Dear Mr Post Office Man…………

Dear Mr Post Office Man,

I have lived this side of town for over 9 years now, and in the whole time you have been working at the local post office.

You don’t smile, sometimes you don’t even talk, you just take the item, scan it and grab the money off me, or get the parcel I have come for.

Once you even chucked my change at me.

You seem very sad.

I told my husband about 6 years ago that I would make you smile, I was determined there was a way to make you smile.

I tried everything, big, cheerful greetings, and “have a fantastic day”, asking you how you were that day. I even once saw you while I was working and threw you a huge smile, you didn’t smile back, I don’t think you even noticed someone was smiling at you.

Then the other day a miricale happened………… you smiled!

I was so suprised that I did not take note of what made you smile, but I do want you to know that when you smile it makes you look kinder, your smile suits you.

I went home and told my husband excitedly “he smiled. AT LAST!” This made me pretty happy, because I was wondering if I would ever get to see it.

Recently I ordered some bulk books online for the kids, for some reason the company has been posting them one at a time, so Mr Post Office Man, you and I have been seeing a lot of each other when I come to individually pick those books up.

I got a bit cocky after the smiling incident, I thought I could progress to a laugh right away, so next visit I told you a joke, you didn’t laugh, you didn’t even smile.

I think you may have a big, hearty laugh, and it would probably make you feel really good to use it.

So here’s the deal Mr Post Office Man.

The book company is sending one last book, it is due to arrive in the next week.

I am just warning you, I am seriously considering pulling out all stops to make you laugh.

If a crazy lady comes into your shop, dressed in a wild costume, tap dancing and playing a one woman band, it is me.

All I ask of you is one thing…………. just laugh.

You never know, it may do you some good!

Good enough for me

As a child, I never really excelled in any particular activity, I was not known as the dancer, the sporty one, the smart one, the popular one. I did not really fit into any category, and I thought that because I was not really defined by any particular area , I was a bit of a loser.

I took up dancing from an early age, I tried tap, modern, ballroom, but I was not fantastic at any of them. One teacher would ridicule me, and shout “how will you ever be a great dancer if you don’t even know the difference between your left or your right?!”.

Other children were invited to participate in exams in order to climb up to the next level of dance, or  invited to attend local  competitions. I was never “good enough” to participate in any of these.

Although I loved dancing, I ended up giving it up because I thought that I was not good at it, and wasting the teacher’s time by continuing.

Fast forward, and as an adult, after watching the joy on my niece and daughters faces when they performed at their end of term concerts I decided I would like to give dancing a go again.

I loved that the dance school they went to was one that was based on having fun, giving it a go, and being yourself, no based on being the best, or sitting exams etc. I did not want my daughter to grow up comparing herself to others, like I had.

So off I headed to start dancing again, I was so nervous, and felt inadequate once again.

I would come home each Wednesday night in tears, telling my husband that my teacher was bound to expel me because I was so bad at it. I lay awake at night berating myself for thinking that I was able to do such a thing like this, after all, I failed as it as a child, who was to say I would be any better as an adult?

Determined to prove even myself wrong, I practised and practised, and then it was time to perform. I felt like I was going to be sick, I was that nervous, but by the time it was our turn to go on stage, I felt that huge rush that I remember having when I used to perform as a child.

I was hooked!

So next term I headed back to dancing, determined to just do my best, not get caught up in putting myself down, or getting upset if I did not get the steps right away.

Here I am, 3rd term into dancing now, about to go on stage tomorrow once again.

Our class is filled with young, lithe 18 year olds, some that look set to be professional dancers, once again I started to compare myself with them, but stopped myself, all we can ever ask is to be ourselves, and the world would be pretty boring if we were all exactly the same.

We had our dress rehearsal on Wednesday night, and at the end we all got our usual certificates of achievement. One of my fellow dance buddies commented that these certificates bring out the 5-year-old in all of us, and I have to say I agree.

I read my certificate, and my breath was taken away for a moment:

The Teachers comments read :

WOW Alicia, when I watch you dance, the word FLAIR comes to mind. Your open chest, your chin high- such pride! You dance joyfully!

I had to re read it a few times to make sure I had not got the wrong persons certificate!

I took a moment to think back to the little girl who loved to dance, but never thought she was good enough.

When I finally decided that I can only ever ask to be as good as I can be, when I stopped comparing myself to others, when I told myself that I was good enough for me, then I finally found the true meaning of dance, the ability to express yourself freely, without fear.

Now that is more than good enough for me!


