Tuesday, 6 September 2011


Sometimes I wonder how many years have to pass until my heart will stop longing... And other times I am scared of the day when longing will not be anymore...Longing hurts. Years after and it still hurts. But longing also keeps the memory alive.

There are moments, when suck into my own mind, not really looking around me, and I see someone I think is him. My head snaps and I stare. Of course I know it is impossible to see him. Too many worlds are between us. But my heart chooses to fool itself for few seconds and I feel like running to tell him how much I still love him. And it is just a stranger... And then longing hits me. It feels like my heart is held painfully tight, like a void swallows me. I sigh.

And then are the moments when the memories don't come. Days, sometimes weeks pass, and I'm not thinking. And when something does remind me, I get scared that maybe I will forget. And that is fear as the only connection now are the memories.

It hurts to remember. But it is also filled with sweetness, with memories of warmth and peace and safety. In a way it is like looking back towards an Eden lost. I selfishly want it back. Because not matter how many years passed, how much my life changed, I still want the safety of love.

Because love it was. Just pure, giving love. It was the safety of knowing that no matter what, the love will always be there, equally as strong. And sometimes I took it for granted, fooled into the idea that it will always be there. I thought that it will always be tomorrow, that I can always go back.

But when I did went back it was too late. And when life crushed around me, when I felt crushed by the weight of my sorrows, when I needed the most, it was too late, and all I had left were memories.

Sometimes an old man, with white hear and slow step, reminds me of him. And I want to run into his arms as I so often did. But I can't. All my arms touch is empty air. I wanted him to always be there, to see my daughters grow. I wanted that for him, because I knew how much he loved me, and I wanted it for them. But the moments when they had each other were brief. I was too busy living on the other side of the planet.

He taught me to play cards and to trust. He taught me to have patience and understanding. He taught me that I deserved love even when I made mistakes. Oh, I loved him. I always did, and even now, when other worlds are between us, I still do.

I was too far away and it was too late. Way too late to even manage to jump in a plane. I needed to tell him how much I loved him, how much he meant to me. I wanted to thank him. But it was too late. I tell him now, in my thoughts. As I tell him about my daughters, his great granddaughters. But it is too late. And I would so much want him too see then growing up and following their dreams. I'd so much want to sit with him in silence again, letting love talk without words.

And my heart still cries for him. The pain and the longing are still alive in me. And sometimes I feel him round me, gentle and understanding. But I can't hug him again. Does he hear me when I tell him that he was the best grandfather anyone would want? I miss him so much my heart breaks.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Parenting and Respect

(This should have come about one month before my previous post. But one month ago I was writing in my dairy instead of blogging, so I'm just copying from there. )

Day one... Two cells meet to become a child... Soon after, the formation of ever growing cells, starts developing and soon enough starts moving... There is a lot to say for the feeling of wonder when your baby first starts to kick... And like in the blink of an eye, that little human that started as two cells, is someone you can hold in your arms, you can touch... so tiny and so helpless... But fast, way too fast, the tiny bundle starts crawling, walking... Talking, having opinions and preferences of their own...

But that tiny person is still small, still helpless, still needy and sometimes is hard to remember that in that little body is a soul equally as old as anyone else's.

From the day I first held my oldest daughter, I have always been aware that while she was my child, she did not belonged to me, but to herself... I made a choice to have her and that resulted into the tremendous responsibility of teaching and offering the best that I knew in terms of wings. And when my second daughter came to be, I become too busy to use philosophy in looking after them. I loved them. I love them. I would have and still would jumped in fire or worse for either of them. I allowed them to be as much of their own person as I could have done. But somehow, between worry and lack of time, between bills to be paid and 3 lives to nurture, I forgot that my tiny tots were their own individual. Of course, I knew that they were their own persons so similar, and yet so different from any of us. As much as I could, I stopped to just look at them, with love and with pride...

