Thursday, December 26, 2013

I can kick my own butt

I remember how impatient I was at the age of 18. I really wanted to get that driver's license as soon as possible. It would mean freedom, it would mean a milestone in my life. The day you turned 18, you didn't think much of getting a driver's license. You had your bus pass that brought you wherever you wanted to go or there was mom picking you up or driving you to places. I didn't understand. Why would you not want that independence?

One at a time, your friends started taking driving classes. In school, there was the opportunity to take your written exam and you passed right away. Cheer cheer! It was time to start taking classes. We decided both mom and dad would teach you the first classes, so you would build some confidence to drive with a teacher. I remember my first driving lesson: Never ever before had I had the steering wheel in my hands. My teacher couldn't believe me. He told me to start the car and hit the road and I felt pretty stupid and embarrassed that I had no idea how. He was very patient with me though, and it took me no more than 10 hours of driving to get my license. Things have changed quite a bit since then. I was so confident I was a good driver, but seriously: by no means was I able to face traffic. I knew how to shift gear and slam my breaks but come on, I couldn't drive at all! 10 hours of driving is by far not enough to get your permit.

Since you're in college, Bruges seemed like the best place for you to take classes. You finally decided it wasn't a bad idea after all, so you signed up and you set your goal: you wanted that licence before the end of the year. You cursed at yourself for failing in traffic at times and you would chew your lip if things were getting hectic. But overall you did real well. You listened to your teachers and you followed their advice. You even tried to correct us parents for not doing the right thing...

The date was set: you were going to do your driving test on Christmas Eve. I told you there were two options: either you would succeed or you would succeed with flying colors. I had no doubt you would go for the second option. Your teacher gave you 2 more hours of driving class right before the exam. Around 2:30 PM it was time for you to own that car and show the examiner you were in control. I was already on my way to Bruges to pick you up. 45 min after you started driving, I held my phone in my hands, to await your text message that you had passed. And you called and you laughed and then we both started to shout: woohoo!! Flying colors! Congrats sweetie! You just opened another door to a bright future. So proud of you! 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A happy camper!

You said your intention was, to once get 70% on your school report. That's why you decided to prepare your exams in school instead of at home. Too much distraction at home. At least, there's nothing left to do in school than study. I was proud of you, for making this decision. And guess what? It worked! You studied hard and by the last week of your exams, you were completely drained and exhausted. What a relief it was to you, to get your grades from your teacher and read that magic number. You made it sweetheart. So proud of you! 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas time

Photo Lana Joos
It's Christmas time. Driving around at night, I can see houses lit in Christmas lights. Beautifully decorated Christmas trees and presents stacked around them. Chris Rea is - once again - singing his Driving home for Christmas while I'm in the car, on my way home from a night out at the theater. I'm thinking of baking cranberry cookies as a gift for my sisters-in-law and figuring out a way of getting us all look our best for the holidays. We are so lucky to still be having our inlaws. When it comes to family gathering, they always open up their home for all of us. Trust me, there's more of us every year. Now the oldest nephews and nieces have started dating, we get to know new people. This year, there's a wonderful new baby in the family as well. It's good to know that all family members do their best to cooperate and make Christmas an everlasting memory. I no longer fear the extra pounds that seam to cling to our hips every year, since I gave up on Fat Talk. I do the best I can to eat healthily most of the time. There will be several options on Christmas Eve and I know many of us will embrace that thought.
I hope you will all enjoy your family and wish you and your beloved ones an exquisite time together.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hello World

It was freezing cold this morning. I didn't feel like getting out of bed yet, especially not after lacking too much sleep. But it was a working day and there's nothing left to do than get up and going. A cup of hot coffee and steamed milk got me going. I cuddled the whippets before I sneaked out and into my car. Driving up the highway, I turned on the radio and the wonderful song Hello World immediately made me smile. Looking in my rearview mirror, I could see a beautiful sunrise and I had a hard time focusing on the road ahead of me. My eyes kept going back to see that beautiful orange ball of fire. Life is swell, even when it's dark and cold..

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Just the two of us

I like our midweek dates. It's good to come over to your place every now and then to catch up and have a private meeting. There isn't always time at home to talk about what keeps you busy and how you've been doing in college. You live by yourself now and you do great! Your room is clean, you cook your own meals and find your way to school without skipping any classes. New friends are being made and you have found some extra activities to join in. Although the nights are getting darker and colder, you haven't given up on living away from home. On the contrary, you have made your room very cozy. You adore the Christmas atmosphere and you were so looking forward to decorating your room with Christmas lights. We are looking forward to having you home again for a while. These Christmas holidays will be different, for your midterms are coming up. First time you will have to study for your college exams, not knowing what it will be like since there's no comparison yet. You don't have an older sibling to ask for advice. Being the oldest means you have more responsibility and you need to find things out on your own. I'm sure that can put strain on you at times. How about we schedule a good massage, to let go of all that built up tension?

Do you remember the times?

I tried to go back in times and remember how I felt during school exams. Did I worry? Did I study? Was I distracted way too often or was I good at keeping my nose into my books? It seems like ages ago (don't even think of going there) ... Exams are stressful. They can keep you awake at night and they can haunt you. We're not the kind of parents that punish our children for not having the best results. Not having the best results is bad enough a punishment already.
When I go through the school books of my daughter, I'm startled at how difficult the contents is. Did we learn the same things? I can't remember.. it just looks more difficult now. There's is so much of me in my youngest daughter. The way she keeps her books and the neat handwriting. How she makes the effort to write properly and make summaries of the classes she attended. Drawing in between, having a snack, catch some extra sleep.. It's so recognizable. I know she'll get there. She doesn't have to stress. No accidents will happen if some grades are not what you expected them to be. Overall, you do really well in school. Screw math, don't worry about French. There's more to life. xx 


Honestly, I don't know what happened, but my mind is always distracted lately. I can't focus properly, I forget things and I don't seem to hear what people try to tell me. Too often I have to ask my friends to repeat what they have just said, because I missed parts of the conversation. It's like my brain is not keeping up with the thoughts?

I'm too busy doing a zillion things. I need to make priority lists so I can get things done before they get out of hand. So much running around, driving way too many miles in too little time. Rush rush in the rat race. I long for next week. I long for some quiet time.. My brain just doesn't stop talking to itself. There are so many things I need to remember and cannot forget. Forgive me for not hearing you or for asking things for the third time. I'm getting there. Today will be more organized. Maybe my hairdresser can massage my skull and let some tension drift off. A night out with my sister-in-law sounds very appealing, so we're heading towards the beauty salon together. Zen...

In that case you are totally hired

Broken oven door: fixed.
Vacuuming the house: done.
Removing cabinet door to the microwave to be fixed: check.
Ironing baskets full of laundry: perfect!
Making the house clutter free:  all righty!
Walking the dogs, day after day, cold or wet outside: sign me up.
Coming up with great ideas for Christmas presents: woohoo!
Going to work in between chores: always.

Thank you for doing all the things you do. It makes life easier x