Happy First Birthday To You, My Boy.

 

Image

The garden, the best playground for a little boy.

 

 

On October the 24th we celebrated our baby boys first birthday. A whole 365 days young. This little man of ours has brought so much love into our home, we are truly blessed to have welcomed him in our lifes journey. He wakes up smiling, laughs so easily at all and sundry, happy after a long adventurous day to cuddle with good night hugs and prayers before he lay in his cot ready to slip into his pleasant dream land.

 

 

 

 

Mr and I were up till the wee hours of the night baking his chocolate cake, we decided on a construction party theme. Not only is his grand-pops a Diesel Mechanic working on machines such as Diggers but it was a boy theme we hadn’t done yet after 14 years of ‘boy party’ planning. It was a fun filled day with water slides, braai and good friends (seeing as of the 14 million people living in Gauteng – not a single one is family !!) Happy Birthday our little man – we love you to the moon and back, always.

Image

Digger Cake – Icing a fresh chocolate cake was no childs play.

 

Trick Or Treat ?!?

We are not big fans of Halloween and for many years we did not even contemplate the slightest involvement. My hubby felt it was very ‘un-Christian’ of us. My sister however always went all out with her girls, dressed up, made up and all geared for a good night of fun trick or treating with all the other little monsters.

Image

Moms little vampire monster

A few years back I took the decision to join my sister on their next halloween adventure. We went down to the local commons where all the shop owners spoil the children with treats, the management cater with horror tunnels and decor throughout. Best dressed contests, live music and picnics see the littlest children through a fun filled evening. We then dinned and got our little people back home before the big, scary monsters came out to play. To me there was no harm in a little dress-up and fun. Hubby even joined in with all the other daddies with a little fake scar make-up etc. As I see it – where there is good, there is always a little bad too. Like-wise with bad, there will always be a little good too. Yin-yang. No harm in teaching our children as we can’t bubble wrap them all their lives.

Image

Such a joy to see all the little one out and about too.

Monsters come in many disguises in the real word, not so. We like going to the commons as it’s a ‘safe’ environment set up for the children where I doubt we will come across sweets laced with drugs of sorts, though I am on guard for those dodgy sick Uncle types who prey on children in such an environment. It leaves me thinking – We teach our children never to take candy from a stranger yet we take them trick or treating. How’s that for a contradiction. Frankly to me, this is the perfect time to teach children exactly that. We frequent these particular shops and often chat to the staff. We ‘know’ them to a certain degree and we tag along sampling the candy now and again – just for good measure. ‘Yip – those ones are safe, mom  is still standing’

Image

Mom’s Halloween Cake

So that was our halloween 2012, we didn’t go all out with the dress up as we were leaving that same night for our mid-week vacation. My little one was spoilt with plenty treats and silly tricks from his folks, like fake dog poop etc. I was so pleased to see him scoop cups full of candy and share with the children in our street who couldn’t make it to the commons. And that pretty much sums up an adventure that we don’t need to read too much into.

Stupid? Or Was IT?

 

On Monday night we were expecting our pastor to come over for a meeting. So when my son called me from the yard saying there was a man at our door wanting to talk to me, I asked if the man was our pastor and if  so to let him in. I presumed it was our pastor and went over after my son replied, ‘don’t think it’s our pastor mom.’

There stood a homeless man who immediately started begging for food and clean clothes. I stood there trying to get his story out of him but he just cried. Heck this worked on my sympathy. I told him my husband wasn’t home (stupid mistake #1) but to wait on our patio for him (stupid mistake #2). Letting a stranger into my home without thinking was not only STUPID of me but could have been a dangerous one.