Days become weeks, weeks become months, years... And all of a sudden, as a parent you realize you missed some of the signs... I wish I was a better parent, but I wasn't... All I know is that I have tried to offer my undivided attention to whoever needed it the most at any given time. If I could have divided myself in two, to always be there fully for each of my children, I would have done it, but it was not possible. So I turned my attention to the one I perceived as more week, as more in need...

So to one, I gave all the physical love she needed. To the other, I gave my attention and wisdom. Not that I regretted. She needed my wisdom to heal from a situation that I put her in... As a parent, as an adult, I was at my most happiest when I realized that from a child with no confidence and no belief in herself, I managed to stir her steps towards confidence, self love and self respect... And for that I am grateful, even if I know that there is so much more to do.

But in giving my all to the one that needed it most, I lost track of the other one. The one that needed cuddles and hugs, that needed to be held, but little else... And I gave her hugs, and cuddles... But I missed the signs to her development...

She was the strong one, the one that needed less... And by focusing on the one that needed most, I missed how the other one grew...

And all of a sudden, like a light going on in a dark room, I was faced with my little one, my strong one... Oh, I knew she was strong, stubborn, cute, lovable, funny, cuddly, smart, beautiful, quick tempered, sweet... I wasn't that blinded that I have not seen all of that... But there were still things about her that I missed... Like her determination, her ability of being honest not only to others, but to herself, her willingness to work hard, to go through whatever necessary to achieve her own goals... And as a parent, I regret not being able to see all of that...

Because one day, I was confronted with a face of this little person that has been around me since two cells met, that I just din not know... Because a person she is!

In the space of two weeks, my stubborn, temperamental child, showed me that behind her otherwise quiet personality, was a determined, ambitious, hard working, honest, wise person... In two weeks, I seen her choosing a goal, working with hard determination regardless of the pain in order to achieve the first step. I was amazed that something that 14 days ago seemed just the bumbling of a child, after only 6 days she attracted the attention of the one person able to help her in what was not her bumbling, but her dream... Oh, I have seen her working hard for one week, working extra, way extra... In a very quiet way, that I would have missed entirely if I wasn't paying attention...  And in the last 4 days I realized that I had in front of me an individual worth of respect.

Oh... My baby took her first step in a road that will be long and hard... Step after step of insanely hard work to achieve a dream that many have tried for many tens of years...

How did I get from looking at her as my baby to looking at her as a person worthy of respect? I'm not sure. I guess it all started with seeing her courage... Her ability to really focus... Her hard, hard work... Day after day, the same quiet way, she worked harder then many adults... Without advice from any of the adults around her, she figured out a way to do what she wanted and do it well. Smart. Determined.

And yet, maybe I would have still believed that it was a childish dream, similar to what her older sister was saying... But tonight, after a two and a half hours of gruesome training, I teased her that I will tie up her legs in order to remember to keep them together in her exercises. I was only kidding. From the back of the car, her little, clear now voice, said '"maybe you should. What I want is hard and I need help"... It made me think. it made me wonder from where so much objectivity, and knowledge from a barely 5 year old that just started... And before I tucked her in bed, as I was hugging her tight and long as she always liked, she told me that she knows she didn't give her all today. She was a bit disappointed because while she understood the requirements properly, she decided to listen to a colleague that knew even less then she did. But she promised that next time, she will just focus and do her best. I told her I think she managed wonderfully, which she did, and that I don't need that promise. "But I do, mama. If I really want to be the second Nadia Comaneci, I need it... And if you can't buy the beam and bars to work extra at home, maybe you can help me with the other stuff that I need." My baby wasn't joking. It was not a tiny child talking. It was someone that chose a path, was realistic, way way mature and incredibly determined. Not to say ambitious. My baby decided to repeat perfection...

I respect her. Not only for her close to impossible dream, but because she is realistic and honest with herself. Because she is willing to work so hard for something many would treat as just a dream. Because she gives her all for the dream she chose.

Olympic Dreams

My 5 year old daughter dreams of being the second Nadia Comaneci. I know nothing about gymnastics and personally I chose education over sports.

