A Revised Look at Grandparenting

Eighteen months ago, we welcomed a stranger into our lives. Despite the fact he couldn’t speak any English, he managed to demand we give him a lot of care and attention. He wasn’t concerned about how tired or busy we were, and he certainly didn’t worry about interrupting our sleep. We became his slaves, and yet, we chose to love him.

Since then, his English has greatly improved, and although he still demands a lot of attention, he’s eager to be more independent. But the best thing is the way he has returned our love a million times over.

I blogged about his arrival here in Beginnings.


Yes, I’m talking about my first grandson, and I’m besotted by him. The intensity of my love for him amazes me. Every new word he says, each new skill he masters, and the way he loves us all back sends sparks through every cell in my body. I often find myself gazing adoringly at him like a preteen experiencing her first big crush.

I’m not surprised about this, and yet I am. Family and friends had told me how special grand parenting was, but I couldn’t know what they meant until I experienced it for myself. On the other hand, I’m not convinced it’s the blood link that makes it special. I honestly believe I could love any baby I had frequent contact with from birth.


I’ve always loved babies. I love their curiosity, their earnestness, and their unconditional love. I adore sharing the wonders of the world with children, and re-experiencing it all through their eyes. They truly are one of life’s biggest miracles.


I’ve always thought of the time when my own children were young as the happiest years of my life, and caring for Jasper takes me back to those good times. I’m getting another chance to have that fun time all over again.

And yet, it’s so very different.

Yes, I was happy as a young mother, but a lot was going on in my life. I was torn between wanting to be a full time nurse, and a full time mother. There were more bills to pay, and concerns about our future. My relationship with my husband was far more volatile, and I was often anxious about what other people thought of me/us, Plus, I constantly struggled to keep up with the demands of housework, cooking, and washing for a family of six.

At this stage of my life, most of those concerns are gone, or minimal, and perhaps this is the biggest benefit of grand-parenting. I have time to totally focus on my grandson, to sing to him, read to him, play with him, and just be with him. In the moment.

A song from the 70’s keeps running through my mind : Watching Scotty Grow by Bobby Goldsborough.

That’s what I’m doing these days, watching Jasper grow, and loving every minute of it.

20160611_115721 (2)

Although, right now, I wish I’d sometimes get out of the moment and take some decent photos for future moments!

Goodreads Giveaway

A little off-subject here, but if you like something for nothing, you may be interested in an opportunity to win a paperback copy of Absent Children by entering the Goodreads Giveaway.

Only four more days left to enter, so if you’re interested, click here or go to this link:


Good Luck!

Goodreads Avatar

Goodreads Avatar (Photo credit: minifig)

Now Available in Paperback as well as on Kindle!

Absent Children  is now available in paperback!

Amazon reviews:

Leaves you with a warm glow

Jessamy and Luke are meant to be together, but life has dealt them a harsh blow and they have different ways of coping with it. The author skilfully shows us both sides of a marriage where the couple is trying to cling on to hope. A meeting with an inspirational person and some important news help them on their journey. And of course their faithful canine companion, Claude! I wish there were more Claudes in the world, and I’ve been listening to my own dog lately to see if he makes any sense! Nothing so far!

An emotional, feel-good story that stays in your mind after you’ve finished it.

A lovely story about the cycle of life

A lovely book with realistic characters who experience the ups and downs of life, both individually and eventually, together. My favourite character was the beagle Claude, who supported the family throughout, but spoke to Jess with the wisdom of one older than time. Keep the tissues handy.

Absent Children is a compelling story

Fall in love with Jess and Luke as they reconnect and recommit to their marriage. Absent Children makes you think about pregnancy and birth, love and marriage, parents and pets

Confronts everybody’s worst fears

I am not a critic but I know what I enjoy, I loved the story, a great read about a frightening subject.


A cleverly written story, from multiple perspectives, of a sometimes harrowing personal and emotional journey. Hopefully it will add to the homebirth debate and raise awareness of the issues.