This weeks Challenge for Home Life Simplified is regarding Gratitude and Kindness.

Since I have already set up a way to acknowledge the moments in my life that I am grateful for, I thought I would concentrate on kindness.

When you think of it, kindness is so easy, it is free to do, but the thing that stops most of us practising kindness is probably the fact that we are in such a hurry every day.

While it would be so easy to hold a door open for someone, ask an upset person if they are ok, let another car in front whilst in the traffic, or simply just lend and ear to someone in need, many people are in too much of a hurry rushing through life to stop to think of doing some simple act of kindness.

I am just as guilty at times.

This week I set out to work on my kindness.

I thought it would be something grand and extravagant I could do, I was thinking of making some homemade gifts for friends………… that did not happen.

Then at the beginning of the week the kids wanted the window wound down in the car, they were yelling out “Hello!” to people as they walked by our car.

I suggested that they try saying something nice to each person, that did not take long to catch on, some of the things I heard being yelled out the back of my car were:

“You are beautiful!”

“Have a nice day!”

“I like what you are wearing!”

Some people looked on confused, others smiled and waved, but looking at the happy smiling faces in the back of my car, I knew that the kids had got a lot from doing this anyhow.

I have also made a conscious effort of late to acknowledge good service. I have often taken a few moments just to email head office’s of companies to commend them on the great service I have received from individual staff members.

If someone has given me good service, I take note of their name, and send off and email.

This week I sent another letter off after I got some great service last week at McDonald’s when I took my son there for morning tea for his birthday.

I did not have the best grip on my tray when I picked it up, and I knocked my coffee over, it was my fault, but the lady at the counter insisted on giving me a whole new one, even though only a little spilled out. She then went on to inspect our hot cakes to make sure they were not damaged, and gave us a whole new tray.

I thanked her for her kindness, and then went on to send an email to the head office, I hope she gets praised by her boss for her great service too, she deserves it.

This week I also worked at taking longer to ask others about themselves, the mothers waiting outside the classroom with me, the customers that came into work, the people I interacted with anywhere.

I found myself laughing more, having a joke with strangers, and making moments that may otherwise seem long so fast.

Kindness really is simple, yet the effects are great, they help the receiver and the recipient.

I will endeavour to carry out more acts of kindness in the future.

Learning to live with a Teenager

For just over a week we have had a Teenager living in our house.

It’s a permanent arrangement, my 15-year-old niece has just moved in with us.

I don’t know much about teenagers, I know I was one once, but even then  I did not know what it was like to be a “normal teenager”.

So what have I learnt in my first week of being a guardian of a teenager?

Well a fair bit it seems, some I already think I knew deep down, but some that has been reinforced:

  • When I hang my nieces clothes out, it seems that my underwear has more material on it then a pair of her shorts. Is it just me, or has the fashion of teens just got skimpier and skimpier?
  • Teenagers know how to make you feel old in a roundabout way, Jazz told me that I was looking pretty good for someone as old as me. OLD?! I am 31! “Yeah, I know” she said, “but most old ladies like you are all wrinkly and craggy skin by now” WTF?! was that a compliment or an insult?!
  • Teenage girls giggle ALOT! They giggle at things that are not even funny, and they giggle in a high-pitched tone. I have stopped to ponder if I was ever a gigglier, perhaps I was, now I am feeling too old to remember.
  • They are embarrassed and have anxiety attacks about doing something as hard as applying for a job, but posting a self portrait with some corny poem on Facebook , that 437 “friends” can see does not even need a second thought.
  • I looked on as Jazmine slept in until 10am this morning and wondered “Why can I not get as much sleep as her?’ and also wondered why my 2 children cannot sleep that long, though give me time, they will be a sleeping teenager before I know it too!

Well I think that is enough lessons for only a week, stay tuned, I am sure I will learn more over time!

(wish me luck! It’s interesting going into uncharted territory)

Tears for all Occasions

I am a crier. I cry on many occasions, when I am sad, angry, hurt, frustrated, tired.

Once I even cried when quitting a job that I hated!

I even cry for good reasons, when I am so happy I could burst, when I am proud of something or when someone has touched my heart.

Sitting poolside at my children’s swimming lessons, I have been known to pull the sunglasses down over my face when those tears of pride unexpectedly spring up, watching two children who used to be afraid of water swim, jump and dive with smiles of joy on their faces makes me feel so proud of their achievements.

I used to think that the fact I was prone to crying so easily made me a weak person, now I just accept it is part of who I am.

