Monthly Archives: June 2012

A dying cliche

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It turns out that you can google things to say when someone dies and get ready made sympathy messages to deliver verbally or write in a card. Gosh they’ve thought of everything. It got me thinking about the things people say when they don’t know what to say. I’ve heard (and read) quite a lot of these in the past day or so, and I’ve said some of them myself so this is no poke at those who’ve used the cliches below. It’s funny that we always feel compelled to say something and usually that thing has already been said, or doesn’t help much anyway. It is of course only out of love and concern and sometimes overwhelming grief that we do not know how to express. I have always found the use of the word passing as a euphemism for death very strange. It reminds me of those psychic reality shows. Also the formal language that we suddenly slip into when expressing our sorrow I also find strange. But hell, death is strange and I’ve yet to meet the person who knew just the perfect thing to say. Although, a friend of mine, when listening to my own sorrow simply said, that’s really sad. For the rest of us, when we face difficult times, and we desperately search for words, we reach for a cliche. Here’s a few I found after a little google surfing.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.

She/he is at peace now.

God has called her/him home.

Thinking of you during this time of loss.

Sending all my love and hugs.

Sorry to hear of your loss.

I’m so sorry (ye old faithful).

She/he was taken too soon.

I guess it was expected.

He/she is in a better place now.

My condolences.

I’m so sorry to hear about his/her passing.

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The strange pale of death

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She slipped away from us yesterday, and today, our Facebooks are awash with heartbroken words and virtual tears which I know are much fewer than the real ones. Does death get harder as you get older? I recall a close death when I was 16, I don’t know if it was this sad. It probably was, perhaps time has healed that wound. I, like everybody else, knew this was coming. None of us knew the day or the hour, but we’ve had plenty of time to prepare as they say. Over the past few weeks I’ve had my tears and had thought that I was ready for it to come as an almost welcome final release from her weakened, pained body. But no, I was not ready, it was shocking in the end and it hit very hard. She wasn’t my mother or my best friend, but a person who has meant a great deal to me since I was about 11 years old. It shocked me because I was at her side in what turned out to be the final hour of her life. Not half an hour after I left her, my dear friend called me with the very sad news. As much as I expected it, I didn’t expect that. I had stepped too close to death’s door and I was broken hearted.

It wasn’t in any way quick for those who sat at her bedside of course. Or those who walked alongside her as she battled for some seven or so years to fight what she called this terrible disease. Her daughters, husband, best friends, all have sat through chemos, surgeries, lung drains and I don’t know what else over the years. Their battle ended yesterday too. Now they have to find a way to live on without her. She was a bright, colourful thread in my life, for them, she was the whole tapestry. There are a lot of death cliches out there, she would want us to move on/live/be happy, is a common one. Well, yes, but first we have to wade through this sticky mire of sadness. Having been the lucky recipient of her wise advice on many occasions, I think she’d want us to mourn full and well, cry, hell wail if we need to. Be sad, feel every painful part of it. And her lovely family will. But interspersed in that wailing will be gut splitting laughter, as is their style, always has been, always will be. Jokes and tears sat side by side at her bedside yesterday as has been the case all her life. That’s one of the many gifts she and her family have given the world. A whole lot of laughing. God bless them and God bless you Lynn.

On Monday we will celebrate her life. I remember when I went shopping for my wedding dress, she came along as substitute Mum because mine was overseas. I was torn between a more traditional style and a beautiful, cool and a bit shocking red one. I called my Mum (it was about 2am for her) to see what she thought. I asked Lynn, thinking that the advice I’d get from both would be to go conservative. Ha! Should have known better. Mum said to go with what I really loved. Lynn said, well, you know me Tracey, I love colour. I do wish I’d gone with the red one sometimes. So on Monday, I’m wearing my brightest, most colourful, REDDEST dress. I’m going to find a bright, colourful flower to pin over my heart. Because she loves colour.

Perfect one day…totally sh*t the next

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Day two of the 28 Day Scream Free Challenge. Day one was a glorious day of parenting perfection. Day two I was in tears by 8:30am. It hasn’t helped that I’ve been in a pit of non-specific viral infectitude for the past 6 days and every muscle and bone aches like I’m a hundred and ninety nine. Given that I am sick, I have also not been in any state for my nightly sanity restoring glass of wine. It’s been a challenge, to say the least.

I gave a great deal of thought to the day one email, sent by Jackie Hall, author of The Happy Mum Handbook and instigator of the 28 Day Scream Free Challenge. It explains how stress arrives when your reality and your expectations don’t meet. How we ‘should’ all over the place and cause ourselves no end of parental angst. I’ll explain. My ovaries shouldn’t have made two eggs that day. Three children simply should not have tantrums all at once, it really isn’t fair. Twin one should damn well lie still when I’m trying to change him so the both of us don’t end up caked in faeces when I’m just trying to do the guy a favour. As we speak, twin two should stop fake crying and go to sleep. Should, should, shouldn’t, should.

It’s classic Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and it really does make sense. If you can get your head around the idea that you’ve gotta stop fighting what isn’t and go with what is. Herein lies the crux of my painful personal journey into parenting three boys. This is not the reality I planned. This life I’m living is very, very far from the one I planned in my head about 7  years ago when I began marital bliss with my now partner in daily trench combat (with managing three under 5, not with each other). I planned a life of relative financial freedom, travel, kid (or two, yes, maybe), freedom from cars and enjoying the simple things like being able to open the windows without fear that someone will fall or launch themselves out. And then those damn ovaries had to go and get overexcited on my ass.

