What’s gone forever

The boy-child and his grandfather, January 1999. Photo: Su Leslie

The boy-child and his grandfather, January 1999. Photo: Su Leslie

Today is my parents’ in law’s 54th wedding anniversary. Both are unwell and may not even be aware that today is a special day for them.

Though not particularly hands-on grandparents, they have nevertheless been part of the boy-child’s day to day life since we returned to NZ from the UK when he was a toddler.

For the first few years, my in-laws generously let us take over their house and garden for the boy-child’s birthday parties. After that came many years of family birthday dinners – followed, in the last few years, by somewhat fleeting visits to share some cake, and deliver a card and cash.

But no more. A fall last April changed my father-in-law’s life forever, and with that, the lives of everyone in the family. Taken-for-granted traditions and rituals no longer make sense, and come the boy-child’s sixteenth birthday in a few days, we will be trying to find new ways to be a family.

I’m counting down to my son’s sixteenth birthday. Here is what has gone before:

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/shining-through/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/23/five-days-to-go-heres-where-it-all-gets-manic/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/six-word-saturday-2-oh-oh-sweet-child-of-mine/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/funny-friday-the-things-kids-say/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/down-memory-lane/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/wordless-wednesday-babies-love-books/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/shoe-down-the-river-stories-and-other-backwaters-of-family-history/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/what-sort-of-star-are-you/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/song-for-sunday-the-boy-childs-early-taste-in-music/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/happy-valentines-day/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/yellow-is-the-colour-of-happiness/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/wordless-wednesday-bright-eyes/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/10-things-tuesday-hes-ready-to-leave-home-when/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/on-writing-wishes-and-not-re-inventing-the-wheel/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/six-word-saturday-who-said-boys-cant-wear-pink/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/when-two-heads-are-so-much-better-than-one/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/family-photo-friday-kids-no-more/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/three-weeks-out-and-ive-organised-nothing/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/on-the-importance-of-grandparents/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/on-counting-and-gender-stereotypes/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/getting-over-the-grumps/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/weekly-photo-challenge-object/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/six-word-saturday-on-being-allowed-a-weekend-sleep-in/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/on-raising-children-and-not-getting-enough-sleep/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/back-to-school-for-the-last-time/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/wordless-wednesday-remembering-birthdays-past-and-counting-down-to-a-big-one/

Shining through

Forever reaching; the boy-child always has something new in his sights. Photo: Tony Gray 1999

Forever reaching; the boy-child always has something new in his sights. Photo: Tony Gray 1999

School seems to be going well for the boy-child this year. He’s discovered a passion for business studies and this evening he initiated a conversation about law school.

Whatever he does, I hope he never loses his sense of self and his capacity for wonder.

I’m counting down to my son’s 16th birthday. Here is what has gone before:

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/23/five-days-to-go-heres-where-it-all-gets-manic/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/six-word-saturday-2-oh-oh-sweet-child-of-mine/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/funny-friday-the-things-kids-say/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/down-memory-lane/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/wordless-wednesday-babies-love-books/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/shoe-down-the-river-stories-and-other-backwaters-of-family-history/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/what-sort-of-star-are-you/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/song-for-sunday-the-boy-childs-early-taste-in-music/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/happy-valentines-day/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/yellow-is-the-colour-of-happiness/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/wordless-wednesday-bright-eyes/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/10-things-tuesday-hes-ready-to-leave-home-when/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/on-writing-wishes-and-not-re-inventing-the-wheel/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/six-word-saturday-who-said-boys-cant-wear-pink/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/when-two-heads-are-so-much-better-than-one/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/family-photo-friday-kids-no-more/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/three-weeks-out-and-ive-organised-nothing/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/on-the-importance-of-grandparents/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/on-counting-and-gender-stereotypes/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/getting-over-the-grumps/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/weekly-photo-challenge-object/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/six-word-saturday-on-being-allowed-a-weekend-sleep-in/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/on-raising-children-and-not-getting-enough-sleep/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/back-to-school-for-the-last-time/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/wordless-wednesday-remembering-birthdays-past-and-counting-down-to-a-big-one/

Five days to go … here’s where it all gets manic

su and tom funny

The boy-child’s 16th is only a few days away. Between now and then (as well as working, chauffeuring, cooking, eating, sleeping and breathing), I also have to work on the wishes book, organise a cake, remember to phone my brother who turns 50 today and visit my in-laws who will spend their 54th anniversary apart on Tuesday because neither of them is well and father-in-law is in a nursing home. Am almost grateful my parents are divorced, as it would be have been their 58th wedding anniversary on Tuesday as well.

