Then and Now

Mia and Darby in April 2015. Darby is about 4 months old and Mia is about 2 days old!!

And this was Mia and Darby yesterday 🙂

I know I keep banging on about it, but I love having friends in our life who have kids around the same age as our kids, and that they are growing up together and creating these memories together. It’s so special and it will be such a big support for the kids and I in the years to come.

And since then, the family have welcomed another baby into their family, which makes four for them and four for us! Now to try and get a photo of the eight of them together…. 🙂

I can’t think!

It’s like I’m constantly getting blind-sided. I was telling a friend the other day that I can’t deviate from a plan, once I establish one. It’s not that I’m narrow minded, it’s that it’s already taken so much mental energy that I don’t have, to come up with the plan, that I don’t consider other ways of doing things, so I put my blinkers on and assume all will be fine.

This is where you can come in! If you see me doing something the hard way, or you think there might be a different/easier way of doing it, please don’t be scared to say something. I know you’ll be kind. I know sometimes people are scared to suggest changes, so as to protect me, but I really am open to it. I just sometimes don’t realise it until someone speaks up. I may not take your advice or suggestion, but I will appreciate it.

So yesterday afternoon and evening I was in the Prince Charles ED with Julius, who has a post-viral cough and an associated wheeze. I’m so annoyed that any time I have a medical “partial-emergency” (like this time and this time) I have a mild panic attack and nearly lose the plot. And then I push those feelings down nice and far, because that’s the healthy way to deal with emotions, right?? RIGHT????

The inner dialogue that goes on inside my brain is phenominal! “What would Frith do in this situation? What would he say? Will there be any doctors in ED that will recognise my name, and know who Frith is? How long until I’m asked if I have a husband/partner/father of the children? How could I let this happen?? I should know better by now!”

It just goes on and on until it breaks me a little, I have a little cry, the paramedic/nurse/doctor assumes it’s to do with the injury/illness I’m presenting with, and gives me a pat on the back and a tissue, all the while I’m inside screaming “don’t you know that my husband was a doctor and he died last year and I don’t know how I’m supposed to do this on my own for the rest of my life???”

Sooooo yeah therapy is a journey, and I may or may not be going through the stages of grief all over again. Hard to say where I’m at, at this stage, but it could be Anger. I’ll keep you posted, as always 🙂 

10 things on the 10th in 10

10 things I want to do in the next 10 years

1.  Learn to love my body at any shape or size

2.  Build a chicken coop in my new back yard and have chickens

3.  Grow fruit and veges and herbs, and establish a good compost system

4.  Travel to New Zealand with the kids for an adventure holiday

5.  Be fit and strong again

6.  Take the kids to the snow

7.  Travel to the US on my own

8.  Start a new and fulfilling career

9.  Be involved in a church community

10.  Be financially stable and savvy

Happy 6th Birthday Quinn

Our baby girl is certainly not a baby anymore! 

Quinn started her birthday week at their new school, and it went wonderfully well. (Huge sigh of relief from me!!!) She and Chance both made new friends and some of the mums even came and introduced themselves to me which I really appreciated. And yes, the uniforms for the new school are almost identical to their old school. 

All the kids actually slept in a little on Friday, and once everyone was up, Chance hid Quinn’s three gifts to find and unwrap. She is a very grateful person, no matter the gift (or no gift) which makes me very happy 🙂

She took cupcakes to have with her classmates which were well received.

And we had a little cake with a few people on the Friday night. We were supposed to have fish and chips and cake at the park, but as usual, my rainmaker baby ensured that wasn’t going to happen!! Just like the last three years on her birthday!!

For Quinn’s birthday last year, I had the crazy idea that I needed to invite all the people, and even though it was so amazing having my people surrounding us with love, it was not what Quinn wanted. So this year she invited three of her friends from school last year, and their mums and one younger brother stayed, and we had a super low-key day at home.

It was the absolute best!! They ate food, opened presents, made beaded bracelets and keyrings, ate cake, jumped on the trampoline and finished off with a movie. Exactly what she wanted. She was thrilled. And she liked the cake too. 🙂

I thought it looked kind of dodgy, but it was my orange polenta cake with sour cream ganache (I didn’t have normal cream so I googled sour cream and it’s a thing!!) and my goodness it is the most freaking delicious cake ever. Even gluten free!! 

What a year it has been for you Quinn. You talk about Dadda all the time and you are keeping his memory beautiful and pure and alive. You remember so much and I hope you always hold the love he had for you, close to your heart.

I’m so proud of you, and even though we clash a bit, with you being so strong-willed, I hope I can learn to be more patient with you, and to not take your outbursts so personally. I know it’s not about me; it’s about you exploring the world around you, and testing the limits. I promise to always be here with a safe, warm hug. I love you so much. 

Love, Mama xxxxxxxxx

Good Grief

Another book title I’ve contemplated along the way. It also comes from one of my favourite come strips of all time. The kids have been watching The  Peanuts Movie lately and I love that they are picking up lines from it. For instance, they frequently call each other “my sweet babboo” which I freaking love!  

So back to it. I know I’ve been a bit absent on the old blog lately. Where has this year gone! Ha ha. I know it’s only 27 days old, but there goes January, just like that. I gotta say, it started well, and if I’m honest, has been pretty up and down since. All to be expected, and my new normal it seems, but it still leaves me exhausted quite a bit. 

I wanted to catch you up on a few things! Like Christmas!!

What a wonderful day! I really wanted the focus to be on a few special gifts that were unwrapped and appreciated rather than just tossed aside for the next one and the next one etc etc. And we succeeded! And to be honest, as long as my cousins and my kid’s cousins are around, it’s always going to be a great day.

A few fun days away with Julius’ Fairy Godmother 🙂

And New Years!! SO much fun 🙂 (There were more celebrations after this, but I didn’t get many photos!! Ugh!)

And then I went away for a week with some incredibly gorgeous friends. It was just amazing. These people!!! And can you believe this photo?? All looking at the camera and all looking fabulous. I can’t even! What an achievement in itself!!

My birthday was wonderfully awesome and low-key and special. I used to be all about the big parties with heaps of people all at once, and it maybe just because I’m getting older (sheesh) or I just don’t need the big fuss anymore, but I really prefer to enjoy quality time with small groups of people these days. And yes, I’m already planning for my 40th next year 🙂

So many things coming up in the next week or two, including Chance and Quinn starting at their new school tomorrow, and Quinn turning six on Friday. After that, I’m hoping it will all be about getting the house ready to move into, hopefully by Easter. To be honest, part of me is super super keen to get in there and have our own space, but I am also really keen to have everything done and completed before that happens, so I’m in no great rush. When it’s done it’s done. 

So here we are in 2019. Who would have thought we would be where we are, but life just keeps on keeping on, and either we let it take us along, or we get left behind. The choice is ours, and more subconsciously I suppose, I’m choosing to keep on keeping on.

I refuse to be left behind.

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.