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A month of being thankful.


For the month of December, I am going to reflect on everything good in my life with a daily “I’m thankful for . . .”

December 1 – Today I am thankful for Julian’s extended family who have invited us to spend Christmas with them. Nicole, I think you can take this as our RSVP, it will be our first Christmas spent with family in 11 years. And we are so excited!!

December 2 – Today, I am thankful for new friends in my adopted, and permanent, home. I was told by a good friend, when we first moved here, that it would take a good 18-24 months to really start feeling at home. Sometimes I felt sure she was talking complete shite. But I think I’m starting to feel at home. Fran, you were right all along.

December 3 – I have to be thankful for something today, and without a doubt the thing I’m thankful for is Facebook. Without Facebook, I wouldn’t have the support, love, understanding, compassion, and advice that it provides via my amazing group of friends. Thank you Facebook, you have been a life saver.

December 4 – Today, I am thankful for Cadbury Freddo Advent Calendars, because it doesn’t matter how naughty or distracted the kids are, they will always stop what they are doing when I remind them that the day’s window opening is on the line, and conditional on good behaviour. Cue perfectly behaved kids!

December 5 – Today, whilst I’m not at all thankful for Duchenne, I am thankful for the person it has made me. Sadder, yes, but also full of compassion, empathy, sincerity, understanding, and a lover of simple pleasures. I take nothing for granted, and I live my life for my kids. I am ready to stand up for myself, and speak up when I don’t like something or have been wronged. I am also forever thankful for the generosity shown to me by friends, and will be forever generous in return. I may seem harder, but underneath I am as soft as they come. I’ve also learnt that life is too short to put up with crappy people/situations and can readily expel them from my life without feeling guilty. I am thankful that James chose us to be his parents because we will be everything, do everything, and give him everything that he needs or wants. Whilst others remark that James is lucky to have us, the opposite is true – we are lucky to have James, no matter how much it hurts. Love my boy to the sun & back, plus to infinity & beyond.

December 6 – It’s getting late, but today I am thankful for school assemblies and Christmas concerts. I know there are many parents who can’t attend these, and many who DON’T WANT TO ATTEND, but I will never miss even one. The opportunity to see my children up on stage, facing the world and showing it what they’ve got, is priceless. With smiles to light up the universe, with heads held high, with shoulders back, with a twinkle in their eye – they love every minute of being up there, and I sit in the audience and wipe away tears of immense pride and happiness. And yes, I admit I shed a couple of tears when I realise that time isn’t slowing down, that time isn’t on my side, and it’s then that the moment overwhelms me and I need to put it to the side, remembering that in this moment my child is truly happy and joyous, and I am truly happy and joyous for them. This is one of those amazing parenting moments that I will NEVER miss out on. And I encourage everyone out there to take in those same moments with their own children, because there may come a day when those special moments of seeing your child performing up on stage are a thing of the past. These moments are the ones I will remember.

December 7 – Today I am thankful that my children have the opportunity to learn to swim. With drowning being one of the leading causes in accidental deaths of young children, and spending most of the year in the pool or at the beach, it is imperative that my children learn to swim from a very young age. Today, it is Paddy’s turn for his lesson. Having being born in England and moving to Australia at the time that winter was approaching, Paddy was late to learn. Six weeks ago he had his first lesson and got so worked up that he vomited. Today he was picking up toys from the bottom of the pool. What a difference six weeks makes. Well done Paddy, and welcome to our exclusive club of water babies. We’ll have you swimming squad before you know it!

December 8 – Today I am thankful for the wonderful women who have taught my children this year. Twenty months ago, we left the UK due to its health and education system failing James. He was so far below his peers that the didn’t even factor on the bell curve. My poor little man was never given a chance. Fast forward to today’s end of Year 1 Report card, and he has mostly High A’s, a few High B’s, and one Achieved C (for Physical Education, so who cares?). It just goes to show what a wonderful, caring, nurturing school Caningeraba Public School is. As for Charlyse, well she is a straight High A student, which I totally expected but would by no means downplay. Tomorrow is their last day at school, their last day of Year 1, and it will be a bittersweet day. Both their teachers have been amazing, and I will be sad to see them let go of my kids and take on a new class in 2012. I just hope that James and Charlyse have another 2 wonderful teachers for Year 2 and continue to learn, be inspired, and grow. Thank you Mrs Green and Mrs Stemper, we won’t forget either of you.

