonde hair (4)

She was a brilliant seamstress and made us (4 daughters and 3 grand-daughters) some stunning outfits….she even made both my sister’s and my wedding dresses. She carried on creating gorgeous outfits for people long after we grew up. In fact she was in the middle of creating a stunning wedding dress for a client and an amazing wardrobe of clothes for a lady with dwarfism just before she had the strokes that killed her.Β  Every tiny outfit she made was perfectly cut, styled and lined and fit like a glove. Sadly she didn’t get to finish those final outfits…..

She died at the age of 52, just 7 weeks or so before her 53rd birthday.

From her I learned to cook, to sew (unsuccessfully)…not because she was a bad teacher, but because I had no patience. She always loved her flowers and gardens wherever she lived; her particular favourite were yellow roses. She had green thumbs and fingers and could grow just about anything….her gardens were always an explosion of colour.

31 days of gratitude, the love of a good woman, a mothers love. remembering my mother

my daughter often sends me yellow roses – she knows how much I love them

I’m grateful that I had the time I did with her, albeit way too short and sometimes fraught with arguments….something you’re inevitably going to get with a house full of strong minded women.

I saw this posted on a friend’s timeline today and the words resonated with me because of course my mind is filled with thoughts of my Mother:

“None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like and after thought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth that you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There’s no time for anything else”. Anthony Hopkins.

Poignant and powerful words, especially today as my family and I remember the wonderful person who was our Mother and Grandmother who should have celebrated her 86th birthday today. As well as which, today, 3 people on my Facebook timeline; 2 friends and 1 family have posted about the loss of someone close to them. It brings to mind the refrain that we should live every moment with passion and joy. We have only one life, and we’re dead a heck of a lot longer than we’re alive.

My delightful daughter started a thread on the whatsapp family thread; asking what favourite things we remember about her? It’s been really interesting to see what memories each of us have of her….all varied and yet they carry a common thread…love for her family. I’ll list them here.

Things I remembered (amongst many others, but these sprang immediately to mind); her crazy sense of humour, macaroni cheese (I make that a lot – in fact my client is getting that for supper tonight LOL)

31 days of gratituee, learning to cook, preparing healthy meals

one of mine and my daughter’s favourite meals; macaroni cheese. a family favourite.

potato salad (I made one today for lunch in her honour), pea soup, her music tastes, the colour of her hair – burnished gold aka auburn and her eyes – green, her colourful flowing kaftans that she wore all the time, her love of reading – mostly spy thrillers, and her sewing skills.

Memories from other members of the family are; her laugh, her hugs, sense of humour, naughty streak, playing scrabble, love of properly made tea (yes, as my sister said: no guesses where I get that from LOL), love of travel, love of roses, she was a party animal, making Christmas puddings, her OTT Christmas decorating, fabulous birthday parties for her daughters and grandchildren, her love of plants…she had a jungle in her conservatory… and as my one sister said…..the list is endless.

My Mother wasn’t religious but she was a very spiritual person. I remember just a few weeks before she died, her brother who she hadn’t seen for some years, suddenly visited out the blue. I recall how she phoned both my sister and I to tell us about the visit and her chilling words stick in my mind even today “one of us is going to die”. We just didn’t know it would be her. She had a very strong bond with my paternal grandmother and often she would stop mid-sentence and say “Grandma’s in the room”. She could smell theΒ  lavender my Grandmother wore. I remember one time, a few years after my mother died, my sister was making an outfit for one of her daughters and got stuck with a particular section…after trying for ages to get it right she burst into tears and said “Mon, help me please!” And she did. The outfit came together.

My Mother had 4 daughters and she taught us so much.

And even though it wasn’t (she was a strict disciplinarian) and isn’t always a ‘bed of roses’, most of our memories are good. How blessed we were and how well she is remembered.

Today I am grateful for my Mother (I chose well) and the love of a good woman.

31 Days of Gratitude – Day 5

 

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