Bite Size Memoir: Discovery

© irene waters 2014

© irene waters 2014

This fortnight Lisa has given the prompt discovery for Bite Size Memoir. She talks about her discovery through memoir and her joy of watching her toddler discover. Life is full of discovery and reflection when you do discover. Some things discovered come as bolts of lightning out of the blue, giving clarity and life changing effects. Others are so subtle that you don’t know you have discovered them until you notice some imperceptible change in your attitude or behaviour. These are the intangible discoveries. Other discoveries are made with the aid of newspapers, travel and education to name just a few of the tangible ways it can happen.

So what discovery do I want to reflect on………

When my first marriage ended I returned home to live. Living in my parents’ house as an adult was a journey of discovery. My eyes now open to the love they shared. It was always there but as a child I had my eyes shut or my mind not yet awakened. There was give and take. Each conceding on somethings because it gave them pleasure to see the other happy. Conversations, little touches, concern for each other and my Dad always complimented mother on how she looked. When he died I grieved for mother losing a man who loved her totally .

© irene waters 2014

© irene waters 2014

Perhaps I was thick as two wooden railway sleepers but the discovery did come as a surprise. Not because I thought that they didn’t love each other. They hadn’t changed. It was I seeing them as people, not parents.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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24 Responses to Bite Size Memoir: Discovery

  1. bkpyett says:

    What a lovely post and photo of your parents. I can relate so well, as I returned from Europe with 2 small children. We lived with my parents for three months until I found my feet. It was so special having that time with them, seeing them through adult eyes. How lucky Irene we are, to have loving parents. 🙂

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    • Thank you Barbara. We are indeed lucky to have had loving parents. I don’t know that I would have been so aware of it had I not lived with them again for a short time. You were lucky you also had that short time with your parents as an adult also. Very special. 🙂

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  2. What a loving tribute to your parents, Irene. They shared a rare love. I’m sure, even though you didn’t recognize it at the time, their love made you the caring and intelligent and perceptive woman you now are!

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  3. Aussie Emjay says:

    Love this post! My parents were married 55 years before my father passed away and I felt the same as you about my mother’s loss. Every year, even after being incapacitated by a stroke and later admitted to a nursing home, he organised flowers for mum on her birthday and their anniversary and sometimes “just because”.

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  4. M-R says:

    That’s a totally wonderful thing to be able to remember, Irene.

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  5. TanGental says:

    As a teenager, with my father (unbeknownst to me) going through hell at work and being a miserable git at home, I remember asking my mother why she (a) stayed and (b) put up with it. She told me she couldn’t explain and I would work it out for myself one day. As they stared into each other’s eyes with one of those unspoken yet deep connections during their 40th wedding anniversary celebrations 15 plus years later I knew I’d understood what she meant though exactly when I realised that I couldn’t say. Just that it was like I’d actually always known but had not been able to see it before. They were the sum of the parts, not the same without the whole even during the thin times. Thank you from bringing that memory back to me.

    Liked by 3 people

    • That is an absolutely beautiful comment Geoff and I’m glad I brought those memories back for you. I’m also glad that we do eventually open our eyes to things we possibly take for granted or are so commonplace we just don’t see them. Or perhaps we just grow up.

      Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        I think, looking at my kids, there is a point (which you only know looking back) when the children begin to realise the people around them are more than just ‘dad’ or ‘mum’ etc but also are people, with all the contradictions and failings as well as surprising strengths that make us human. It can delight and it can horrify but it comes to all eventually

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      • As a parent were you aware of the time that your children saw you as more than Mum and Dad?

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        Good question, Irene. I suppose the truth is that it is easy to think of them as children still and when I do it means I assume they see me as the parent, not an adult. When they point out my failings, usually with humour, tease me as my friends would, that’s when I know they understand me as an adult rather than as a parent. I suspect they can see me better as an adult/non parent than I can see them as an adult/non child. It remains a work in progress and I’m constantly apologising from my patronising assumptions

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      • My mother is 86 and she still thinks I’m a child. She tries to treat Roger as a child as well but she gets less joy with him as he will tell her that at nearly 70 he can make his own decisions without any help. I don’t think parents can really help themselves but at least you are aware of it.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Charli Mills says:

    That’s a beautiful discovery and such a poignant loss for your mother, as you fully understood what it means. The way you describe this maturing into awareness of others reminds me of puppies–born both blind and deaf. Perhaps in a way, we are, too. And then one day our eyes and ears open. Beautiful bite!

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  7. Sherri says:

    I love this bite Irene, especially in light of having just celebrated my uncle and auntie’s 50th wedding anniversary as you know. As you also know, I’ve never known this in my family so I find stories such as these so touching and more so because although it took me 46 years to find what a happy, healthy marriage is really like, I got there in the end. Not only that, but my kids have a wonderful step dad and I hope that the last 10 years have shown them what a normal, healthy relationship is supposed to be like… let’s hope 😉 In your discovery when you returned home (and what a perfect photograph btw) you did indeed see your parents with new eyes, as people in their own right and not just ‘mum and dad’. As a parent, I think that is the greatest compliment their adult children can give them, if that makes sense. I was deeply moved by the way you wrote about your grief for your mother when she lost her darling husband, your dad…a truly beautiful post my friend… ❤

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    • Thanks Sherri. I am really glad that you have found that loving relationship after 46 years and I’m sure that your children have benefited from being part of it. I feel quite guilty sometimes for the hangups childhood left me with and which I have dealt with when I grew up in a happy family environment. To have survived as you have just shows what a strong person you are.I hadn’t really thought of the compliment to parents as seeing them as people but yes, I think you are right. Thanks again Sherri. ❤

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      • Sherri says:

        Thanks Irene, that’s so kind of you, and I’m glad that you too found happiness after all you’ve been through. I think that normal/healthy family upbringing or not, there is still no guarantee that we ourselves will not suffer our own problems as we grow up, so don’t feel guilty. Life is life and sometimes it is very difficult but then what counts is we come through those difficult times for whatever reason and find some measure of peace and contentment afterwards.

        Have a great weekend my friend. We are still having somewhat of an Indian Summer here despite it being October…I expect it is lovely and warm there with you now, basking in your spring sunshine! So let’s get out and go for nice long walk…I’m ready 🙂 ❤

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  8. Lisa Reiter says:

    This is so lovely Irene and a complex one as well. I think I grew up more like Geoff wondering why my mother has stayed with my father (and sometimes wondering why Simon has stayed with me!) but such bonds are very complex and discovering as well as appreciating them, an important part of growing up. Really is a beautiful bite – Thank you, Lisa xx 😊

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