If you'd asked me 5 months ago what I loved about my world, I'd be hard-pressed to name anything. The all-encompassing sadness that hung over me then (and still does now, sometimes) would have clouded my judgement.
But as hard as this has been for me, I know that Sam would be very disappointed if I consistently took the negative view. I think a healthy dose of positive might be good for me at the moment. Originally, I was going to write this as a Blog This challenge, but had trouble with the whole '10 things I love about my world' concept. So instead I've decided to write about 10 things I'm grateful for.
We've been together a very long time (15 and a half years). We've been through great hardships and trials, and we have somehow managed to stick it out. Sometimes I wonder if it's just stubbornness: we certainly piss each other off royally sometimes. I'll never forget the time we had a big fight and I got the shits that he was walking out, so I threw a cooling rack (you know, those wire things you put bikkies on to cool) at him and it went right through the lounge room window!. It occasionally frustrates me that he's not at all romantic; and sometimes he takes AGES to do anything.
But there are also moments when I see clearly how much love and support we have for each other. I know that even though Anthony is not openly demonstrative or affectionate; he is always attentive and interested; I KNOW that he would do anything at all for me, and he is a talented, gentle, caring and generous partner.
My little ray of sunshine. He was such a surprise. After 7 years of believing I'd only have one child, he came along. He's gorgeous, funny, sweet and is really 'touchy' (as in he likes to touch and be touched - in a totally innocent and non-sexual way!!) - just like me. In fact, Oliver is like me in many ways: musical, extroverted, fidgety, clever...
He has a beautiful singing voice (but won't let me send him to lessons) and the potential for greatness. He has done such a good job of keeping us all going. Sometimes it's hard to believe he's only 6!
The time I did have with Sam
I only had him for 13 years and 9 months, but they were some of the best years of my life. I've already raved about how awesome, wonderful, kind, funny, generous and talented my boy was. I think you know how I feel about him...
I do have some wonderfully supportive family members. My mum and dad are wonderful, caring, giving people who I sometimes suspect would do anything for me. Anthony's family are just as great. His brothers are funny, charming, welcoming and always there when you need them. Our extended families are also great at being supportive!
As I've mentioned before, I haven't always been good at making friends. So the ones I have are even more special now.
I know lots of people. I've lived in Canberra my whole life, I worked in a cinema for 10 years and I'm now a teacher, so I've met LOTS of people along the way. It's not so bad (remember I do like meeting lots of different people!). But as for friends, I could count my close ones on one hand. The ones I know would drop everything for me if I needed them (and did so very recently).
But that's OK. Because deep down, I know I wouldn't be able to give a big group of friends the time they would need. So I'm happy to stick to the occasional night out with them, so there's more time for Sunday drinks with the good ones!
I love music. I think I've made that fairly clear. From my early, misguided days of worshipping the likes of A-ha and Culture Club to my current, mostly open minded (but leaning more towards rock) and broad preferences.
I love loud music in the home, I love live music, I love playing music (though I don't do that much any more). And I am so grateful that there are thousands of talented people in the world making music that I can listen to.
There's no denying it. I'm a geek. I love computers and all the fantastic things they do for us. I love that if I want to, I can communicate instantly with anyone in the world. I love that I can take photos and edit them or do funky things to them. I love being able to look at a photo or map of any place in the world. I love my iPhone. I love that I have over 17000 songs accessible at the touch of a button (I know, I know, the quality's not as good, but who cares when all you want to do is hear that song? Right now!)
Yes, there are downfalls (and I'm sure it will make a great blog topic one day), but I am very grateful for technology.
I'm grateful that I live in Canberra.
It gets a bum wrap a lot of the time - and people often move away to Brisbane - but it really is a great place. It's green and beautiful (for now!) and the mountains make a very picturesque backdrop. The weather is often misunderstood: it is very cold in the winter sometimes, but most winter days are sunny and clear (in fact it's been said that Canberra has more days of sunshine than Queensland!), and the summers are BLOODY hot! I like that we have definite seasons and the autumn colours are gorgeous!
Much-maligned Canberra is also often accused of being soulless and boring, but if you know what you're doing, there's always plenty to do! It's even getting better the older I get. Not just because I'm older, but because more things happen here now. It might look boring to an outsider (I'm talking to you Bill Bryson!) but it's probably because we don't want everyone joining in. :)
And then there's the "it's full of politicians" line. Well hello, the politicians come from ALL OVER AUSTRALIA!!!
It was Samuel that gave me a true appreciation of comedy, although I have always liked funny people. When I was younger, I remember crying with laughter while watching Billy Connolly video (funny guy!). I also had a lot of fun watching the D-Generation as a teenager.
Because I'm such a 'smiley' person, I really do enjoy a good laugh. And sadly, there aren't as many opportunities for a good laugh as there used to be, so good comedy is always welcome.
I'll even pay someone!
We took Samuel to see live comedy shows twice. Once to see The Umbilical Brothers when he was about 9; very, very funny guys. We also took him to see Tripod in November last year. He was just old enough to get the 'adult references', and loved it a lot.
I've talked about how much I miss Samuel's laugh, and perhaps it's because I heard it so much. He loved watching the Comedy Channel; from stand-up to Family Guy to Chaser's War on Everything. He also loved Monty Python (who doesn't?!). And when Sam started giggling, it wasn't long before the rest of us were too.
Sometimes you need a bit of help to get the laugh going. So I'm grateful for comedy.
And a 10th?
Well there are so many things that I am grateful for. There are the big things: living in a free country; my (relative) good health; having basic human rights that are denied to many; having a roof over my head; my job etc. And there are the little things: spring flowers and autumn leaves; coffee flavoured ice cream; my doona; good coffee; the beach...
What are you grateful for?