Today I went to the dentist

It seems like such a dumb thing to do. My husband died two months ago and it occurs to me that I’m due to go to my dentist for a check up. Frith used to make fun of the fact that I would book dentist visits when I came to Brisbane on holiday.

But he’s my dentist. He’s the only dentist I see. Sure I’ve tried other dentists but no one measures up to mine. I’ve been going to him for over 20 years and he’s the best.

So I made an appointment. Life goes on doesn’t it? I thought it best to get it out of the way before health insurance premiums change next month. I still think about practical things like that, even though I think it’s crazy to be thinking these things at this point in time. It’s just who I am. Mrs Practical.

I guess that’s why Frith always found it amusing, but he wasn’t surprised. He knew who he married.

I had to get a filling today. My first one in years. I didn’t want to talk about Frith and why I am living with my parents, and thankfully he didn’t ask. He’s a good dentist but/because he doesn’t do small talk. I just had to keep it together for the needle and not start crying.

Mission accomplished.

The last time I booked a dentist visit on our holiday, Frith came in to town with me and Chance and Quinn (about 18 months ago) and took the kids for a wander around town. While he was making fun of me, instead of getting defensive I joked that I’d also booked a pap smear and a colonoscopy while I was at it. Just to really cut loose on my holiday.

That was in July 2016. We were all down here for Frith’s PhD graduation ceremony and I think we stayed for over a week. It was such a good week too. Seems like a lifetime ago.

Life goes on.

I’m feeling sore and sorry for myself so I’ve also booked a spa pedi this evening thanks to a voucher from my gorgeous friend. That’ll cheer me up a little bit for sure.

This is the photo from that week, at Frith’s grad ceremony ❤❤❤

A slow learner

I had a face-palm moment this evening. I’m totally spent. I’m the most tired and exhausted I’ve been all year, and it’s been an exhausting year. I feel like I’ve been super snappy and impatient with the kids, which makes them snappy back, and the situation always escalates.

Tonight, I was just too tired to argue. Anytime they did something that frustrated me, I just honestly didn’t have the energy to react. So I kindly spoke to them, and the response has (obviously) been a much smoother evening.

I know this guys. I’m pretty sure most parents know the theory, but the practice is hard, because parenting is a tiring and monotonous job. But then I likened it to being an adult in an adult situation, and what happens when you fight with your partner.

I happened upon this blog post the other day, that I wrote about a year ago. The general gist is that I was (finally) learning that the best way to deal with conflict in marriage is with kindness. Which is really hard sometimes when another adult pisses you off, you just want to give them the finger and tell them to get stuffed. Sure, a good old fashioned fight with some yelling and huffing isn’t the worst thing from time to time, but before things escalated in an argument with Frith, and before I got defensive, I started to really try to diffuse the situation with kindness and understanding, and pretty much every time, it was a winner.

And it’s the same with kids. Only they haven’t learned the latter approach. They are still of the screaming/defiant/stomping/crying method. It’s up to me as their mum to respond with (somewhat firm) kindness. Any time I respond with yelling/annoyance/frustration/threats, things escalate and I always have a battle on my hands to bring them back down.

Tonight, as I was feeding Julius off to sleep, the three kids came downstairs, and after Chance and Quinn couldn’t find me, they went to their room and started colouring in. I was waiting for Darby to come into my room and wake Jules up by jumping on the bed to keep me company, so as he walked into the room, I greeted him with a whisper of “Hey buddy! How’s it going? Would you like to gently sit on the bed and wait for me to finish with Jules, and then we can read a story together?”

The response? A whisper of “okay Mama” before he sat down quietly on the edge of the bed. That’s when I had my ah-ha moment. Honestly it was the sweetest thing. Normally I was yell-whisper not to disturb us, and he would always, in an act of defiance, jump on the bed, while I imagined him giving me the finger and telling me to get stuffed.

It is SO hard, sometimes seemingly impossible, not to lose my cool when things reach crisis point, but I really hope I can remember this evening, and that it serves as a reminder to me that my kids are just little humans that have to be taught big life skills. And now it’s up to me to do that.

My awesome foursome

Flashback Friday

How could I possibly not share this collage of Darby at 6 months old.

First food faces are the absolute best aren’t they?

And how can I possibly not share this one too, taken just a few days later.

And look at our little nugget now. Well, not so little that’s for sure! Still making us laugh with his antics, and still has a heart of gold.

2 months today

I don’t do boots, but I do do Docs. (ha ha. do do…)

And Docs be Docs.

