I’ve deliberately not blogged during Christmas and New Year.
In the time-honoured tradition of separated families everywhere, it’s been my turn to spend the festive season without my children.
Chase and Harmonie left at the start of the school break, to spend the first half of the summer holidays with their Dad, half the country away.
As much as it sucks to be away from my children during the festive season, everyone kept telling me the cure was to attack it head-on by making the most of the ‘me’ time.
And so I have.
It doesn’t mean I haven’t missed the kids, but I have had a pretty special time. That’s meant taking time off from blogging as well, as I’ve caught up with family and friends, reconnected with loved ones, read, written, and just relaxed.
It doesn’t make up for being childless, but it’s also been liberating to have a few weeks to be Bronnie again. As in the grown-up woman who is more than just Mumma. (Not that there is anything wrong with that.)
The weird thing, is that I always find I’m pretty much the same person I’ve always been when I have time to be me again. Just older and wider and wrinklier on the surface. But the same inside and underneath.
Does that happen to everyone else?
I’ve had the pleasure of catching up with school friends and cousins recently, and we all seem to have that experience. We’re still the same underneath, and the years disappear as soon as the hellos and hugs are over.
We’ve all been belted around by life but also rewarded by it. And despite different paths, the basic values and personalities are the same. I love it.
Over the festive period, I’ve had a lovely time staying here, there, and everywhere, and once again, I’m reminded how lucky I am to have such wonderful friends and family in my life.
So whilst I hate being separated from my children at this special time, I also know how important it is for them to spend time with their Dad. And to my surprise, the time on my own doesn’t completely suck.
Because I haven’t been on my own at all. Not really.
I spent the first few days of the break with a gorgeous friend in Brisbane, who always welcomes Lucy dog and I into her home when we’re in town.
She’s been my rock over the years, and her lounge room has been the venue for many an impromptu counselling/bitch/pep-talk/whine session, and also the venue of much merriment. I love her to bits.
Christmas Day was spent with my sister and her husband at their beautiful country home, together with assorted family members and friends.
The night before we attended the annual Wondai Christmas Carnival, which has been held on Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember.
The kids in the household were up early the next morning, excited to see that Santa had been. It was great to hear the excited whispers and squeals of little children as they tried not to wake the household – even if there was a twinge of disappointment that mine weren't there to be a part of it.
After a few presents, it was off to church as is our tradition, where I caught up with people who had known me since I was a child.
Then back to my sister’s home to prepare lunch with my family – niece, nephew, great-niece and great-nephews, parents, and friends.
One of my nephews had requested one of every kind of meat (!). My sister didn’t quite go that far, but there was certainly a feast, with everyone chipping in to make the workload as light as possible.
The Christmas-New Year break flew by, as I caught up with more people and actually read the books that had been sitting on my bedside table for months.
I really meant to throw myself into more productive exercises, but for once I followed the advice I’d been given and showed myself the same loving kindness I would have advised loved ones to show themselves.
I took it easier than usual. I slept in. I talked and listened. I met up with new friends and old. I went out on New Year’s Eve. I took time to live in the moment. I did all those things I don’t usually get time to do during the year.
Most of all, I didn’t rush!
Everyone has asked if I’ve made a New Year’s Resolution.
And I don’t usually. (Mainly because I’m crap at keeping them, and in any case, I try to be virtuous and good on a daily basis. I said I try!)
But I guess this year, I’m going to try to carry this more relaxed, less anxious version of myself forward into 2014.
So that I’m not quite as stressed and antsy as I usually am - too busy to make time for a coffee with friends, a casual meal with my family, or to sit down and watch a movie with the kids without multi-tasking on the computer, in the kitchen or folding the laundry.
How long do you think it will last?
What’s your New Year’s Resolution? And are you any good at keeping them?
A little something for Santa
Santa has been!
The traditional backyard water fight. (There was cricket later ...)
Lunch is served
Followed by dessert (mainly courtesy of my amazing nieces)
Lucy joined in the celebrations with her doggy friends
A country sunset
New Year, new relaxed Bronnie. How long will it last?
Stay tuned ...