Monthly Archives: August 2017

‘In the cupboard’ 


Week 32: in the cupboard
‘Clothing myself with the best character is more appealing than clothing myself with expensive labels.’ This statement is so me when I look into my cupboard. It is messy I know but I realise that I own more fancy dress clothes (on the too shelf) than regular day clothes. That says a lot about our family and who I am as a person. I have gathered several pieces of fancy dress clothing over the years and the collection in my cupboard has gotten bigger as my children have added theirs to mine as to make more room in their cupboards (never mind my space – like a heart full of love it just keeps getting bigger). I don’t mind looking at all the bags that fill the shelf in a mixture of colour and fabrics as I lay in bed with the cupboard door open. As I look at the fancy dress bags I run a photographic slideshow in my mind of all the different times we’ve dressed up and different characters we’ve become. I’m usually a quiet and introverted person but let me loose in fancy dress and I become another person able to sing, dance and act on stage at our local theatre. I have far less nerves performing in a Christmas pantomime as a tap dancing reindeer or a hippy fairy waving her wand around casting spells and wishes than singing the psalm at Sunday mass. It gives us the opportunity to play and be a totally different person and character and not be afraid of what you are doing and what others are thinking about you, like putting on a different mask.

My husband has bought us wigs, funny hats and all sorts of weird looking false teeth mouth guards to bring a smile on our faces as he’d pop his head around the corner and give us a scare at how ridiculous he’d look. We’d have fancy dress birthday parties, games nights and sometimes a good dress up just for no reason at all. I always bring in several bags during book week at preschool for the educators to dress up just in case they’d forgotten or hadn’t got anything. Shopping for bargains at the local opportunity shops and markets is lots of fun. You can see the creative buttons being pushed just by looking at certain clothes on the hangers thinking this will go with that and that will go with this till you’ve got the perfect outfit. The looks we’d get when you stop at the traffic lights dressed in all your gear beside another car and remembering not to take their awkward stares to heart.

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Jacob used sense of humour in his true form in several of the little movies on his YouTube channels. He even dressed up with a mullet wig and really small orange t-shirt that I bought him from our trip to Hawaii at the Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant stating on the front – ‘my mama says I’m special.’ He blitzed the quiz that the waitress asked us to get a free cup. It was his love of movies that gained the prize. Ben pulls lots of odds and ends together to come up with a fine looking costume out of next to nothing. Rachel and Amy buy us these funny games to play that use peculiar props that make us look ridiculously silly. Pete and I have rocked up to a party as a nutty professor and a pirate decked out with a real scars on my face from a skin cancer removal. I’m sure I’ll sort out the bags on the top shelf in the cupboard when the next need arises and the dress ups will be worn again.

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In our family – ‘playing dress up begins at age 5 and never truly ends.’

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‘On the bed’ 

Week 31: ‘on the bed’ 

‘Pack two hours before leaving for a trip…unpack three months after you get back.’ 

I always love it when the kids come home from holidays. Eager to hear the stories about their travels and adventures as you sit on their bed watching them unpack their bags. I’m still waiting to hear the stories that accompanied these bags on the bed over the last 6 weeks. Ben arrived home from his holiday last Monday, after visiting Europe, Croatia and Vietnam. I kept in touch with him in the usual ways via the mobile phone, not hearing his voice but by just him posting images of his travels on Instagram. I then knew that he was still ok and having fun like any young adult traveller should. 

I will be placing a suitcase on my bed just like this photo in a few more weeks to pack as my husband Pete and I explore Canada for 25 days. As you pack the bags for travel you make a list in your mind and recheck it to make sure you have the things you want in there only to realise when you’re on the plane that you’ve forgotten something, you have a mild panic attack and then relax after the thought that wherever you are going would have shops to pick up what it is that you might have forgotten. If that’s the only thing that goes wrong with travel plans you’re lucky. Looking back at photos of our last family holiday as a family of 6 of us I stumble upon a photo of Jacob’s suitcase. He had taken a photo of the 7 pairs of size 13 Vans shoes from the factory outlet shops in Hawaii as he packed them in his bag on the motel bed. He had bought them in the colours of black, green, blue, red, cream, purple and a dusky grey. I still have a a few colourful pairs of them as my heart won’t let me throw them away. I wish Jacob was just away on holiday and return one day and unpack his travel bag on the bed again like he had many times before. 

Ben lost this bag on the bed on his travels. He wasn’t at fault. As he arrived in a new country his bags didn’t follow. He began his new expedition without a few essential items but he made do with what he had. I’m sure he borrowed a few supplies from his friend he was travelling with and at the destination the weather dictated that little clothing to be worn as he spent the time in his budgy smugglers. I’m sure he had a pair of shoes too (maybe a pair of Vans like his brothers) and shorts and t-shirt. He finally got his bag back, it had been found at the previous airport. 

Rachel and Adam will eventually back their own bags when they decide to return home to Australia from the UK and the fun will start again with the unpacking and listening to their stories unfold. Amy is already thinking of packing her bags again as she looks at all her options of where travel will take her as she completes her last year of university for early childhood teaching. 

I hope we all get plenty more opportunities to pack and unpack for holidays in our own journeys in life and let our memories be our travel bags.