I’m going to need — coffee, chocolate and music … lots of it!

Funny Friday: the things kids say

Photo: Su Leslie 2004

Photo: Su Leslie 2004

About ten years ago, when the boy child was five or six, we were driving through the part of town that’s traditionally been home to strip clubs and sex workers.

Out of nowhere, the boy-child says “are we in the red light district?

Er” … My brain’s going crazy trying to figure out ‘what does he know?’ ‘How am I going to handle this?’

Why do you ask that sweetie?”

Cos the traffic lights are always red through here.”

***

I’m counting down to my son’s sixteenth birthday. Here’s what’s gone before:

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/down-memory-lane/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/wordless-wednesday-babies-love-books/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/shoe-down-the-river-stories-and-other-backwaters-of-family-history/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/what-sort-of-star-are-you/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/song-for-sunday-the-boy-childs-early-taste-in-music/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/happy-valentines-day/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/yellow-is-the-colour-of-happiness/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/wordless-wednesday-bright-eyes/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/10-things-tuesday-hes-ready-to-leave-home-when/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/on-writing-wishes-and-not-re-inventing-the-wheel/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/six-word-saturday-who-said-boys-cant-wear-pink/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/when-two-heads-are-so-much-better-than-one/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/family-photo-friday-kids-no-more/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/three-weeks-out-and-ive-organised-nothing/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/on-the-importance-of-grandparents/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/on-counting-and-gender-stereotypes/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/getting-over-the-grumps/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/weekly-photo-challenge-object/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/six-word-saturday-on-being-allowed-a-weekend-sleep-in/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/on-raising-children-and-not-getting-enough-sleep/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/back-to-school-for-the-last-time/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/wordless-wednesday-remembering-birthdays-past-and-counting-down-to-a-big-one/

Down memory lane

Smoke on the water: the boy child briefly joined the band at his uncle's wedding. Photo: Tony Gray 2006

Smoke on the water: the boy child briefly joined the band at his uncle’s wedding. Photo: Tony Gray 2006

The call has gone out to friends and family, and some truly beautiful messages are coming back to be included in the boy-child’s Memories and Wishes book (which, er, I haven’t actually finished making).

My brother mentioned how, at his wedding, my then eight year old hung around the band all night begging to have a go on one of their guitars (he’d started lessons a few months before that).

The band, talented and professional musicians all, showed amazing kindness that night, when nearing the end of their last set they allowed my son onto the stage. The lead guitarist handed over his Gibson, the singer announced their “special guest” and they not only let the kid play the riff from Smoke on the Water (over and over) but played and sang along with him. Guests clapped their hands in time, and at the end the boy-child and his bandmates got a huge ovation.

It was the perfect ending to a wonderful day. I’d seen my baby brother welcomed into a new and loving family and witnessed the absolute kindness that a group of adults can show to a small child with a big passion.

I was going to say something profound about the importance of small acts of goodness in a sometimes horribly cruel and unjust world, but I think we all understand that.

So instead, here’s that Deep Purple classic from 1972

This post is part of the countdown to my son’s 16th birthday. Here’s what has gone before:

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/wordless-wednesday-babies-love-books/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/shoe-down-the-river-stories-and-other-backwaters-of-family-history/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/what-sort-of-star-are-you/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/song-for-sunday-the-boy-childs-early-taste-in-music/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/happy-valentines-day/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/yellow-is-the-colour-of-happiness/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/wordless-wednesday-bright-eyes/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/10-things-tuesday-hes-ready-to-leave-home-when/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/on-writing-wishes-and-not-re-inventing-the-wheel/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/six-word-saturday-who-said-boys-cant-wear-pink/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/when-two-heads-are-so-much-better-than-one/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/family-photo-friday-kids-no-more/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/three-weeks-out-and-ive-organised-nothing/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/on-the-importance-of-grandparents/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/on-counting-and-gender-stereotypes/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/getting-over-the-grumps/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/weekly-photo-challenge-object/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/six-word-saturday-on-being-allowed-a-weekend-sleep-in/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/on-raising-children-and-not-getting-enough-sleep/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/back-to-school-for-the-last-time/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/wordless-wednesday-remembering-birthdays-past-and-counting-down-to-a-big-one/

Wordless Wednesday: babies love books

We’re running late for the school bus run today … blame it on the book-y.
And yes, I apologise for the appalling pun!