I took my girls to gymnastics in a school holiday when both were screaming that they are bored. All that I thought at the time was that they will spend one hour doing something fun and that will be the end of it. It wasn't. The girls begged and begged to actually enroll them. Not being too happy with the idea of having to drive them around even more then I'm already doing, I showed them some YouTube clips with Nadia Comaneci. My thought was that they will get scared and that will be the end of it. Achived the opposite result.

My youngest decided that she will be the second Nadia. So, not too willingly, I enrolled them in the closest club to home. Little did I know that it was one of the best clubs in Sydney or that one week later my 5 year old baby will be sitting an assessment for a pre levels class. I had even less idea about what pre levels means so, after she passed the assessment, I just asked the coach who happily told me that it is the class from which Elite gymnasts are chosen. The problem was that I had no idea what Elite means either. Later, I have been told that is the international competition class. Hmmm... I was very happy for my little one, and selfishly not that much for myself. Not only that we spend 5 hours a week training, but we need to extra train at home at lest 1 hour a day.

And to make things worse, my little gymnast announced me that she can't live without a beam and at least one bar. Considering that we live in an unit, bars were out of the question (lucky for my budget), but I could not find good enough reasons against a beam, so Santa will deliver.

As I said, my knowledge about gymnastics is non existent. So I started to learn in order to keep up with my girls.  (Both of them do gymnastics and one hates me for life at the moment because she was "too old" at 8 years. But I will focus on the little one for now). First thing, I tried to learn the names of all those amazing moves my kid does. I gave up quickly. Then I started to watch documentaries on YouTube. That gives me an education about a sport that seems will occupy at least few years of my life.

The documentaries are amazingly educative. The comments underneath make me angry often. Apparently parents and coaches force children to train in total disregard of injuries. It seems parents are imposing their own dreams on the little girls.

Hmm... To begin with I cherish no dream of spending thousands and thousands of dollars an year for gymnastics. At the moment, without calculating lost hours of work, home equipment, leotards and so on, and fucusing only on the little one's training classes, I'm paying over 2000$ a year. Yuck.

Secondly, I have no particular passion on standing up in a gym to watch my daughter through a window. My feet are totally revolting and I got as far as having to buy flat shoes, instead of my usual high heels.

Thirdly, I'd rather read a book in the bed with my beauties.

Injuries... In gymnastics is a reality. Thankfully, until now I did not have to deal with broken bones or torn ligaments. However, my tiny tot managed to get rips. Rips are blisters that break. Having gotten few myself along the way, I know how painful they are. So, my little child comes out of the gym and shows me her palm. Three red marks where the first layer of skin is gone adorn her palm. I gave her a hug, took her to wash the chalk of her hands and suggested we go home. My well thought suggestion was faced with anger. She refused to go home. Ok, I thought. She will do something else except bars.

I let her go back into the gym and Missy goes straight to the coach. From what I can see, Missy is arguing with the coach. Did I mention that Leyla (my daughter) is only 5? Oh well, her coach, a fantastic woman that I respect, is older then me. Soon after, I see Leyla back onto the bars. Hmm... Not much that I can do other then having a word with her coach after. Which I did. She told me she tried to convince my stubborn child not to do bars for the rest of the day. But she totally ignored that and went straight back into training.

I was not too happy to have no control over   5 year old. So, after we got home and had dinner, I sat her down to give her a piece of my mind. Surprisingly she listened. She rarely does. After I finished, secure in my illusion that I made myself clear, she starts talking.

"Look, mama. I know that today I didn't do as good as I could. I will do better tomorrow. And I know I hurt my hand. And it hurts. But if I want to be the next Nadia, I need to work much harder."

What to say? Where from so much logic all of a sudden? I tried to continue explaining my point, but all I got was that she wants a Perfect 10. I could reproach her the fact that she is stubborn, but would be hypocritical of me as I am stubborn myself. I just had to accept that my 5 year old has a mind of her own and all I can do is to make sure I will be there to catch her when she falls.

