Sunday, 16 March 2014

From 0-90: four wonderful generations... and the kindness of strangers

My 89 year old Nan and my Aunt came to visit this week.  I have to say, they are both amazing women. My Nan, who is a grandmother of 8, and great grandmother of ... 8, is 90 this year, and you would never know it.  I'd put her at 70 at the most; she has every single one of her marbles, and a couple of extra ones too!  I have to be honest, there aren't many 90 year olds you'd enjoy spending time with and having conversations with, but my Nan is firing on every cylinder and is a wonderful woman in every respect. I've thoroughly enjoyed her visit and I really hope that she is around for years to come (I secretly suspect she'll see a couple more decades yet).

My Aunt, who is 52, and looks about the same age as me, is also wonderful: she's highly successful, but so down to Earth.  And, even though I barely see her, I have a closeness to her that only comes from knowing someone since you were a young child. 

On Saturday, Lily, Evie, Nan and Clare (my Aunt) went into Limoges together, and it was wonderful to think that four generations of women from the same family were together. It was just a shame my mum wasn't there - she isn't very close to her sister or my Nan at the moment - due to distance and a few other problems that I'll probably moan about at a later date... and that's a real shame. But aside from that, it was a really lovely day - although I think we completely exhausted them!

***
On a totally different note, I received a lovely present from a lady called Linda, a fellow blogger http://chalkygilbert.blogspot.co.uk/ whom I interviewed for an article in 'Woman's Weekly' on older bloggers.  There was no reason for her to send a present, but I was really touched to receive four little knitted bunnies in the post, for my four cheeky bunnies.  Although kindness from friends and family is wonderful, there's something extra touching about someone being kind to us when they have no reason to be.

Similarly, when I interviewed Jim at www.gruedemoiselle.fr , I visited the retreat on one of the lowest days of my life. I couldn't shake my depression/anxiety and felt that I was really "at the end."  (Without being dramatic).  I just couldn't see a way forward, and I was in despair.  Still, I loaded up my car, camera and kids, dropped the kids at a friend's and went along to see him.
When I was there, although I tried to keep things together, I dissolved in tears and ended up pouring my heart out. Sitting here, happy and rational, I'm a little embarrassed, but the fact of the matter is, he was a complete stranger, but showed so much care and understanding that it gave me the little boost I needed to get through that day and soldier on.  And thank God I did!

When I see someone going through something, I always try to help too. And I hope I've made a difference to someone, or will in the future. It's easy to exist in a bubble, but when we look beyond it, we really do have the power to change lives for the better.  And small gestures or moments in time can make a big difference to someone if they feel low, or just need someone.

Now... where's my violin..?

Just in case I've been too sentimental, let me finish with a little story about the café I went to with the girls (well, women, and babies).  It was a lovely little café at the corner of the square in Limoges, and we had a great meal.  However, the man sitting quite close to our table let one go during our meal. I assume this was an accident... and he was probably embarrassed and hoped no-one had heard. 

Thank goodness he couldn't speak English, though, because, Lily (who has NO volume control on her voice) said VERY LOUDLY: "That was that man wasn't it?  That man did a Pop right next to me, didn't he?!"
I had to look away from my Aunt Clare because we both dissolved into silent giggles.
*****
Nan, Clare, Moi and Evie!
 
Bunnies - 1 MIA (probably in Joe's cot)

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