Ripping off band-aids

Writing this blog post after almost two months of no posts, is an example of the band-aid ripping that’s been going on lately. I’ve taken some small steps and some huge leaps in my journey of moving forward over the last month or so. Some have been joyous, some have left me weeping. But all of them have been necessary and cathartic in some way.

Take today for example. This morning, I decided it was time to take the kids back to Hidden World Playground at Fitzgibbon. It was the last place the six of us were together as a family, before we dropped Frith off at the airport and he left for Rockhampton. Until today, I hadn’t been able to face taking the kids back, worried they might remember Frith being there with them; worried how I would feel.

Friday 29th December, 2017
Last photos together

There was nothing remarkable about that park visit. I didn’t even take any photos. If I had known it would be the last time we saw Frith, I would have taken thousands. We dropped him off at the airport around 3pm and he walked away.

Band-aids are kind of gross really. Necessary sometimes for sure, but one of two things can happen when applied; the wound underneath can start to heal and you can forget all about it and let it do it’s job. In this case you can go on with your life without any interruptions, and pick up where you left off.

Alternatively, the wound can fester underneath, unbeknownst to you, until you rip the band-aid off only to find an oozing mess of infection. In this case, it’s best to let it air out and not get it dirty any time soon. I’ve had a couple of messy rip-offs, but it’s important for me to realise that it’s good to know about the gaping wound underneath. Even though it’s hard to look at, and I now have more healing to do, it’s necessary in my journey.

I also find it strangely interesting. I was convinced that my high level of self awareness protected me from any shocks or unexpected emotions coming out of the blue, but boy was I wrong. It’s tempting to whack another band-aid on and ignore the issues; the energy to deal with the boil-over that has occurred is severely lacking; but in the interest of not going completely bat-shit crazy, I will continue to delve, and see what happens.

Celebrity Crush

I’ve always had a thing for Keanu Reeves. In true 90s style, I had his posters plastered all over my bedroom walls, thinking one day maybe, just maybe, we would meet and he would fall instantly in love with me.

Then… Mmmm hmmmm…..
And now… oh yeeeaaaaah….

I moved on to other stars such as Matt Damon and Bradley Cooper more recently, though the posters haven’t made it to my bedroom walls… yet… 🙂 Keanu will always be my first celebrity crush though.

But the other night I had a dream that I married Liam Hemsworth. Right?? When I woke up in the morning, I lay in bed thinking “well he is Australian, which would make things a little easier.” It’s all about the logistics, clearly. “It’s a shame he’s already married.” (There’s an insight in to my morning brain you weren’t expecting!!)

A few hours later, I was scrolling through the news only to find that Liam and Miley had split up!! Coincidence??? I think not people!!!! So if anyone knows Liam, (hey, it’s a small world) feel free to give him my number, as it seems we were destined to be together!

Well hello there 🙂

10 things on the 10th

Guys. Stuff’s been happening. Lots of stuff. Let’s do this.

1. Frith’s Nanna, who was 101 in April this year, passed away 2 weeks ago. What a life! Mum and I took the kids down the coast for the funeral last Friday and it was a lovely service. I think I went to my first funeral when I was 13, and it was for a grandfather I barely knew. My kids have been to three funerals in their short lives, two of which were for men in their 30s, one of which was for the most important man in their lives. I want them to know that that’s not normal. I want them to know that going to a funeral for an old person is. It was wonderful catching up with the Melbourne Foottits (Hi AA!!) as they never get to see my kids so it was lovely to hang out for a bit afterwards.

Nanna, you were an inspirational, strong woman. What a legend.

Quinn, Nanna, Darby and Chance 2016

2. Julius got his first hair cut!! Before and After. Can you even???

3. These two boys crack me up one minute, and nearly break my spirit the next. They just don’t stop, and I really think they are going to be best mates when they get older. Julius wants to be just like his big bro, and Darby absolutely loves him back.

4. I have an awesome little study set up at home, complete with hand-made desk by a local Brighton chippie who was getting rid of a few things. I absolutely love that it’s one of a kind, like many things in my life.

5. My Sydney trip two weeks ago was EPIC. And extra. So much fun, so many good conversations, several bottles of champagne, insanely good weather…. The trip left a permanent mark on me and I will treasure those 36 hours for years to come.

6. Quinn started ballet!!! I swore I’d never do it, but she asked me and in a moment of weakness, I said yes. She absolutely loves it! Then (2015) and now.

7. We said farewell to Beth and Adam a few weeks ago, as they headed to Cananda for a year on a job-swap. Obviously I’m incredibly happy for them and super excited for their adventure, but they will be so very missed. Beth has been coming over every week since we moved to Brisbane, and the kids just adore her. I know they will be back before we know it, and I’m certainly not wishing the time away. In the mean time, we will get to know the family who are living in their house for the year!

8. Chance is still having sessions with a psychologist. The guy we see is really awesome and Chance loves chatting with him. I’m hoping he will be particularly helpful in the future, when Chance needs to nut a few things out with a trusted adult who isn’t necessarily family. This is Chance drinking an $8 thickshake from the cafe across the road before his appointment. First and last one I buy!!!

