“I wish someone had told me” is a series of posts that feed into our inquisitive nature at CN&CO. Each week we hear from someone in our network about something interesting or surprising that’s recently happened or occurred to them – or lessons they learnt. These blogs are a way to pay it forward and form part of CN&CO’s belief that the world can be a better place – and we all have a responsibility to make it so. This week’s post is by Josie Dougall.  

Life is precious. I was reminded this week when a friend almost lost her little boy in the swimming pool. She turned her back for a minute and had to pull him out blue and unconscious. Thank god he is okay now, and she is left traumatised and reminded at the value of life.

What makes life so precious is our relationships, the love we share, the memories we make, the lessons we learn.

I lost my mum eight years ago to Altzheimers Disease. Although her heart still beats today, and when we visit her she still lights up my heart with her smile. The essence of her is long gone. Her sage wisdom. Her love for me. Her thoughts, her strength, her resilience, her passion, her love. She raised me so beautifully. With such respect and grace and love. She didn’t force her way on any of us, and respected our journey as being our own. Her role as a guide and nurturer and not a dictator or leader.

As I now raise my own children I am so desperate all the time, literally every single day, to ask her advice. To bring some of her wisdom into my life as a mother. I want to also just ask her the simple stuff. Stuff I cant for the life of me remember. I WISH she had kept a diary. A diary of us three kids, and her life as a mum so I could read it and try channel her more.

You never know what and when your time will come. I could die next week, and what I have I left my children to remember me by? How will they know what is in my heart and in my hopes and dreams for them?

I downloaded a diary app last week and it is my mission this year to start keeping track of some of the small things and some of the big things for my children to have one day.

The fact that Grace calls gumboots “bungoots”. The fact that Frankie lights up any room she enters with her wide open smile that never stops giving. The fact that I fall in love with their dad more every single weekend when I see how he relentlessly and selflessly pours his love and energy into them. How he is so obsessed with how much Grace eats that he will even pack a picnic dinner and make an adventure trip to the forrest next door to get her to eat her supper.

These are the memories that will make them feel loved. That will guide them as parents one day and that will keep us close even when physically we are not anymore.

My promise for 2019 is to start writing stuff down for my children. To remind them who they are and where they came from and the day to day life they lived that will so form part of who they become.

I hang onto the words of my mums friends when they recount the odd story and memory.

One thing I do know is that she fundamentally based how she mothered us  on these two beautiful poems, and although some of the day to day detail is missing and gone forever with her, these words guide me as I mother my two girls.


Me and my girls

Kahlil Gibran On Children

“On the Children” by Khalil Gibran

On Children by Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

“If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn . . .
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight . . .
If a child lives with fear, he learns to be apprehensive . . .
If a child lives with pity, he learns to feel sorry for himself . . .
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy . . .
If a child lives with jealousy, he learns to feel envy . . .
If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty …
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient . . .
If a child lives with encouragement, he learns to be confident . . .
If a child lives with praise, he learns to be appreciative . . .
If a child lives with acceptance, he learns to love . .
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves..
If a child lives with honesty, he learns what truth is . . .
If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice . . .
If children live with recognition, they learn to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn to be generous.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith in himself and those about him . .
If a child lives with friendliness, he learns the world is a nice place in which to live.”