Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 299 – Family

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“To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there.”

Barbara Bush

Thank you for that, Spidey.

Family is on my mind, a lot, right now.

If you’ve been reading for long enough, you know how close I am to my family.

We may live at a distance from one another, but we make sure we get together regularly.

Well, we did. Before all this pandemic stuff started.

Since December, I’ve seen my parents once, in August. They live three hours away, and are classed as vulnerable, due to their age.

I can’t risk that, but I hate not being able to get a Pops hug, or a Mum cuddle.

Since March, I’ve ‘seen’ my in-laws, spoken at a distance, on the driveway, and when we were briefly allowed, been into their home for short stints. I can count those one two hands. We usually go there daily. Not anymore.

The kids can go there (when not in self-isloation) as they are part of our childcare bubble, but just the kids. So I drop off at the door, and pick up from the door…

My brother is so far away, and he is used to my parents being able to go over to Helsinki a couple of times a year. Video calls are the norm. But now, it’s been over a year since he physically saw any of his family, due to the travel restrictions.

And now, we are creeping closer to Christmas. Lockdown 2.0 is coming to an end, on Wednesday 2nd December, but for our family, here in Kent, we are still under strict restrictions, being in Tier 3, as cases are still rising, despite the measures the Government set, to try and halt the spread, before the festive season.

I say strict measures, but this is what we can and can’t do. (Tier 3)

  • No mixing indoors, or outdoors with anyone who is not in your support bubble. (But, you can still go shopping with thousands of others as the shops will be open.)
  • If you are gathering with your support bubble, the Rule of Six applies. No more than six individuals allowed.
  • Schools still open, with no additional measaures introduced to aid the prevention of the virus.
  • No pubs or restaurants open, unless it is for takeaway or delivery.
  • Gyms etc. can open, but no indoor exercise classes.
  • No indoor entertainment venues can open.
  • No spectators at sports matches.
  • Avoid travelling to other parts of the country.

Amongst others…

And with school, we are in until 18th December, without a 14 day window to self isolate, before the festive season, when we have been told that, hopefully, up to three households can mix for a total of five days, to be together at Christmas. So, if a child or adult was to test positive in one of the classes, it could ruin any chance of being with family, anyway.

We are really conscious of the fact that both our kids are in Secondary school, where the virus was rife, hence the whole school closing and operating online, for an isolation period, and I work in a Primary school, where we are more likely to have young, asymptomatic pupils, so the risk is mainly to the adults.

And in the Early Years, where I work, we have been told that PPE and social distancing with the kids, is not only detrimental to their wellbeing, but also nigh on impossible.

It’s true.

How do you get a 4-year-old to understand that the adult in charge of them, shouldn’t be really comforting them, when they fall, physically? It’s what they need. How do you deal with the coughs and sneezes, runny noses, and toilet accidents, inevitable at this age, in a Covid-secure way, each and every minute?

I douse myself in sanitiser, I have my anti bac spray, I wash my hands regularly. I wear a face covering or face shield when dealing with parents and other adults, but there are so many places, I can’t protect myself as well as I should be able.

Because I wouldn’t be able to do my job.

And Home Learning for the little ones. Really? Have you actually tried? It’s tough to engage 30 kids when they are in front of you, for a few minutes. At home, on screen, when half may not even log in, is even more detrimental to their early education.

So, we, as a family, need to make tough decisions now.

Do we, if allowed, spend most of the five days we are allowed, mixing with the in-laws? Or do we just pop in for Christmas Day? I’ve already spoken with my parents and we know I can’t go to see them this time. It’s the same for my sister in law and her family. When her other two sisters come home, they already reach the three households, so she wouldn’t, theoretically be able to go over, anyway.

I know my in-laws will just want us to be there, with them the whole five days. But we aren’t sure it’s the safest thing to do. We’ve sacrificed so much, so far…

And how many people will bend the rules, just a little, over those magical five days, because, obviously, the Government know something we don’t, about the virus taking a break over Christmas, leading to a possible third Lockdown after the festive break?

I don’t know about others, but my family means much more than that.

I am prepared to sacrifice seeing any of our loved ones, this year, to ensure, as much as is in our hands, that any future celebrations can happen in a bigger, and better way.

A quiet Christmas, doesn’t have to be less jolly, does it?

