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I know it’s been ages since I’ve written anything.  Life has been all over the place lately.  Since I last wrote anything, I have broken my ankle, had a really bad flu (which I still have), started back at TAFE studying Diploma of Photography and all sorts of other crazy things.  So I’m sorry that I’ve neglected you all but I wouldn’t have been able to do it any justice as my heads been spinning too fast to actually string 2 words together.  Still I’m here now and wanted to fill you in on some of the exciting things that have happened since we last spoke.

The most exciting thing is that I went to Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.  I’ll write a blog about my trip and everything I saw soon but I have to tell you, the best part of the whole trip was the company.  Let me go back a bit further to tell you something of my family dynamics.

I was exceptionally lucky to have grown up in a large family.  Not just brothers and sisters but lots and lots of cousins on my mum’s side. (only 2 on my dad’s side).  Having been one of 12 kids in my family, there was always a cousin the same age as someone in our family.  They ranged from much older to a bit younger than me, however, there was a run on girls around my age for a while.  So, I grew up with Maureen and Julie, a few years older, Wendy, Kerrie and myself, all around the same age,  Ronda, Deb, a year or so younger, then Di and Gail who were a few years younger again.  Growing up, the younger ones didn’t feature as much in our lives but of course, as you all get older, the age gap narrows and doesn’t seem to matter any more at all.

Next up from all of us was the boys.. There was Geoff, Billy, Robert, Fred & Pete (two of my brothers) and Johnny.  So although they were just a bit older than us, they had their own circle of friends at family do’s too.  It was a great friendship.

Well, on the trip to Alice Springs, I traveled with Wendy, who is only 3 weeks older than me and has always been one of my best friends.  We went in one car, her brother Robert and his wife Elaine went in another and we went up to see their sister Maureen, who now lives up there.  Quite a family event.  These people mean the world to me and I don’t spend enough time with them.  Life is too short to let people slip through the net.  We know this, but it still happens.

I think I spent nearly all my school holidays at their place and the 3 of them have always been so very close to me.  This meant that the trip gave us time to really connect.  And connect we did.  I don’t think Wendy and I shut up the whole time we were on the road.  We talked and talked and talked.  Then we’d pull up for morning tea or lunch with Rob & Elaine and we’d all start the conversation again.  It was just fantastic.

They say cousins are your first best friends and that is so true.  My cousins have stayed my best friends over the years and age has only drawn us all closer.  We’re hoping to organise a trip next year over to see Deb who now lives in America.. all of us girls, gasbagging until all hours of the day and night.  What fun it will be.

Sadly over the years, I have lost 3 cousins.  First was Johnny, who was killed in an accident the day before my 16th birthday.  I will never hear the John Paul Young song, Birmingham, without hearing Johnny’s laughter. We sang it repeatedly at a party one night and he teased us unmercifully about our rendition.  Every thought I have of him, puts a smile on my face and I can still see that cheeky grin as he teased us.

Then Lenny, Robert, Maureen and Wendy’s little brother, was killed in an accident when I was still  busy having babies.  Lenny was a special kid.  My last memory of him was putting him to bed after a few drinks, while out camping.  We woke in the morning to find him asleep in a puddle of water and his sleeping bag.  Seems we’d set his bed up in a hole and the rain had filled it up for him.  He slept through the lot.  I cried for days straight when he died.

The last of my cousins to pass away was Julie.  Our beautiful Julie lost her brave   battle against breast cancer at about 33 years of age.  I always imagine how she must have agonised over having to leave her 3 beautiful little children when she passed.  These three cousins left huge holes in our lives when they left us.  They taught me lessons about savoring every moment, yet still I’ve let too many moments slip through my fingers, but no more.

So it seems that now that we are all around the 50 mark or older, it’s time to MAKE time and spend as much time together as we all can.  Life gets too busy sometimes to find the extra time but it’s always possible.  When I realised Deb was turning 50 next  year I thought it would be the perfect time to get us all together for a huge trip. The girls have never all been in the same place at the same time since my Grandmother, Gargie’s funeral I think, when we were around 14 or 15, so I think it’s well past time we all had some girlie time together.  I so hope we can all do it, because the thought of spending even a week with these amazing girls fills my heart with happiness.

I don’t ever want to leave a word unsaid… or a laugh unlaughed… or a song unsung.. It’s time to take stock and realise how important your “first best friends” really are.  We learn so much from cousins.. and keep those memories for life.  I’m so excited at having made some extra special memories with my cousins on our road trip and I’m over the moon at the thought of heading over to the USA to make even more memories with the girls.  I hope you have some amazing “cousins” memories.  I know I do!

Happy making memories.. Livvy 🙂

Gargie's 80th Birthday Party

Most of us together celebrating Gargie’s 80th birthday.  So many years ago!

desert park alice springs (92)

The cousins I spent time with in Alice Springs