We have a dog walker. Not because I’m lazy (well maybe I am a little) but really it’s because we lived beside a now 78 year old man until late last year and he loves animals. I mean he’s sponsoring two Orangutan’s, he has a legacy cat through the RSPCA and I believe has left his estate to either or both should something happen to him. So my dog is his reason for waking up every morning. Needless to say we see him a lot. Now we’ve moved, he drives over every single day and picks up my dog up for 2 hours, takes him to the local dog park and if it’s raining they go for a drive. It’s routine. And it’s beautiful.
And it got me thinking. Actually it wasn’t until after he landed in the Intensive Care Unit and I had been “meaning to” invite him over for dinner more. I had been “meaning to” have the children write him a little card or make sure I talked with him a little longer next time. As I was sitting in the waiting room, waiting for him to come out of surgery I started thinking about bucket lists, and life, and death and what he had been “meaning to” do with his life. Had he? I started thinking that the children would be leaving me some day and that my eldest was only 2 years away from driving and then he’d just drive away like I did one of these days, except I flew…from Canada all the way to Australia when I was just 20 years old; far, far away from my family. (And I thank God they followed me.) I thought about all the memories I had of things I did with my family and that some of them I’d like to do again except I don’t want to risk them being a “meant to” by the time it’s too late.
I think bucket lists could be broken down into life stages. I look back on my life and I remember fearing how this moment was going to be over in the blink of an eye. And it was. Here are a few things I wished I had done more of, am glad I did do or am going to do. If they have not been ticked off and still can be, I am sitting down with my family TONIGHT and reading out my list. I may have even added a few they’ve thought of by then.
- Have a pregnancy massage with a hole in the table so you can lie front down.
- Get a reflexology treatment.
- Buy something for your newborn “you just HAVE to have.”
- Go away with your partner or your Mom or your girlfriend for an extravagant weekend.
- Take the last month of work off. It will be the last month you ever have again without one more person in your life.
- Eat what you want when you want. This too may be your last opportunity. I’m talking ice cream from the bucket, in bed.
- Join an aqua aerobics class.
- Have naps together.
- Find a friend who is a good photographer and have photo’s done. (Around 6/7 months)
- Keep a milestone journal.
- Join a playgroup (Some of these ladies will be in your life forever!!!)
- Make a list of things you could do for YOURSELF once a day.
- Take your baby into a nursing home for a visit.
- Read together in your bed. You can be reading your own books but together in the big bed.
- Introduce your child to a book you LOVED as a kid.
- Bake together.
- Make Christmas decorations eg. Stringing popcorn.
- Plant something that can grow. Tomatoes, herbs, flowers.
- Have a big bubble bath together with over the top bubbles.
- Find a book called “My Grandmother” or “My Grandfather” and let your child and his Grand fill in the details together.
- Go to a movie in the park.
- Go on a holiday (just the two of you.)
- Do a 3km “fun run” together.
- Do chores for money and buy a gift for under the Kmart tree.
- Play murder in the dark. (hide and go seek in the dark)
- Pick your own strawberries at a farm.
- Go on a holiday just the two of you.
- Go fishing.
- See snow if you’ve not done so yet.
- Take your child to their first concert.
- Take a day off work/school and stay in your pyjamas all day together watching movies.
- Let them cook for you or have a cook off.
- Go on a “date” Mother/Son or Father/Daughter to a 5 star restaurant.
- Attend a sporting event together.
- Trace your family tree together.
- Hand write a letter to your younger self and give it to your teen.
Spend more time together goes into each and every category. Make a ritual also goes into every category. Ours is “I’ll love you forever.” When I was pregnant I read to my unborn. I would read the book, “I’ll love you forever; I’ll like you for always. As long as you’re living; my baby you’ll be” then to my newborn. As a Pre Schooler my littlie would say “Read it again! Read it again!” As a Junior Schooler my child would say “I’ll do the second part.” So I would start “I’ll love you forever” and he would follow with “I’ll like you for always” then my turn “As long as I’m living” and he would finish with “My Mummy you’ll be.” Sometimes we’d flip it around and he would accidentally end with “My baby you’ll be” to me and we would laugh til we cried. And now, my baby is still my baby but with a man’s voice and sometimes when I least expect it as I turn off his light he’ll call out “I’ll love you for forever” and so it continues. I know when he is a Father himself he will have his own “I’ll love you forever” and I also know that as long as I’m living my baby he’ll be.
Don’t waste a minute. This time goes by way too fast. Enjoy each and every stage and while you’re at it, make a list for the future too. It doesn’t actually have to stop once they leave home.
Written By Carla Morris