9. I’ve been having truly great conversations with people lately. In fact, last Sunday, I had three different conversations with three different people about three very different, but ultimately related things. All three conversations left me both drained and hopeful. I know I have some incredible people in my life, and some who have just come in to my life whom I’m getting to know and admire. There will be many great conversations to come, I’m sure.

10. My scooter bandits. This is what my mornings look like. Sometimes it takes 10 minutes to get to school, sometimes 25, but we always get there in the end.

A not-so-Rocky visit

It had been 18 months since I’d been to Rockhampton. I had planned to drive up with the kids mid last year for the school holidays, but realised about a month before I was due to go, that it wasn’t a great idea, and that even though I had said I would do it, I was allowed to change my mind. So again, this year for the mid-year holidays, I’d planned to drive the kids up for a visit. But it just didn’t sit well. Every time I thought about taking the kids back, and the emotions it might stir up, I just felt ill.

So again, I canned the trip. For them, anyway. Instead, I got some cheap (ish) mid-week flights and headed up one Tuesday morning, and home Wednesday night.

I was still dreading it. I had no idea how I would feel, seeing the house again; seeing other people in our house; seeing friends again who I hadn’t seen in ages. But thankfully, the house looked amazing and the tenants who had just moved in a few months ago really love living there. How could you not love a house with a huge deck and this view…

Our view for three amazing years. I really do miss it some days.

I caught up with some friends and got a great night sleep, which really is what it’s all about when I go away. I feel like I got a good mix of catch ups and rest, and didn’t cram too much in. It actually wasn’t as emotional as I thought it might have been, and now that I’ve been back on my own, I’m much more confident to take the kids with me next time.

Until next time Rocky.

Hello self-pity, my old friend

You’re always there for me, aren’t you? Looming in the back of my mind; ready to rear your ugly head when the opportunity arises. You know your statements are justified; you know people would understand if I said aloud, what you say in a whisper.

This is so unfair

I shouldn’t have to do this alone 

This is such bullshit

I did not sign up for this

You greet me in the morning when I have no choice but to get up. You tell me to stay in bed and ignore the kids; you tell me that I deserve more sleep, and that it’s not my fault I’m a single parent. I did not sign up for this.

You wait until I’m ridiculously tired, or a bit dusty from the night before; when I’ve been up half the night while the kids, one by one make their way into my bed because they need to be near me, to feel safe and secure, until there’s only a tiny space left for me and I can’t get back to sleep. This is bullshit. 

You tap me on the shoulder as I’m looking around my messy house, the kids are fighting, while I have a mammoth to-do list to get through. I shouldn’t have to do this on my own. 

You see me lying alone in bed at night with no one to wrap their warm arms around me and kiss me on the head and tell me I’m doing a great job and that I’m such a good Mama and that even though the kids were a massive pain today, they are so lucky to have me. This is so unfair.

Sometimes you sneak up on me, like the crafty bastard you are, and silently sit next to me. Open a bottle of wine. You deserve it. 
You deserve a bit of happiness in your life. 
Chocolate? Sure! Have some of that too. You won’t regret it. I promise.

And sure, sometimes you win. In those lonely nights where the house is quiet and I’m done fighting you for the day. I let you sit next to me for a while. I let you in like a bad ex-boyfriend who I know is no good for me, but is better than being alone.

You make sure that I barely recognise the reflection in the mirror some days. The woman staring back at me is middle-aged, overweight, tired and defeated.

Some days.

But you know what, self pity? I have my village, and that’s why you, mostly, stay in the back of my thoughts where you belong. Sure, I know that if I let you take over, it would be understandable, but I worry that it would be a long, hard road back. So my village keeps you at bay. Yes, I still hear your whisper, but it will never become a roar with my family, friends and community doing their thing. And they do so bloody much.

Thank you village.

And ? self-pity.

Happy birthday my friend

Happy birthday to my friend Joyclyn.

I like being around you. I like our conversations, but I am just as happy to sit in silence with you, drinking tea. Though I don’t think that’s ever actually happened as we always have fun things to talk about.

I like that our conversations are (mainly) about ideas and life and experiences and dreams and fun things, not complaining about this that and the other.

You are fun, kind, interesting and capable. Time with you is always time well spent. I’m looking forward to that New BeGinnings cocktail on my deck some time, and more laughs and good chats over tea and freshly made olive bread.

The happiest of birthdays to you my friend. May the following year bring joy and surprises ❤️

Love, Renae xx

When life gives you lemons…

…just order a shit sandwich, a Gin and Tonic, and dive right in.

These are lemons from my lemon tree. They are huge and juicy and I love having a citrus tree in my garden. When I started writing this post in my head a couple of months ago, the tag line was “when life gives you lemons…. share them with your friends” and it was going to be about how in the past 18 months I’ve shared a lot of my life-lemon moments with my people. Oh and how I’ve also shared my actual garden lemons with them too.