Our life now? We don’t open the windows, we have toddler gates everywhere, we have doors tethered shut, garden beds fenced off, steps boarded up, remotes hidden up high, a permanent layer of food on the floor, a relentless state of uber readiness for anything and a thorough enjoyment of a sit down that lasts for anything more than two and a half minutes. It’s killing me. But it’s not killing me because it is (because another person in the same circumstances could quite possibly consider themselves in heaven), it kills me because of what I expected it to be.

The key to my personal state of zen and a scream free life requires a total acceptance of where and who I am. I need to embrace, with abandon, this life. Stop wishing it to be something else, easier, quieter, whatever. It’s a tough ask. I’m stubborn, and this hurts sometimes. I know if I stop fighting things will be easier, I do know that. I have moments of it and they’re usually great. Maybe if I try to just have one more moment than I had yesterday. That’ll get me there in the end. But will it be too late? Will my boys remember a mother who was just trying to survive it all, or one who loved them, every bit of them, with abandon?

Join me and shout no more!

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I just found this while procrastinating on the internet (is there any other purpose for it?). I’m going to challenge myself to learn some new behaviour, it is after all, what I do for a living and I should be able to practice wheat I preach. It starts on Monday 18th June so there’s plenty of time to sign up and join me!

28 Day Scream Free Challenge

This website also has other awesome articles with such titles as Get over motherood guilt and Why aren’t I a ‘born mum’?

Leave me a comment if you decide to join me and let me now how it goes!

Not at all ashamed to admit…

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I WANT MORE TV!!

Tonight, during toxic hour, we had Twin Trouble standing a few feet away from the TV, utterly entranced for a full ten minutes. Husband and I looked at each other unashamedly delighted. The TV has been a saviour during that time of the day that we parents just love. You know what I’m talking about. Dinner, play, bath, play, books, bed with a goodly amount of tanty throwing, thrown in. When I am on my own during this time (I mostly am seeing I am the sucker who gets home first), I have not yet figured out a way to feed the food throwing, plate banging, mess masters while at the same time keeping Mr 4 happy, busy and fed. Furthermore, if I leave the twins alone in the backyard with their dinner one of two things will happen. Their food will end up buried in the sand pit, or, the local birds will fight them for it, and win. The only way is to set the big one up in front of the TV while I wrangle the other two. Thank goodness for Mike the Knight is all I can say. So far the twins have not given the TV even so much as a passing glance. In a perfect world, if I was the perfect mother, I’d encourage this non-interest by engaging them in other, more worthy activities. Like, um…other stuff….but alas I have but two arms, two legs and only one shred of sanity remaining, so TV it is. With a sheepish grin I tell you, I can’t wait for the day when I can have all three entranced for just a little while. I pinkie promise that once we can all sit round a table for dinner, we will. We just need to ditch the food throwing and master the art of putting food in our mouths and not in Teddy’s mouth (or lack thereof). Oh, and be able to like, sit down. For at least 10 minutes.

Given my liberal attitude to TV, it is funny that my lofty ideals about gaming are totalitarian. The boys I work with have heads so full of gaming violence and the lack of sleep from 12 hour gaming binges, that I have become more resolute than ever before that no boy of mine will sit inside all day and play a playstation. This came up at work the other day, that I am a mother of boys and will have to face the whole nintendo-playstation-whatever dilemma at some point. Over my dead body I was heard to declare. This was met with head shaking chuckles from my older colleagues of bigger kids. Is this a generational thing? Am I going to be like one of those I’ll never have a mobile phone types from the early 90s (of which I was one for about 5 minutes)? Are my boys going to fight me on this tooth and nail? Because boys, I have bad news, I feel the same about pay TV. I can see it coming, I’m going to be one of those old fashioned parents whose kids eye roll at their infuriating refusal to move with the times. Let the games begin!

La La Land

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Heck, you know you’ve lost it when you leave for work for the day with the front door wide open and nobody notices. Is this how people leave a child behind at the shops? The old ‘I thought you had him’ scenario? Having been broken into 3 times at our last house, imagine my panic when we drove up the driveway and I saw the door wide open. I think I may have freaked the kids out with my ‘OH MY GOD THE DOOR’S OPEN!! I’M CALLING THE POLICE!!’ Slightly jumping the gun. My husband played the manly alpha male and went in to investigate with me nervously at the door yelling are you OK?  every 2 seconds. Amazingly, NOTHING was out of order. Either nobody took advantage of our lapse of reason, or we had a very polite burglar who tidied up after he ransacked. Bloody hell, I cannot believe we got away with that! We happen to have a very active neighbourhood watch program who put the fear of God into me every fortnight with their handy newsletter detailing the break ins of the month, addresses and all! They even include how the offenders got in and what was stolen. We seem to be in a reasonably active area. Poor little Mr 4, when we got back to the car, he said, did you think there was a monster in there? Oh dear, must remember to keep self calm in front of kids.

It’s the end of the week again, can’t believe there is only 3 weeks left in the term, which means 4 weeks until the half marathon. I am nowhere near as trained up as I was last year. It seems harder this year to train with the twins being almost 2. I am running much faster than I was last year, I recently finished an 8k race in 42 minutes, which is the fastest I have ever run over a longish distance. Keeping it up over 21k is a different story. Plus, I may be faster, but I am not training as often as last year. I would love to beat my time from 2011 (1:57:54) but I would be happy to keep it under two hours at this point. And not finish with bleeding feet. I’m excited but at the same time, my inner couch potato is protesting loudly at this turn of events. It isn’t usually my body that I have to fight to finish these things. It is always my head and it puts up a tough fight. Four weeks to go. Better get my ass into gear.