Monthly Archives: May 2013

Children and the internet

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This week on ABC612 we talked about your kids, photographing your kids and paranoia about photographing your kids. Listen here.

And just because….

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Gratitude

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My last post was too long ago and I meant to raise the tone much earlier than this. The whole point of HOPE was to talk about recovery, not to wallow in pain. Yes I have started taking medication, yes I am “seeing someone” again (not in the dating sense), but those two things make up about 10% of who I am and what I am doing with my life right now. It’s a thing, just a small thing among many other things. Here are some other things I’d like to talk about.

As of May 27, 2013, 124 people have died on Queensland roads. I drive 30 minutes to and from work every day and there is a lot of driving though my workday. Not once this year have I died in a car accident. Not once have I lost the use of my legs forever, nor have I ever had a catastrophic brain injury from a car accident, not even once. In fact, I have been driving for 23 years and I did not lose my life even one time with all of that driving. What a gift.

In this past week, Adam Goodes, AFL legend, double Brownlow Medal winner, two time premiership player and all round total gentleman had not one but two utterly stupid comments thrown at him by ignorant, unthinking, insensitive people completely lacking in a clue. He responded with grace, and social media went nuts. I thought, you know what? Not once in my life have I ever been a part of a minority such that I have had to overcome prejudice, ignorance or discrimination. I do not know what it is like to be in the receiving end of racist comments. Again and again and again. I do not know what it is like to have to fight for my right to walk in certain streets, sit in a certain place, vote, drink in a pub or be considered a human. How freakin lucky am I and what the hell did I ever do to get such a privileged position. Hardly seems fair really.

Another thing. I have said this one before and it never ceases to amaze me. I woke up this morning and you’ll never believe it, I didn’t have cancer! Again! I know, isn’t it amazing? This happens to me every day! It’s utterly joyous. No cancer. I am being dead set serious. Every day that I wake up with no serious illness is a day to be filled with gratitude. Every. Single. Day. In addition to not having cancer, as if that wasn’t blessing enough, I did not have Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, psychosis, AIDS or even arthritis.

My kids. Wow. Pregnancy and childbirth is a minefield. So much can go wrong and for me, nothing did. Unbelievable. Aside from a few emotional teething problems on my part, we have a happy, healthy family. Even having kids in the first place is amazing. I know plenty of people who would cut off a limb to have just one beautiful, healthy baby. I got three. I am falling head over heels in love with them. Again. I can hardly believe my luck. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket.

And here’s another thing. When I go to bed tonight, it will be in a warm, comfortable bed. My tummy will be full and I will not be afraid of anything, except maybe the rabid possums playing rugby on the roof. The incredible thing about this is that every night of my life, the same thing has happened. That’s 14 714 times I have had a warm bed to sleep in. But even better than this is that, when I wake up in the morning, I have a job to go to. A good one. One that gives me great satisfaction and even a bit of decent coin for my efforts. I’m a bit overwhelmed.

If I go on too much I will start getting emotional, but I cannot write about gratitude without saying something about my husband. You know, I could easily have made the wrong decision about who to marry. Easy. I was an insecure twenty-something year old. But I didn’t. I married for all the right reasons and I married totally the right guy. Oh, and I was LEGALLY ALLOWED to marry him. How awesome is that? Imagine not being LEGALLY ALLOWED to marry the perfect person. How painful that would be, if marriage was what you wanted and you couldn’t have it. But I can have it. And I am so lucky.

So here I am. My gratitude is profound.

HOPE

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I wrote this a while ago. I couldn’t publish it. It’s very raw. I sat on it for a long time and I finally decided I had to put this out there because the heart of this blog has been brutal honesty all along. It was the comment of another mummy of twins that sealed the deal. Your words give me hope she said, I don’t feel so alone. What follows is the voice from the very bottom of the pit. But listen. The truth of it is that I did feel like this and now I don’t. I may feel like this again. I hope not. But there are things to do to get out of the pit. I did them. It was hard to do them. But it was way better than staying where I was. I didn’t publish this for the sadness. I did it for the HOPE. I want to be very clear about the reason for posting something so exposing. This is not a pity party. It’s quite the opposite. It is an acknowledgement that this all hurts quite a bit but that the hurt is not the end of the story. There is much, much more. You can be this low and still have HOPE.

I feel today like I’ve cried so hard I lost weight. I want to leave my kids but at the same time I couldn’t bear not seeing them every single day and knowing what funny things they did or said. I want to give them a much better mother. I feel like it would be good to drive a sharp knife right into parts of me. I feel like it would be good to get run over by a car. I thought about being a live kidney donor just so I could go to hospital and have a general anaesthetic. I feel like it is surely an impossibility that my husband could actually love this. I feel like the world and others living in it are living in a parallel universe to me. The world spins around me and I am disconnected from it. I just observe it. I feel like a robot, here simply to serve the needs of others. I look at happy parents and I reckon they are faking it. I feel terrified all the time that I have wrecked my kids. That is a fear too grave to even face the full truth of. I am so, so scared of that. I feel like I cannot really make anybody in the world understand what this feels like. I feel like some don’t care. I wonder if this can ever truly be fixed. I wonder where I went, who I am, why this happened. I wonder what is the point. I feel like it hurts to wake up, it hurts to make coffee, it hurts to carry on.

I call the GP to see if I can get an appointment. It just so happens that someone has cancelled and I can get straight in if I come down right now. My stomach is in knots as I get in the car. I can feel the raw emotion push to the surface as I get closer and closer to the clinic. I am going to have to say it out loud. I feel like I want to throw up. I put my sunglasses on so nobody can see my eyes. The very minute I sit down in his office (him, and I think, how can I say this to a man?) I choke on the massive wave of tears that come. I can barely speak. Sorry, I say. Sorry. I’m doing that thing where my breaths come in short gasps as I can’t properly breathe through the emotion. Sorry, again.

