Oh crap

I’m not okay.

In fairness, I think the only person I was fooling was myself.

I think “my people” know I’m not in fact okay, even though I’ve been insisting “I’m okay” for some time now. And people who don’t even know me must know that I can’t possibly be okay.

As my friend just said to me “It would probably be weirder if you were okay” and another said “I think I would be more scared if I thought you were okay“. Um yes I do have the best friends in the world, thanks for noticing.

The front page follow-up article in the Rocky Bulletin today has hit me hard.

I have to fill out a questionnaire each week in between each session I have with my psychologist. Some of the questions include:

“I am able to show my emotions to others.” Yes

“Others can tell how I am feeling.” Yes

“My feelings are confusing to me.” No

The same questions are asked each week. It has become a bit tedious to be honest, but when I filled it out before my session last week, it (finally) occurred to me that I hide my true feelings. Not intentionally; I truly feel like I have been completely honest this whole year; but subconsciously, as a method of survival I guess, I have kept my cards quite close to my chest.

I think I confuse sharing my thoughts with sharing my feelings. I have been fooling myself that thoughts and feelings are one and the same, but they clearly are not. It’s easy to share thoughts. But feelings? Hmmmm. Not so much.

I was at a playground meet-up this morning with the prep mums. These women are absolutely incredible and gorgeous and fun and real, and I have connected with them in the same way that I connected with my mum’s group in Wangaratta all those years ago. I was telling them about the article, and showed them the front page. To lighten the mood, I laughed about the editor flipping the photo around (obviously as a coping mechanism) which turned Darby’s Super Mario shirt logo backwards.

When I saw the tears and heartache and empathy in their eyes, it hit me.

If I were reading about another mum and wife who had gone through this, I would have tears in my eyes as well, and I would wonder how this woman could possibly get out of bed each day. If that mum was showing me this article, and lightening the mood with humour, I would ache for her. 

What can I say? It’s different when that person is you.

I haven’t been drinking nearly as much this year, but I have had a drink or two this evening and the words are pouring out. I’m not saying I need to drink to write but sometimes the words flow unexpectedly after a tipple.

The front page article in the Rocky Bulletin today has touched something in me but I don’t know what it is. And it’s not a bad thing. And a part of me has to say that, because it’s true, but also to reassure the journalist who interviewed me, that it was a great article. (People pleaser through and through.)

Good grief there are so many tangents and ideas and thoughts and feelings in this post. This is more of a journal entry than a blog post, but I’ve come this far, so why not go all the way.

Another statement I’ve had to address in my therapy questionnaires:

“Being upset helps me be creative.” Yes

Yes indeed.

Please don’t worry. I’m okay with not being okay. This is helpful to me. Getting these words out of my head and heart and onto a screen is part of my therapy. Whether or not my words are read is irrelevant. It just helps to write and work through stuff as I go.

Thanks for being part of this inconceivable journey. 

10 things on the 10th

January 2019 random edition

1. The Rocky Bulletin are doing a follow-up story on Frith. It’ll be in the paper tomorrow.

2. I’m getting the main bathroom in my new house completely re-done before we move in. Will probably be in the house late Feb/early March at a guess.

3. School holidays are going well. Having a mix of going out days and staying at home days. Yesterday was ridiculously busy, so today we are just chilling out.

4. I’m going to the Sunshine Coast with these great people again next Tuesday for a week and can’t wait!

5. I’ve cut way down on booze this year and am feeling much more clear-headed. It hasn’t been as hard as I had thought it might be, for which I am thankful.

6. I categorically need to get back into walking. 

7. I am so tired of getting snacks for the kids every 4 minutes. Give me strength!!

8. I really need to, and am going to, take a break from facebook. If you need to contact me, I think I’ll be joining whatsapp. Or you know, just call me or email me. 

9. I think I’m catching up on a lot of lost sleep this year. Mum has been giving me a lot of sleep-ins these school holidays, and I’m starting to feel slightly better for it.

10. It’s my birthday in a week. That is so weird for me; the last in my 30s. 

It’s going to be a big year.

Kintsugi

Kintsugi is the name of a Japanese art form and philosophy. In the art of Kintsugi, cracked and broken pottery is repaired with lacquer, mixed with powdered gold. As a philosophy, the breakage is seen as our most vulnerable point in life. The repairs are not disguised but highlighted to signify something that is fully healed and stronger. The repaired piece of pottery has strong core values, which is used as a metaphor for life, to not skip the struggles but to embrace it, by showing where your character is built. 

