We hadn’t been back to my home-town for 2 years. We’d missed it. The cool air with pockets of sun you search for, to curl up into with a good book. The carpet underfoot in homes, and the wood fires. The appreciation of the little things, because there isn’t a whole lot to do in comparison with other bigger cities. Like the small beach, with cold water, shimmering with sun and clear of people. The hot sand, your children circling the ground looking for shells and rocks and sticks, and it being so easy to find them as your two skipping happy fellows are the only ones there. We play races up and down the beach, chasing the boys, hugging them, ‘boooof!’ and heaving them up over our shoulders. They dangle upside down, laughing, their sandy toes kicking furiously.
Imbued with childlike excitement, I run and run and run, splash I go, into the water! I smile, widely. Look at my husband, to see if he is noticing me so happy. It’s important that he sees, I want him to enjoy the moment, too.
I saw my close friend, my big sister of sorts. I loved rocking up at her place when the kids were finally settled, at 10:30pm with chocolate for chats. Just us, two years between visits. Aren’t these kinds of experiences sacred as a mum! We’ve been playing together since baby hood. She hadn’t yet met my youngest – oh the heartstrings pull! I was so proud to introduce baby to friend, friend to baby. Preciousness. My friend’s girls, so wild and boisterous, a perfect match for my similarly attributed sons! What fun all the kids had together! My big boy came home with a new best friend (albeit far away!), one that he now dictates sweet love letters and emails to, and plays hide-n-seek with on Skype.
My other beautiful friend, the one who held my hand as we started Kindy together, and, probably, on the play mat as we learned how to roll. She always soothes my spirit. Making me my favourite meals, nourishing me and welcoming me. My eldest, stroking the chubby smooth cheeks of her gurgling baby. Bouncing her in the bouncer, somewhat vigorously! Flying Duplo constructed airplanes with her toddler for hours, the contested play fueling each other’s ‘zooms’. Reminds me of his mum and I squabbling over a frozen smoothie in our matching bathers, me with long crimped hair and a short straight fringe (thanks Mum!), and my friend, stating to me knowingly, “You can’t always get what you want”. A grown-up lesson learnt early from my most mature playmate! She’s stabilised me ever since when I’ve travelled over life’s wobbly bits!
The family friends, long-term friends of your parents, who have seen you take your first steps and who have seen you get married. Your spirit so full when you see these precious people that have loved you though all the experiences in your life; your childhood, your teenage years, your unsteady steps and your right-footed ones, now doing the same with the little people that are fused to your heart. You know they love your children completely. It is so safe, trusting, and rare-special.
Tip 1: Be childlike.
Tip 2: Remember how many people love you, and how many people you love. Distance is disappointedly a factor, but try to keep that in perspective. Enjoy the moments you have with your special people, however brief.
Tip 3: Cherish your friendships. Be thankful. Make the efforts to rekindle and keep the relationships fresh.
Tip 4: Start new friendships. The sooner you start them, the sooner you will have more lifelong friends. Don’t limit yourself and others!
Tip 5: Eat. Chocolate and coffee and home-cooked curries are particularly good to enjoy with others.
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