Don’t Compare

It’s been a while I know, I have so many things to write about and so much art to share.  But today I’m going to live up to my blog name, the mom part, and share a special moment with my blog world.

Graduation day! My youngest son has graduated *happy dance* 🙂

I’m a mom of two 20+ year old boys, they are amazing kids and I am so proud of them.

When you have two children and they are quite close in age (18 months apart) and both are boys, please note that people are going to compare them all the time!!  You the parent might even be the one doing the comparing.  But others all around you will definitely do it.   I’m the least perfect or best parent here, I have many faults, but there is one thing I did not do when they were growing up and that was compare!  I hated that growing up.

Yes, I noticed how one did things with more ease like building puzzles and physical activities, the other was quicker dressing himself and used adult language, different stages of development it’s normal, but looking down on them comparing like – Why don’t you do this like your brother? Why don’t you do that like the other boys in your class? Stop doing this and learn that from your brother! No, no, no, I never did that.

Comparing is more about your own insecurities, oh and I am full of them but that was one thing I was determined not to do to my children.  Comparing is like wishing they were different and telling them that you want them to be different for your own selfish reasons.  You might as well tell them you don’t like them at all.

One thing that really aggravated me and quite honestly pissed me off was arriving at school for parents evening and hearing teachers compare them.  They all knew who I was I didn’t have to introduce myself to new teachers, I was always greeted with “Oh, you’re the mom of the other Lopez”.

You see at school one boy was always working hard and excelling at every subject, the serious worker that passed everything with 80 or 90% a genius.  Then there was the funny boy that seemed to hate school and just scraped through most subjects.

He came home with report cards that said things like: Your son is in danger of failing the grade.  Assignment not submitted.  Learner did not do the PAT.  Didn’t pay attention during class.  Learner has detention.

Agh really, whatever.  At the time this was something that really stressed me, we would have long discussions and late nights of mostly me moaning and stressing and him sulking and crying.  Some days I just shrugged my shoulders and told myself; agh really, whatever.

It’s easy to label things and to note a person’s weakness rather than asserting their strengths.  I always knew that this child was a genius and that school was just too boring for him, it was compulsory, mundane and he was forced to go to school and get through it the same way we go to work every day and we get through it on hard days.

Sometimes we don’t want to adult and so we procrastinate, we phone in sick, we take an odd day off in the middle of nowhere so we can get through things, our adult things!  And we expect our kids to adult through school even when they hate it.  We expect them to behave in class when they clearly do not get on with the teacher, they are a mismatch and the teaching style is just not right for your child.

He will react differently to others, because we are all unique, and no two children are the same!  It’s just nature and the way we are created, we are all different and will do and react to things differently all the time.  So don’t ever compare.  Instead help your child find his abilities and talents.  Give your baby a break and let your teenager just be a teenager.

He will find his place soon enough and then he will take your breath away with his unique awesomeness and brilliance and creativity.

Mine did ages ago, I’ve been watching him since for ever.  ♥

Too bad some teachers missed it…I wish I could give some of them a good clap in the back of their heads and tell them “See you’re the dumb one”  but I have to adult so I won’t.  Instead I sent a message and photo to the teachers that cared and are truly in the profession for the love of teaching.

My hero – he graduated!

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I filled a glass jar in 2016 !!

Last year I received a new jar from my friend, it was a Christmas gift.  She filled a large jar with homemade cookies and she wrote this on the card:

“This is your gratitude jar for 2016. Empty it this year and in 2016 you have to fill it with thoughts of gratitude…big or small.  So that by the end of 2016 you can reflect and appreciate the awesome year I know you will have!”

jar

For the past two years I have filled a glass jar with little notes of the things or moments I am grateful for. And this year I was going to try to fill my gifted jar with gratitude but actually filled it with some home-baked cookies for the family. I had to find another jar very quickly, and I did, it’s a special one too and I started filling it with everything I am thankful for.

It’s a good feeling, because I tend to remember the negatives too but when I start to write down each special moment I realise just how blessed I am.

It’s also a great feeling when I’m feeling a little down to see so many happy good moments we had as a family.

This year was hard but when I started filling the glass jar I experienced the amazing power of gratitude. The feeling is small, at first, there was only one little piece of paper but then it then gets bigger as the jar gets fuller.

It’s a good way to start the holiday season and wrap up my year I have so much to be grateful for.

Thank you LORD for keeping us safe this year and for keeping me sane…thank you for everything….