And I be in love. I bought these today and thought of Frith the whole time.

Honey, you were the king of boots and the king of cool, when you weren’t being the king of the nerds. We bought these RM Cuban Heels at the local Lifeline for $20. (Yes, $20, not $200). And you rocked them for three-and-a-half years. I still have them now.

May 2014

You are always in my heart and soul. Of my shoe.
Keeping it punny just for you.
And rhyming too!
I love you xxxx

Tonight I had the end bits

Frith’s favourite part of any cooked meat was the end bits. Juicy yet crispy, meaty yet fatty, and just all delicious goodness. I would always serve them to him, to show him in a small way that I was thinking about him and that I loved him. He appreciated this small gesture, and devoured those end bits with a big cheesy grin.

While we lived at college, after a few months the cooks got used to him asking for the end bits of roasts, so they would put a pile of them aside just for him. It was really the sweetest thing. I remember one time they piled his plate so high with them as a bit of a joke. I can’t remember if he ate it all, but he would have given it a red hot go.

Tonight I cooked a roast lamb and decided to serve myself the end bits.

I can totally see why they were his favourite. I devoured them myself and started thinking about all the meals we shared over the years. SO many meals. SO much food. And so many people we shared them with.

I still can’t believe he’ll never eat with us again. That doesn’t seem right to me. I found his BBQ the other day and wondered if it would ever be lit up again. The kilos upon kilos of meat that he cooked in that thing is immeasurable. It’s times like this that I just want to ask him what on earth was he thinking in that moment of pure madness. There were so many more good times to be had, and now I’ll have to have them without him.

The numbness and shock is wearing off, and what is left is frustration and sadness and anger and desperation and everything in between. At the end of the day I have nothing left to give, and that’s when the kids need me the most. Thank God for my parents being able to step in and help with stories and bedtime, and for my wonderful family and friends who are helping out in many other ways. I hate how frustrated I get with the kids when they take ages to go to sleep. It was hard enough when Frith was around; now some nights it seems impossible.

I wish I could say I was doing better, but I feel as though things are going to get worse for a while, before they improve. It’s like I’m slowly thawing out and things are hitting me in a much more real and permanent way.

Like those end bits of meat. And finding his boots. And looking at photos of him with the kids. And not knowing how or when to tell the kids what actually happened. I’m tired of talking about it, but don’t feel like I have anything else to say, or the energy to say it.

So instead I will write. I will make plans that, even though they don’t include him, would excite him and honour him. I will make photo books for the kids. I will keep his memory alive, as there was so much good in him and so many wonderful things that will never leave us. And I will say goodnight to him every night, wherever he is.

But most of all, it just occurred to me, I will give myself a break, and time to just be with these feelings. Yeah. Just be.

Flashback Friday

Six years ago, almost to the day, I fell over in KMart and broke three bones in my foot. You can read about it here. And you can see some great shots here.  After my three month recovery I was told that I would never run again. I figured I’d never run before that so it wasn’t that much of a disappointment.

Gotta love the green whistle ☺

When the cast came off and I was surprised and disappointed that I couldn’t just walk out of the hospital.

It took months before I was completely pain free, and since then I’ve been great. I even ran (shuffled) my first (and so far only) 5k back in 2013  with my dear friend Beth.

Today I hit the pavement again and ran for the first time since becoming pregnant with Julius. I ran 2k in 16:39 and I was actually pretty pleased about that time (mostly that I didn’t stop) and my recovery. And tomorrow I’m going to head on down to the Redcliffe Parkrun. I’m planning on making this a regular thing and I have a few time goals that I’ve set as well.

My trainer took this very sneaky photo of me.

So I guess this might be my new Day 1 when it comes to running! Hmmm… We’ll see….

Flashback Friday

Frith with Darby in our temporary accommodation in Rockhampton before moving in to our new house. January 2015.

I sometimes wonder about posting these sorts of photos. I know it can be sad and painful, but we had so so so many wonderful times together. Not enough years, but so many moments, and I want to share those memories here. I want my kids to know how much he loved them. Truly. He was completely in love. With all of us. He felt so deeply and I want that to shine through when I share these memories.

We think of him every day. Some days it feels like every minute. Is that even possible? Is it possible for me not to think of him? He’s always there, somewhere, in some way. He truly is unforgettable and for that I am grateful.

Happy Birthday Quinny

I thought I’d better get into blogging about this before I do what I did last year and went months and months without the full debrief!

