Archive for April, 2009

Brimming sadness

I have had two phone calls in the last few days from people in my ‘love the mostest’ bunch. These phone calls have been both bitter and heartwrenching. They are hard conversations to have and I have been forced to sit in the moment, with tears (mine and theirs), silences, tense words (theirs), and no trace of a word (mine) that might make either of them feel better.

I’m not used to this and to be forced to sit and feel every part of my body as these people that I love fall apart because of a decision I am making, is so damn hard. But. It’s also one of the most important things I will do for myself.

We are in the throws of planning a move, away from this city and from my family. C’s family live elsewhere and don’t get to see the boys nearly as much as mine. Plus, we’re pretty sick of this city for many boring reasons I’ll one day post about.

My family is hurt but understanding. We are close and all live here mainly for each other. Because it’s the only spot we can kind of all agree on. They are terribly close to all of us and C and I have said on many occasions, that we really would not have enjoyed these years as a burgeoning family had it not been for the endless support from my mother.

She runs her own very busy and successful business but every spare moment she has she gives to us generously and without thought otherwise. She has called me just now from Noosa, sobbing, telling me she hasn’t slept for 3 days because she can’t think about anything else but our move.

I don’t know what to say. And I always know what to say. And having to sit on the other end of a phone as someone you deeply love sobs with the weight of their intense love for you and your boys, while having nothing to say to soothe this pain. Having no solution or capacity to fill this frighteningly painful void. Feels so goddamn awful.

But, this is an important thing I’m doing or learning to do. Make decisions for myself that inadvertantly hurt people. Not changing my mind or my words just so they feel better fleetingly and then making either myself or them feel like shit later. Not saying “It’ll be ok,” or “we’ll work something out.”

Just sitting while the pain and the tears and the loneliness that usually I can’t acknoweldge, swill down the phone line .

Who’d have thought sinning bought about such community spirit

As I wandered through Strathfield the other day, waiting for class to start and wondering whether a 3rd coffee for the day was a bit extreme and UTI encouraging, I kept seeing all these beautiful people milling around whispering about sin.

There are always evangelicals hanging around Strathfield. I’m not sure why. Sometimes the Korean churches do these great funky dances in the town square where they raise their hands and voices to Jesus. I love that stuff. It’s great for a giggle.

But today, it’s a big anglo push (which is strange enough to see in Strathfield).

I pass two middle-aged, well-dressed women speaking to two young Chinese guys. One of the women turns to her friend and exclaims excitedly, “It’s so great, this wonderful young man has just acknowledged he’s a sinner. Isn’t that great? So great, so great,” she keeps muttering as she beams back at him.

I pass two tall, hot, well-built, rugby types and wonder what they make of this mass infiltration of Christians and then spot the prominent Bibles in their hands as I dash across the road to miss them.

But to top it all off, the Christian band  belting out tunes in the town square as their fellow parishoners revel in happy conversations about sin, decides to do a remake of Phil Collins’ “Another day in paradise.”

‘Cause it’s another day for you and me and Jesus Christ.

Brilliant, I thought as I ordered my double shot latte.

Shock moon

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the here and now

I’ve been crazy busy working, trying to see old friends as they whish quickly into town and then out again. I’ve got a lot I want to write about but I just thought I’d pop in quickly to share the here and now.

Right now:

reading: beautiful stories and woven narratives full of subtle suspense.

listening: to funkaroo, uplifting, pretty music. I don’t know anything else that they do but this makes me smile and they’re so young they could seriously be toilet training.

watching: alot. Dinner on Friday night consisted of sitting around a computer screen, drinking beer, screaming with laughter and pushing away tears of grace. Check this out.

eating: the tango-ist of cheese with hearty bread.

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loving:

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Yawn

Today. I. Am. Tired. Too. Tired. To. Think. I. Need. Inspiration. And. Sleep. And. A. Holiday.

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But. I. Fall. In. Love. More. Intensely. Each. Day.

There’s a first for everything

First day of day care for my littlest. Such a big boy and yet so little (and bald). He’s the littlest by far (and the baldest) but I’m informed he’s ‘awfully cuddly’. Damn right he is.

In other news, we’re having a few issues (pronounced iss – ues like a pouncy ’tissues’) with A. Did I mention he’s OFF THE RAILS! I oscillate between thinking he’s just your average 3 year old who happens to chose the least opportune moments to demonstrate his diabolical talents, to feeling that there might be something wrong. Have I told you he’s a bit OCD with Thomas?*

He’s strangely shy. I say strangely because it doesn’t manifest itself in obvious ways, at least ways I would expect. He’s terribly threatened by strangers. He’s kinda a cute kid so people are always coming up to speak to him or chuck his cheek (is that what you do to a kid’s cheek?), tickle his chin, ruffle his hair, pat his baby brother etc. His standard response is to say, “I don’t like you. You’re not coming to my house.” I’m usually prepared and so start talking loudly as he begins his evil diatribe. This seems to drown out the rather frightening insults so that usually they go unnoticed. But occasionally someone cocks their head to one side, raises an eyebrow and asks the young man to be polite. It is soooo embarassing and quickly transforms a very cute, winsome little boy into a Damian look-alike.