Shaking the tree

Books have always been part of the boy-child's life. His father was reading The House at Pooh Corner to him while we were still in the maternity ward. Books have always been part of the boy-child’s life. His father was reading The House at Pooh Corner to him while we were still in the maternity ward.

We discovered very early on that sharing a book with him - just holding it, reading the story and talking about the pictures would engage him. We discovered very early on that sharing a book with him – even just holding it and talking about the pictures – was enough to engage him.

An epiphany at about five months; we handed him a book upside down and he turned it around. An epiphany at about five months; we handed him a book upside down and he turned it right way up.

Early favourites; The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Buzzy Bee counting book, Ten Little Rabbits and appropriately enough, The Baby Who Wouldn't Go to Bed! Early favourites; The Very Hungry Caterpillar, the Buzzy Bee counting book, Duck is Dirty, Ten Little Rabbits and appropriately enough, The Baby Who Wouldn’t Go to Bed!

Adding a new dimension to the term "devouring a book." Adding a new dimension to the term “devouring a book.”

Not much has changed really. Not much has changed really.

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Shoe-down-the-river stories and other backwaters of family history

Efficiency is a post that combines my great loves – the boy-child and family history (no mention of the Big T, but he knows!)

Shaking the tree

Bath-times with the boy-child in days gone by. Bath-times with the boy-child in days gone by.

I saw this and it reminded me of a time in the boy-child’s life when bath-time was a supervised, highly social activity. These days, if I accidentally stray within twenty feet of his bathroom whilst he’s abluting, it’s a capital offence, so you’ll understand that the time I’m talking about is long, long, ago.

Anyway, back in the day, when bath-time involved me sitting on the floor, making sure the boy-child didn’t drown and did actually get washed, we developed a kind of tradition where I’d tell what I hoped were amusing anecdotes from my childhood. He called these the shoe-down-the-river stories, after an incident where my little brother “borrowed” my shoe to use as a boat and floated it off down a river. Retrieving the shoe involved several men – including my father – getting comprehensively soaked and not a little…

View original post 463 more words

Random moment of delight: a song to start the week off right

I discovered this song a few years ago when dancer and TV personality Len Goodman chose it as one of his Desert Island Discs (episode here).

Paolo Nuttini is a young Scottish singer, musician and songwriter. His music is upbeat, uplifting and makes me want to dance, sing along and most of all, smile.

This post was written for Meghan’s Random Moments of Delight challenge at Firebonnet.com.

What sort of star are you?

The boy-child has always loved music. He "got" his first guitar by persuading one of his preschool teachers to help him make this one with cardboard boxes and rubber bands. Photo: Su Leslie 2002

The boy-child has always loved music. He “got” his first guitar by persuading one of his preschool teachers to help him make this one from cardboard boxes and rubber bands. Photo: Su Leslie 2002

When the boy-child was a preschooler, we used to go to kindy gym. It was a great way for the kids to use up some energy, improve their co-ordination and motor skills and of course, have fun.

One day the teacher asked the kids to make a star with their bodies. A dozen or so 3-4 year olds dutifully stood stock still, arms and legs outstretched. The boy-child on the other hand, began to leap about, waving his arms like a demented windmill.

“Um, and what sort of star are you” asked the teacher kindly?

“A ROCK STAR” came the gleeful reply.

There’s always one, isn’t there?

This post was written as part of a countdown to my son’s 16th birthday. Here’s what has gone before:

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/song-for-sunday-the-boy-childs-early-taste-in-music/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/happy-valentines-day/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/yellow-is-the-colour-of-happiness/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/wordless-wednesday-bright-eyes/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/10-things-tuesday-hes-ready-to-leave-home-when/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/on-writing-wishes-and-not-re-inventing-the-wheel/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/six-word-saturday-who-said-boys-cant-wear-pink/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/when-two-heads-are-so-much-better-than-one/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/family-photo-friday-kids-no-more/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/three-weeks-out-and-ive-organised-nothing/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/on-the-importance-of-grandparents/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/on-counting-and-gender-stereotypes/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/getting-over-the-grumps/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/weekly-photo-challenge-object/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/six-word-saturday-on-being-allowed-a-weekend-sleep-in/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/on-raising-children-and-not-getting-enough-sleep/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/back-to-school-for-the-last-time/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/wordless-wednesday-remembering-birthdays-past-and-counting-down-to-a-big-one/

“A rock star”