It’s been an exhausting and wonderful few weeks. And now it’s all over. Princess has gone, and I’m feeling empty and sad. I’m all alone here at the Lake today for the first time in forever. It’s a little weird to not have lots of people around actually, and I’m feeling quite dislocated. I miss Princess already. I know she’s busy continuing her travels, catching up with her kids up north, but I wish she was still here.

Magoo’s doing well, she has her moments of extreme sadness, but overall she’s such a strong lady, and she knows she’ll never be alone while she has us around her. But she’s adjusting to not having her partner, her one special person, her husband Pete in her life. I can’t imagine how broken that must make a person feel inside. She is truly an inspiration when it comes to dealing with pain and loss. We’ve had many laughs and many cries together these past weeks. Probably more laughs than tears, which is a good thing I think?

I’ve been so busy since Princess arrived. I imagined I would progressively blog her visit, but I didn’t count on being so busy and exhausted constantly. Magoo’s home is only 10 minutes drive from mine, and we have had 7 and 8 these past two weeks as well as having 4 and her very nice boyfriend here to stay. So for me it’s been a lot of driving to and fro. Staying over at Magoo’s and then coming home each day to make sure everyone had enough to eat here. (Not that Fitty isn’t capable of feeding everyone.)

We packed a lot into the time we had with Princess, she lives so far away and we don’t see her often. Lunches out, day trips to local beaches and long cuppa sessions at Magoo’s sitting around the table talking family nostalgia. Ending up doing things we never expected to do, like touring the local Orchid Show. I think I channeled a bit of Fitty and took about 50 photos of those beautiful flowers.

 

Look at all the Pretty!

20140816_142048 Look at all the Pretty!

I did get Princess to myself for 3 whole days and nights, and I am so truly grateful. During those days we were more than content to just sit at the Lake Shack and talk. Spending time together catching up on all the years we lost when we were younger, and didn’t get along quite so well. I have such a huge respect for Princess, the way she cares for us and for her insight into my personality and relationships in my family. She is one astute lady when it comes to achieving what she wants in her life. I can only hope that she’s rubbed off a little, (a lot) on me.

One particularly sweet thing that came of her time in our house was her bonding with 8. Those two hit it off like rockets. By the end of Princess’ first day with us, little 8 was enraptured. Literally laying at her feet on the couch totally absorbed in every word she said. She’s playful and kind, fun and loves games. What more could a young boy want in an Auntie? 7 was not quite as quick. She can be a little quieter and takes a bit more time to ensure she’s on safe ground before she dives into new relationships. They both loved having Princess around and really enjoyed playing board games and the sense of humour Princess brings with her everywhere she goes.

Princess is a Scrabble fanatic and was always up for a game. Enjoying helping the younger ones and thoroughly enjoying more competitive play with 4 and her clever man.

Scrabble again anyone?

Scrabble again anyone?

I took Princess for a walk to our favourite beach at the end of our road. We had a lovely walk and I will always treasure sharing this special family spot with her. The day was cold and windy, but the company was perfect.

The special beach

The special beach

 

There were so many wonderful moments during her stay with us. The funniest was when she asked me to read her “Carrot Tards”, (Tarot Cards, so named by Princess’s husband Mikey. L-OL!) What a hoot. I doubt the Tarot are meant to be a vehicle for humour and hilarity, but oh boy, did we have some fun with that reading!

One memorable thing we were able to do with Magoo was to fulfill a wish of hers. Her 25th Wedding Anniversary went uncelebrated a couple of years ago due to Pete’s ill health. The plan was for them to go away for a night in a flash hotel, go out to dinner and enjoy a huge buffet breakfast the following morning. Every time they even got close to creating a plan, Pete would fall ill, ending up in hospital, or some other medical/family drama would emerge preventing them from going. It’s so sad that they never got to celebrate the occasion together, but Magoo had a wish to do it with him in “spirit”.

We organised a night away in a lovely hotel in Canberra and went on a Mother/Daughter road trip. Imagine a car with 3 women, all talking at once…. I have no idea what we all said, not a mile passed in silence. We arrived and luxuriated in our surroundings. Coffee was required and taken in a lovely indoor garden.

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The plan was to head into the city for dinner. I had my doubts about how to decide where to eat based on history. Get 3 people together trying to make a decision about anything and see what happens. Usually there is one Alpha person who takes charge and decides what and where. We thought it would be easier to let Magoo decide on a place, as she is fussy and has more “requirements” than we do. Tablecloths for instance. Good service and appropriate language for another. One must never address Magoo and her dining company as “guys”, as one unfortunate server was to learn one day when Magoo and I had a light lunch in a local cafe…

“How are you guys doing? Do you need anything else?”

Enough to drive Magoo into convulsions! She’s not a “guy” ok?

So off we went for dinner, parking the car in a position I thought would be easy enough to locate again after extended wanderings in the labyrinth of Canberra Civic. Have you ever seen ants scurrying around trying to decide on a restaurant? No?

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I imagine that’s what we must have looked like, but more bumping, deliberation and conversation. From one place to another, no one game enough to commit. Finally I had enough, was wearing my shoes out, and took matters into hand. We went to a lovely Italian place Fitty and I had been to once before, (with tablecloths), and there I encountered the most delicious dessert I have ever had. Strawberries and cream and puff pastry and Amaretto and Almonds and lush gooey sauce – demolished.

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Seven months pregnant by the end of the meal, I was not relishing the walk back to my car…. Car?… Where the fuck are we?

Filled with confidence in her ability to find the car, we followed Princess’s lead and headed off in entirely the wrong direction. I am a self confessed loser when it comes to these things, however it was my direction that saved us from walking an extra 3 blocks touring the “no car here district” Princess was leading us toward. My survival instinct had kicked in. I really didn’t want to walk any further than I had to.

The next morning we all enjoyed a huge breakfast. Magoo bringing a framed photograph of Pete along with her. We sat him (the photo) on the table and made sure to get him the sausages for breakfast he so looked forward to. There were some tears again, and some funny looks from fellow diners, but we all felt as if we’d done what we set out to do.

Later that day we put Princess on a train to continue her journey. Sobbing in the car Magoo and I lamented not running along the platform waving hankies, like they do in the movies. We wanted to, but a very emotional Princess wanted us to leave her there on the train and not extend the misery we were all feeling at parting.

Driving away from the station was sad and I felt so immediately bereft. I wanted this visit to go on and on.

So I sit here today, tears streaming down my face, and wish she was still here.

GOODBYE PRINCESS. May the days pass quickly til I see you again face to face, and may our Skype connection be reliable in between…

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