Tuesday, May 26, 2015

How Many People Call Their Mother In-Law Lovely

*This is a sponsored post: the story is true and completely my own

It's nearly time for my son to move from his cot to a "real" bed. So I started the search a couple months ago for a bed with storage. We have a really small house so an all-in-one bed was really what I was after. I thought only loft bed's existed for these purposes but discovered there is a more toddler safe and friendly option called a cabin bed. 

On Saturday I was doing some more Gumtree browsing, (Gumtree is a buy and sell site here in Australia), and came across this bed, with shelving, drawers and even a roll out desk. I called my mother in-law and she generously agreed to meet me at the seller's house with her mini-van so we could pick it up.

On the morning of pick-up, I'd been speaking with a friend about how much bartering makes me nervous. How much I hate it. It makes me feel cheap, cheap, cheap. Exactly what I am. Ha, ha! I wouldn't be using Gumtree otherwise, would I? I told my friend that the ad said negotiable, and that the bed needs to be gone ASAP. It had been uploaded on May 1st, 18 days earlier, so I thought there would be some wiggle room in the price. My friend suggested starting $150 below asking price, which made me gasp. Like I said, I'm a sissy when it comes to bartering but see it as a necessary evil. She reminded me that you start very low and then find the middle ground with the seller.

We met the seller, Amy*  and walked into her garage and started the usual buy and seller discussions about what I was buying. As Amy was speaking about why she was selling the bed she dropped in that her husband had passed away. I assume Amy is in her mid to late-thirties because of her appearance, and also because she has a 3 year old clinging to her right leg. I was going to let her finish speaking, barter my little heart out, and load up this beast into the mini-van. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Mummy Jealousy

We mother's have a lot in common to bond over and support each other through. Like sleep deprivation, breastfeeding, or losing a huge amount of hair a couple months after birth. I'd like to think that most of the time our lives have parallels and things that make us say - "Hey, I understand that about you because I've gone through it too." 

But then there's this jealousy issue amongst mothers, of comparing each other. It just takes up so much energy. It's useless and empty, and usually so petty. It makes us feel negative about ourselves and the other mum involved. It changes our attitude toward them, and we will probably treat them differently because of the filter we now see them through.

I'm not talking about just playfully and casually saying to my friend *Lynnette how jealous I am that her husband cooks dinner for her the family all the time. Because deep down it doesn't really affect me one way or the other. I'm talking about the stuff that makes you so jealous that your own heart hurts. I know the reality is that Lynnette is a hardworking mum with 3 boys to look after. She has part time work on the side, and God knows what else. Since telling Lynnette about this post she has informed me that her husband in fact slept through last night while she was up with one of their sick kids.

My friend Vicki* told me about how a friend who constantly competed with her. Down to admitting she tried to get pregnant after Vicki had announced she was. That jealousy ended their friendship. But Vicki has her own jealousy issues. She confided in me that she gets jealous when she hears other mums complaining about their own mother's interfering in their parenting. She lost her mum 6 weeks before she fell pregnant with her first, and will never know what it's like to have her mum involved in her life as a grandparent.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Lost Photos of My Childhood

San Antonio De Pichincha, Ecuador. The equator, the centre of the earth. Back when our family was six not ten.
We lost a whole heap of our family photos, and a lot of the memories that go with them, around 15 years ago. And they were in storage with my dad for years before that too. Losing them? Well that's a huge story in itself. But my younger brother Josiah has taken it upon himself to take old slides over to my dad's place. Together they have worked at bringing all those old photos out into 2015 formatting. So today a whole bunch of them showed up on our family's Facebook page.
Charisma, Melissa and baby Jess (me)

I was calling my mum for Mother's Day in Canada and my mum and I laughed and shared stories as we looked at them. I think we all start to feel a a mix between nostalgia and pain when we see these photos.
My mum and me in Church in Ecuador  -1982
I then got on to Skype with my sister Melissa in Wisconsin. My sister and I rarely speak on Skype, and not because we don't care about each other. I guess it probably has something more to do with how disconnected my family is from all the trauma we have gone through, and how much geographical distance there is between us. We both left the 2 hour conversation wishing we spoke more, (we do need to change that).
My sister Melissa wishing that was her puppy

