August 28, 2018

What I Know Now: August Edition...

* We're in the final week of winter, and I for one, cannot WAIT until the temperature rises so I don't need a hot water bottle, flannelette pyjamas and the extra blanket on my bed just to stay warm! Quite the sexy mental picture I'm painting for you, I know, but needs must! Cold hands, cold feet and cold bum is the alternative otherwise. I'm desperately yearning for those warm, lazy days at the beach when my only worry will be where my drink, hat and sunnies are.

* Australian politics this past week has lost its mind. Backroom deals, petty vindictiveness and power struggles. Is this what our tax dollars should be paying for? I think not. We have so many other important things to be focused on: farmers battling drought, violence against women reaching epic levels, the mess that is the asylum seeker situation on Nauru & Manus Island, our dying Great Barrier Reef, just to mention a few. Instead we've been given a new PM and no guarantee the carnage is over yet. We're all sick of it. The nearest display of leadership we have is across the Tasman - the NZ government led by the very impressive Jacinda Ardern recently voted against a pay rise for politicians because they didn't think they needed it - TAKE NOTE CANBERRA! Do your damn job!

* And speaking of things NZ - how fan-bloody-tastic has the performance been of the current All Blacks side? I am running out of superlatives to describe the sublime form we are witnessing this international season. Last weekend's game against the Wallabies was a master class, our boys physical efforts over the entire 80 minutes something very special. And coach Steve Hansen says there's still room for improvement! Not to mention the depth of talent seems limitless. How exciting. A fierce culture of respect, hard work and honour is obvious watching this team; the privilege of wearing that jersey is something they don't take lightly and it shows, on and off the field. These men will do anything for the All Black legacy and we as fans love them for it. Bring on the Boks!

* Looking after your physical and mental health is so important, especially as you get older. Over the weekend I met up with some of my best mates I've known forever (our Mothers Group, 21 years and counting!) and much laughter ensued over a small cafe table while we discussed all things noticed as women entering our 50's. Some things you have to share. And laugh about. Because some of them are so bloody ridiculous. Like acne. Who gets acne at our age? Seriously! Didn't we deal with that as teenagers? Thanks a lot, hormones. In our minds however there is a wry acknowledgment of the changes albeit mixed in with that small element of denial. 50 is the new 40, or something like that, right? We're younger than our mothers were at the same age despite having aches where there never were any, changes in skin, lines and wrinkles, hot flushes, dryness... oh yes, it's AWESOME. Pass me a red wine, will you? I hear it's good for your heart.

* And lastly if I know anything, it's this. Just when you congratulate yourself for getting ahead in your finances, you can bet your bottom dollar that every bill known to man will arrive the next day in your inbox. And need to be paid within the next fortnight. Eeeep! However a few nights driving rideshare has helped me navigate that bumpy wee road, thank goodness. But along with the extra money, the real bonus was hearing some hilarious and fascinating stories to boot from my passengers. Real life is SO much more interesting than fiction! I may need to write these down. Book idea, incoming!

So that's me... tell me what YOU know now...

August 6, 2018

Standing in the middle of life with my plans behind me...

Circa 2000, sleep deprived and probably running on caffeine.

Any mother will tell you, having children changes you. And I don't mean financially or logistically although God knows those two things quickly become very apparent. I'm talking about that salient moment all mothers have when you know life will never be the same for you as a person, especially after Baby #1; you're slumped on the couch probably in milk-stained pyjamas and the situational reality is biting hard - there's no call button for a nurse, you're already missing the thrice-daily trolley rattling down the polished ward floors bearing food someone else made, your boobs are full and hot but not in the good way, and sending the baby to the nursery for an hour to snatch some precious sleep or even a shower is literally a pipe dream. But yet... you look at that baby and it doesn't matter. The love you feel for that child is greater than anything else. Stronger than any of your own needs or wants. You and he are one.

Not unexpectedly I found myself reminiscing about those times yesterday, the day my youngest son turned 18. EIGHTEEN. Can you believe it? My first thought was how the hell did that happen? Followed closely by the WTF knowledge that all my children were now legally considered adults and how crazy was that, I couldn't possibly be old enough yet, could I? Turns out I could, and I am. Children make you acutely aware of time, and he has a warped sense of humour let me tell you. Eighteen years have passed lightspeed quick.

Pregnancy with my youngest had been totally by-the-book normal. I felt fabulous the majority of the way through with minimal morning sickness, no spotting and sporting a shape like my others that was all out-front and carried low. Instinctively I knew he was going to be a boy, even before I saw the telltale confirmation on one of my many ultrasounds. He was child #3 but this was pregnancy #5 so I had a good idea of what to look for by then, being an ultrasound veteran. Yet it wasn't until I'd passed the 20 week mark and feeling mightily encouraged by the the regular kicking of his little feet under my ribs that I finally let myself relax and look ahead.

Like his brothers before him he was 10 days overdue but he made up for it with an arrival that was as speedy as it was efficient, a mere hour and a half from the moment the doctor broke my waters. There may have been a rather intense moment when I would've given any sum of money for pain medication but there was literally no time, this boy had other plans, he was on his way! Three or four pushes and my third son arrived, leaving me both ecstatic and filled with wonder at how my body had again created this precious human being I was beyond happy to meet. Oh there you are, my darling boy. 

And just like that, I was a mother of THREE. And all boys. My grandmother used to say that boys were all rip, shit and bust, and she wasn't far wrong. Life is full, that's for sure, it's a mile a minute but you have to handle it as best you can. With thanks to Forrest Gump for the quote, life's like a box of chocolates - but sometimes with kids by the time you manage to get your hands on that box, all that's left is the Turkish Delight no-one wants and the screwed up wrappers of the ones you do. So you end up eating the Turkish Delight anyway because, (a) it's still chocolate, and (b) the show must go on, right?

Fast forward a few years and those babies grow into toddlers, toddlers become children, and in my case, those children into grunting, forever hungry, active teenage boys who test the very limits of your love, humour and patience... before thankfully turning into gorgeous, hard-working young men who all tower over their now suddenly short mother.

My absolute pride and joy is the boys' bond with each other though, they all share a fierce unstinting loyalty and love that never fails to make me smile. Seeing them together as adults, laughing and enjoying each others company over the weekend was something I held very dear to my heart. That hoped-for reality was what sustained me through those early years of hard graft, surviving on little sleep, 70's classic rock and a politically incorrect sense of humour. I know it was well worth every second!

So, what's next? Well the newest adult in our family finishes Yr 12 in a few months so we're on to the next stage for him. The last few parent-teacher meetings EVER are on the horizon for me. It's exciting, scary and dare I say it, a little emotional for this mother-of-three. But like every other challenge I've had to deal with, this too shall be overcome with a little love, patience, persistence and good old-fashioned humour. It's worked well so far and it will again!

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