A Potential Lifechanger

This is a wonderfully entertaining story about characters struggling to cope with the difficulties life is throwing their way. Townsend knows how to keep a plot intriguing by adding in the right mix of conflict and gradual resolution. Jess, Luke and other characters are all believable and richly drawn. One special delight is Claude the beagle who is Jess’s very special companion. Oh, and the novel is set in Australia which adds to its charm.

In addition to telling a terrific story, Townsend manages to present in a realistic way the pros and cons of home birth. Although well past that stage in my life, had I read a book like this when pregnant, it would have at least made home birth something I would have considered. I love books that both tell me a good story and also leave me feeling I have learned something new about the world and our human condition. And that is what I feel Townsend has accomplished with Absent Children. A terrific debut.

Hope and Inspiration 

Tragedy can, and does, ruin relationships and divide families. Absent children is the story of a couple who can’t communicate their guilt and pain, and it looks as if there’s no way back. The author takes us into the thoughts and fears of each, a device cleverly sustained over the progress of their own story and its context against the background of their families. The scope of events widens out as the book progresses, and this results in a most satisfying whole. A constant in the book is Claude, a dog with opinions of his own, who loves his humans and is a low-key observer of events. Sounds unlikely? No, it works, and feels totally natural. In fact the way the book is written brings the reader effortlessly into the family, and all the little everyday detailing is well observed and convincing. It feels like real life, with its highs and lows, its hope and inspiration.

For  Amazon UK, click here,  and here for Amazon Us or Australia.



11 O'Clock Tick Tock

11 O’Clock Tick Tock (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Why, oh why has Time suddenly changed its behaviour and begun to drag by? I swear that second hand isn’t moving.

I remember thinking that the time it took to get from one Christmas to the next was immeasurably long when I was young, but as an adult, that changed. Nowadays, it often feels as if Time is in some kind of race and it can’t wait to get me to the finish line. But not this year…this year, I swear it has slowed down.

Am I becoming a child again?

Okay, so I’ve had to extend our departure date by three weeks, but even so, these last three months have felt like six, and in my mind, that means we should be moving back to Australia next month.

But, no! I still have over four months to wait!

It doesn’t make sense.

Maybe this is a good time to reflect on how I am faring in the goals I set for myself in a January post this year. Here’s the list:

1. Move to Australia to live – Duh! Rub it in. FAIL

2. Find a new home in Australia. – Once again, that’s not going to happen until we get there.

3. Publish Absent Children – Ah, success!

4. Successfully market Absent Children – Not yet.

5. Complete first draft of Crystal – Not quite

6. Meditate regularly (stealing this one, but it has been an intention for two years now, time to make it a reality,) – Yes! And it is good.

7. Maintain good relationships with family and friends – Yes, but that’s pretty much a given. I shouldn’t be so blase about it as it is the most important goal on this list.

8. Read for pleasure as well as work – I’d have to confess I’m struggling with the pleasure side of things, apart from the fact that much of the reviewing/critiquing I’ve been doing of late has been really good reading.

9. Create two new blogs – one on birthing practices and one on writing  the writing one is meandering along and not doing well. Birth one is another big FAIL.

10. Enjoy myself – Largely, I am enjoying myself, but I’d be enjoying myself a hell of a lot more if the time would begin moving at it’s normal rate again!!!!

I did that to cheer myself up, but there is more red writing than green, so it hasn’t worked.

Does anyone out there have any ideas about how to make Time move forward at a normal rate? I’d be delighted to hear of any suggestions you have for me. (Nice ones, please. :-))

While I Was Sleeping

The digital version of Absent Children was already for sale on Amazon when I woke up this morning. It only took two hours for them to approve it! So fast. Wouldn’t it be lovely if the paperback could appear that quickly? But, I have more work to do before that happens.

In the meantime, the digital version is available on Amazon, where ever you may be in the world.

