Saturday, April 25, 2015

Birthday party Swedish style

There was a birthday to be celebrated during our Sweden trip, as nephew Elyas turned 8 this year. A replay of so many other birthdays and summer vacations were played up with not less than 15 people squeezed into my brother Christian's property. Always a blast to be so many.

Cakes and pastries, cookies and bakeries. Balloons, wrapped up gifts and candles to blow out of course. And the sun was out for the day. Allowing us to expand into my brother's terrace. What would we do without that terrace?

It amazes me every time how close our children are, considering they don't meet that very often. How Maya with her hair on fire steps in through the door on Friday night and shouts:
"Emmy! Lets go on the trampoline!"
Just like that, like time had stood still from last summer. Like they just took a few minutes pause have a drink and now they were heading back to the jumping joy. It warms my heart. Watching the youngest family member Axel (3) walking the dirt road next to the oldest which is my Nelly Bo (13)... It is a great feeling.

As soon as the gifts were unwrapped all kids took off into the garden (the trampoline is the greatest investment of joy ever!!!) and left with crumbles and cake left overs we sat in the sun and just enjoyed the spring sun. With another cup of coffee and just one more piece of cake... And even if Sweden hasn't put on its green summer costume yet, we can spot some spring flowers here and there... What an amazing day.

We stayed in the guest house at my brother's property like we usually do, as our own house still doesn't sleep more than two... But the real purpose of this trip was to go and see and feel that we now have our own place in paradise. And the mission is fulfilled. After cutting down perennial flowers to give air and light to new shots in the flower beds and raking up some leaves left from autumn, it is now starting to sink in. This summer will be a magical one.


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Friday, April 24, 2015

A teenager's confessions

She is such a "young woman" now. Strotting around in her skinny jeans looking fabulous with her long legs. Always looking nice and fresh with well styled hair. Not much make up on but mascara enhances her green eyes and sometimes, like on first day of school after school break, she adds on a bit of pinkish lip gloss... She has followed my advice to just boost the beauty she already has without looking like a clown or something even worse... I really appreciate that.

She serves herself, she cares for herself. She cleans her room... If I ask her to do so. She is always humming on a tune and singing, playing piano and taking out the latest pop melodies by ear. The rest of the time she walks around with a constant ear plug in place and her iPhone in her back pocket. Totally normal, right? And suddenly she can blur out:
"- Mama! You have to listen to this song. It is soooooo gooood!"
Music is really important for her.

When she is in her room, like she often is (behind a closed door with a big "Do NOT Enter!" sign) she plays the music loud. She plays it so loud that the floor, or roof for me being underneath in the kitchen, is trembling... I remember this from my own teenage years. I played "Purple Rain" by Prince on the highest volume possible over and over again for hours on end. Singing along in front of my mirror wall a la 80's, and getting goose bumps all over me of euforia. My Mom never asked me turn the volume down. And so in return I am not asking my offspring to turn it down either.

She is so independent, cool. Has lots of friends and are popular in school. She is smart and mature and she seems to have her own routines. Cuddles are far gone and seldom does she come for help if it isn't to shop for a new top or getting permission for a sleep over. She is growing up.

So when this teenage daughter who seems to be all cool and settled suddenly breaks down in tears after dinner when we are cleaning up together, I feel surprised. And then the confession comes out with a flood of tears tumbling down her cheeks...

It is so hard Mama, she says. She is so stressed. School is hard and incredibly intense and her teacher always tells her to do good. He always asks her about the future, what she wants to do and she has no clue. She just wants to be a kid. Not make decisions for her future. Not yet. And me and Papa always tells her to do good too, and to keep her grades up, and if she fails on one test all her efforts are ruined... That is how it is. And she is scared to fail because she wants to make us proud. She feels pressured and she doesn't know how to have time for studying and everything. And the big test at the end of the year, how will she ever be able to remember EVERYTHING they have learned this year?

