Friday, February 20, 2015

Valentine's day...

I had thought (for a brief moment) that Martin losing his job might mean we could spend Valentine's day together for the first time in, I don't know, about 8 years. But alas, it wasn't meant to be. He is working weekends at Winteringham Fields, so he was there. I did attempt to get myself all dolled up for him and wait up, but that romantic notion flew out the window at about 12:15am. I changed into comfy pajamas and went to sleep, waking briefly to mutter something about loving him when he woke me up later.

So Martin and I very rarely give each other gifts on V-day. It was very romantic anyway, though. He made me cute little Lucky Stars, which are made of long strips of folded paper. These ones contained a whole bunch of different quotes about love. It was great, because he hid a whole bunch of these tiny little stars (about the size of a quarter) all over the house, so I kept finding them at random times. And I was so impressed by his effort that when he got home from work I had made him chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream icing. Totally home made and actually kind of delicious.

The real highlight of my weekend was Friday night though.

It started out with a splinter removal from Dylan's hand. Always traumatic for the kids when I get out a sterilized needle and a pair of tweezers. Or even just a pair of fingernail clippers, for that matter. But we got the splinter out, and I got the kids tucked up in bed. Then I spent a perfectly delightful half hour tidying up and an even nicer hour playing the piano and singing. But alas, my quiet night in was not meant to be.

Edith started playing up at about nine pm. She had been complaining that her bum really hurt all evening, but she actually woke up and was sitting on the toilet crying. We had a fun little conversation and it turns out that she hadn't pooped for three days. GREAT! Normal for some kids, but not normal for my kids. So I went next door and asked my neighbor to kid sit for twenty minutes while I walked down to Tesco to pick up supplies.

The lady behind me at the checkout bought four bottles of champagne. I bought a bottle of prune juice and some suppositories. I wonder who had a better Friday night...

So an hour later, I sent Edith back up to bed. That's how long it took me to convince her to let me, um, administer the medication. It was an hour that neither one of us will ever forget, either. And almost as delightful was the ongoing conversation about her bowel movements for the next two days.

Most of the time, I still feel like I am just pretending to be a mother. Like any moment the REAL parent will burst in and send me on my way. But parenting got REAL that night.

We've had a really nice week though. the kids have been on their half term break, and SO HAS MARTIN! We've had lazy mornings and a few fun activities. We even had the missionaries over to help us with the big job of digging out borders behind the burnt out house next door (their mission president likes them to spend time serving the members, and we like having young, fit guys come over and help us out). We're going to do some guerrilla gardening there since it is south facing and the perfect place to grow vegetables. I've been at work for two of those days, but we got some intense family time. And the kids are having a sleepover with their nanna tonight, so I am going to go out. Maybe. I might just veg out at home enjoying total control of the television whilst Martin is at work.

Funny how great a quiet night to myself is now that I don't have that 5 nights a week.

So all is good in the Gilbert household. Mostly healthy, all happy, and plodding along. Just hope we don't need any more of those suppositories!

Friday, February 13, 2015

My promise...

When You Are Old
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

I've been thinking about ageing lately. Mostly because of a massage client of mine who is bedridden. She was very ill and in the hospital for quite a while, and has been at home in bed for over a year now. Every time I give her a massage, I come away feeling a little bit sad. And I think about the possibility of having to care for my own mother.

I know the Yeats wasn't written for a parent, btw. I just really love it, and it fits my melancholy mood.

So here is a little letter for my mommy:

Dear Mom,

I know you are still young and healthy, but I've been thinking about a time when you might not be. And if you are ever bed bound, I promise the following things:

If we are living close enough to each other, I will come over once a week to make sure your fingernails and toenails are in good shape. I will cut your nails, clean underneath them, and buff/paint them if you want me to. I will even file down that funky pinky toenail of yours if it ever grows enough to need some attention.

If we live close enough for that once a week visit, I will also take the opportunity to tweeze any weird beard/moustache hairs that you may develop. Not saying that you WILL become a hirsute old woman, but there's always that chance. And Mom, I am here for you.

If your eyesight gets bad, I will bring over trashy romance novels and read them out loud to you. Even the rude bits. I'm pretty sure that the church ladies will read scriptures to you, but some things just CAN'T be done by your visiting teachers.

I will lotion up your legs if you can't reach them, because dried and scaly legs are just plain uncomfortable.

I will tidy up the house, so you don't have to listen to Dad complaining about the mess. I know he likes it clean, and if you can't do it, I will.

I will also try to cook you a meal for the freezer. Maybe meatloaf, since we both know that mine is better than yours. Just..

If I don't live close to you, I will instead call you at least once, maybe twice a week, so we can gossip about all the family stuff. Especially after big events like baptisms, blessings, weddings and family reunions.

The main thing I promise is that I will think of you often. Because you are my mother, and I love you!

Your favorite daughter,


Thursday, February 05, 2015


I feel like I need to make myself a badge. A big, brightly coloured one that I can wear on my coat. One that is unmissable. And what, you may ask, would it say?

"Don't judge me, I'm growing out my eyebrows!"

Yes, I am that superficial.

I've been tweezing my brows ever since freshman year in high school, when I read an article about shaping your eyebrows properly in Seventeen magazine. And I have always had very nice brows, if I do say so myself. Immaculately groomed, carefully darkened, and (usually) pencil thin. But I read an article about how a "strong brow" is now in and some women age themselves by having very thin eyebrows, and I was inspired. I don't want to be like "some women." At least not on the eyebrow front. I mean, I NEVER bought a pair of skinny jeans--just rode that trend out (I hear flared crops are coming in this season). But brows--come on! That's always been my bag, baby!

This growing out process is painful. Well, ok, not really painful as such. But it is prickly and hairy and decidedly untidy. Painful in the sense that I cringe every time I see myself in the mirror.

So mom, you were right after all. I now regret plucking my eyebrows. You said I would all those years ago, and I snorted in derision. Want me to say it again (because I'd want to hear it again if it were me)?

You were right!