It’s OK, he says. He passes me the tissues but I came prepared. I manage a few words. It’s OK, he says. His empathy is genuine and he listens. Listens. The tears don’t stop though. But finally the words come. He does the questions. I am high. I ask the question I have never asked. I am surprised at how easily he gives me drugs. Maybe that’s a good thing, maybe not. I don’t know anything. My face  is Botox flat but my eyes are rat shit and red. I leave with my sunglasses on and it seems strange that people are just going about their business. The pharmacy lady is loud and inquisitive and I want to tell her to just shut up and put it in a bag. I monosyllable my way through it and almost choke when I hear her ask if I have any fun plans for the weekend. What? Then I realise she is talking to someone else.

Then I am finished. There is nowhere to go where someone will look after me so I go home.

Some Mothers

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Some mothers have nothing in their arms but the ache of the needing to hold their child. Some mothers started and grew, but found their garden suddenly empty. Some could never get their gardens started, no matter what they tried. Despite many many false starts. No volume of tears was enough, no amount of gentle tending, not even a thousand prayers. Some mothers had five, ten, fifteen little dreams and wishes, a noisy brood never to be, silenced before they had a moment to cry mummy.

Some mothers still and always will ache for that one missing little heart. Missing because life allowed them part of their dream, but not the whole. Some, because one went out and never came back. The dream and the memory of the soft cheek and the sweet smell and the darling voice will be an everyday torture for some mothers.

Some mothers hold their little dreams right there in their arms, together in a hell of poverty, hunger, violence, grief. Some mothers slave at machines while fevered angels sleep at their feet. Some mothers forage until their knuckles bleed in the hope of finding a scrap to eat or sell. Some mothers hide in fear from a tyrant, throwing themselves into harms way to protect the innocent. Some mothers are lost in the dark of a cracked mind, sad for no reason, or some reason.

Some daughters and sons wake with red eyes and heavy hearts, a hole in their lives, pain to live with. Some partners, sixty years of love lived, wake in an empty bed for the first time, and will never get used to breakfast alone. Some mothers may not be mothers, but have mothered the lost and unwanted and are every bit a mother.

To the mothers, the missing ones, the broken ones, the tortured ones, the almost ones, the hurting ones, all kinds, every one.

Letter to a boy

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Someone is going to say I am delusional. Or naive. I saw you coming and I knew straight away your story would break my heart. And it did. Your carefully constructed outer layer with your swagger impressed me. A boy who has had to be a man since well before you should have. You have had no defender of your own; you have had to do it for yourself your whole life. I wondered, when you were little and sweet, did anyone ever gently stroke your hair as you slept? Did anyone ever lovingly sneak a jelly snake into your carefully packed lunchbox?

You have not enjoyed the nurture of gentle hands, kind words, unconditional understanding. Fight and flight are your two best skills. Where is my magical chisel, that I can crack into that incredible shell. I know I wont be the one to save you, I know my job is not to save you. I know I know I know. But I wish I could save you.

I know there are people who have had enough of you. People who, probably hurt by you, roll their eyes and shake their heads. People who have tried, failed, tried, failed and given up. You have not met people half way. You refuse to take responsibility. I can picture the hell you have raised. I can’t help but think that yes, this one would fire up easy.

I hear something that makes my heart stop and all the pieces fall into place. I get it now. On paper you are broken beyond repair and you probably don’t even know it.  But all I can think of is how unforgettable your eyes are and that there is a spark inside of you and that you are not at all lost to us just yet.

Virtually Married

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How does procreation affect a marriage? We have had the heartbreaking news recently of more than one set of friends seeing their relationships falter and fail. I feel sick to my stomach with the sadness of it, so I cannot imagine how painful it must be to go through. Kids are cited as a major pressure, not the ’cause’, but a major, major pressure. With about a third of marriages in Australia ending in divorce, it is perhaps pessimistic, but sadly realistic to say that these will not be the last of our friends to go through such a seismic life change.

I once would have said that there was no way my marriage would end in divorce. No. Way. I am far more realistic now. I would like to know the statistics on families with multiples and divorce/separation rates. Someone once (perhaps well meaningly) said to me see, having twins is no big deal. Well, I can tell you, it’s been the biggest deal of my life thus far. It has nearly broken me and it has come close to breaking my marriage. I just wrote and then deleted a whole qualification on how I shouldn’t look at things so negatively and had better count my blessings. Our experiences are what they are. For better or for worse, these are my thoughts, feelings and learnings.

We have spent years putting off conversations. Years of nights too tired or talked out to talk again once that sweet silence descends on the house. Years of we really should get a babysitter this weekend only to forget. Years of texting each other important stuff because it is only in that second when the thought comes to you that you can remember what it was you had been meaning to say for weeks. Years of frenetic pace, much too fast to look, listen, be gentle, talk softly. Years of everyone else but us. Years of just just keeping our heads above water.

We have pledged and pledged again to each other that we will not do that to each other, our kids, our family, our friends. No doubt about it, we have had our moments. My I wanna hurt myself moments are often accompanied by I also wanna leave. But I do not. Want to. I want him and everything that goes along with him. He has taken to leaving me notes around the house. I call him every afternoon when I get into the car for my half hour drive home form work. I am always home first. When he finally comes in the door I feel better. He has heard all my stories. He is still extremely funny. Yes, I love him, but apart from that, I really like him. This life has stretched us to the very limit. We have been close to broken and there are many things that need repair, but we are not broken. I’m a bit broken myself, but it’s nothing a bit of mind and heart work can’t fix.

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