As Quinn’s birthday was looming, I took the steps to plan her birthday party. Last year was a huge affair with a jumping castle and loads of her friends, and ours, and it was a fantastic afternoon that continued on into the evening, as our gatherings always did.

This year was going to be a smaller affair, but it turned out bigger than I had planned. The weather didn’t cooperate with the coldest February day in years (on record?? Surely not) It was raining, windy and cold. And the party was at the local playground.

The good news is, we had the place to ourselves! The bad news was that the kids got soaked through within the first five minutes so were a little miserable on and off for the afternoon.

Quinn wanted a cake with ballerinas, Minnie Mouse, flowers and something else I can’t remember. I suggested a mermaid cupcake cake like this:

Bless her cotton socks she agreed, and was even excited about it! As was I! There was a slight transportation issue with the mermaid tail cupcakes…

But with extra icing and a metric tonne of sprinkles, no one was the wiser…

Ha ha. Nailed it! 🙂

The birthday girl was a little overwhelmed with all the fuss, and stayed close to her Mama. That was fine by me. I don’t often get lots of cuddles from my baby girl.

She was all smiles when it came to the cake.

Again, it’s not what we planned, but we were surrounded by some of the best people in our lives and for that I am grateful. Happy 5th Birthday to my Quinny. You have always been Dadda’s girl, and I know you miss him but his spirit lives in you. You are determined, caring, hilarious, and kind. You will always be our baby girl, even though you are growing up before my eyes. Your family love you so much and I know you will go on to do great things in your life. We will be there for you every step of the way.

Love, Mama  xxxxxxx

He’s everywhere, but he’s not here

This is how I felt when I went to the house in Rocky. I saw Frith sitting at his desk, studying or playing video games; I saw him in the kitchen making his tasty BBQ sauce, I saw him on the deck having a beer with his friends; I saw him in the Lego room building something awesome with the kids; I saw him in our bedroom sleeping soundly.

He was everywhere, but he wasn’t there.

I feel that way every day when I look at the kids. When I see him in them. I feel that way when I pick up our Contigo water bottles, when I take the kids in the Croozer bike trailer/pram, when I see photos of him everywhere.

He’s everywhere, but he’s not here.

And it’s how I felt when I spent over three hours in ED tonight. (I slipped down my friend’s stairs just after it had started raining and it was wet and I was wearing thongs and I was holding Darby and my forearm took the full force of the blow. And my butt. I’m fine by the way, and so is Darby.) I could see him in the Doctor who made the child next to me feel at ease; I could see him in the Doctor having a joke with the nurses; I could feel his calming presence in the room where a patient had to have her should put back into place after a dislocation. I could see him typing up notes and scrolling through test results in the middle of the chaos of Emergency.

When I got the good news that there was no fracture, I could hear him in my head saying “it’s really hard to break that bone, honey, so it’s probably just a bruise.” It’s what he would have said. I’d put money on it. I would have insisted that I get an x-ray, and can just see the look on his face when I told him he was right.

He’s everywhere, but he’s not here. And it’s a hard reality to face. And I thank God every single day that I don’t have to face that reality alone.

10 things on the 10th

Random edition.

1. I have internet. I may never surface again. I have a to-do list of about a hundred things, mostly fun stuff, and it’s nice to be back online. I have been on my laptop a lot the last two evenings and it’s bliss.

2. I’ve been unpacking and settling in. There’s still a lot in boxes but we have the essentials and we are doing okay.

3. I am grateful for many things in my life right now. The kids like school, the walk to and from school is gorgeous, and my kids get to see their grandparents a lot more, just to name a few things.

4. I have SO many emails and messages to catch up on. I know there’s no pressure to, but I want to.

5. I had lunch at the new precinct at Chermside shopping centre. Holy moly! I didn’t even know they were building that, let alone that it was complete! Crazy!

6. I have been very kindly given a few massage vouchers and have started cashing them in. Thank you so so much.

7. Our house in Rocky is finished and ready to be rented. I hope it happens sooner rather than later.

8. I’m drinking a bit too much a bit too often. Not to excess per se, just need a few more regular alcohol free days and weekends.

9. Even though I haven’t been able to make it to the mum fit classes down here, I do have a plan to start some PT sessions and continue with my walks to and from school.

10. Mum and Dad’s house is amazing. The view is stunning, the breeze is incredible, the space is lovely, the company is perfect, the feel is homely. I can’t quite say I feel like I’m “at home” but I’m as close as I possibly can be in my current circumstances. And that is definitely something to be thankful for.