Letter to my little boy

All you need is love…

I am the lucky mother to a loud, rambunctious, gorgeous, funny, smart 10 year old boy. And I know every mother thinks their child is the best thing since sliced bread, and I of course am no different. Everyday he delights me, makes me laugh, frustrates me and amazes me, and I thought I would take this chance (because I can and it’s my blog) to reflect on the last 10 years and to share some of my dreams for him going forward.

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Max and his Dad (Tristan) have been some of the greatest teachers in my life, they have both made me question my thoughts, my upbringing, my opinions, my beliefs and made me see what is truly important in life. I’m not saying that everything I thought was wrong, but when you choose to spend your life and start a family with someone then that’s when the fun really begins.  But shh don’t tell Tristan that he was occasionally right. I’ve found that having a life partner and child who challenges and questions you is not a bad thing, it is in fact how we grow.

What others think of you is none of your business Max has for the entire time he has been able to dress himself, not cared whether his pants have been on forward or backwards, and it absolutely drives Tristan crazy. I on the other hand have just learnt to live with it, ‘hey it’s not my pants’ and one time I said to him when I was taking a photo of him, ‘Hey Max, why don’t you put your pants on the right way, people will think you look weird?’ and he replied ‘Mum I don’t care what other people think!’ Boom, mind blown! Lesson learnt for me anyway.  Why do we care what others think of us? Don’t ever lose that, ever! One of the benefits of having a boy, is that he doesn’t give a monkeys butt what he wears, as long as it’s comfy and he can run, and climb and kick a soccer ball around he’s happy. Of course I am not so naive as to think this won’t change as he gets older, but I’m just going to enjoy it for as long as I can.

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Walk to the beat of your own drum There is no one else in the world exactly like you, and what a great responsibility that is. You were put here to share your gift with the world, and everyone has that one special gift that is uniquely you, and must be shared. Don’t let the world beat you down.  I believe that part of my job as a mother is to build you up and fill up your self-confidence bucket to overflowing. Because life is hard and people can be dicks, but if you are so full of confidence in who you are and that you are awesome, it won’t matter what people say or do to you.

Find your lobster There is no better feeling in the world, than finding that one person who lights you on fire. That person who makes you want to be a better person. That person who sees both your strengths and weaknesses and loves you anyway. All I want is for you to  find that person. Frankly I don’t care whether that person is a girl, a guy, black, white or red if you love them and I can see that in your eyes, I’ll be a happy camper.

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Treat everyone with respect Life is hard, and we have no idea what everyone else is going through so treat everyone you come in contact with, with the same level of respect and kindness. You are no better than anyone else on this planet, and no one else is better than you, but if you leave everyone you have contact with a little better than before then you are winning.

Travel as often and as far as you can. The world is a huge, fun, colourful, mind expanding place and you should enjoy as much of it as you can. Your little corner of the world is so different to almost every where else, and there is so much to see and do and eat. You will come home with a new appreciation for where you live.

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Find your passion I don’t really care what you do for a job, all I care about is that you find something that you are passionate about and work out how to make a living out of it. I don’t care if you make $500 or $5,000,000 as long as you can support yourself and be a productive member of society then I’m happy. We spend so much of our lives at work, so it makes sense to do something that we love, not just tolerate.

Make fun a priority Life is definitely way to short, so don’t get stuck in a rut of doing what you have to do and forgetting to do what makes you come alive. Mix things up occasionally, think outside the box, bring your family and friends together as much as you can.  Sometimes it’s ok to just be silly. I’m pretty sure that no-one looked back on their life from their death bed and wished they had way less fun in their lives.

Feel the fear and do it anyway Some times you need to push through the fear and like Nike say “Just do it!” Life is full of scary situations, and if it is big and scary and pushes you out of your comfort zone, then it can be a great thing to try. Of course that doesn’t include dumb things that could kill you! I am still your mother!

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Love Hard When you find your lobster love hard, make sure that your partner knows what they mean to you and how they make you feel, all the time, not just on special occasions. Treat them with respect, and always put them and your relationship above everyone and everything else. Know that there will be times when they will need your strength, but that it’s ok to need their support too. It’s OK to be soft and vulnerable and loving and still be a man, that is what in fact makes you a man. Know that all relationships require work, and marriage is no different. Communication is key. You will both need to learn how the other communicates and that will probably be one of the hardest lessons to learn but one of the most important.

