Monday, May 18, 2009

Fathers and daughters

My daughter has a lot of issues with her father mainly to do with his actions which led to the break-up of our marriage when she was quite young as well as what she went through during the times that we got back together and then broke up again. Very unsettling for the children. I provided as stable a lifestyle as I could for the kids but obviously there was some fallout. So Robynne doesn't really contact her father and mostly doesn't answer his sms's back.
This weekend however my ex had to travel in his vehicle to do a job in the fair Cape. He left home in Gauteng at about 11.30am and travelled through to Laingsburg in the Cape which is as far as he got after 14 hours of travelling. He slept at a service station until 5am and then continued through. I sms'd him Robynne's street address which he programmed into his GPS. This was still over 200kms from her townhouse so he only arrived on her doorstep at about 8am via the rather adventurous route as directed by said GPS. I had warned him that if he wanted breakfast he should take it with him as her larder is skimpy at best, food being rather low down on her priority list. He ended up taking her little car out to get a few groceries and I had a bit of a laugh at the thought of that as I have also driven her little car. He is rather tall and large and her car is rather small (Chevy Spark). You actually bump you passenger with your arm as you change gear. She loves her little car but we had a giggle as we imagined having to use a crowbar on him just to get him out of the car. After breakfast the two of them decided to go together to his worksite in Langebaan which is about another 100km further on from where Robynne lives. She ended up driving his bakkie and got compliments from her dad on her driving. They spent the day meeting his relatives who live in the area and doing a bit of sightseeing and then Robynne also drove back to her little townhouse where her dad spent the night. He got to see where she lives and works and they got on like a house on fire. He respects what she has done with her life and I think she enjoyed seeing her dad. Some of the animosity melted away.
He often goes on and on about Robynne and Dael and their attitudes to him. But this relationship has a lot to do with how he talks to them and treats them. Absence does make the heart grow fonder and as they grow older and get on with their lives, he has started to show them a lot more respect for their accomplishments. As he talks to them as adults, their feelings to him soften and they have a little more time for him.
As he travelled back to his worksite this morning, he phoned me and was happy at having spent this quality time with his eldest daughter. Although he often causes the rifts between himself and his children, he never understands why his actions have caused these results. I am happy that my daughter and her dad spent this time together. Robynne commented to my sister recently that for all her dad's faults he would never deny her access to his house and he would always go out of his way to help her out of trouble. Although she has been hurt by him she does love him.
There is no such thing as a lost relationship but compromise, compassion, understanding and respect go a long way to healing lost relationships and hurt feelings.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Childhood memories

My mom was reminiscing with me over the phone today about what I remembered from my childhood and reminding me of all the little affectionate times spent with my dad and her. I had to say that I could remember very little of actual occasions of my childhood as such is the nature of memories. I could remember more of the content of my years from about 10 to 12 years old onwards. She seemed a bit disappointed that I could not remember more of the actual loving times that my parents and my siblings and I had spent together but I comforted her with the thought that all of those loving times went into the feeling that I grew up with that I was wanted and loved. The collective impact of all that love went into making me the person and parent I am today. It is hard for a parent to realise that specifics of all the quality time we spend with our children from day to day will become a blur to our children (and to us probably) as we all grow older. But the important thing to remember is that our children will grow up as well-rounded and loving adults as a direct result of all that love.
We had both been watching an Oprah show about a little girl who from the time she was a baby had been neglected by her mother. She hadn't been taught how to eat, wasn't toilet trained and couldn't eat properly and by the time she was adopted by a loving couple, she was basically a 2-3 year old child in the body of a 10 year old girl. The experts appearing on the show had examples of brain scans of a child who had grown up in a loving family and had a normal healthy brain and a neglected child including the brain scan of a child who had grown up in an orphanage of an Eastern bloc country and who was actually brain damaged from neglect. The connections of the brain had died from not receiving the necessary stimulation of daily contact with a loving caregiver. It was amazing and heartbreaking to see what this avoidable neglect had done to innocent children.
I was watching the programme with Bradley and took the time to explain to him what had happened to the little girl featured in the programme. He was a bit shocked at what he saw but I think learnt something about how important the teaching and nurturing and attention is that a parent gives to a child. As he becomes a teenager, he continually balks at parental guidance but I am still teaching my teens about life and how to handle it. Even Dael and I have our little talks late at night when he returns from work about his frustrations and his anger. Our teaching as parents never quite ends although as our children get older, we leave them room to rely on their own judgement a little more each day. Trust in your task as a parent and know that you REALLY ARE doing the best you can for your child.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I gained a follower today and I haven't even posted since 28th April - 15 days ago! How spoilt am I?
Since my last post, we enjoyed our last long weekend for a while. My kids 22 yo old cousin stayed over (he didn't have a lift home after attending the local nightclub so Dael brought him home) and ended up staying the day. Just as well because he attended to a task which gave me a bad case of the shivers. I had just finished bathing and went through to my bedroom in my towel. I had left my window open for a few hours to get some air in the room. While I was drying off I noticed a rather large black smudge on the ceiling above my cupboards. I quickly put on my glasses so that I could make out what the offender was and to my horror, it turned out to be a really large hairy-legged spider almost the size of a hand. I called my son but he also seemed hesitant to do anything about the intruder. Anyway the cousin, who is arachnophobic so it turns out, took action, requesting a transparent container. I dug out an empty plastic cereal container with a lid. Cousin J placed the opening over spider and banged the ceiling which caused the spider to run into the container. He wanted to kill spiderman but I persuaded him to throw him out at the end of the garden. You won't believe how fast that spider could move! Otherwise a really relaxing weekend which I needed because last week apart from being a full length week turned out to be very stressful.
I started off the Monday with a fight with Bradley before school and during the day discovered that the bank had experienced trouble with its ATM transfers of the previous Sunday and had 'lost' the money I transferred. That caused a lot of stress for me but luckily was resolved by the next day. Then my car decided that its oil circulation system was not working and started to protest loudly. The first mechanic simply stopped the oil warning light from working and told me there wasn't any problem with the oil pressure. The loud noise persisted and I had to leave the car at my parents because that's how far I managed to drive. The car had to be fetched by tow truck and the next mechanic took until the following Monday to thoroughly flush out the whole oil circulation system and change the oil. Then I had a meeting with Bradley' teacher who told me that Bradley is basically not turning in work, getting distracted in class and if he carries on like he is doing he will fail the year. Thanks. No solutions - just pass the buck back to the parent. Anyway after a bit of discussion, we have now decided that Brad needs to go back on medication and I have re instituted the parent/teacher communication book where the teachers and I can write down comments about what Bradley is required to do or doesn't understand as Bradley is very sketchy with his communications about schoolwork.
This last weekend I woke up on Saturday morning with a bad tension headache which was radiating up from my neck and this persisted throughout Sunday despite me over medicating myself because I just cant stand to suffer from a headache. On Sunday at about noon I was basically snuggled up on the couch with a hot water bottle behind my neck when my dad phoned to say that my parents and brother were waiting for me to come round so that we could go out for lunch for mothers day. So dragged myself into decent clothes, left the kids, grumbling all the way but ended up enjoying the company of my parents and sibling for the afternoon. Sometimes we need to be dragged kicking and moaning out of our self-imposed stupor. Thank you family.
From my own kids, I got a hug from Dael, french toast from Bradley and a phone call from Cape Town from Robynne. And by Monday my headache was gone, just in time for work!
Off to do some research for Bradley for a project. I have to research Ab de Villiers, a South African cricketer, for a PE assignment and Peer Pressure! Chat later.