An ode to Same Sameness ….

Melinda over at Diaries of a White Mother Raising a Black Baby posted this awesome balls post about Same Sameness.

It is a wonderfully written post about her daughter Emma asking about “same sameness” and how as a family they might be different, but not so different.

We often use “eye colour” in our house to indicate to our children that being different is not a good thing or a bad thing.  It is just a thing.

Connor, Isabelle and I have blue eyes.

Kennith and Georgia have hazel eyes.

When ever the kids come up with a reason why they are different/better/worse than another family member, or even someone at school we usually draw them back to eye colour.

Eye colour is such an INSIGNIFICANT measure of someone’s worth.

Having blue eyes does not make you smarter, clever, or run faster than someone with brown eyes.

Brown eyes do not mean you can read quicker, or can make better Nutella toast than someone with blue or green eyes.

Having eyes what ever colour they are — are just that, a colour.

The colour is not loaded with stereotypes of who is better or worse, or who makes a person more nice or more clever than someone else.  It is just the colour of your eyes.  A colour.  Just there.  No value.  No hidden skills or attributes.

If some one got a good mark at school or was picked for the cricket team and you asked your child what colour eyes they had — odds are your child would say “I have no idea” and really, isn’t that just the point when we look at people.

We see what they do.  It is separate from the colour of their hair, their eyes and their skin.


Remembering what blogging is about ….

Yesterday I had a comment from Vanessa who reads my blog – she directed me to the blog she had started for her daughter –

I did not know about Kendra, so I took the time to read the blog.  I also do not Vanessa who reads my blog.

I started with the last dozen blog posts.  But I got so immersed that I went to read from the beginning.  I found myself drinking tea, sniffing snot and sobbing all at the same time.

Kendra’s Mom has done what I think makes blogs so powerful.

She has shared a personal story, her personal experiences, for no other reason that to write about her stuff.  And she allows people like me who happen upon it to read her story.

Maybe it was for record keeping purposes for family that could not be with her.  Maybe it was a way to document who Kendra was and the impact her short life had on Kendra’s Mom and those around her.

I am not sure of the reason.  But when you read it, it is a mother’s story about her daughter and what she did each day, and when she was gone, how Vanessa tried to cope as a mother.  A mother of a child who was no longer there.  But always there.

Vanessa is not trying to make a statement, not trying to lure prospective advertisers, not trying to make herself the most successful blogger with a book deal of all time.  She is just sharing her story with honesty and without an agenda.

I really really love blogging.  There are blogs which I really love reading.  I love them because of how their honesty resonates with me and how they tell me a story, or open my mind to something or a way of thinking that I had not considered before.

I get that it would be great to blog, to make money and retire in the style one has grown accustomed, but I do think that something unfortunate has started to creep in to blogging.

Bloggers have started to write in the hope that they will be published, or be courted by the big names in advertising.  Or maybe they haven’t and their style of blogging has changed, and maybe I am not as big a fan of the new style as I was of the old.

I am not in any way holding anything against bloggers who have grown in publicity, who have managed to align themselves with some powerful advertisers – I really really do wish them all the best, and of course I am pleased that they have taken their blog to the next level.

I do appreciate that blogging is hard work.  And if you are good, work hard, and clever enough to market your blog well, then why should you not go on to bigger and better things and make money through your blog?  No reason what so ever, off you go and do that and do it well I say.

As a blog reader I have started to feel something is being lost.

A raw honesty – often the reason bloggers start to blog – is being eroded in the quest to remain the most popular and the most attractive to advertisers.

I understand that not everyone’s life can read like a daily car accident  — but I do think bloggers write differently when they do not have a hidden motive or agenda.

There is something in their honesty, their “just being present” that is often difficult to hold on to once there is someone else who can direct a blogger, or dictate how a blog should appear, or who the blogger feels they need to start blogging towards.

Anyway, today I read about Kendra, and I got to be part of her life, even if it was for just an hour or two – and I got to know her through her mother’s eyes even if it was for a brief few moments.

Today I am off to Durbanville Memorial Park and to see if I can spend a few quiet minutes with Kendra Meiring.


Oppan Gangnam Style!


Last week a group of us girls went out for a “ladies night!”

Nothing too raucous, just a night out with the girls.  Seems tame enough, right?