I know for a fact that I don't push my child. What is hard to come to terms with is the fact that are areas where I have no control. And I try to be happy that at a bare minimum she chose a sport to channel all her stubbornness into. 

Other then that, right now I pray. Pray for my child to not get hurt, to not break her soul striving for perfection, to not pick up eating disorders... Pray that she achieves her dreams... Not much else I can do other then striving for the impossible myself. That impossible for me is forking all the money for her dream. Because I do not have the power to say no to her. Not to a dream. 

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Mother Nature

Feeling a bit off from many points of view, I decided that a bush walk might be in order. Considering that the beautiful Australian bush is right behind my unit, it wasn't such a hard feat to achieve. The reason for why I don't do it more often is because lack of time gives me an excuse for being lazy.

I love my solitary bush walk. Because I leave my worries and my thoughts next to the first tree, it is very much like meditation, just that I carry my loyal photo camera with me. Today was the same like always. A sunny day with deep blue skies that bless the city mainly in spring, nature coming to life and me with my Nikon around the neck.

I'm not sure if it was beautiful. Or better said, only beautiful. It was real. The leaves just moving in the breeze, things moving under the dead leaves, most likely lizards but as i am terrified of reptiles I trying to pretend they were not there, birds softly singing, the water slowly flowing, flowers that came to life... Rocks older then time suspended in physics defying positions... It was real and it was alive.

I love all nature, but the parts of nature that resonate most with me are the mountains and forests. Could be because I spent a good pat of my life in the mountains, or it could be because i am an Earth sign. Most likely are both. Sydney can not offer me mountains or dense forests. But in the bush I find enough of my beloved mountain forests to captivate me.

If I am quiet enough, I can feel the life force of nature resonating in me. Not only forests. But nature in general, pushes me to accept the fact that beyond me and my limited capacity of understanding, there is so much more, that something that I can not see. It reminds me that the same life force that sustains me, exists in every other atom. I'm not good at physics, but I studied it enough to know that once we look at atomic level there is an energy or magnetic field that holds the atoms together. It is what I call life force. And sometimes, stolen by life, I forget to step beyond my ego and see that there is not much difference between me and a rock. I get lost in the egoism typical to my race and consider myself better then the rock.

A walk in the nature reminds me that it is not so. I'm no better or worse that anything else on this planet. The only difference is that I think of myself as more important.

It also fills me with gratitude, another think that I tend to forget in the storms of life. Gratitude that I exist in order to see the beauty around me, gratitude that I can feel, listen, touch, smell, taste and hear. Gratitude that no matter how hard my life seems to be, there are other beings that have it harder.

Nature goes into all my senses. It is real... It is beautiful or terrifying, majestic and gentle, forceful and kind. It can also be unforgiving, more so when we provoke it.

Walking, I wasn't thinking. The entire purpose of my walking was to be a meditation, not a schizophrenic discussion with myself. However, as I was happily losing my self  in nature, I notices all the rubbish around me. Normally it makes me angry when people just dump their rubbish everywhere. But today it made me sad. I was looking at a flower trying to get a little bit of sun from under  an empty can of soft drink and I felt like crying. Not only for that flower. But for every millimiter of this planet drowned in rubbish. For every tree that can not breathe and grow because someone threw their dirty towel on. For every flower that could not exist because a plastic bag was on the ground.

Sitting there, with the empty can in my hand, I could imagine my children stepping on the same path in few years and not being able to see the beauty I was seeing, but only the rubbish dumped everywhere. What a loss! And how unfair!

My walk became a rubbish collection. In one of the plastic bags I so easily found on the ground, I started to pick up empty cans, broken balloons, broken bottles, pieces of plastic and cartoon... I won't go into all the things I picked up and carried to the rubbish bin... I won't even go in all the things I could not pick up...

Why? Why can we not respect the beauty around us? Why do we dump our rubbish everywhere, even though we would not do it in our homes? Isn't our planet the home of our home?