THE YEAR THAT'S BEEN

Parenting - - Snippets -

Pe­tra Bagust takes us on a jour­ney of dis­cov­ery – com­bin­ing words and im­ages in a cel­e­bra­tion of the year that's been.

Speed­ing to­wards the end of the year, we all know that ‘Christ­mas rush’ feel­ing. There was a point this year when I knew my Christ­mas rush had be­gun – it was the day term four be­gan. I am sure it’s never been this busy so early in the year be­fore!

I’m won­der­ing, in the midst of this gi­ant jig­saw puz­zle of peo­ple, plans and projects that life some­times feels like – how do we take a mo­ment to sit within the chaos? I’m also won­der­ing – how do other peo­ple cope?

Something I’ve be­gun over the past two years is writ­ing short poems – they are a form of jour­nal­ing for me – mo­ments where I sit, be still, and pour out a feel­ing or thought. I know these poems are good for my health.

As you and your fam­ily en­ter this silly sum­mer sea­son of cel­e­bra­tion, let me en­cour­age you to take and make mo­ments – al­low­ing your­self to be truly in them. Whether it’s a cof­fee, mag­a­zine, car dance or fold­ing the wash­ing ‘sweetly’ mo­ment – they can re­ally help us recharge and re­cal­i­brate.

Mo­ments of cre­ativ­ity can fuel us, and they come in all shapes and sizes – be brave, have hope, seek so­lace and make some of your own sun­shine this sum­mer.

A friend re­cently told me about dis­cov­er­ies in the study of epi­ge­net­ics – how our DNA car­ries mem­o­ries of the ex­pe­ri­ences of our an­ces­tors. When we're un­der pres­sure, our DNA lit­er­ally un­winds or frays – but it’s pos­si­ble to live in a way that pro­tects, and even re­stores our DNA. So I wrote a poem about it.

When told us she’d be fly­ing solo with her four month old, we jumped at the op­por­tu­nity to get her story in the mag. If you’re plan­ning on tak­ing an over­seas trip with your lit­tle one over the hol­i­days, this one’s for you.

When I re­ceived an ex­cited call from my best friend Sarah, I knew it. I knew she was go­ing to tell me she was en­gaged. I had also hoped (since the days of us ‘play­ing house’ in kindy) that I would be in her bridal party. So you can imag­ine my de­light when she asked me to be her ma­tron of hon­our.

Sarah is still liv­ing in our home town of Buf­falo, New York, so be­ing a part of this wed­ding meant travel. I have made the trip sev­eral times over the last six years of liv­ing in New Zealand. Very sadly, my last visit was for Sarah’s mother’s me­mo­rial ser­vice af­ter her short fight with can­cer. So I was ex­cited to re­turn for a much hap­pier oc­ca­sion.

His­tor­i­cally, my only con­cern about a trip to Buf­falo was pay­ing for it. How­ever, this time around I had a new con­cern (or rather, a new per­son) to con­sider – my four-month-old daugh­ter, Made­line. My hus­band Josh and I are a great team, so at first I wasn’t too wor­ried, but then we re­alised Josh couldn't take the time off work, and that Mad­die and I would be fly­ing solo. The prospect of fly­ing alone with an in­fant left me more than a lit­tle ner­vous.

When I am stressed I like to re­search. It’s like wor­ry­ing, ex­cept a bit more pro­duc­tive. So I googled ‘how to travel with an in­fant’ and found lots of blogs and posts about what to pack, how to save, what to wear etc. I tried as hard as I could to an­tic­i­pate all the things that could go wrong, but I learned there will al­ways be things that catch you by sur­prise. It turns out the trick is to ex­pect the un­ex­pected.

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