We decided to plan ahead and arranged a taxi service, so that none of us had to sit there like Johnny-no-mates and drink one glass of wine, while the rest of the group lost control of their bladder.

That my friend is an example of an adult decision.  That my friend is the last adult decision I made that evening.

We contacted Dude Bru and had them drop us off and then scheduled a collection for later in the evening.

At the outset you are sitting there and telling yourself  “really, we do not need a taxi service…. what a waste of money” but then once you are wearing Mickey Mouse ears, drinking something red out of a fish bowl and doing synchronised moves to Gangnam Style you realise that the taxi service was actually a really good idea.

You would congratulate yourself if you could stop your crazy arsed dance moves.

You must know if I am dancing, that it is about 60 minutes after when I should have gone home already.  I don’t dance – I have no brain-ear-feet co-ordination.  I pray there was no internal CCTV there that evening.

Dudebru – maybe not the most elegant of vehicles, and the sign on the roof sort of gave you a feeling that you may need to drink more than you planned to get back in the vehicle, but there you go.

At least you will get home safely and there was no risk of us spending the entire Easter Weekend at the Elsies River jail.

{If you are in Cape Town, need a night out, need a reliable lift home, contact Dudebru – you do not have to join, you can use them as and when needed, and they are flipping reasonable.}

We headed out to Stardust in Rondebosch, and it was so much fun.  Had never been there before – but there is such a great vibe, that you cannot help but have a great time.

I am always a bit reluctant at the outset of these evening, and try to look for a reason why not to go. My social phobia/fear of these situations does get me quite worked up by the time I get there.

But, it was a really a fun evening (of course I am so nervous I drink far more than I set out to, because I am so nervous about drinking far more than I plan to … and so the worm turns in the tequila).

I played a bit with my food.

I drank way more than I planned.  One minute I am coherent and able to say semi-intellectual things, then the next thing it is all over and I am being bundled home.

Good evening out.  Bad two days that followed.

I have realised I am way too old for this nonsense, and take two days following to recover – and no one looks good being a cucumber walrus!


Extreme Love … autism documentary

I watched a Louis Theroux documentary –  Extreme Love.

I really enjoy Louis Theroux’s documentaries (they are usually featured on BBC).  I like that he does not supply a general loose overview – he  focuses on a few families or individuals, and then delves into those families and what they are going through or their experiences.  I enjoy his slightly off beat style.

The documentary – Extreme Love – follows Louis Theroux as he journeys to America to spend time with several families whose children were pupils at New Jersey’s Development Learning Center, an innovative autism school.

One of the most memorable children who Louis interviewed, was a 13-year-old Joey.

His disorder meant he was prone to shrieking and violent tantrums. His scenes made for particularly difficult viewing: at one point, when Joey was being physically restrained by his mother, Theroux asked if she’d like him to stop filming. “No,” the mother replied, tellingly. “I want people to see what autism is really like.”

Extreme Love focused on the parents of the children, what they thought and what they were going through.  Paula, an exhausted mother of autistic twins, was especially candid: “I just try and make them happy, because, God forgive me, I don’t get a lot of enjoyment from them,” she said, sorrowfully.  I think she was the most candid, the most honest – the most heart wrenching.

The moms who were featured did look frayed, and exhausted.  I started to wonder “how would I cope if that was me…?”

I don’t think I could.  I don’t think I would.

I find raising my three children “normal kids” IMMENSELY difficult, challenging and some days I fall down in a heap and wonder why the hell did I choose to have children.

Did I really give this enough thought before setting out on this particular journey?

I get so many moments of pure joy, that warm milky warmth, that love that spills out of every one of my pores when I see my children, clean, quiet and safe and soundly asleep.  I really am not sure I could cope if it was harder.

The phrase I heard a few times in this documentary and from moms who are “challenged” is “God does not give us more than we deserve or can deal with…” I really am not so sure.

My personal set of beliefs does not believe that God gives us things – the death of a child, the sickness of a child, the mental or physical challenges that face a child.

I believe things happen and then we deal with them, either well, or not so well, depending on our resources available to us.

I enjoyed the documentary.  It reminded me that parents go through so much more than we know and realise, and can fully appreciate.

And no I don’t really have a point for this post.