My beautiful cousin Emma gave me an early birthday present, and a lovely card explaining these black and gold hearts. I’m not sure that I’m fully healed, or that I will ever be, but I guess that’s the point. The cracks in my life are golden, they will always show, and I’ll never try and hide them.

Shock took the first half of my year, and I feel medication took the second half.

Don’t get me wrong. I needed both of these things, in precisely measured doses at these times, but it’s hard to look back at my year and not feel as though it was taken from me.

There are pockets of the year that are a mystery to me. I know I was living day to day, sometimes hour to hour or moment to moment, but months seem to have vanished.

I certainly have a lot of paperwork and paid bills to show for my year. I also have kids who are all a year older, and a few more wrinkles and several stress kilos added to my body, so the year definitely happened.

A friend asked me last week if I thought I had gone through the whole grieving process. Intellectually, yes I have. Emotionally? I’m on my way, as I’ve been working on it. I have time for that. There is no hurry. The golden cracks aren’t going anywhere.

I have made efforts this year to work through things, with counselors and psychologists. I am learning that I don’t need to make everyone happy; that my job is to work on my own happiness, as well as my kids. I’ve mostly come to terms with the lack of answers I will ever have. The coping strategies I used last year (mainly food and booze) are not long-term solutions, and I’m looking forward to backing off on those this year, and rediscovering other things that make me happy instead. 

This time last year, my world had fallen apart, but thanks to family and friends, I have started to rebuild. I look forward to 2019. It’s going to be a-okay.

10 things in the 10th

10 things I’m grateful for

1. My kids have been sleeping like absolute Champions about 5 nights out of 7 each week, meaning they sleep in their own beds all night long 😴😊😍

2. They have been crashing at night before 8 very easily. This has meant I’ve been able to write my Christmas cards with few interruptions!

3. They are able to sometimes play really nicely together. It’s the best 10 minutes of my week! 

4. Different combinations of the kids together give different dynamics, a variety of games and ideas, and even another 10 minutes of peace for me 😊

5. I find their little personalities fascinating to watch. I see so much of myself in them at various stages, and then I see Frith. So interesting!

6. They all sometimes like the same food on a particular day in a particular way I have cooked it when Jupiter is in line with Venus.

7. They all love cuddles. I know it won’t always be like this, with three boys, but Chance and Darby are particularly cuddly and I’m hanging on to that for now.

8. They develop independence without me even realising. The older three all get themselves ready in the morning, and Julius feeds himself. It’s funny how you work so hard every day to teach them life skills and all of a sudden they are doing stuff on their own. Like Quinn brushes her own hair and puts it in a pony tail for school each day. Crazy!

9. I’m grateful for their health. 

10. I’m grateful for each phase of their childhood. Even though I’m finding it difficult to find activities that suit them all at the same time, I know that in a few years they will all be at school and I’ll wonder where the kiddy phase went. 

What a great day

You know those situations where things don’t exactly go to plan, but you just decide you can’t do anything about it and just go with it? That was today. I had planned a birthday party in the park for Chance and Darby yesterday, but due to fevers and a spot of spew, decided to postpone to today, and hope for the best. And I got it!

We had such a nice, simple birthday celebration at home, with a big bowl of chips, a couple of cheeses and some Jatz, and a few plungers of coffee.* 

The boys are really into Super Mario at the moment, with Chance always choosing to be Mario, and Darby in love with Luigi, pronounced “Louie-Gee”. It’s the best! And easy to find inspiration for their cakes! I also found the hats and tashes on ebay, and just couldn’t resist!

I had so much fun making the cakes, (the 8 was my signature orange polenta cake with chocolate ganache, and the 4 was the best chocolate cake with chocolate icing – I’ve been making this for years and it’s best served at room temperature, for those playing at home) and it was nice to take my time with the decorating. I used pre-made royal icing (it’s the best!) and put it all together fairly easily. With a glass of bubbly and no interruptions, it was a great Saturday night in my books!

The boys were so happy with the end product. I hadn’t told them what I was doing, so it was so nice to see their faces when they saw them, though clearly, Darby has his poker face on here… 

My heart is so full as I type this and look at the photos. It was really exactly what I was hoping it would be – easy, relaxed, a few kids to play with, lots of adults around to help with the kids, (thank you in particular Nathan, Josie, Uncle Felix and Aunty Kate!!!!!) and very happy kids. In my present circumstances, what more could I possibly ask for?

And to top it off, Darby just came out and told me he had an itchy arm and can he have some cream on it. I put some Sudocrem on which I usually use when I change Julius’ nappy and he said “that’s butt cream.”

The perfect end to a marvelous day. 