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And know that you will always be my little boy, even when you are taller than me, smelly, hairy and eat like a horse. And that I am immensely proud of you and will love you forever. And that all you need is love.

 

 

 

How to travel together without killing each other!

All you need is love and … some advice for travelling together.

They (I’m not sure who ‘they’ are but you know who I mean) think there are certain things that you should do as a couple before you get married to test whether this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.  The list includes using a slow internet connection, untangling Christmas tree lights, putting together flat pack furniture and travel.

I’m a huge fan of travel, whether it’s just a weekend away some where close or a huge overseas blow out, I’m in, all in, every time!  Travelling has a way of broadening your mind I know it’s cliche but it’s so true. It allows you to see how others live, different cultures, landscapes and people. It also has the ability to show you so many more sides to your mate. So along with a heck of a lot of reading on the topic and my travel experiences with my darling husband, I’m come up with some thoughts and advice on travelling with your partner.

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New Zealand to Hong Kong  March 2016 Yay!!

You will learn so much more about your partner – Travelling takes you out of your comfort zone, both as an individual and as a couple. It opens your eyes up to the world around you.  It forces you to engage with other cultures, foods and etiquette. All of which may be scary, and new and different, and exciting and tiring and fun. It has the ability to show you how your partner deals with frustration and being tired and hungry.

One of the biggest challenges will be spending all of your time together – My husband and I are not the type of people who need to spend every minute together, in fact we start getting on each others nerves after a long weekend together.  It has taken us a long, long time of both marriage and travelling together to figure this out about ourselves and to know that it’s OK.  We make sure we have some down-time (alone time) when we travel, some-times it’s just having a few hours of time apart to wander around, or even if it’s just putting the headphones on and reading a magazine in another room.  It stops us from annoying each other, and it absolutely works for us.

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Hong Kong to Beijing, China.

Compromise – Like relationships full stop, travel requires compromise.  It requires knowing what each other wants to do and not do and then making a decision and itinerary based on making sure you both get a bit of what you want. Example, just over 10 years ago (before our son was born) we planned a 5 week overseas trip (both of us had regrets over not having done our OE when we were younger, so decided to go for it together, before we started a family) we each had a list of places we wanted to visit on our trip, so we had to compromise and make decisions so each of us got what we wanted.

Communication – Keeping the lines of communication open when travelling is essential.  You need to voice your opinion, you need to be able to say when you’re not happy, talk it through and then let it go, otherwise it’s going to be a long, long trip.

Manage expectations – Take some time before your trip to talk about your expectations for the trip.  How do you see yourselves spending your time, are you going to be up at the crack of dawn, and going all day, or are you going to be lounging by the pool all day?

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Cruising the river in Vietnam.

Budget – The dreaded B word. What are you willing to splurge on, and what are you happy to save on. Do you want 5 star hotel rooms, but eat cheap street food, or do you want to spend the dollars doing all the tourist things, or just wander around town and soak up the (free) atmosphere.

Each others schedules – Are you an early riser and he prefers to sleep in? Then you’re going to have some trouble and arguments, unless you have a conversation about it and manage your schedules.  This is where that magic word “compromise” comes into play, and managing your expectations.

Eat before you get “hangry” – I think this advice has the potential to save many a relationship in any situation, not just travel.

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Great Wall of China ticked off the bucket list.

Travelling together will definitely strengthen your relationship, it will help you to accept each other as you are warts and all (and you will probably see all the warts, and dodgy tummies and stinky feet, when you travel together). You will get an insight into your partners ‘preparation style’ my husband and I have completely different ‘preparation styles’ when it comes to travel, I pack about 2 weeks ahead of time and think of every possible scenario I will need to pack for, and probably pack too much, he on the other hand packs about 2 hours before we leave, by just randomly throwing things into the suitcase, and then forgetting essentials, which we inevitably  end up having to buy while overseas, which may not sound that bad, until you are scouring the streets of Hong Kong for deodrant (tip – it’s very, very hard to find)

The more you travel together the more of a team/unit you will become, you will become more efficient together, and learn which of you is better at holding the passports and who can read maps better. I always hold the passports and tickets and he deals with the suitcases.

Travelling together allows you to create fantastic life-long memories together.  And you’ll have so many of those “Remember when we saw that thing in that place” conversations (that is actually how we start a lot of your conversations, but they may be more about old age than anything else)

There’s nothing quite like experiencing a new place with a loved one.