Good morning on this rainy Brisbane Monday!
Just say if the rainy day is a Monday as well? Well, as the song suggests that double whammy is sure to get you down! And so it is today: rainy AND Monday.
I never realised when I began on this 366-day Challenge to blog every day, that I would be documenting the highs and the lows – 12 months in fact – of my life, warts and all; but there you are, it IS happening!
You see, today is one of the lows that I simply cannot avoid writing about for I am unable to concentrate on anything much. A beloved nephew Andrew, only 48 years old, is having open heart surgery as we speak and it is very serious. Also, though it doesn’t happen very often, today I have two-year old Isaac here while his mother works, so my mind is forced onto other things.
As a woman who became a mother as much by luck as by design, I have often wondered how those without children feel about not having children. Yet I know when I made the decision to enter a convent and devote my life to teaching children that I made it knowing full well that I was choosing not to bear my own children.
This decision never felt like a great sacrifice for me, mainly because at the time, I had six wonderful nephews who I loved and adored and had a hand in raising … well sort of. I lived at home and Mum already had a child of three years old when our first nephew was born, so I was often called upon to do some babysitting on weekends when their parents needed help. Oh, the lullabies I sang to get those children to sleep! To think I am now singing the same lullabies to my grandchildren that I sang to my nephews all those years ago!
Those lullabies were the songs from Mary Poppins. You see, the movie had come out in 1965 and I had the record (yes, it was vinyl records then). Now the stage play of Mary Poppins has brought all those wonderful tunes back and so here we go, we’re singing them again. Mind you, the voice is a bit more scratchy these days! (PS do you see the stage play of Mary Poppins as I did last year in Sydney? Pure delight, but then I know I have the heart of a child hehe).
Where was I in my story? (I get sidetracked very easily). Oh yes, it was such a joy to share children duty with Mum and I looked forward to it so I think this is why I felt no sense of sacrifice when I thought I would have no children. And a lot of people without children feel this way, I am sure. I chatted with a friend at St. Agnes on Sunday (who was in the convent for 13 years) and she has a hand in helping her brother and his wife in bringing up their three-year old son and she feels like she is a de facto grandmother and knows how busy she will be when her sister-in-law has twins in a few months time!
Now about those six boys that came along to three separate families one after the after before the first girl was born into the family. We used to joke that after the third boy came along and a baby was due we knew what it would be. The phone would ring in the middle of the night, from the proud father announcing another child had been born, and we would hear Mum’s calm unimpressed voice saying “Oh yes, I see. Another boy. All’s well then? ok congratulations.” We would roll over and go back to sleep saying “Oh no, not another boy!”
I was not sleeping in that house when the seventh child was born – a girl – but I sure would have loved to have been there when THAT phone call came in! I was in the Novitiate and received the elated message from my mother the next day.Oh, what rejoicing there was! Danielle was such a pretty baby and has always earned the official title of the first granddaughter. After that, only three other girls would be born in a family with 18 grandchildren. For me, that tally folks means 14 nephews and 4 nieces. Just a tad uneven don’t you think??
I did my best in addressing the issue by having one girl at least! My two sisters, try as they might, managed to produce boys only – four each – but I loved every one of those boys and every year since our parents have died (1989) we have shared a Christmas breakfast at a park with all of the nephews and nieces and now all their children as well – some who are now adults. Both sisters have however, managed to have plenty of granddaughters which has more than made up for any lack.
You see what I mean now about the love one has for your nephews and nieces? Or perhaps for some it is godchildren? Other people have different ways of fulfilling that need to nurture others. And so my third born nephew – Andrew – is uppermost in my mind as I go about the day with Isaac. Memories of time spent with him as a boy keep flooding in, especially as I remember him most fondly at the age that Isaac is now – two and a half. Precious time.
Which takes me back to Isaac. We are having a wonderful time this morning. I have been kept occupied and entertained. Do you remember painting magic pictures where you add water and hey presto! there is the picture coloured? Isaac tried it this morning and loved it. I remember loving magic painting as a little girl and did not think you could still buy them. Well, you can and I did! Despite the rain, we had some fun in our covered outdoor area doing all sorts of things and I captured some great shots. Here is Isaac with his magic paintings.
In closing, thank you for listening as I reminisced today about being an Auntie. I am feeling more positive now that it is early afternoon and Isaac is asleep. I am waiting on news of my nephew from his eight-hour operation any time now. As I wait, I think back and feel so grateful that I did end up being a mother and just when I thought it couldn’t getany better, those adorable (yes?!) grandchildren came along and made me a grandmother!
And now, as the day with Isaac has come to a close, Belinda (my daughter-in-law) has bought me some beautiful flowers to thank me for the day. It sure has turned out better than I thought it would. I have received a message to say that Andrew has come through his eight-hour operation and is now in the Intensive Care Unit. It is early days yet, but the first hurdle of surviving the surgery is over! I feel very grateful to God and so much brighter as I close my blog today.
Thank you for journeying with me …