Melissa getting coconut with Dad

Rocking my mullet (Yes! I finally have proof). Hanging out in the Ecuadorian Mountains somewhere?
We spoke about the photos and how it's so odd to see us spending time with our dad and having fun. Or being reminded of the really great places we went to as a family when we were so little, most of them in Ecuador. When I think of my childhood everything feels like it has a cloud hanging over it. It's a fog that hangs over my memories. I find it hard to remember the good stuff that happened because there was so much pain. Looking at these pictures makes me feel happy for 'little Jess' and my sisters because I can see myself doing the things kids should have been doing at that age. Lot's of playing and loving life. And then I feel sad because so much of that has been tainted.
Melissa and her missionary mullet friend. What? Didn't everyone have one?
I look at this picture of Melissa sitting on these monkey bars in Guayaquil. It was taken at the missionary compound that Dad would take us to play at, while he played basketball. Happy picture right? I look at it and remember when he forgot all of us there. I remember how scared and abandoned I felt. He came back to get us after he arrived home and realised his welcoming committee wasn't there to greet him. And then another happy memory comes of him taking us to the ice cream parlour after his games, how I would always get cookies'n'cream and Vanessa would always get bright blue bubblegum.

There's this photo of this little girl looking out from the log on the beach in Vancouver. At first glance we all think it's me. But when you zoom in you see the little girl has Vanessa's eyes and cute button nose. We are 2 years apart but everyone always thought we were twins. We really loved that for a time, like when we were little and best-friends. She told me she looked up to me so much that she liked when people thought that. Until she didn't anymore because we were now adolescents hitting puberty. I was just the older sister who was always telling her off for her messy room, or the mouldy apples she left under the bed. There was a distance that grew between us because of the pain we both felt from being abused, and neither of us knew a way out. Now I'd be proud to be called her twin. But it took a lot of work on both our parts to heal those damaged parts of our relationship and call each other friend again.
Mum in the traditional dress of the Otavalo, Ecuador
I look at pictures of my mum and see how beautiful she was. Her long, dark thick and healthy hair flowing down her back and over her shoulders. She was around the same age as I am now. Her slender body leaning over us or holding us. Pictures of her before the stress showed on her face. Before the stress aged her beyond her age. I see all the sacrifices she made, leaving America and following her Canadian husband to Ecuador to spread the good news about Jesus. The toll the abuse took on her health and her beauty. Her and I joked today how Dad took years off her life and how we don't know yet just how many. Sick, I know. But sometimes you have to laugh because we need these things to be lighter.

When my missionary parents had furloughs in Canada we would live in an elderly people's Community.
Melissa and Charisma

The three older Morris sister (of the eight Morris kids) are busy on facebook right now sharing old memories. Most of the time my oldest sister Charisma needs to set us straight, or my mum pipes up. Already I feel closer to my two older sisters just by looking at these photos and having this to share. Almost as good as being able to sit on the couch and go through an old photo book with them...
Look at me having fun at a waterpark that I have no memory of - haha

Thank you Josiah for giving us this gift of happy memories! Absolutely priceless.
[ More Family history in this post - My Father Broke His Restraining Order]

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Dog Lovers Who Don't Care If You Step In Dog Shit

I could be alone in this but I think there's nothing better than stepping in poo. I'm quite picky on the type though. It has to have come out of the pink anus of a dog! No other kind will do, unfortunately. I really love how you can never quite get it off either; not unless you take your shoe home and give the sole a good scrub under the tap. I'm so glad that wiping my foot on grass or dead leaves just won't get rid of the smell. It will stay with me for hours. It will follow me like that pathetic, pimply boy in high school who just couldn't get a clue. It will get inside my car and eat away any shred of fresh air it can find until all that's left is it's filthy, dirty, stench. Mmmmmmmm. And I love it!

If, by some chance, there is someone out there just like me, then please get in touch. I can totally be of assistance. I have a friend who we will call Crapallova. She is just on standby waiting for me  to call; she said "anytime you find someone else who enjoys the ripe, crisp smell of booty cakes you just let me know. I'll send my puppy over to pop out a pencil present on their lawn for them."
Isn't she generous? I think so.