Let’s Go Fly a Kite Somewhere Over the Rainbow!

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Image Copyright Katherine A. Kovács,                         The Writer Within 2016                      Rainbow over Buda Castle, Budapest 13.05.2016

 

Hello Lovelies,

I guess it’s no surprise that we’re already midway through the month of May and I haven’t even made any progress on this month’s word-count. Procrastination may have reared its ugly head, just as it always does, but research, thinking about writing and daydreaming about your characters definitely counts as writing-related activities even if I haven’t actually added any words to my WIP, right? Never fear though, with a couple of nights staying up until 3 a.m. I’ll definitely have this month’s word-count goal met and avoid a virtual arse-kicking from my friend.

While I’ve been procrastinating from actually adding words to my current WIP, I guess you could say I’ve been living life and enjoying the little things, something which I try to focus on as much as possible (as I’ve written about here and here).

After our kite flying fun a few weeks ago, I have been meaning to introduce my three kids to Mary Poppins, which I finally did a few nights ago. Not only did they thoroughly enjoy it, especially the “singing bits” as stated by Master 5yo, but I enjoyed it too. No matter how many times I’ve seen Mary Poppins, there’s always something magical about it and each time I notice something different or get something more out of watching it.

This time, not only did I share in my children’s joy and excitement, but I also saw the characters and the story from an adult’s point of view. When I was young, I always thought that Mary Poppins came to help the children and kind of hated her for leaving. As I got older though and especially after watching it again with my children, I came to realise that Mary Poppins wasn’t there to help the children, not really. Sure, she looked after Jane and Michael, took them on some of the most amazing outings you could ever imagine and showed them an awesome way to tidy up the nursery, but in truth she was there to save Mr. Banks and the entire Banks family. This understanding of Mary Poppins saving the Banks family was reinforced when I finally got around to watching Saving Mr. Banks, the same night I introduced the kids to Mary Poppins, after they were all tucked into bed. I know that Saving Mr. Banks is the Hollywood version of a “true story”, however it reinforced for me, the importance of the character of Mary Poppins in the lives of countless readers and viewers, and perhaps in the life of author P.L Travers, creator of Mary Poppins.

I think that the story of Mary Poppins and the Banks family, reminds us as adults, that while it is important to earn a living and support a family, it should not be at the expense or detriment of the family itself.

Too often we focus on earning the money to support our family and in the process we fail to truly support them by being there for them and spending time together as a family. Supporting a family is much more than earning coin, of course money is needed for food, clothes and a roof over your heads, but we also need to remember the reason why needed to earn money in the first place – to support a family.

I know things aren’t always easy, far from it most of the time. The bills don’t stop piling up just because you want to take time to be with your family, the mortgage payments aren’t put on hold every time you want to take the children on a holiday or out for an ice-cream, even. There will always be something that needs to be paid, something we need money for and sometimes we are overwhelmed by this, just trying to make ends meet. Spending time with your children though can be something as simple as reading a book together, watching a movie or going for a walk and spotting a rainbow or flying a kite.

Earlier in the week, when I got the children ready for bed, instead of choosing a picture book for reading a chapter of one of their favourite Roald Dahl books before bed, I decided to read them a story I wrote for them that I intend to be a children’s picture book one day. This story was inspired by the endless questions that my children (and all children I suppose) ask. One day, when I told my children that I loved them, instead of asking, “how much?”, one of my boys (although I can’t quite recall which one it was now) asked me, “How many?” This is when the children’s story How Many Do You Love Me? was conceived. I’ve been sitting on this story for a couple of months now and the other night I finally read it to my children before bedtime.

They listened carefully, without interrupting (a very rare occurrence) and at the end of the story Miss 8yo asked, “Is that story about us?”, I nodded, then Mr. 5yo said dreamily, “That was lovely.” Now they wish it was a “real” book, with pictures and pages and everything, so I guess I need to find a way to make it so. Not for fame or fortune or any of that, but for the children. My own and for children everywhere, because each and every child needs to know how much (or “many”) they are loved and cherished.

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Image copyright Katherine A. Kovács, The Writer Within 2016.    Flying a Kite Budapest, April, 2016

So let’s go fly a kite somewhere over the rainbow and make memories that our children (and us) will cherish forever.