December 9 – Today, on this last day of my 30’s, I am thankful for the life I have so far lived. I have been so lucky to have had an incredible life thus far. I have seen the most incredible places, done some insane things, had some priceless experiences, and visited/lived in some diverse places. I have known both true joy and complete devastation. Life has been easy, and it has been incredibly difficult. However, there have certainly been more ups than downs and I have thousands of photos to remember them by. Along the way, I have become friends with some of life’s most caring, supportive, understanding, loving people I could ever hope to meet – they truly have contributed to my life’s tapestry. However the most important people in my life, and the ones I would give my life for, would be Julian, the most wonderful husband I could ask for (even though sometimes I may say the complete opposite) and my 4 amazingly beautiful, talented, caring, loving children – James, Charlyse, Saraya, and Patrick. With them in my life, I consider myself to be the luckiest girl in the world. Reflecting on all I have seen and done and the people I have met, it’s been an incredible 40 years and I look forward to another 40. Thank you everyone for joining me on this rollercoaster of my life. Life doesn’t get much better than this one.

December 10 – Today I am thankful for reaching 40 and having so many people send me birthday wishes. Thank you to everyone, I feel very loved. xxxx

December 11 – Today I am thankful for Vallergan. Getting 4 young kids to sleep in 2 hotel rooms would not be possible otherwise. Everyone has crashed, and I’m finally enjoying some peace & quiet.

December 12 – Today, I have finally figured out what I am thankful for. I am thankful for being the parent I am, and I promise that I will NEVER make my children’s lives harder, but rather will do whatever I can to make things easier. I will be there for my children always, no matter what. I love my children, and that is my promise to them. And that makes me a much better parent.

December 13 – Today I am thankful that we have our own swimming pool. With temperatures close to 28C today, and James physically & emotionally recovering from a busy & active weekend, it’s the perfect place to cool off and wind down. We haven’t left the house all day, so the kids have spent hours just chilling in the pool. Hopefully James will be back to his happy self in a few days and we can get out again. I hate how the weekend takes so much out of him, and I think his anger and frustration are very much justified.

December 14 – I am thankful for finally finding the motivation to get back into the gym. I went on Tuesday night and loved it – it was so quiet. So this is now going to be my regular night-time activity, which Jules doesn’t mind as he’s in bed most nights by 8pm.

December 15 – I am thankful that the weather held up and I could take the 2 big kids to MovieWorld. They had so much fun, and the smiles on their faces (especially James’s face after going on the roller coaster) were priceless. Now that we have their 3-World Summer Passes, I can take them to a different world each week.

December 16 – Today I am thankful for my dearest and oldest friends, Melinda, Susanne, Varie, Trish, Rebecca, and Melinda. We all went through high school together and had a lot of fun, got up to a lot of mischief. I lost contact with them for many years, and was lucky to re-connect with all of them through Facebook. Each one of us has had our challenges in life, in fact some of us are going through tough times as I type, and yet even though the years have passed I think our friendships have gotten stronger due to maturity, experiences, and a fear of losing each other again. You girls keep me going, and I love you all. And I am especially thinking of one of you in particular today and wishing I could be there to give you the biggest of hugs and tell you everything will be okay, even if it won’t. You are my best friends, without a doubt! xxxxx

December 17 – Today, I am thankful for the “unfriend” and “block” function on Facebook. No more over-the-top, overbearing, bunny-boiling friends for me. And in future, I should just go with my gut feeling, rather than giving a new “friend” a chance only to prove my initial instincts correct. Now, if only we had “block” functions on mobile phones as well.

December 18 – Today I am thankful for good neighbours. It’s so nice, after putting steak and sausages on the BBQ, to spontaneously ring up our neighbours (Jen & Pete) and invite them over to share, with leftover beer and wine from my birthday dinner party. I’ll miss having them so close when we move. I just hope we have nice neighbours in our new location.

December 19 – Today I am thankful for Luke. Luke is a 22 year old Occupational Therapy student who came to work for us a few months ago, providing respite Mon-Fri for 2 hours per day. He arrives at 4pm, takes all 4 kids to play in the park or ride their bikes/scooters on the road in front of our house (it’s a nice quiet cul-de-sac) or plays games with them inside. After that, he massages and stretches James’s legs for a full hour before driving home (it is a 30-min drive each way). The kids adore him, and he seems to love our kids. We are so lucky to have Luke, and James looks up to him and can talk as much Harry Potter with him as he wants. I just hope Luke will stay with us for a while longer, as I think we really lucked out with him!

December 20 – Today I am thankful for . . . . well, I’m actually having a hard time finding something new to be thankful for today. Poor James is having such a difficult time, his poor little body is letting him down more and more each day. And, since we increased his steroid dosage, he’s even angrier and more frustrated. I’m struggling to keep it together, trying hard to stay positive so it might rub off on him, but it’s so exhausting. And then I feel guilty because i’m finding it so hard, so imagine how he’s finding it. If I have anything to be thankful for today, it’s knowing that he doesn’t really mean the angry things he says to me and the way he acts – just for today I’m thankful that I can blame the drugs.

