An attitude of gratitude.
I like being half Australian and half Indonesian and I thank my parents for that, especially as in those days mixed marriages werenít really the done thing and neither side of the family were very happy about Mum and Dadís union. Although at times in my life and travels I could cheerfully have denied either half, I mostly feel lucky to have a multicultural background. However, Iíd like to tell you about some of the other things for which Iím grateful to my Mum, but also to Dad, as they were a team, even though they had very different roles in the partnership.
One thing I remember as a youngster was being given lots of opportunities to try different activities Ė brownies, guides, calisthenics, little athletics, tennis etc. My sister has mentioned this in her piece so suffice to say that Mum did a lot of driving and outfit sewing and Dad did a lot of measuring distances and times and chasing tennis balls etc!
Mum and Dad taught us many things before we got to school; times tables, countries, capitals and rivers etc but they also gave us boundaries. This meant we learnt how to behave in different situations and different places and with different people. At the time I didnít always enjoy these boundaries but as I matured I realised the benefits. Now, as a teacher I fully appreciate this early education because sadly I see many students in my classes who havenít been taught these basics of living in a society. This makes my job that much more difficult and often less enjoyable. It is also frustrating to have to teach these things as well as the already tight curriculum load.
Our parents played with us, they read to us, they encouraged us to use our imaginations in our own play and to read by ourselves. We visited the local library often and each borrowed our own favourites; for Mum, cookbooks, for Dad, books on sport and for us all sorts of fiction. We didnít have a TV until I was almost an adult and as a result learnt to be more resourceful and develop various hobbies. The words bored and boring donít usually appear in our family vocabulary.
Another one of the best things, which Lucienne has also written about, is that Mum always had good home made cakes, slices and biscuits in the cupboards. Great for school lunches, after school snacks, after dinner treats etc. Even as an adult I truly appreciated this. If I dropped in to visit and no-one was home, the trip wasnít wasted if I raided at least one of the cake tins! Regretfully I also see too many school lunches these days that are just full of bought, processed foods since many mums donít know how or donít have enough time to cook. We also had a multicultural food upbringing as Mum taught herself to cook food from other countries, from books at the library, starting with Indonesia, of course.
Mum also taught us (and some of the neighboursí kids) to cook, sew, knit, crochet, embroider etc. Some of these skills have lapsed due to lack of practice, though Iím sure I could pick them up again if need be, but never the cooking as I live by myself and eating is one of my favourite hobbies!
A major thing for me was my motorbike. Firstly, I was allowed to buy one (with my university scholarship money) but I was also encouraged to do so. Motorbikes were and still are cheaper than cars to buy and to run so they are better for the environment as they are quite fuel efficient. Mum and Dad were always conscious of their eco footprint on the earth even before that term became popular. None of my friends, males included, were allowed to do more than look at motorbikes at that time, and even that was discouraged. I was ecstatic as Iíd always been keen on bikes.
However, when I was fifteen Mum made probably one of the most important decisions in our lives. She found out that everyone has their own personal team of Guardian Angels and that you could learn to communicate with them. She took us all along to learn how and this meant that we never have to feel alone or afraid and always have help making important or difficult decisions. It also meant that Mum could relax, and help Dad to do so, whenever we were out or travelling anywhere. I always enjoyed and was grateful for this calmer attitude, knowing that most of my friendsí families worried at these times. Worry has negative connotations for us and usually attracts negativity, so having an inner feeling that all is OK, or that if itís not, having the confidence to deal with the situation seems to be a much better way to live life.
This ability has been absolutely invaluable and over the years we have all developed the communication in our own ways and to an even deeper level. Of course, as you probably know from reading Mumís books, she channelled the information for them from her Guardian Angels. I use mine for teaching, for healing work and for deciding the next step in my rather nomadic ďcareer pathĒ or life.
Thanks for all this and more Mum, and Dad. Although your physical presence is sorely missed we still get the messages.
Karina Noontil, Feb 2009