On top of it all, she says, she always has to look good, and be cool and funny. Dress in cool outfits and fit in. It's like she can't be herself. She says she can't play and be goofy because then her friends thinks she is weird. And even if she tries very hard to be herself, she does feel insecure and scared to be wrong. Look wrong. Do wrong. And then it is the school camp. Of course... And she's nervous about sleeping in a tent. Being outdoors without a real bathroom. And what if she gets her period that week, that would be a TOTAL disaster... They are supposed to go swimming every day...Jump on trampolines and do rock climbing... Oh how I can feel with her on this topic!

I find myself speechless and suddenly totally off "Mama" guard... and she stands there with black strikes on her cheeks and watery eyes looking up at me. So small. So young. Just a child. So fragile. So totally stressed out as a teenage girl can be. Who would have thought all this was hidden inside of that pretty little thing? And the only thing I can think of doing is to hug her and hold her and tell her: "Thank you for letting me know. I had no idea you felt this way, but now as I know - lets make a plan." Because what else can I do? I've never done this before. She is my first one. The trial and errors child. At least she came to me to confess. That is a good sign. And while holding her close in comfort, I think of all the teenage girls out there that don't feel that they can talk to their parents. The girls that don't have the confidence to say all these things to their mothers for whatever reason that might be, and I'm thinking: I must have done something right after all. We'll get through this, my girl and I.


PS When asking Nelly Bo's permission to publish this blog post she told me she is so happy to have a Mama who she can talk to. About anything and everything. She told me many of her friends don't even dare to speak to their mothers about needing bras or pads or even products to wash their face or help with dealing with pimples... But surprisingly they can ask their mother's to go and wax their legs or dye their hair at age 13...??? The world is a funny place and I am pleased to hear I have  a great bond with my daughter on this topic.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A little crochet helper

Her toes hides in the basket of soft yarn and she looks very concentrated where she sits with her legs crossed and her back straight. With hook in one hand and yarn in the other she works her way forward. Without problem. The way she holds the yarn and controls her tension comes natural. It makes me proud. The way her hook slides through the stitches is smooth. It makes me happy. To work in the round is even more easy than the granny square, she says, and then she proudly shows me her work. I see potential here.

To watch a child conquering crochet is something truly inspiring. And even if she isn't "hooked" yet I feel great knowing that a younger generation can do this art and that maybe it will be something she turn to when everything else will be computerized and controlled by buttons and digital touch screens when she gets older... Who knows what the future will look like when she becomes a young woman in 15 years?

I feel like a good mother teaching her something authentic, something creative, soothing and stimulating. For stressful days to come in her future when she needs to center her soul and have a moment of stillness. Now I just need to teach her how to cook, bake, knit, cross stitch, sew, grow her own vegetables and how to preserve them! That would be the ultimate accomplishment for me as a mother. With those skills on her hands I don't have to worry. With those skills on her hands I know she will have a great, fulfilling and healthy life.


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Sunday, April 19, 2015

My brother's kitchen

Axel... The youngest in the family.
A dream of mine is to have a big, light and very Swedish kitchen. My brother just renovated his and what a dream it is! I love the fact that he choose a chalky beige color instead of traditional white on the cupboards. Natural and easy to modify with help of curtains and china. I can imagine this kitchen dressed in a Christmas outfit. Can you?

The kitchen layout is just super with all the light coming in from all the windows. Lots of counter space, great new flooring which hides the dirt well. :) Big thumbs up for that. One thing I've learned is to avoid black or dark floors in a kitchen as well as light... It might look exclusive and posh but is a nightmare to care for and keep clean. Every single bread crumb, cat hair or drop of water will become visible to not talk about foot prints from bare feet... With kids and animals it is good to think smart and this middle grey fake wooden floor is perfect.

I enjoyed many breakfasts together with my lovely nephews Arvid and Axel here last week. I hadrly went to any other rooms of the house. I loved sitting there so much. I miss them. I miss my brother. I miss his kitchen. I miss the light... Maybe one day I will have a kitchen just like his. Keep on dreaming - dreams come true. Right?


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