After I let him in, I realized what a mistake I made. I secretly sent my hubby a message to get home fast as I had done what I had and was now feeling rather vulnerable, very uneasy and frankly a little scared. Hubby raced home. In the mean time I had made this man a cuppa coffee. I started questioning him to understand why he was in the situation he was. He explained how he had been living the streets for 20 years and how his family dis-owned him. I asked what jobs he had done and what if any, his qualifications were. He wouldn’t tell me his age but did let out that he had been out of school for 20 years. Now the more he spoke the more I realized he was lying as he contradicted himself. He was thin, yellow eyes and fidgety. I asked him if he was HIV (something considered rude to ask, but I did) He said no. Something just didn’t add up. He couldn’t give me eye contact.

Hubby arrived and not a moment too soon, I had children to bath, dinner to cook and a guest to prepare for. Hubby was polite to this man but very unimpressed. His sob stories kept changing and our emotions were moving from sympathy to annoyed. After seeing to the children, hubby and I would swap roles. This man told me he had been to all the shelters over time but was ‘asked to leave’ eventually. He said how he had been to churches for help but even then he was asked to leave and so it went on. He said how he worked as a hairdresser, a banker and in sales but all occasions was eventually ‘asked to leave’. I realised at this point the man was a drug addict.

I offered him three potential jobs from Mondays paper. #1 There was a hairdresser position. #2 There was a telesales shift work position – he refused, saying – nah, I don’t want to do that. I was gob-smacked because he wasn’t really in a position to be picky or choosy. I realised then that he had no intention of actually really wanting help or to change his circumstances. I eventually told him just that. He didn’t like the lecture that was now to follow. My hubby was inside putting our children to bed, and I used this time to give this man a burning ear.

‘What is it you actually want from us? Why are you really here? Because if it’s money you want, it is money you will not get! You are clearly a druggie and your behaviour shows it. I will give you clean newish clothes, shoes, a warm blanket and a hot plate of food which I am very sure you will go sell the clothes tomorrow to buy your next fix. Catch a wake up if you really think I feel anything for you now. You have passed up 2 potential jobs I showed you and further rejected the suggestions of other options. Your were more than likely fired from your jobs for being unreliable, high or such. And probably asked to leave home cos you started stealing from home to support your habit and likewise with the charities you stayed at. Only you know the truth. Take what we have given you and please leave.

My husband agreed to take him to a local church for a nights accommodation but while driving there the man changed his mind. He tried to manipulate my husband for money and then to rather take him to the centre of Johannesburg CBD !! My husband said a firm no, do your really expect me to finance your next fix with my hard earned money? Hubby then dropped him at taxi point.

When my hubby got home we spoke of how I can’t always help everyone and letting this man onto our property was a potentially dangerous thing. A desperate person could do desperate things. He spoke of how he gave this man a lecture too. When we compared notes we realised we both had a similar conversation with this man. Hubby didn’t know my conversation as he was putting our children to bed and keeping them away from the situation.

Both my hubby and I had the chance to minister to this man during the process. Who knows if this was the reason he landed up on our patio. Hopefully stern words from a stranger will shake him to his core and he would rather chose to change his circumstance and come back to reality. I don’t think either of us anticipated the outcome of his ‘visit’

 

I Met A Dying Man.

AIDS Awareness

AIDS Awareness

In July I ventured into a new industry, while out on course, I met and made friends with new faces. One person in particular I found to be so much like me, easy to laugh, talkative, funny and friendly. Needless to say, when we were given a practical we seemed naturally to group together. After the course we stayed in contact and have developed a friendship. Early August she called me up to say she was visiting her father who lived down the road from where I stayed. Quick arrangements and there I stood knocking on her door.

When I went in, I received such a warm welcome from all her family. In the kitchen were a group of young boys washing dishes, drying, packing away, laughing and chatting. After I introduced myself I joked about how I think my eldest son could learn from them as he refuses to was a single dish – ever !!

I then met her father along with all the other family. Her father was frail, weak and very thin. He was just back from yet another stay in the hospital. I asked her what was ‘wrong’ with her father. ‘He has AIDS‘ she replied. I got such a lump in my throat. He didn’t just have AIDS – he was dying.