*personally I had Aeropress with a good glug of Kahlua, but that’s just me 🙂

Did you know I proposed?

Frith said yes, obviously, and 11 years ago today we were married. This is how we celebrated our 10th anniversary last year:

I know right? Delivered to the hospital with love. Actually, when I got there he was in theatre so he had it, warmed up, when he popped home for lunch. We planned to celebrate once we had moved to Toowoomba, as life was in a shambles with packing and moving at the time. 

So, yeah, in case you’re new around here, it was I who proposed to Frith. We used to frequent Cafe La Dolce Vita on Park Rd in Milton, and I put together an elaborate plan involving a few outside parties, to propose to him the night before his birthday.

He was planning to propose to me the following week at Day Camp, which is where we had met initially, 8 years before that. He still did that proposal and it was awesome. 

A few weeks ago, I found myself child free and in the vicinity of La Dolce Vita.

so I popped in and ordered an Italian Hot Chocolate.

It was as good as I remember. This was us setting up for our engagement party, August 2007.

And a photo Frith took of me on our honeymoon.

I had planned to have Chance and Darby’s combined birthday picnic today, perhaps to act as a bit of a distraction, but the universe had other plans: Chance came down with a fever yesterday and ended up throwing up in the afternoon, then Julius joined in at 9pm last night. I was worried it was contagious, so decided to pull the pin on the party. Chance still has fevers, but Jules is fine, as is everyone else, so we will just lay low today.

So happy anniversary to you Frith. I know you are with us in some way; you’ve got to be. It wouldn’t make sense for you to be missing seeing your kids grow up, on some level at least. Thank you for a marvelous 10 years of marriage. You have given me a lot of memories to fall back on when I’m particularly sad or mad with you for not being here. I miss you.

Feeling restless

I really don’t know what it is right now, but I’m feeling so fidgety and restless. It could be a number of things, like this time of year is so busy for us with Chance’s birthday (tomorrow) and Darby’s birthday (7th Dec) and my Christmas cards that I’ve finished making, but haven’t started writing in. There’s cupcakes to be made and taken to school, there’s cakes, cakes and more cakes to be baked for the party, there’s gifts to be bought, then there’s the usual day-to-day, week-to-week crap to keep on top of.

There are so many “firsts without Frith” coming up in the next month, and then it will have been a year since he left. Just like that. 

I feel like I have eight things to do all the time, and I don’t know which one to start on, so I thought I’d write a blog post. I’ve found it really hard to write on the blog lately, even though there’s plenty to share. I feel like we are all limping in to the end of the year, but once the kids finish school, that’s when work needs to be done on the house, and stuff needs to be moved in!

Maybe I’m a little apprehensive about the move, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. I guess it’s just that it’s another big adjustment and I’ll need to factor in potential melt-downs and settling-in jitters from the kids for a few weeks into the new year. 

And then of course there’s New Years Day. God, really? I’ve talked about it with Chance a little bit, and I suggested we celebrate Dadda’s birthday each year, and be happy on New Years Day, and excited about what a New Year can bring for our family. I just don’t want to start every single year from now on, on such an awful, sad note, you know? I want to celebrate our time as a family of six, but also forge ahead as a party of five

I think this has helped; getting a few things out of my head and onto the screen. Tomorrow is a big day for my biggest boy, and I plan to make it extra special for him. 

10 things on the 10th

10 Baby names we didn’t use

1. Silver – for a girl. Or boy. You can guess who chose that one, and who chose not to use it!

2. Gabe – short for Gabriel. Chance was going to be Gabe up until I was seven months pregnant and we heard the name Chance and liked it. It was always on the backburner but never got used.

3. Hector – cute or what!!?

4. Scout – I gave that a big old veto. Scout is a dog’s name, am I right??

5. Zeke – I really love this name, but Frith vetoed it for Julius.

6. Dash – Dash Foottit? I don’t think so….

7. Wesley – or Wes Lee. Ha ha. Didn’t quite stick.

8. Alby – how stinkin’ cute is that??? Frith vetoed 🙁

9. Louie or Linus – both adorable.

As you can see, these are pretty much all boy’s names, as we had a girl’s name picked out for a long time:

10. Lacey-Cate. The girl’s name we had picked out for Darby and Julius that we never got to use. We loved this name. I loved that it saluted the Cathy and Kates in our lives. Such a perfect name 🙁

There are actually HEAPS more like Victor, Hogarth, Bryce, Jesse, Leon, Sinclair, Jarvis, Archer, Lex, Howard, Bernie, Perry, Kiel, Luca and Aramis. Need a boy’s name? Feel free to steal one 🙂