The point I think I wanted to get across was that the more people you have in your life to share your lemons with, both theoretical and physical, the less sour your life will be.

Unfortunately, I’ve been in such a mood, on and off, these past 10 or so days, that the post in my head took a turn for the cynical, and here I am. You see, on Sunday, my back situation started steadily declining, and by the afternoon I knew I was in a bit of trouble. Monday I spent in bed resting, but around 5pm, it went into one hell of a spasm and I just thought “of course.”

At 4 in the morning, when I had three kids in my bed and couldn’t sleep, I was messaging my friend in the UK (hi Kat!) and said “Without sounding completely hopeless I’m not even bloody surprised. I’m just like oh yeah. That seems about right” to which she responded “Sucks when you start to get used to the shit sandwiches”.

I couldn’t quite figure out if it was sad and cynical, or actually kind of dark and comical. I just wanted to give a big old “up yours” (my new favourite emoji, BTW) to the universe and be done with it.

Thankfully, with the help of some good drugs, my back was okay to fly and I had a marvellous trip to Rocky. And maybe it’s not a bad thing that things don’t rattle me much these days. It’s not like I’m waiting for shit sandwiches to be served to me on gold platters, it’s more that when they are, I can stomach them without too much drama.

And while life, and my tree, keeps giving me lemons, I know I have a whole bunch of people I can share them with. Maybe even in a G&T or two 🙂

10 things on the 11th

I received a text message the other night from my friend Kate, of a list for my 10 things on the 10th. Kate and I have known each other our whole lives. It made me cry a little, but mostly made me grateful for good people in my life who love me and are there for me always. So here it is.

Guest post by Kate White

10 things you may or may not know about Wifey.

1. Before mobile phones she wrote reminders all over hand.

2. She did Ballet as a child. (I was jealous)

3. She was mean bass player, both the guitar version and double bass.

4. She can enter a kitchen with nothing in it and like MacGyver come out with a yummy meal.

5. She made me vomit during the delivery of my first child when she entered with some sort of curry smelling meal.

6. She has a big crush on Bradley Cooper.

7. She lived in Edinburgh in her early 20s.

8. Her heart is absolutely broken but that never stops her being a fabulous mama.

9. Despite her extremely busy complicated life she will always help a friend in need

10. Her family mean the world to her. She was happy Nanny got to meet Chance but would love to have seen Nanny and Quinn together, facing off with their stubbornness.

I love you Kate xx

The first 40th

I attended my dear friend Luke’s 40th over the weekend, which has kicked off 40th season for me! I’m a 1980 baby, so many of my friends will be turning 40 next year, but of course some are a little younger and a little older, so it’s nice to space them out.

Luke and I have known each other since we were 15 years old. He’s one of those forever friends and we have so much history. I just adore him. He is one of those good humans I spoke of on the 10th. He has a beautiful wife and three gorgeous kids, and is just one of those people I will always make the effort to spend time with.

When he told me about the party a couple of months ago, I just said “yep I’m there.” No matter what, I was going. And it turned out that a friend of mine was driving through Brisbane on his way home to Mackay, so I got to catch up with him at the same time. It’s all in the timing!!

The party was up in Luke’s home town of Gympie. We started at the Bonsai Brewhouse at Cooran, and then headed back to his parents’ property for bonfires, wine, and great conversation. Okay, by then it was mostly talking shit and belly laughing over German sausage innuendos but whatever. My belly was honestly sore yesterday from all the laughing.

Luke, you’re a bloody legend. Happy birthday 🙂

You are with me

There are so many things that remind me of the wonderful, special people in my life. I don’t want to brag, but I’m pretty good at remembering where gifts have come from. I love wearing the earrings Dad picked out for me on one of his trip to NZ; I adore the necklace I bought as a gift to myself, from my favourite cafe in Wangaratta; and I feel so loved, putting on my rainbow scarf that a good friend gave me just after Frith died, among so many other things.

One of the newest additions to my treasure trove, is my new favourite bag.

I have very talented friends in my life, and very generous friends indeed. One of these lovely friends does incredible crochet work, some of which I had purchased in the past at markets, and some I’d seen on her facebook page. I knew she had a way with denim, so I asked if I could send her a few pairs of Frith’s jeans, (he had over a dozen pairs!!) to turn into a bag.

And she absolutely nailed it. I also sent her the dress I was wearing when I heard the news on New Years Day, to use as the lining, knowing I would never want to wear it again. This is me wearing said dress, the day that I had bought it at an op-shop in Melbourne on our trip together in November 2017. Our final trip to Melbourne.

I get a lot of compliments about my bag, and I love that it pretty much goes with anything, just like jeans. Also pictured in that photo is a gorgeous bracelet/cuff that my dear friend Sian bought me for my birthday, and Frith’s wedding ring that I will often wear.

Today has been a rough day. There is just so much sad news going around, and too many families losing loved ones the way we lost Frith. It breaks my heart every single time. What are we to do?

He is no longer here, but he is with me, always.