Enjoy,

KK

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

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A Mother’s Hope

Hello Lovelies,

As I sit here on the eve of my eldest’s 8th birthday, I reflect on a number of things. I know in last week’s post I made a point of stating that I was focused on the future, that the only way was forward and that I wasn’t going to look back (you can read this post here). There is a difference though, between dwelling on past events and reflecting upon memories of the past. These last few days I’ve been doing the latter, reflecting upon the events of the last 8 years and how much has happened in that time, but with a focus on the good.

This time 8 years ago, I was in labour with my first child – a little girl who would change our world and place us on the never-ending steep learning curve of parenting. 32 weeks prior to this day 8 years ago, I discovered rather unconventionally that we were expecting. I was home alone, getting ready to go and play soccer in the ladies team I played for. Feeling rather faint, I tried to make it to the bed to lie down and that was the last thing I remembered, until I woke several minutes later rather confused, with carpet burns on my knees and a black eye.

To cut to the chase, it seems I passed out in the process of trying to make it to the bedroom, falling down and carpet burning my knees and collecting the bedside table with my eye in the process. The doctor was amazed that I only hit my brow bone and not my actual eye. After such a shock, the knowledge that I was going to be a mother was definitely the silver lining, we hadn’t expected it to happen quite so quickly, we didn’t want to get our hopes up, but the news was definitely the happy kind.

As the week’s went by and my flat stomach (never to be flat again) began to swell, the sonographer announced that we were having a girl.  As my belly swelled more and I felt those first tiny movements, the ones that only the mother feels, I began to imagine, what it would be like to be a mother. I knew it wouldn’t be easy and sometimes it would be downright difficult. There would be days when you would just want to crawl into bed, pull the covers over your head and forget about the world. I also knew that it would be wonderful in ways that I couldn’t even begin to imagine. Despite being aware of the realities of being a parent, I knew it wasn’t just cuteness and cuddles, I knew it was something I had always wanted, the good times would make the difficult ones worth it.

Being my first pregnancy I of course worried about every little thing. I worried if I was eating the right things, taking the right vitamins, if the baby was moving enough, but everything seemed to be going smoothly. I was enjoying being pregnant and the bond I was forming with my unborn child was getting stronger by the day. Then my obstetrician called me with the results of my Glucose Tolerance Test, I had Gestational Diabetes. Given my family history, I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. In truth, at the time I was devastated. I know now that it wasn’t actually that big of a deal and women deal with much greater issues in their pregnancies that GDM. I was young though, relatively fit and healthy, enjoying a trouble free pregnancy -despite it’s unconventional discovery. I felt ripped off, I felt like the world was trying to take away one of the happiest times of my life, somehow tainting it with it’s rules and regulations and “diagnosis”. For someone that has a moderate phobia of needles and avoided blood tests until pregnancy, the thought of pin-prick testing at least 8 times a day and the possibility of insulin injections scared the s**t out of me.

After having my emotional moment and learning more about managing my diagnosis, I realised how silly I was being. I was healthy, my baby was healthy and if I listened to my body, toughened up about my fear of needles and listened to what the doctors were telling me, then it would stay that way.

I got over it pretty quickly. I had to for my sake and for my child’s and soon I was again enjoying the miracle of growing a little person. Then it was time, that time that all pregnant women look forwards to and fear simultaneously -labour and birth.  What can I say? It was painful, messy, exhausting (22 hours!) and no matter what anyone says, you do NOT forget the pain once you hold the baby in your arms. You NEVER really forget, but the first time you hold your child in your arms, it makes all the pain, worry and did I mention pain? Yes…Well… it makes it all worth it.

Then comes the steep learning curve I was talking about, the one that never really evens out, the one of parenting. Those first few days, weeks, months with a newborn are always the most interesting and exhausting, especially with your first. You are both learning, both you and your baby. Learning how to feed, how to sleep, how to change a nappy without getting pee’d on or my favourite -the projectile poop! As they get older it becomes less about learning how to be (living, eating and so on) and more about learning how to become. Becoming the kind of parent you want to be, becoming the parent that supports your child, hoping that whatever they choose to become, no matter what it might be, that they are happy. That is a mother’s greatest hope, that her children are happy.

Of course she hopes that her children will grow and be healthy and safe, this goes without saying, but what she wants most of all is for them to be happy – no matter who they become.

So, on the eve of my daughter’s 8th birthday, this is a mother’s hope; that my daughter becomes whoever she wishes to be. That she isn’t afraid to embrace who she is, whoever that might be in the years to come. My only hope is that she is happy, a hope I have for all of my children.

