Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Changing Christmases

When my beautiful children were small, Christmas was always a magical time for me. Although I was madly busy, the late nights of wrapping and assembling eleventy squillion fiddly bits of pink plastic (oh I remember well, the Barbie motor home of 1997) and the very early starts (the 5am Toys r us queues to buy Teletubbies, where I had to queue 3 times as they'd only sell me 1 at a time) I still loved it. Every single thing seemed worth it when we got to Christmas Day

I embraced the concept of Christmas whole heartedly, we had Christmas on steroids. What can I say? I was young and had a lot more energy.

Now, in my middle years, with my children growing up and aged 18, 15 and 14 you'd think I could ease up a bit. Maybe now they know Santa doesn't do it all they'd accept a low key Christmas.

Not on your life.

I am still buying chocolate Advent calendars, they still expect a stocking filled with wrapped presents (they have to be in different wrapping paper to the one I've used that year as they come from Santa) they still have a present from Santa and again wrapped in different paper and not my handwriting on the gift tag, we still leave Santa a drink and a mince pie, Rudoph still gets a carrot. I still have to have the Santa footprint stencil filled with glitter and the reindeer food mixed with glitter, we're big on glitter chez auntiegwen. We buy the same food, we have the same tree and decorations (19 years old now), for years I have filled the house with the smell of Crabtree and Evelyn Noel, as soon as any of us smell it, we know it's Christmas.

I still do all I've ever done, we just seem to get through more alcohol and have more people as boyfriends and girlfriends join us.

The more things in their life change the more they want some things to stay the same. May it always be so. May I always be blessed to spend it with the people I love the most.

Have a very happy Christmas with love from your

auntiegwen xxx

Thursday, 16 December 2010

I Really Should Be More Careful

When you have kids, especially older kids, and your house has an open door policy, I think you need to think twice about what you venture out of your room wearing.

Gone are the good old days, when I could walk around the house without proper "female" support. (Yes, my prudishness is now going to shine through.)

I really am very glad that my son's twenty year old friends feel so very at home that they don't think twice about walking into our house without knocking. But how I wish I had been dressed a bit more properly when that happened the other day.

I guess form now on I am either have to get dressed properly, or I am going to have to buy an old ladies robe to walk around the house in.

Or maybe I will just stay in bed.

Make me feel better and tell me I am not the only one who has been caught by surprise while dressed less than flatteringly (is that a word?) in their own home.

Susie @ NewDayNewLesson

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Thursday, 9 December 2010

For the love of...

When Saz and I began with Mad, Manic Mamas, for me it was a chance to share the trials and the tribulations (and the triumphs) of bringing up Teen Terrorists.

For a long time, I wondered where had my baby gone? The one that gave me hugs full of warmth I could live on, like pure air. ...The one I loved more than life itself.

In its place, there was this snarling, swearing, brattish devil-child, who could bring me to tears of frustration and mad grief.

So, that part fulfilled the 'Mad' part of the blog title which was all of Saz's making.

And I was 'Manic' all right. I tore my hair and rent my clothes with grief. I didn't go so far as to cover mirrors, but I feared all was lost. My love would not return to me.

But I had sweet snapshots, from time to time, of the child that had gone before. Loving, caring and kind. Funny and clever. Bright and warm.

That, and the succour here from writers and readers at 'Mad, Manic Mamas' kept me this side of Sane. Thankfully. Thank you.

And now he is at University. He calls me for slight assistance with his essays. He asks me for advice. He sends me kisses and love by text. And the occasional growl. He gives me hugs with the strength and the passion of a bear. He seems to have grown to appreciate his parents, 'Rents, he calls us, and all the love we have given him, unquestioningly, over the years.

I am glad, full-heart of it.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Big Bird...

Oh dear, it's been almost three months since last I was here 'in post'.

I have been finding my way through this time when my Baby Bird, Grizz, left the nest, full-fledged, you see.

And how is he doing?

Well. Good. I'm very proud of him in fact.

He didn't choose to go to a University far away.

For which considerate thought I am very grateful. My nephew is in Bournemouth. It makes for a long, difficult, expensive journey for him to get home. I think he feels that.

My son, on the other hand, is less than twenty miles from home. He lives in student digs two miles from my workplace. He sees me once a week-ish at lunch-time. We hang together, my big boy and I.

I chide him for wearing light clothes against the bitter weather. We peer into shop windows, in search of likely Christmas pressies for him.

We laugh at odd things, people, we see in the street. We chuckle together at the possibly deluded man who is singing loudly, perhaps attempting to be spotted by a Talent Scout, or X-Factor.

When I have to go back to work, and him to lectures, we hug. Warmly.

I return to the office, a great big lump within my throat.

Oh, it's Fhina by the way.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

How Unhip Can One Mother Be?

I used the word "Dissed" on a recent Expat Mum post; the word means to be slagged off, disrespected, put down - that sort of thing. So then I assume because it was stuck in my head, I inadvertently used it in the kitchen. Picture the scene:

Queenager (screeching to a halt and acting all freeze-frame like): "Did you just say dissed?"

Me: Err, yes. Why? What? ...... What?

Q: "Dissed? Ugh. Do you know what it means?

Me (nervously): "Of course I know what it means."

Q: "Well, it's a really bad word now". (I'm assuming she meant bad as in un-hip, as opposed to rude. I mean, it can't be a swear word. Can it?)

Apparently the IN words (with Americans teens) are -

"Sketch" - Always prefaces vague plans which you're very likely going to shoot down. eg. "I know this sounds a bit sketch mom, but..... . (Sketchy).

"Besties" - Apparently BFF (Best friends forever) is a bit old hat, and it's now Besties.

"Bad" - As in "good". I know Michael Jackson did a song about it years ago, but these kids were barely out of the womb then, so they've revived it. Some of them even think they invented it.

"Sick" - means really good, rather than weird or somewhat sinister, which I'm sure it used to mean.

"Dope" - no, it no longer means pot. Well, it does in older circles, but with teens it is yet another word for really good.

"Boss" - easily confused with "THE boss", this also means really good. Usage - "He's so boss".

"Douche" - apparently the "bag" part of the insult is no longer required. You just call someone a "douche", (pronounced "doosh").

"Hella" - specific to teens in Northern California (everyone else only uses it in jest), probably translates as "hellish". Usage - (11.30am) "It's hella early isn't it?"

And "Rad" - (radical). , which I swear was IN last week, is no longer cool to use, so I suppose I"d better drop that one from my lexicon right now.

I just can't keep up.

Have I missed any?

Expat Mum