When I first found out I was going to be a Mother, I sat on our kitchen floor, positive pregnancy test in my hand and just cried, it seemed like the tears lasted for ages, and I finally knew the meaning of the words “I was just so happy I could cry”.

The happy tears continued when I got to hold my babies for the first time, big tears of happiness.

I cried as I looked into Kiara’s eyes and said “Hello, I am your Mummy”,

And I cried as I attempted to soothe Noah, as he was born screaming, I held him in my arms, tears streaming down my face and whispered “Its ok baby, Mummy has you, you are going to be ok”

Hell, I am even crying as I type this, and the memories come back to sit with me.

There has been a mixture of tears in my house of late.

We are renovating our house, along with having suddenly taken in my teenage niece.

Finances have been stretched, and there have been some moments of stress and anxiety of how things will turn out.

Being a overthinker does not help either.

At looking at our finances, I came to the decision that we would have to take Jazmine, Kiara and myself out of dancing. I was fine to let it go, I love going every week, I am looking forward to learning more, but it is not the end of the world.

As I told the girls that we may have to give up dancing, I saw Kiara trying to be so brave, but visibly hurt.

“Its ok Mum” she said

“I will just do hip hop instead”. Then I had to tell her that hip hop was also classed as dancing!

I knew it wasnt the end of the world, that children learn that sometimes we just cannot always get what we want, but then I also felt so miserable for the fact they were going to miss out.

As I peered through the window of the dance studio while Kiara had her last class for the term , the lump started to form in my throat again.

Here was my confident little girl twirling around the room, watching herself in the mirror with the biggest, brightest smile on her face.

I’m about to take that away from her.

I knew we could have discos at home, and that compared to many children, she is blessed, but it did not stop me from feeling miserable.

I cry every time I see her on stage, not because I have ambitions for her to be a famous dancer, or to be the best in the class, but because I am so extremely proud of the effort and courage she puts into getting up on stage.

Man, you must all think I am such a big sook by now!

Then Jamie’s Gran got word of the situation, she asked if she could help pay for Kiara’s dance fees.

I assured her we would be fine, and thanked her for her thoughts.

She told me she would not take no for an answer and insisted that she help.

I promised we would pay her back.

“No need” she said, “I have more than I need, and am happy to help, in fact helping you out has made me feel really great”, and this huge smile spread across her face.

I told her if she wouldn’t let me pay her back, then I promise to pay it forward, and one day down the track when my children, or my children’s children need a hand, I will help them.

As I drove off, I thought of the reaction I would get from Kiara when I got to tell her that she would continue to dance after all………………..

And then the tears began to roll once again.

Where is my Courage?

Deb from Home Life Simplified set another timely challenge for week 10 – How to Face your Fears

This week I did not have to go out in search of things to test my courage, they all came to me!

It has been a really trying week in our household.

We have taken in my 15-year-old niece, Jazz.

Jazz and I

Jazmine’s Mum, Tamina (my sister) sadly passed away from cancer when Jazz was only 2, and since then she has been raised by her Grandma, (my Mum).

The generation gap between Grandma and Grandaughter has been a challenge, and their relationship has hit rock bottom after some trying times.

We are opening our hearts and home to Jazmine, we want her to feel safe and secure and loved in her new home, and we just want her to grow into the best young adult she can be.

But that does not mean I am not silently packing myself in the meantime! I have no idea how to raise a teenager, and it is safe to say that Jazz has become a bit wild in recent times. I also have the interest of my children to keep, I want them to also feel safe and secure in their home, the change has already started to tug on everyone’s emotions.

I have found myself crying at the drop of a hat.

It should be my sister getting to raise her daughter, life just is not fair at times. I do feel for Jazz and all the changes she has had to have in her life as well.

I not only worry about how emotionally and physically draining it is going to be, but how financially draining it will be to have an extra person in our house, then I feel guilty for feeling these things! It is one giant emotional train ride.

We have had to enrol her into a new school for next term, try to work out how to get her to the current school for the remainder of the term, and many other little obstacles.

Jamie – my husband has spent his two days off in the week creating a space for Jazmine to call her own. Together we have spent hours sanding, fixing, painting, cleaning, scrubbing the room. In the end we looked at each other in complete exhaustion and said “We have given our all”. The room is not perfect, but at the moment it will just have to do.

My kids seem to be noticing the change in the house, and becoming a little more sensitive as well, so we all seem a tad “delicate” at the moment.

This week we have all  felt fear, and we have looked it in the eye.