Happy Birthday my beautiful girl, embrace who you are and be happy always!

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Enjoy,

KK

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Gift from the Heart

Hello Lovelies,

Today I write this post in honour of a very special woman. I’ve written about her a number of times on my blog (click here to read a post) and if you look at the comments on some of my posts, you’ll see this wonderful woman is also my number one commenter. The woman I’m talking about is my grandmother, who is turning 81 today!

Those of you who follow my blog, will know that while I am from Sydney, Australia, I am currently living in Budapest, Hungary. That means, that unfortunately I am not with my grandmother on her birthday today (or my grandfather’s last Sunday). However, that doesn’t stop  me from wishing them both a happy birthday and giving them a special mention in today’s post.

Another exciting thing happened this week, perhaps more exciting than my grandmother’s birthday (sorry Grandma!) I finished the first draft of the first chapter of my current WIP!

While I have a brief outline of this book in my mind, it took me a while to figure out where I needed to start this book exactly. After several attempts at a first chapter and several pushes of the delete button, I think I have finally figured out where I need to start.

You see, I have known for quite a while the kind of man József is. What I needed to know, were the events of his childhood and adolescence that formed the man that I know and decide which of these were important for the audience in the telling of József’s story.

After exploring this, I have decided to start with József as a sixteen year old living in Budapest and helping with his parents’ business. József is the sort of teenager that often finds himself in trouble, most of the time though, it is the trouble that finds him and not the other way around. József may have been raised to be a respectful and well-mannered Jewish boy, but being a sixteen year old, he often finds himself in some sticky an awkward situations. One of these situations occurs when József is with his friends and they are showing off their knowledge (or lack of) women. It is at this point that the object of his affections just so happens to be walking in front of him and overhears the conversation, leading to a very awkward moment and his crush giving him a piece of her mind.

So as a special treat, in honour of my grandmother’s birthday, I would like to introduce you to Anna, the object of József’s affection and share with you a small excerpt of the altercation between Anna and József. First though I’d like to share with you a little more about Anna.

Anna is like no other girl József has met, she is Jewish, as he is, however there is something different about her. It may be that she grew up in a small town, rather than in the city. It might be her appearance, her chestnut brown hair and blue-green eyes so unlike any of the other Jewish girls he knows. Whatever it is, József is drawn to her, finding excuses to spend time with her, determined to get to know her better and hope that she feels the same way about him. József learns that what some might call “love at first sight” is not always a mutual feeling, sometimes that first meeting is awkward to say the least and the object of your affections thinks you’re a total ass.

So without further ado, read on below for a small sneak peek. Remember this is just a very rough first draft and there’s not guarantee it will be free from error or at all recognisable in the final product, I do hope you enjoy it though.

Enjoy and Happy 81st Birthday Grandma!

-KK

Our conversation then began to decline further into the gutter as we tried to impress and outdo each other in our somewhat less than gentlemanly discussion of the fairer sex. In particular, we were discussing the daughter of the newly arrived family, Anna and her many “attributes”. I had in fact had met Anna the previous evening, as my parents had invited her family over for supper. I was instantly drawn to her and found Anna to be not only beautiful, with her chestnut brown hair and blue-green eyes, but after talking to her for some time I found her to be caring and sincere and I enjoyed very much spending time with her. I wasn’t about to tell this to my friends though and instead tried to impress them by explaining how much I appreciated her “attributes” and how her hips would not only make for a good wife, but also give a husband something to hold onto, if they understood my implied meaning. The person in front of us, who I had not noticed until now, being too concerned with impressing my friends with my crude remarks, slowed down their pace coming to a stop and turned around to face us.

To my absolute embarrassment and horror, it was Anna her was looking directly at me, those blue-green eyes pierced with what was undoubtedly anger and perhaps humiliation.

“Szabó József, how dare you speak about me to your friends in that way! How dare you speak about any woman in that manner! Didn’t your father ever tell you that you should respect women?”

Before I could gather myself enough to give her a considerate reply or even some sort of an apology, Anna had stormed off in a flurry of navy skirts and chestnut brown hair.

My friends of course found this confrontation extremely hilarious, I myself was praying that Anna didn’t tell Apa and trying to think of how on earth I would ever get back into her good graces.

 

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.