It’s the second time in my life I have been in the presence of a dying person. When I say dying – I mean literally on their last days. I was familiar with Cancer and lost a handful of friends and family to that. I know AIDS is of huge concern here in Africa but this was only the second time I had met someone this close to the end.

I watched him in the corner of my eye while chatting away with my friend across the room. He was happy, every minute to him was a blessing and he knew it …. he just knew. He watched his grandchildren playing with a gently smile on his face and his thoughts drifting. Times like this you realise just how short, fragile, delicate and precious life really is. How we really do sweat so much of the small stuff. I’ve learnt far too young in my life just how unpredictable and short life can really be. 

I wondered yet again as I often do with regards to my own mother. Is knowing better than not knowing. I know enough to know that when you know you are dying – you seem to live your life differently. Appreciation for all things that surround us, takes on a whole new level.

I said good-bye and shook his hand. I knew in my heart I would probably never see him again. I cried driving home that night. I just wanted a cure. So many broken families, child parents and a nasty rejection stigma attached to people dying of AIDS among some cultures in our country.

My friend called me two weeks back – ‘My father is back in hospital, he is hallucinating’  she said while laughing and telling me about these spirits he claims to be visiting his room’. I listened and shared a reserved laughter with her. After which I said, ‘He is dying, treasure your hospital visits and maybe if you want, record his last conversations with you’ I explained my journey through losing my loved ones and every time this point was reached, within a couple of days – they were gone.

A few days later one mid-afternoon, she called, ‘my dad is gone, he died this morning’ I was so sad for her, for him – to die so young, to be robbed of his life and time with his children & grandchildren. It just isn’t fair.

Our govt claims TB is the number one killer in our country. Personally I say this is a blatant lie. The true stats I’m sure would probably scare one. Most, if not all AIDS sufferers die after contracting the likes of pneumonia or TB. It’s a symptom not the cause. Far too often then the death certificate will say TB being the cause and that is what the statistics will reflect. AIDS is a big taboo in most cultures. One day I will blog about the politics of it but for now – my heart is heavy. A family is mourning, they have lost their rock. I will never forget this man who left me reflecting on life, angry at how unfair it can be yet reflecting on my blessings. RIP, no more pain or suffering.

Janet Jackson wrote this song for her friends who had passed – It’s my song for my sister Debbie who past. Can never listen to it without breaking down. Beautiful words.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QTK-4C0UnI&feature=related

Remember yesterday, Live for today and ALWAYS hope for tomorrow.

xxx

Disturbed.

Last year while taking a few children including my own to the local park to feed the geese, I noticed a man holding up his cellphone in the direction of the children. I watched him as I was instantly suspicious. I realized he was infact filming the children and taking photos. He did it in such a way that he made himself look as if he was taking random footage of trees, clouds, geese etc. I was furious to say the least and NEVER hold back when it comes to protecting my children. I shouted very loudly as I wanted the crowd to notice what I had noticed. ‘Why are you filming these children? You have no right – are you some kind of paedophile or potential child kidnapper’ People started to stare and I was okay with that. I shouted for security as I wanted his phone investigated by the police – he did after all have images of my children and others that were with me. Before security or the police could arrive, that horrid individual ran off. I say it all the time to my friends, don’t be fooled thinking your children are safe while at child friendly public places. It is these very places sick monsters hang out too. Lurking, watching, filming and photographing your children. I was sick to my stomach when reading an article by a mom who said even though her certain social media profile settings are strictly private, photo’s of her child were ‘hacked’ and used on a child porn site. It was a photo of her child leaning against her legs, looking up at her as she took the shot. This photo was photo-edited to make the child look like it has something disgusting in the mouth.

I tossed and turned all night after reading this. Knowing I blog and have photos of my own on here. How do you share with people you feel comfortable with and meet new bloggers without having to block or totally privatise your blog. Can you and if so, please email me how – can I make my photos visible only to followers I approve. Is this doable?

If not, I will have no choice but to remove my photos for this very concern and reason. Wouldn’t you as a parent feel the same. Safe, responsible blogging.