If it was any other situation, perhaps I may have decided that I was not up the the challenge of fear just yet, and walk away.

In this situation I cannot walk away, we just have to get on with it, start learning the ropes along the way of raising a teenager. We have set some ground rules, and expectations, we have given boundaries and reminders that we will enforce them.

We aim to work together as a team to make this happen.

To start with, I felt weak when thinking of my behaviour this week, emotional, scared and confused, but then I gave myself some slack.

I am emotional, scared and confused, but despite that all, I am jumping in, even if I do feel like I am jumping in blind with no idea, I am jumping in anyhow.

Courage is not something that only I can take credit for this week, I have to say that I am so thankful for the kind, loving support from my friends, family and especially my lovely husband.

Everyone has been so supportive, and encouraging, and sometimes having a support team like that is just what you need to spur you on to do what needs to be done.

There have been many moments this week that I have not believed in myself, or my ability to make this new situation work correctly, but then I get the odd text or email from someone saying “I believe in you, you can do this”

Or my husband whispering to me at the end of the day:

“It will be ok, we will work it all out in the end”

And so I start believing too, no matter how scared I am of what lays ahead for us, it will work out in the end, we will make sure of it.

You Know You are a Mum when………….

The Beautiful Sassy over at Sassy’s Sanity has invited me to make my own list of “You Know You are a Mum when”………….  after her list  had me nodding my head and giggling at how much I could relate to it.

So here goes:

You Know you are a Mum when ………………

You find yourself asking “Is that stain chocolate or poo?!”

It’s a treat to try on clothes without the fear that your child will open the change room door while you are semi naked.

You understand how it feels to be so tired you want to vomit.

You can see why there is a term called “Baby Brain”, after you put the milk in the cupboard and cereal in the fridge.

You appreciate your washing machine and how much work it does for you and your family.

You feel you may well qualify for a frequent visitor card to the emergency department.

You look at your children and are amazed at the fact you grew these little beings inside your body

You find yourself scrubbing and disinfecting your wedding and engagement rings as they have somehow got caked in your childs poo.

You find yourself telling an adult to “Use your words” while they are arguing with another adult.

You crawl into bed after a long day to find you are laying in a pile of biscuit crumbs left behind by your child earlier.

You look at the house after you have spent what seems like hours cleaning it and think “This aint going to last like this for long”.

The meaning of  “love” and “pride” are taken to a whole new level

You have moments that you have to decide between laughing or crying – on a daily basis.

You think the time they decided to put cartoons on tv all day long was a god send.

You go to put your child to bed at night, only to find that there is a huge dry wee stain on their bed, meaning they must have wet the bed the night before and you only just noticed now!

 (please tell me that’s not just me?!)

Go Easier On Yourself – I am enough.

Home Life Simplified Challenge: Week 9 – Go Easier on Yourself

I have just deleted my original post for this weeks challenge, it was long winded, disjointed and in the end even I could not understand it!

I do have to say that  this weeks challenge was a timely one, definitely one that came useful in the week I have just had.

In a recent post of mine, I explained how I feel that I have finally come to a point in my life where I accept myself for exactly who I am, all the quirks and traits that make me the person I am.

While this is true, I still think I am rather hard on myself with the expectations I lay on myself, mostly on a daily basis.

I get to the end of the day and berate myself for not ticking off all the things on my list, the fact that I have gone to bed with a couch filled with unfolded washing, or that I was so tired that we have not eaten anything more fancy then scrambled eggs on toast or sausage rolls and salad for dinner for the last few nights.

Its motherhood and managing a house that I find are the areas in which I am so hard on myself, I feel lazy, unmotivated and not so up to the job at times.

This week was so great, as I used the challenge as a reminder to whisper to myself throughout the week:

“I am enough”

Soon enough those words started to have the desired effect.

I am not superwoman, and no one (including myself) should expect me to be.

I make mistakes like everyone else, but this is always a great way to learn.

At the end of each day, there is always the knowledge that no matter how bad it went, or how many things went wrong, there is always tomorrow, a clean, fresh slate to try again.

So this week I went to bed earlier, to read and relax before sleep.

I chose to play with my kids over housework (though with the current renovations, housework was  pretty useless anyway!).

I reminded myself that I was human, and it was ok to be down at times, to be tired, to be drained, it was ok to listen to my body even if there was a millon things that were screaming to be done or sorted.

Amongst all this, those three simple words “I am enough” provided me with lots this week, the reminder that even if I am not like others, even if I feel like a failure at times, I am not:

I am enough