So this is Xmas …. But

 

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Missing Samuel’s spontaneous joy…..

So this is Christmas?

So this is Christmas… An opening line to a famous song that you can find below….. and yes I hope it’s a good one, without any fear, and I hope your wars are over……..

But I know that’s not the case for me and it’s not the case for many people.

I’ve written before questioning whether it is really A Merry Xmas and how this season induces a fair bit of Bah Humbug feeling in me.

Carrying the fear..

This whole year has been filled with an undercurrent of fear as my family was given the news that THAT day had finally come for Samuel, and then we dealt with things not going as expected.

We have had to continue dealing with the fundamental ambiquity of being human and every day with Samuel we continue to deal with the quiet, noise and fear. of continuing to care for him.

Capturing the moment.

I love the photo that I have included in this post… it shows the beauty of my little man and the look melts my heart….

But it’s a look that is fleeting, and came at a cost of some pain to Samuel. However it was great to capture this moment… and some beautiful photos of him with his sisters.

The thing I love most about Christmas is the spontaneity and joy of my children…. but I miss that spontaneity and joy in Samuel and this year it is hitting home that I am missing it again.. and knowing that the way he is we may not get to capture the moments like these with him for much longer.

To quote another verse from the song:

And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong

So even though I will experience the joy of xmas with my family with an undercurrent of fear…. I know that there are still many others far worse off than we are this xmas.

So, yes I still hope that it’s a good one, without any fear … and that your wars are over soon… but if they are not.. then I will be thinking of you too.

The slow boat to China – or cruising through 20 years of Marriage

Mick and Jo

Who are these young people… Me and my beautiful wife back in 1993

Twenty Years

The second of October 1993 to the second of October 2013…A time to celebrate twenty years of being married. Twenty years that feels like it has been a long time, but twenty years that also feels like it has gone by in the blink of an eye.

Twenty years that have been filled with highs, lows and everything in-between. Twenty years that have given us three beautiful children, that have filled us with joy.. and the inevitable sadness of Samuel’s situation.

Twenty years with Jo-ann who is probably expecting me to make a crack about the possibility of being paroled for murder (twice over) by now…[or as a friend put it more politely the other day.. day years married to you Michael, I'm sure she thinks about murder and being paroled every day] …. but no… I’m more romantic than that :-) (shhhh stop laughing Jo-ann)

Taking the slow boat to china…

I’m sure you have all heard the term “on a slow boat to China”.. in general use it means something that takes a long time is very slow and may never reach it’s destination. The term also has a few cultural references to romance too with a 1948 hit song by Frank Loesser that has been revised from time to time by the likes of Peggy Lee and Bing Crosby, Bette Midler, Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin and many others.

In the romantic sense the term is about wanting to spend as much time as possible with the one that one love…..  and the reality is that I’d be happy to do twenty years with Jo-ann all over again.. and I look forward to spending the next twenty on another ride on the “slow boat to china”… because who really knows that the destination of life is, or when we’ll get there?

But….I’m also playing on words a little…..

The symbolism of twenty years

A twentieth wedding anniversary is represented by China….no not the country! Gifts of fine china are the traditional gift associated with a twentieth wedding anniversary.

It is meant to symbolizes the beautiful, elegant, and delicate nature of your love for one another over 20 years (However, there was no way I was going out to get Jo-ann a nice china dinner set…)

Jo-ann is one who likes symbolism and some of the associated tradition and the romance that it represents … so my gift to Jo-ann for our twentieth wedding anniversary  is this…

Doulton Forever

A Royal Doulton, Fine China Figurine called FOREVER.

I think it is a nice blend of the tradition of China as a twentieth anniversary gift, a reminder of our wedding day (and how damn young we looked!), and that we are on the slow boat to China forever…..

My anniversary message to Jo-ann.

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I Love You… through thick and thin, through the highs and lows. I’m glad you’ve shared the last twenty years with me, I look forward to sharing another twenty with you….[and just so you don't think I'm getting too mushy... just remember... you're stuck with me :-) ]

 

My Mental Health Day

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Today started with me feeling agitated and out of sorts…an uncomfortable feeling, one that needed an immediate intervention  .. or to put it another way a feeling that demanded that I grant myself a mental health day.

My preferred form of self intervention and form of mental health day is to disappear and go fishing. There is something about being around water that is healing. I love sitting by the water and just watching the world go by while I sit, exercising my patience.

For a raft of reasons fishing has a lot of parallels to life and provides an opportunity for some zen moments. Moments to absorb the scenery, like that in the photo above that I took today, and moments to think about many and varied subjects…. like poetry?

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

                               - William Wordsworth

Well not really.. as much as I love poetry, I was actually thinking about remembering to view the world with the joy and wonder of a child, because far too often we don’t notice the beauty that lies right before us, and Wordsworth’s poem is a beautiful expression of those thoughts.

When sitting by the water and letting the agitation wash away, I start to notice things.. the bird life, the movement of the water, the clouds, the interaction of the wind and trees and I am reminded about how connected everything is. The more I notice the more amazed and interested I am.

The more amazed and interested that I become the more a quote that I shared on Facebook the other day (well a paraphrased version of it, if I’m honest)…. a quote by Albert Einstein came to mind.

As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it.

It caused me to reflect on just how little I actually knew about the fish I was fishing for, the birds that I was watching, the trees, the interactions between them all. Sure I knew some of their names/species etc.. but in reality I knew very very little about all of them, and so began a cycle of being amazed at how much I do know, and how much I don’t know…..and how as one grows, so does the other.

An afternoon of fishing is a great antidote to the feeling of agitation.

 

 

 

 

Homeward bound

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The latest stay at Bear Cottage is drawing to an end….As we pack up, Samuel gets in one last peaceful rest in front of the fishtank.

Homeward Bound

Leaving this time is far more comfortable than at the end of my last stay, after Samuel had decided not yet and going home felt like leaving the hospital for the first time after his accident. This time we continue with the routine established since then.

Heading home, despite the continued challenges that Samuels circumstances bring, is always, always a privilege….

Not everyone has the privilege

Our stay has been a reminder that the beauty of Bear Cottage comes with a very important purpose. During our stay a couple of families have been in the same position as we were earlier in the year.

Like us one family has had a temporary reprieve and has headed home after a six week stay.

Sadly the other family has not and their beautiful little girl died.

I am grateful that the family had access to a place like Bear Cottage to support them, and I hope that the support makes this time as peaceful as it can possibly be for them now and into the future without their child.

Hug them while you have them

Take all those kids that you have in your lives, show them you love, hug them… They may not be here for long..