There are always video calls, Zoom catch ups, and the hope that soon enough, when vaccinations are approved and implemented, that normality can settle, one more.

So… tell me, what do you think about the whole lockdown/Christmas get together issues?

Have a peaceful Sunday Peeps.  And enjoy your week!  

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 284 – The Joy Of Reunion

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“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you.”

Desmond Tutu

Such a blessed quote, Spidey. Thank you very much.

Depending on the time you read this, I will either be preparing, packing, travelling (in sweltering heat), or sat at a safe distance from my parents.

Yes, finally, after eight months, thanks to this God forsaken virus, we have made the decision to take a short trip for a few days to be with Pops and Mum.

I’ve sat here, constantly, watching the news and all the updates. Thankfully where they are, and where we are, aren’t in any sort of lockdown situations.

So, after a hearty brunch, and making sure everyone has used the bathroom before we leave, we shall head off to Brum. The hope is that we have no need to stop at services, and fingers crossed for a clear route so we are there within the three hours (not least because my air conditioning is not working, again, and we are going through a real heatwave at the moment!).

I think this has been the longest time that has passed where I haven’t seen my parents. It has been really tough.

I worry about them, and at the height of the pandemic, and lockdown, there was no chance of going to them, then when restrictions began lifting, I was back in school, so again, no chance.

The last two weeks of holidays have been filled with appointments so finally we have the time to go, with no worries.

Video calls have been a blessing, for sure, but nothing beats actually being with them.

I know we will need to distance, but I’m just going to thank God we are able to be with them.

So, who have you missed the most, during the period of lockdown?

Have a peaceful Sunday Peeps  And enjoy your week! ❤ 

Happy 70th Birthday Mum! #MumIs70

It gives me great pleasure to tell you that today is a very special day.

You’ve already read about Lil Man and his birthday. And the fact that he was born on my mother’s 55th birthday – a present I couldn’t ever surpass.

Well, today is her 70th birthday!

It is a tough time to have a big birthday, especially since we aren’t even near them, and I can’t go and do a driveby celebration, but I know you will all help me to celebrate with her.

My mum is the absolute best person in the world. She is an amazing woman with the hugest heart.

My Beautiful Mum ❤

Born into a family with parents who were pretty forward thinking for their time, my mum was given the best education, including an British boarding school, in Kenya, where she was born, and then university in Bath. (She even briefly knew Mary Berry!)

She married my Pops, an arranged marriage, and started a totally different life. My Pops’ family is different. A great bunch, but maybe, at that time, not so forward thinking. So Mum settled into the life of a housewife, living in an extended family with no parent’-in-law, but plenty of sisters’-in-law (Pops has a HUGE family) and kids all over the show!

After marriage

They moved to England in the early 70’s and as Pops settled into his dentistry, saving to buy their own first home, Mum found a job in the Civil Service, but was never able to start it, as she fell pregnant with me! A decision was made between them both then, that mum would be a stay at home mum, to look after the family and home, while Pops was the breadwinner. That was the norm in those days.

I’m in her tummy, there!

Cue many years of being mum and house wife, as my brother entered the scene, as well as many other members of our family. Our home became a place where people started to send their kids when they were of a certain age, to continue education in Britain, from Kenya, so I had at least eight different room-mates over the years, from cousins my age, to older ones, to some who were having babies and staying with us for the support.

And Mum was there, being surrogate mum to all these different people, as well as being a fantastic mum to us.

Here we both are ❤

As the houseguests lessened, and my brother and I got older, Mum took a job, helping Pops with his dental surgery, and the management.

Then us kids got married, and she became the best grandma ever, to my two children, including Lil Man, who shares her birthday, and to my brother’s two darlings.

The birthday buds!

Mum hasn’t just been key in our lives, but I have many cousins and nephews and neices, who look upon Mum, and Pops as their guides too. Her love is so great that she always welcomes all with open arms, offering love, advice and cake.

She is the best cook, a wonderful baker and she’s a sucker for hoarding things, but I’m not complaining, because mum’s squirreled away things become little treasures for us, when they are brought out! From old materials and clothes, to household gadgets, and hundreds, if not thousands of photos.

But all the time, she never stopped being the biggest support to us all. Mum has always been, and still is, my mentor, my guiding light, and someone I aspire to be like.

I’d like to take this time to ask you all to help me wish my darling mother a very happy 70th birthday! Here’s hoping I’ll be able to see her soon, so I can give her the biggest hug ❤

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Happy 74th Birthday Pops! #74actually!