Absent Children by Juli Townsend

Absent Children by Juli Townsend

Click here to go to the UK Amazon page for Absent Children. Or, go here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Absent-Children-ebook/dp/B00C1QKVFK/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1364393588&sr=1-3

I suspect it will automatically take you to the appropriate page for the country you’re account is linked to. Let me know if I’m wrong.

I read somewhere that you’re a writer until you sell a book. That’s when you become an author.

I hereby announce that I am an author! (It’s still okay if it was me that bought the book, isn’t it? )

English: leaves of the Vicoria Regia on tribut...

English: leaves of the Vicoria Regia on tributary of the Amazon, appr. 50 mls down-river of Iquitos, Peru (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I thought a picture of the real Amazon was appropriate here. It reminded me of a country I left out of my count. How could I possibly forget such a trip?

The Change in Me

world map (Photo credit: nsikander28)

I’ve visited thirty countries in the last nine years, many of them in Europe, a fact that has finally settled my discontent about not getting to see Europe. A feeling that was still with me when I left Australia to live in Florida.

I believe most of us stay essentially the same throughout our lives, and I am no exception, but I also think that living overseas has changed more about me than what may have happened simply with the progress of years.

This post is about those changes.

First: I have a new empathy for anyone who sets up home, temporarily, or permanently, in a new country. Although for me it was fun, in retrospect, I also see the challenges. It’s not easy.

Second: I discovered I could make new friends, something I’d doubted when I left the secure group I’d had around me for years before we moved away.

Third: You are reading it – there was a time I was fearful of putting my words out in the public arena.

Fourth: I am no longer registered to practice midwifery. Remember the blog about the psychic? Click here to see it. Seems she was right about the new everything, and despite my refusal to accept her prediction of a new job…

Fifth: I am now an author and my book is about to be published.

Absent Children by Juli Townsende

Absent Children by Juli Townsend

I will post again when the book goes LIVE for Kindle on Amazon. If you are waiting for the paperback version, a little more patience is needed, but I will announce the paperback release via this blog as well.

In the meantime, for more information about Absent Children, or if you’d like to read comments by readers of Absent Children, go to the My Books page in the toolbar, or click here, or view it in my julitownsendwrites.com blog by clicking here, or go to my Juli Townsend Author Facebook page, here.

If you read my book, I hope you enjoy it, and tell me about it.

A list: My top ten for 2013

A belated Happy New Year to you all from Chile.

I’m reblogging this from a fellow writer – A list: My top ten for 2013.

I don’t do resolutions, but I love how the new year prompts us to think of fresh starts. In Australia, the long summer holidays are happening now, and so the beginning of the school year is in February, I always began my new school year with good intentions, which is pretty much what we do with New Year as adults.

So, here’s my top ten for 2013:

Warning: Not a lot of thought has gone into these and they are in no particular order! 🙂

1. Move to Australia to live.

2. Find a new home in Australia.

3. Publish Absent Children

4. Successfully market Absent Children

5. Complete first draft of Crystal.

6. Meditate regularly (stealing this one, but it has been an intention for two years now, time to make it a reality,)

7. Maintain good relationships with family and friends

8. Read for pleasure as well as work.

9. Create two new blogs – one on birthing practices and one on writing.

10. Enjoy myself.

What are your top ten for 2013?

Merry Christmas

Wishing you all a wonderful 

Christmas eve and a fantastic Christmas day.

May you be warmed by the love

surrounding you, filled with good food and glowing

with smiles.

Merry Christmas from Melbourne, Australia

Past Christmases


Christmas 2008 063

Christmas in Florida, 2008


Australia 2009 033

Christmas in Australia, 20079

Christmas in Australia, 2009


Christmas in Glasgow

Christmas in Glasgow, 2011

Townsend Family 2~email

Lastly, it wouldn’t be Christmas if I didn’t include my favourite Christmas song by my favourite Beatle.

2013 beckons, let’s make it better.