December 21 – Today, I am thankful for my wonderfully capable husband, who has offered to come home early from the office and look after the kids, just so I can get out and do last minute shopping. I tried to do it earlier today, but shopping with 3 children (with one in a special needs buggy and the other an independent-minded toddler) is impossible due to the fact that I am physically unable to transport the items from the place of purchase and back to my car. I was stressing out big time, wondering how I was going to get things done, when hubby came to the rescue (even though he’s flat-out at work trying to start up his new business). So today, I am incredibly thankful to Julian for helping to preserve my sanity and ensuring Santa would not forget any of our 4 kids (or the 2 of us).

December 22 – Today I am thankful that there’s only 3 more days until Christmas. After shopping for presents for 4 kids, and doing it these past 2 weeks whilst pushing James in his buggy – I’m EXHAUSTED!!! Three more days and then I can start relaxing.

December 23 – Today, I’m just thankful that I didn’t kill my husband.

December 24 – Today I am thankful that I finished wrapping all the presents so Santa could deliver them. It’s 1.40am, I’m exhausted and my back is stuffed, but it will all be worth it when I see the kids’ faces tomorrow.

December 25– Today, I am thankful for so much. I am thankful –

That my children still believe in Santa Claus and the magic of Christmas,
For our wonderful family and the opportunity to spend our first Christmas together with extended family, instead of just us (as it has been for almost 10 years),
For a beautiful sunny day,
For my beautiful family, and seeing the joy on their faces this morning, and the complete satisfaction with their gifts, and the fun they had with their cousins,
And last, but not least, I’m thankful for having the best Christmas ever!
Merry merry Christmas everyone.

December 26 – Today I am thankful for my Facebook family. You all know the true meaning of support, encouragement, empathy, compassion, and kindness – characteristics that mean so much to me. Thank you.

December 27 – Today I am thankful for my quick acting upon seeing dark storm clouds approaching, and getting everyone back to they car as soon as possible. Once that storm hit, it was like a mini cyclone, and yet were were all snug and dry in our car, heading for home. Thank god we have Summer passes, it didn’t matter that we only stayed at SeaWorld for 2 hours.

December 28 – Today, I am thankful that I still have my Jamesy with me. I know that one day he will be gone, and I don’t know if that day will be tomorrow, next year, 7 years from now, or 20 years from now, but I do know I will lose him and that scares me like you wouldn’t believe (although I know some of you would!). But today, he’s still here and he can still smile at me, give me a bear hug, snuggle up next to me, tell me he loves me and that I’m the best mum in the world. Imagine what a tragedy it would be to not have experienced my beautiful boy for even a day! So for today, I am thankful for my boy, the light of my life, and the biggest reason for why I get out of bed each day and breathe in the new day. Today he is still here.

December 29– Today I am thankful for Paddy and Saraya going to school for the day. It’s hard doing anything or going anywhere with 4 young kids, when one’s in a special needs buggy and one’s in a stroller. At least with the 2 big ones, I can get out and about, even if it’s just to the supermarket.

December 30 – Today, or tonight, I am thankful that Julian is on “Patrick Duty”. Unlike his siblings, who all had CIO method done on them, Paddy is not a great sleeper. He has recently taken to waking 3-4 times per night and screaming the house down. As his room is right next door to James, we haven’t done CIO as we didn’t want to disturb poor James’s sleep. So instead, I have a child who wakes through the night and goes out into the hall, crying until someone brings him a bottle. Yes, I’m a bad mum because he still has a bottle at night. I’m refusing to give him the bottle, but it’s a battle of wills. Last night, I had around 4-5 hours of broken sleep, and today I feel like crap. So I was really happy when Julian said it was his turn to sleep in the main bed and I’m in with the girls, because now Paddy’s screaming will be his problem and not mine. And for that I am thankful.

December 31

Today, on this final day of 2011, I am thankful for my family.

– For my husband Julian, who does all he can to be the most loving provider and dad a family could ask for.

– For my son James, who has shown me what it means to love and be loved without prejudice, and to know the meaning of true compassion, courage, and strength.

– For my daughter Charlyse, who is the kindest, sweetest, smartest, most delightful girl I could have ever hoped for, and who loves her siblings and animals alike, both fiercely and protectively.

– For my daughter Saraya, who is strong-willed, smart, and imaginative, and who delights me with her love of music and dancing.

– And for my son Patrick, who is naturally gifted in sport, and loves being an active part of our very special little family.

I know I am luckier than many for having such a beautiful family, and today I am letting the world know how thankful I am.

My wish, for 2012, is that a cure is found for Duchenne, that my children continue to grow and love and make friends, that Julian’s new business venture is a success, and that the experiences we have in the new year will contribute to us being the best we can be.

Thank you for reading my “I am thankful for. . .” posts. I wish you all a happy new year, and I hope 2012 will see many of your dreams realised.

Remember, only we can make things happen so start creating your life you want to live!

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