I am grateful for the way Hannah and Blake hold hands so lovingly and willingly. This is the third time today that I have witnessed them holding hands and although it is not an unusual sight it still makes my heart beat faster with love every time I see it. We have worked hard over the last three years with these two siblings in an attempt to guide their love to flow towards each other with mutual respect and thoughtfulness leading the way. Over the last few months I have been seeing more and more evidence of their love in action and more than ever I am honoured to be the mother of these gorgeous children.
Hannah and Blake are in the pool surrounded by children of our dear friends who so generously surround our family with care and support and are part of our little village. We are so grateful to have them in our lives today as we welcomed in the new year with perfect weather and perfect company.
Last year I decided that it was important to me to begin to implement a set of Christmas traditions and ideas that we can celebrate every year as a family over the holiday season. I discussed it with Brian and we decided that we wanted our Christmas celebrations to focus on 3 particulars areas:
- Spending quality time together as a family and within our wider circle of family, friends and community
- Remembering to be grateful for what we have and giving to those in need
- Learning about and sharing in various ways to celebrate Christmas around the world to promote multi-culturality (is that even a word?!!)
We decided to achieve this through creating an advent calender that begins on December 1st each year. I browsed through local Christmas events and added the ones our family enjoys to the calender. Last year we particularly enjoyed the Lighting of the big Christmas tree in the city, the Christmas Carols and watching the free Christmas movies at Southbank so we will be attending those once again. These events really help us to make time for each other and be present with each other in the hectic-ness that is this holiday season. It also gets us out into the community and when family or friends come along with us it helps us celebrate the holidays with them as well!
We decided that we wanted to focus on the act of giving and and sharing gifts with others and in particular, using this time of year to highight the plight of those less fortunate than ourselves. We do this through donating to charities and by asking the children to participate in the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal which they very thoughtfully enjoyed doing last Christmas. This year we will also be adding another giving tradition of encouraging the children to buy/create sibling gifts for each other which we are really looking forward to seeing evolve.
Finally, we are a multi-cultural family, so it was important to us to share with our children the fact that every family celebrates Christmas in a unique way – some with more of a religious focus, some more with a Santa related focus and that some don’t celebrate the day at all – plus that every country has their own special Christmas traditions that can be fun to explore. This is an area we only touched on last year, but we will expand on this in the next few years as they grow and their understanding grows too.
I also add in other Christmas events and activites into the advent calender like our yearly tradition of celebrating St Nicholas day just like my family did when I was a child, and fun craft activities like the Christmas sensroy box. We always drive around to see the big Christmas lights displays and I’ve been collecting Christmas books for a couple of years now (most of them bought from op-shops or on sale after Christmas is over) to read every second day and get into the Christmas spirit. It’s a big month yes, but a month we look forward to with great anticipation every year. We are so excited to share it with the children again and I know their faces of delight will make all the organisation totally worth it.
Dearest Hannah, Blake and Baby Girl,
How could I have known what being a mother meant until I became one? I had no idea that your lives would change mine in ways I could never have expected.
This is my 6th Mother’s Day as a mama. For me it is an anniversary and celebration of babies in my belly, in my arms and in my heart. Mother’s Day means holding the space for all of these special ones within me everyday and never forgetting the blessings I have been given. Events that at the time seemed too difficult, too painful and too miserable to ever be viewed in a positive light, I can now see were just preparations for my mothering journey. They allowed me to walk a new path and become a new person. And the moments I have experienced of pure joy, happiness and bliss since then have only served to compound that understanding for me.
I could never have imagined that choosing to become a mother would mean that I would be instead making a decision to change myself. Things I believed in so strongly before are now not important and things I had no idea existed have become my life mantra. I have allowed myself to surrender into the beauty and the sacrifice of motherhood and I am a better person for it.
There is nothing I feel deserves my time more than to spend it with you – my children. There is nowhere I would rather be, no regrets about my choices, and no changes that I want to make in how I choose to live my life right now. I am grateful beyond measure that I am blessed with you – each of you – and it is only through becoming your mama that I know the true meaning of that word.
Thank you for your shining smiles. I am thankful that I have the pleasure of seeing them every day.
Hannah – Crafting very intently at the Gallery of Modern Art.
Blake – Chasing after your friends by the Brisbane river.
Hannah – Doing one of your favourite things in one of your favourite outfits at my favourite time of day.
Blake – Helping Daddy with the veggie patch very seriously and with great concentration.
In honour of St Valentines Day – me and my loves.