It was the day before Christmas

by Matilda


It’s the day before Christmas day and I am feeling reflective. I want privacy, solitude and quietness. Too much to hope for during this time of year? I certainly thought so, but the universe conspired to give me just what I needed.

Still in my pj’s, writing this post and my faithful shadow, Mickey.

We don’t really celebrate Christmas. We have a tree, a few decorations and presents for the children. Usually we are either at my parents or at the in-laws. This year Christmas lunch would have been at my parents house, but now it isn’t. My daughter cannot be with us for Christmas this year as she is with her boyfriend and his family. So, we had an early Christmas lunch with my parents while she was with us. Parents’ lunch – done.

For the first time in many years we will, surprisingly, be at home for Christmas. It is just me and the boys. We don’t have and agenda, we don’t have activities, we didn’t even plan the meals. We will play it be ear. As I sit here, typing, I realise that this is what I require – peace and quiet.

I will be spending today and tomorrow, focusing my energy on my core family. Not with exuberance, but by being thoughtful and present. I miss my daughter dearly, but I know she is in the right place at this time.

Winston Churchill said: “Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing, but of reflection.” Merry Christmas!

Matilda xo

Family Celebrations

By Belinda

When you have a blended family and between you, there are 5 children differing in age from 19 years to 30, celebrating birthdays, can get complicated. Add to that equation, one daughter living in another country, another daughter living in another city and a granddaughter who lives at home with her Mom, and you get all sorts of scenarios regarding family celebrations!

Our eldest is about to turn 30, not just yet, in fact, it’s still almost 2 months to go before her 30th, but she won’t be home until February 2020 again, so we decided to give her a surprise dinner party at her favourite kind of restaurant, including friends and ALL the siblings. This was not an easy thing to do, but out of everyone who initially committed to be there, only one couple did not make it in the end, so I would say, that was a resounding success.

We all met at a local Greek restaurant, Nikos, at The Grove in Pretoria, the city we live in, and all the other children managed to adjust their schedules in order to make the event as special as possible for Jasmine. I have been ill for 5 days with a sore throat, and my husband is almost on his way to Mozambique for work. Each of us had to do some serious shuffling in our lives, to make this possible, but it’s what we do for family!

My eldest is actually here visiting just for a week from the Middle East. She has lived in Muscat, Oman for the past 5 years. One of her closest friends, is getting married on Saturday and she is one of the bridesmaids. We aren’t getting to see much of her this visit, but that’s how it goes with adult children. They have their own lives and we need to allow them the freedom to live their lives as fully as they can.

My daughter Jasmine, in the middle, with her friend who is getting married, Melinda, on the left and a friend of Melinda’s (also a bridesmaid), visiting from Australia, Natasha, on the right.

Jasmine moved to the Middle East 5 years ago, largely due to a door that was opened for her by a colleague, Sean. They had worked together in South Africa and when the opportunity arose, Jasmine grabbed it with both hands. Although Sean and his wife, Hannah, have since moved back to South Africa, their friendship continues. I think living abroad with no family, unites friends in deeper ways. It was a lovely surprise for Jasmine to have both Sean and Hannah join the celebrations for the night.

Jasmine with friends, Sean and Hannah.

It was a lovely night with chatty conversations all around. Our second daughter, Roxann, was there with her own daughter, our precious granddaughter, Ella-Mai, who herself has not been in the best health, also suffering a cold. The twins, my husband’s daughters from his first marriage, were also there. Bianca, who is currently studying in another city, managed to coincide her own events, as she herself is planning her wedding for next year, to be here for the 30th. Monique started a new job the morning of the celebrations, and is herself struggling with a throat infection (yes, we have all been pretty much down with some sort of bug), also made it with her long-standing boyfriend whom we refer to as our other son, Laurence. Lastly, but definitely not least, our one and only son, Conlan, who is working such long hours, managed to co-ordinate his shifts to also make it to the dinner, together with his girlfriend, Cayleigh.

Everyone squeezed in!!

All in all, we think the success of the night can be attributed to the fact that Jasmine makes the effort to keep in touch with everyone. She prioritises family and friends and all that were there, wanted to be there to celebrate with her. This obviously makes this Mommy-heart glad! It’s wonderful to see how our children live out their adult lives so fully.

Belinda xo