In everything give thanks. 1 Thes 5:18

My glass jar is bigger _ 2015

My glass jar _ 2014

Mom didn’t really teach me that much

Today is father’s day and my boys gave their dad this card

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Notice the very last sentence – mom didn’t really teach me all that much – 🙂  yes I know it’s funny, but it did get me thinking….

When I started blogging I always thought I had so much to say or write about. The boys were at a school going age and growing up faster than bamboo shoots on steroids.

But then they left school and it was first day of varsity and I blogged about that and about letting go. And then it felt like parenting was over.

It was an emotional time seeing them in university and trying this new thing called “letting go” and I was actually quiet about the boys for a long time, at least on the blog.

They are adults, one will be 23 in a few months’ time and the other one will be 22 at the end of the year!  So apart from graduation day, what else have I got to look forward to? What else have I got to say about being a mom?  Oh yes, the wedding day….but they both say they are not getting married, so let’s skip that thought for now.

It’s like parenting is really over, done and dusted. We finished our task, or is it really? Parenting grownups, when does it stop and when does the worrying stop?

My almost 23-year-old, is studying in Cape Town so he only comes home for the long holidays of course I worry about him all the time, what he’s eating, how late he eats and how late he goes to bed, how he separates his washing etc.

But it’s the small one, the one that lives at home, that worries me the most.  He gets frustrated with me and my constant messaging, but I just like to know when he arrives somewhere and when he’s leaving so I know he’s safe. I have this need to check up on him all the time.

I think adult children still need that ceaseless looking after.  But I am beginning to see my children in a new way; they are good capable young people. I have to recognise their differences and respect that, they have grown into two very different individuals.

I try to share some of my wisdom, if you can call it that, don’t even know if they see it as wisdom or advice or things I know or just ‘stuff she says’.

Whatever their age I still feel I need to worry, I need to talk and I need to pray. I don’t think this is a mother of sons’ syndrome it’s just normal mother behavior. In learning to let go I have to learn to surrender them to God. It’s not really up to me anymore, and this is so hard for me to say and admit.

“With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

Mark 10:27

African Scenery Art

So this year I started my art life with something simple and quite different.

My nephew (from Portugal) was visiting in December and January, he loves to paint, actually he’s a wonderful artist. Rui is deaf and dumb and his disability makes normal life a bit challenging sometimes. One thing he is good at is painting, he likes acrylics and his style is bold, using bright colors, delightful pictures that celebrate life.

He was still here when art classes resumed and I knew that leaving him at home would have been cruel, so he came with me to art class and we did a little bit of stenciling for fun, something he has not tried before.

Inspired by the gorgeous rich colors of the African sunsets…we made these two small pieces for his bedroom.

Picture1

He painted this one with the windmill. The stencil is filled with plaster

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Mine was more complicated as there are no ready-made stencils with baobab trees I had to make my own

Mine was more complicated as there are no ready-made stencils with baobab trees I had to make my own

adding a little bit of fine grass

adding a little bit of fine grass

Completed "African Scenery"

Completed
“African Scenery”

…and that was my first little bit of art for 2016 ♥

Christmas Tradition #4

In December 2012 I shared some of our food, typically eaten or devoured at Christmas time 😀

the Algarve fig cake – Christmas Tradition #1 and the Aniseed  cookies – Christmas Tradition #2 and then my favorite the King’s crown cake – Christmas Tradition #3

And so for 2015 my sister-in-law is visiting from Portugal and she made these here at home….

Christmas tradition #4 typically from Algarve, south of Portugal (that’s where my hubby is from) this is one of their regional sweets. Ground almonds and sugar and a paste is formed (this is similar to – but it is not marzipan)

fine almond flour

fine almond flour

sugar and water in pearl stage

sugar and water in pearl stage

add sugar to almond

add sugar to almonds

make little balls with almond paste and fill with 'soft eggs'

make little balls with almond paste and fill with ‘soft eggs’

and then form little fruits leave overnight

and then form little fruits
leave overnight

and the final result is this ….

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Little bit of food coloring, paint your fruits and voila you have almond cookies

It looks easy enough but it’s not. It’s not too complicated either but you need some ‘talent’ to make these fruits and not mess the filling.  I made three shapes, one carrot and one fig and the third one went in my mouth because the filling was too much, it was oozing out of the carrot shape and I licked it and realised that’s not a lekker thing to do to the food your guests are going to eat. 😛 So I just ate it – no evidence of bad shape was left

Delicious for once a year only! Something my dad used to say about these makes me laugh every time I see them….Today, 9 years ago he passed away…we still miss him at the Christmas dinner ♥