Tuesday, July 17, 2012


I went to a funeral yesterday. My best friend's mother died last week after a long and brave fight against the dreaded cancer. It's one of those inevitabilities that you hope will remain in the distant future well, forever really, but of course, it doesn't - the death of parents.

At the funeral I realised that we're at that age and I completely freaked. I don't want to be at the age where I'm suddenly going to my friend's parent's funerals and, god forbid, my own parents.These are the people who watched us grow, saw us through our adolescent tempestuosness (with us rolling our eyes and them shaking their heads) and then welcomed us to the 'adult' dinner table, becoming our friends. They know our history. They are our history.

My best friend flew from Sydney for the funeral, her tummy beautifully swollen with her second baby, which will join us in October, and who kicked and wriggled with life at the funeral. She, of course, is heartbroken. The funeral was as good as funerals can be, a mixture of sadness and laughter. Her mum was a lively woman, with a wicked sense of humour, right up to the end.

After the funeral we all gathered at one of her brother's houses and celebrated her. Wine flowed (they're Irish), food was consumed, stories were shared and the sun came out after four days of grey, miserable, weather. It all seemed fitting.

I came home and organised to meet my parents for dinner having realised (again) how lucky I am to live down the road from them and still be able to make that shared history with them. I've never been a fan of funerals, I'm bad at them, and I especially don't like it when they make it patently obvious that I'm the wrong side of 35 and can no longer rely on teen- or twenty-something delusions of immortality.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The beautiful nephews visit

The beautiful nephews are visiting from The Big Smoke and staying at my house. It is hard to believe that it has been three years since their birth. They turn three next Saturday. I've had a fair amount of contact with small children but there is something about small children that share your genes that is astounding. The love one feels that makes your heart squelch up and then go so huge it feels like its pushing all your other organs into one small corner is just astounding. I cannot imagine what it's like to be a mother if this is just what it feels like to be the aunt!

They are at the 'Why?' stage which is such fun. Nothing is impossible with them. I've heard stories of giant crabs crawling off the roof onto one of their legs, been explained to very seriously that while giraffes can't fly when they're small, they fly very well when they grow up and told that dragons live in Australia. All of these things make complete sense and my explanations of things (which often tend toward the ridiculous) are lapped up. It's like a three person mutual fan club.

Of course, being three comes with many challenges too. We had an early birthday party yesterday, complete with Granny-made lion cake (much fearsome roaring), many balloons festooned around the lounge and a whole bunch of noisy children. One of them got left out playing 'Catch' and was heartbroken. My heart nearly broke for him too and I had to remind myself that all that is part of growing up.

This morning I was sitting in the kitchen having tea after a particularly rigorous game of 'Hit the balloon so high it reaches the ceiling." One of their mothers had cleared up the lounge and put the balloons at the back of the desk in the lounge. Another challenge. He traipsed through to me.

Nephew: Auntie Shiny?
Shiny: Yes?
Nephew: Where's my big balloon?
Shiny: There. On the desk. Can't you see it?
Nephew: Yes. Can I have it?
Shiny: Of course you can. Just go and get it. (Aunt's prerogative(sp?) - I never have to say no)
Nephew: But it's too high.
Shiny: Is it? Did you try?
Nephew: No, I can't.
Shiny: Why? (forgetting the poor mite is not yet three feet tall)
Nephew: If I climb on the table to get it, I might fall down and hurt myself.
Shiny: Fair enough. Shall I come and help you?
Nephew: Yes please.

One forgets how little they are sometimes. It's hard to say no (make that impossible.) I fear I'd be a terrible mother and spoil my children. Those little faces, so unspoilt yet by humanity and the hard things that come with it. It makes me want to keep them safely inside, away from it all. Then I remember all the good things that come with humanity too and the fun to be had out there and all I can do is wish that, at least mostly, those are the bits they'll see.