Pops is turning 74 today! So please wish him a very happy birthday! I am sharing an old post from when he turned 70. He really is a wonderful dad, and I couldn’t ask for a better one . ❤

Ritu 2020

It is a very special day today for me.

My precious Pops is turning 74!

Happy Birthday

Humble to a fault, with a heart bigger than the universe, that’s my Pops.

He’s been my guide, my inspiration, my support since, well, forever.

Born to a farming family in Kenya, the youngest of multiple siblings, Pops popped out a ready-made uncle!  He had nephews and nieces to play with as a youngster and was always called Kaka, which means baby, as he was the youngest. Pops lost his own father very young, but his mother and brother brought him up.

He wasn’t the biggest academic in school, loving sports and dancing, but wanting to do the best he could, he pursued Dentistry and went to Wilson College in Mumbai.

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Here he is with some of his High School athletics trophies!

He held a high jump record at his college which was only broken relatively recently!

He was a pretty cool dude. Check him out here!

Cool Dude
That’s him, white shirt and sunnies on!

And here is one of the photos that convinced my mum to marry him…

Young Pops
Smooth!

Look at the happy couple!

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Marriage and a few years later, along came me!

Me N Pops
Love these photos!

Then my brother…

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Selfie mode!

Years pass so fast and he is now a father-in-law and a grandpops to 4!

He was a dentist for many years until heart problems and arthritis meant he had to take early retirement.

Did he sit back and let retirement take over him?

Nope! He started practising yoga which gave him a new lease of life, so then in his mid sixties, he became a yoga instructor and started spreading the message out there to many people about how to improve your health naturally. No charging. This was his community service to the world!

Then he was asked to film his own TV programme which airs every day on a channel here!

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Very Proud of my TV Star Pops!

All through this time he has been not only a most amazing Pops, husband, and grandfather, dentist and yogi, but ask all those who know him, family and friends, and they will all agree that he is there for them no matter what. Surrogate granddad to so many children, brother, uncle, everything. Nothing is too much hard work for him. He will be there.

And he still hasn’t stopped dancing! He says to us that when he dances, he feels 21. He can beat all the youngsters in a bhangra dance off, then when he sees a video, he says “What is this silly old man doing?!” I only wish I had photos of him in his bhangra performance days!  Mums are amazing! She pulled a few old photos out for me and sent them, in her own special way!

But the reality is he is brilliant! And all who know him will agree!

So I just want to wish my Precious Pops an amazing 74th birthday. May there be many, many more to come! Love you!

Keep Dancing Pops!

Dancing Pops

From your forever Little Girl, Ritu xxx

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 232 –

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“Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.”

Lilo & Stitch

Thanks Spidey for reminding me of that Lilo and Stitch quote.

I used to have a talking Stitch toy (yes, I admit it was before I had kids, and I was an adult, but then, I am a Disney fan, so it was mine!) and it would say a few different phrases from the film, in response to you saying things to it, and the above quote was said a lot.

I was reminded of the quote yesterday, after attending a family function back home in Brum.

Some folk I met there are family members who I hadn’t seen for five years or longer. It’s an unfortunate situation, but I live a bit further out than most, and when there are gatherings, they tend to be in the term time, and on a day where I just cannot get there in time, or if I arrived, I’d have to leave pretty much straight away, to get home at a decent time.

But instead of silly comments, or moods, I was welcomed back into the fold with open arms. Some asking about my writing, as they follow my progress on Social Media; some wanting to know how Hubby Dearest was; some jsut wanting to catch up.

It was a great feeling.

One of my aunts said “Tu toh Eid ka chand hi niklai.” It is a saying to describe someone who is rarely seen, and much anticipated, as during the month of Ramadan, and at Eid, Muslims wait, eagerly for the moon (chand) to show, before breaking fasts or starting celebrations.

That made me feel special, but also highlighted to me how little I get to see my extended family. Some of these folk, I saw weekly, growing up, and now it is after years that we meet.

I miss seeing my extended family a lot. They are a huge part of my upbringing, and my memories.

But at least I know I’m not forgotten… and I’ll never forget them either!

So… tell me, which member of your extended family do you have special connections with, and will never forget?

Have a peaceful Sunday Peeps  And enjoy your week! ❤ 

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