I have been having a bit of a hard time of it lately, I'm not sure if it's because Christmas is racing up so quickly, or because I'm not keeping busy enough or whether my expectations of myself have been wrong, but for whatever reason the blues have set in. So today I have decided to remember to be thankful. Blogging has made me so much more aware that Thanksgiving is being celebrated, by it seems absolutely everyone, in the States this weekend. We don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia, but I think I will borrow it from my American/Canadian friends and do a little Thanksgiving anyway.
I was thinking about the children when they were smaller and I remembered a camping trip Adrian took Ashleigh & Danielle on, when they were about 6 or 7 years old. He used to take the twins on what I called dirty camping trips. I, as I have declared loudly before am not really a camper. I like the creature comforts and the luxuries of life too much. (I am thankful he took them) So Alicia and I would stay home, go to coffee shops, the movies, shopping whatever we felt like and the girls and Adrian would pack up the ute (truck) and head off into the wild. This particular weekend they headed about a 3 hour drive away to Caloundra, definitely not into the wild, it is a very popular beach destination and there is plenty of everything around, but you can camp there as well. They took their three man tent, see this is why I don't camp. Can you imagine a grown man and two little girls crowded into a tiny tent, not for me baby!!! (again I am thankful I didn't have to squeeze in with them) They took their fishing lines and their sleeping bags and off they motored. Now Adrian is notorious for wanting to take everyone fishing when we go to the beach. Especially if we go camping, which I did succumb to a few years back, before I realised that I just didn't want to cook over the fire or share a shower with a stranger eeww!! He loves to hire a tinny (small aluminium boat) and load us all into it and head off down whatever channel, or river we happen to be on. Now I am not exaggerating when I say that every time we have done this the weather has not smiled on us. We have lost hats in the river, we have hidden under towels on the floor of the boat from the rain, and freezing wind, that somehow always manages to whip up the minute we head out and we have prayed that we would not be swept overboard (I am thankful we were never were). We have now decided as a fast and firm rule, we do NOT go in a tinny with Adrian for the love of money or God. Honestly!!!!
So back to the camping trip. Ade wanted to hire a tinny, but as usual the weather was against him. The wind was getting stronger and my words of DO NOT ENDANGER MY GIRLS, were probably ringing harmoniously in his ears, so he decided with much wisdom, (I am thankful for that) to fish from the banks of the passage. So he baited up all the lines and showed the girls how to cast out into the water. They tell me he cast his first line and it blew straight back at them, this was not a little breeze they were dealing with here. He cast again, he does not give up easily, again straight back at them. Not wanting to appear like he didn't have this under control he casts out again, this time it comes back and catches him. Yep straight over his shoulder and into the shirt on his back, now is it time to go to the fish and chip shop and buy that fish you so desperately want to catch or not??!! By now the girls tell me they are rolling round on the ground trying not to pee their pants laughing. (I am thankful they had a good laugh).
Finally the realisation that fishing today is not going to be very profitable and off to the hamburger joint for the biggest, greasiest burger you can get. The shop was called Mothers and the girls for some reason think this is hilarious, go figure 7 year old humour who knows!!! Tummies full and the weather on the down turn, they all decide to bunk down for the night. It's not long though before they realise they have to move the tent. There are other tents there now doing the dance of the cyclone, doors open and flapping in the wild winds, tent ropes flying round, hmm right about now I'm up for a unit....not this brave trio. They move the tent closer to the ute and kind of tuck it under the back, hey they were there to camp. So imagine three of them in a tiny tent, the rain coming and outside 3 pairs of shoes all lined up ready to be worn in the morning. Imagine the condensation buiding up on the inside of the tent, no fly over the tent for these intrepid campers. There was so much condensation, the girls wre writing their names on the inside walls of the tent. (I am thankful they could keep up their schooling while on vacation). I don't think I have mentioned yet that Adrian is a little over 6 feet tall, so of course his feet are hanging out of the tent door, hmm makes me wonder, why do we camp again? Finally they sleep and in the morning, though it is fine now, Ade is a little annoyed. He tips the rain water out of everyones filled sneakers and decides another burger from Mothers is on the menu for breakfast. He is ticked off that his camping adventure didn't produce a bountiful catch of fish. He is annoyed he didn't get to captain the boat out onto the open ocean (not in your wildest dreams buddy)!!! And he is just really down that his expectations for an exciting weekend have fallen apart. He begins to pack up the ute to come home and the girls are all excited, hey dad they say to him this was so much fun, we were in a cyclone hey, and we survived, those burgers from Mothers are the best, giggle about the name again, and it was so funny when you caught yourself on your fishing line. Dad when can we come again this was the best time ever. He says he stopped and he realised that sometimes the things we think make a great time together aren't always what we have to have.
His expectations, weren't the girls expectations. They simply wanted to spend time with their dad, and they did. We laugh about this trip still. They will remember it forever and tell the tale of it over and over. Oh and the final part of the story.....
When Adrian finished fishing in that cyclonic wind, he threw the fishing lines complete with bait still on the hooks, into the back of his ute. He didn't think about them again until he was home and in the lounge telling Alicia and me about the adventures they had and our cat wandered in. She was flicking her head from side to side, obviously agitated and we had to chase her down to get a closer look. Can you guess what she'd done????? Yep she had eaten the bait on the hook and the hook. There she was a fishing hook through her lip, and off to the vet on a Sunday afternoon. So all in all the trip was marvellous and the cost of getting the hook removed from our moggy $120.00 So when I remember all these little adventures, when I think about the times we have spent together I have much to be thankful for.
The picture above is all of us just before heading out to Alicia's 21st birthday party. I look at my family, my beautiful girls and my adoring, longsuffering, kind and generous husband and I am so thankful I have them in my life. Sometimes, when the dogs are dirty, when the lounge is left untidy, when I have to cook another meal for everyone when I'd be happy with eggs on toast, on those days when I want to change my job and that means not be a stay at home mum, cook, cleaner, wife, mother, anymore, I lose sight of all that I have. There are times when I want to just do a total sea change and disappear to some undiscovered place and be a new me. Do life over and differently. Not because I don't love them, or need them, or cherish every minute we have had together, just because life throws us some curves and sometimes it's tough to deal with. Lately that's how I've been feeling, like there is a new me in there somewhere and I want to go find her. But I look at what I have and I am so thankful for everyone of them. And I realise I can be the new me, the old me, any me I want to be and they would be ok with that. They love me, honestly, love me and I am so thankful for that. And I love them, with every fibre, cell, breathe that I have in me. I love my son in law Paul too and I will love the sons in law to come. I know I have much to be thankful for.