While it’s easy to get angry at this kind of behaviour (and trust me I have…to no avail), it’s taken me a long time to realise that this is his reaction to feeling somewhat threatened. He’s not social and so when someone he doesn’t know comes so far into his personal space, he clearly freaks out and uses the only insults he know will make them go away. And usually they do.

It’s my (and C’s) responsibility to teach him gently but firmly, that people’s intentions (usually) are kind and good and respectful, and that their friendliness makes our world a better place. I need to teach him not to be afraid (and he really is fearful of so much….I’m not sure why) and that trusting people, especially those we may not know, is a powerful and generative gesture. This is much harder than getting angry at this rude words. Taking away a treat. Banning dessert. Turning the Thomas DVD off. Or confiscating Percy. This is the big, heavy stuff that I never really prepared for.

I guess, though, that this is the exact stuff we’re made of. Both him and I.

Anyone have the same thing with their children? I’d be very interested (and importantly, grateful) to hear of any useful tips or similar stories.

 

*Perhaps a slight exaggeration although I’d be interested in him having some ‘tests’ done. He’s daycare teachers joke DAILY  about his train obsession and have made accomodations so that he can be included in the group WHILE PLAYING WITH HIS TRAINS,  which means not included at all. Just a sense of physical proximity so that he doesn’t wonder where everyone is.

Love being a mother?

Interesting question….When I first fell pregnant with A I thought I was doing the least original thing in the world. And I was. Not that I live on the cutting edge even a significant fraction of the time but I have always been keen not to go with the flow. Having a baby seemed to be jumping right on the big mummy wave with a million other women and yet trying to come up with my own surf-board moves.

I left my mother’s group because the shiny happy faces and the ‘don’t you just love being a mother?’ songs of praise didn’t fit with me. I did love A and he was the easiest baby anyone could hope for. I had nothing to complain about but it’s not that simple. And I figured I was surrounded by simple women if they thought like that.

Women seem to get and be so precious about being a mother and about their children. They forget that it’s been done so many times before that we have now have a human race that will struggle to die out. We aren’t unique and neither are our children.

But strangely children are. Unique. Yours are. So are mine. That’s the strange part.

Despite the fact you’re doing what everyone else is, you still experience a joy shared by no other. Every single mothering or parenting experience is unique despite the fact that all babies feed, toilet train, learn to walk, enjoy sleepless spells, learn to ride a bike, start school, lose a tooth, fall so hard they can’t get up…you know what I mean.

I was never the mother type. I didn’t want to be the mother type. I knew I’d love my kids but I didn’t know I’d love being with my kids and that’s a big difference. And I do. They are the coolest people to hang out with. They make me laugh, they are unabashedly affectionate and they make me show affection in a way I’ve never before been comfortable. They challenge me intellectually (no one who negotiated with 3 year old demanding a packet of M&Ms in a long queue of frazzled Kmart shoppers can tell me that it’s not a real exercise of the mind), and they make me consider my ethics on a daily basis.

I have two boys. I’ve decided I want them to be feminists. I don’t really know what that means yet but I know I want them to grow up recognising the value of women and appreciating that value despite the fact our family only has one (s0 far anyway!). In this sense, I know that their moral framework, their appreciation of social justice, fairness and even their ability to empathise, for a large part, comes from me (and C of course). That is a huge responsibility but an exciting challenge and god knows I’m always looking for challenges.

I thought parenting was the easy way out when you couldn’t decide what career you wanted (ughm…me). No way. It’s the opposite. It requires the selflessness and patience of a monk. It forces you to put things into perspective on a daily basis. To fight the important battles and to acknowledge that ultimately your own needs come second.

I always thought that I would fight hard to keep the ‘real’ me alive when the boys came along. I would dedicate enough ‘me’ time that those things that made me who I was would not burn out. Now I realise that everything changes. There’s no me before or me to come. There is only me right now. And that’s the way it’s always been. I still love writing, reading my books, flicking through cooking magazines, watching trash on my computer, travelling, sharing a bottle (or four) with my beautiful friends, debating with my funkorama bookclub and cuddling my C. But somehow, and I’m not sure how it happened, these things are not so important now.

A and S – you rock my world. Your world and your lives are the real things that get me goin’. Thank you.

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Her Bad Mother is starting Around the World in 80 Clicks and I figured Australia had to have some involvement. We’re a pretty enlightened bunch down here. Not too shabby and doing motherhood big time with a massive baby boom. A friend introduced me to this blog which is an highly entertaining account of single-motherhood goin’ beach style in Sydney.