Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Bliss!



"My name is 'Felicity' but I'm also known as 'Bliss'. I got my nickname because 'Felicity' means 'happiness' and 'Bliss' means 'extreme happiness'. I think that 'Blissful' is a perfect 'hook' for this website. Aged in my mid forties, I lead a busy and interesting life in Brisbane, Australia, surrounded by people I love and who love me."

So starts the homepage of my series of 'Blissful' web pages. Whereas a month or so ago I was wishing I had named this blog something completely different, it's days like the last four which make me realise that I didn't make a mistake. I really do live a blissful life.

It wasn't Christmas that brought me to this realisation. It was the reorganisation and tidying of Castle Bliss (our sometimes housenotsobeautiful home) for the festival of Christmas. Yup. You guessed it. I've been doing one of those 'thorough' cleans - the ones where you get into every nook and cranny looking for dust & clutter. I found plenty of that - who doesn't? - but, more importantly, I found TREASURE!

It started innocently enough with the hanging of the cross stitch projects mentioned in a recent blog & progressed rather rapidly because Paul’s and my wedding photographs arrived in the post ready to be framed and hung.

When I lived in Townsville from 1992 to 2002, I had a gallery of pictures (mostly happy snap photographs) telling our family’s story on the hallway wall. My then husband, William, & I had moved around Queensland for more than 12 years and this was to be our permanent home (as permanent as one could get in those days). I started the project as therapy during some of my darkest days after Will left me and my mother died. I missed my family far away and was often alone with small fry. It helped me a lot but the best things the gallery did were: 1. Make Will’s and my faraway families ‘real’ to the children at a time when travel and phone calls were unaffordable, 2. Serve as a reminder of who my parents were after they died & 3. Give the children incentive to create something for the wall – art, collage, stitching. I never had a problem with kids and crayon marks on walls where they shouldn’t be. They were too busy creating legitimate art!

The timeline of pictures started with an engagement photo taken in 1979 of me and Will, and then progressed with family weddings, births, first communions, the occasional Christmas pic or family gathering & year 12 formals in the frame. Every few years, the kids and I added (or replaced) a family Pixifoto portrait (always with William included), and constantly added pieces of children’s art work or embroidery. The gallery swelled – as did Will’s and my sisters’ pregnant bellies and therefore family numbers. We included as many people as we could. A memorable pic was my sister-in-law, Bettyann, already heavily pregnant but looking more so as her hubby had tucked a soccerball under her tshirt at a picnic when our boys were 5 years old – it made every 15+ year old girl who saw it cross her legs unconsciously. LOL

To cut a long story short, I left the gallery intact when I moved away from Townsville in 2002. Put simply, as it was a temporary move: I moved out & William moved back in as caretaker until I came back. After I met Paul and decided to move to Brisbane with him instead of back to Townsville, Will bought the house from me & I dismantled and stored everything in boxes for a number of years.

On Friday last week(nearly 5 years after I left Townsville), everything was pulled out and scattered over the floor so that I could work out what to keep, what to put in the now grown up off-springs’ treasure boxes and what to return to William for his memories. My theory is that doing sort of thing can only be done if you know what you do it all at once, so I pulled out ALL the photographs, ALL the handmade birthday & Mother’s Day Cards, ALL the school report cards and concert brochures amassed during the last 25 years. Oi!

It was fun! In the last four days, I have looked at my 4 children snapped over many years (individually, together or with other family &/or friends) & the one thing I notice is that, despite the calamities that befell me from time to time, for the most part, they were very happy & healthy kiddies/teens interested in many & varied activities (school, extended family life, music, travel, sport, dance, finger painting, etc). To top it off, the photographs taken recently show them to be successful, generous and well adjusted individuals who hold family life in caring hands & with warm hearts. I now understand the comment that one of them made a few weeks ago during that particular outing about making sure that there was a picture for the album & why Gabriella always tucks my camera into my handbag as we head to visit any family even when it’s a simple meal at someone’s house or at the local Italian restaurant.

Life’s good here. Sssmile!.

Happiness & laughter to one and all,

Felicity

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