Friday, December 12, 2008

have yourself a merry little christmas

Christmas morning. I think it was 1976. I know Mum made our nighties out of flannelette, my sister's had pink pussy cats on it and I still covet it to this day. Clearly I was not a morning person even then, although the promise of all those presents was enough to put a smile on my face. Having posed very patiently for the Kodak instamatic, we probably ripped into those presents unaware that outside Santa had been busy building us a brand new swing set and a pool. The kind with the corrugated tin on the outside and the blue plastic on the inside, with those strange white plastic clips that always reminded me of Cheezels to keep the lining attached to the walls. It was indeed a merry Christmas. The kind of Christmas I find myself craving more every year, as the circus grows and becomes further and further removed from anything good and simple and heartfelt. I remember the simple joy of being a child, feeling quite innocently that the whole world was only as big as your arms would reach. That was a good feeling. And while the world has largely been taken out of my hands these past 32 years, I only hope the simple joy will be alive and well at our house this Christmas morning through the eyes of two little girls. And that my arms are enough to hold their world together for a few years yet.
Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

trash and treasure

Today was very much a nothing kind of day, a tracky-dack, don't-bother-brushing-your-hair kind of day. Until I went out to the wizbin and found this little fellow, just perched there on the most non-descript, mundane item of man-made detritus it could find, looking truly miraculous. And all ''Who me? Don't mind me, I'm just sitting here being the poster boy for nature's incredible design portfolio.'' So it seems that even in the trash, there is treasure.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

where have you been, my darling young one?

I consider myself a deeply devoted follower of Bob Dylan. His music has been the soundtrack to many of my life's great joys and dramas, and even the inconsequential moments in between. His words still, and will always, make me cry. But I had not, until recently, seen any of Martin Scorsese's documentary No Direction Home. This probably makes me a very pale pretender in the eyes of Dylan diehards, but I'll put it down to the fact that I haven't watched anything feature-length that doesn't involve animation for at least five years.

I still haven't watched No Direction Home in its entirety. But I have seen enough to realise that my love for this man's poetry was just scratching the surface. Seeing the young Bob Dylan, the kid prophet who everyone wanted a piece of, I fell under his spell. His grainy black-and-white, before-I-was-born spell. Sexy doesn't even come close. It was love on a whole new level.

Friday, October 24, 2008

don't hold your breath

Bellingen. You can't actually say it without emitting a deep sigh. I've tried.

I've also tried to imagine a reality that involves me living there, raising barefoot blissful children, communing with nature and seriously not giving a flying fuck what anyone else thinks, says or does. I'll let you know how that works out.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

perfectly balanced

I love dragonflies. In my own personal ranking of beautiful insects, they're second only to cicadas. This is largely because their very long tails are a little bit freaky and they make that click/buzz sound when they fly, whereas the dear little cicada has a very slow, considered way of walking around that makes you feel sure they're not going to do anything rash. But dragonflies, when they are perfectly still, are so perfect and so still that you can't help but marvel at them.

Which brings me to this little chap, another Bellingen purchase, handcrafted so that when you place its head on the tip of your finger, its wings provide perfect balance and it will sit there all day without falling off. You can even zoom it around if you feel so inclined. Although I think zooming might defeat the purpose. It's really all about the stillness. No sudden movements. Don't do anything rash.

Friday, October 17, 2008

the rainbow connection

I served up two bowls of pasta to the six-and-under set, for whom eating is not always a priority. It was a kind of pasta we'd never had before, which prompted Freya to ask exactly what kind of pasta it was.

Me (reading from packet): They're called macaroni elbows.

Freya (without pausing for thought): No, Mum. Not elbows. Rainbows.

And who am I to argue with that.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

five grey elephants

The other day I was sitting at my computer, looking at this and that, when Freya came into the room to see what was happening and why she wasn't involved. She was holding a hair elastic, stretched between two fingers, and she started singing a song that's often on Play School - five grey elephants balancing, step by step on a piece of string - actually those weren't her exact words, but I got the general idea. Then she realised the computer was on, which led a split-second later to the realisation that she had direct access to YouTube, her new favourite thing which allows her to watch ''the Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang song'' and funny cat videos for hours on end (probably only minutes, but it genuinely seems like hours). So she asked to hear the elephants song, and as I know the infinite resource that is the internet, I googled it. We did not immediately get the song we wanted, but something much more intriguing and wonderful, called the calm space which on that particular day in this particular life could not have been more perfect. I marvelled at the sheer serendipity of it all for several seconds, before being sternly prompted to find the five grey elephants. Bal-an-cing.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

good for the soul

These little red shoes were waiting for me, very patiently, with all the other good little Naots, at a shop in Bellingen. I don't know how long they had been waiting, but I can tell you my feet had been waiting what seems like a lifetime to find shoes so deeply, blissfully comfortable. And on the very day that I turned 36, there they were. Like a beacon. Sensible shoes. The time has come, the universe decreed, to turn your back on articles of vanity and embrace your inner librarian (I have always longed to be a librarian, but that's another story). My beloved paid the kind lady and handed me a gift wrapped in my favourite fashion statement -to thine own self be true. My soles, and my soul, were immensely grateful.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Some days it feels like you’re chipping away at a forty-foot brick wall with a plastic teaspoon. Other days a whole chunk of that wall collapses like a piece of stale gingerbread and you’re left gobsmacked at the amount of daylight you've let in, with your own two hands.
I am staring at a broad expanse of daylight. There is now more daylight in my immediate vicinity than there is wall. Mainly the wall is at my feet, where I can’t really see it but where it can easily trip me over if I spend too much time with my head up, staring at the sky.
I guess today I tripped. I fell. On my face. But I got back up with the help of someone who I really needed, and now I am even more determined to step over that wall and breathe in that daylight and stare at the sky and open myself up to new possibilities. I am stronger right now than I have ever been.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

i love you mrs parker

My land is bare of chattering folk,
The clouds are low along the ridges.
And sweet's the air with curly smoke
From all my burning bridges.

- Dorothy Parker

With thanks to my sister, who sent me this by email in January this year, when it struck me as wise and funny (although not in an LOL way, because there's a special place reserved in hell for the person who invented that particular non-word) but didn't really resonate the way it does today. I'm feeling kind of itchy-footed and a bit excited, although I'm not sure why, and to paraphrase another great wordsmith I am standing at two diverging roads, checking the signposts, wondering if I'm holding the street directory upside down. A voice in my head is yelling at me to run but I've never been one to rush in. Which makes me wonder why now, of all the times in my life, I really want to.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

in the garden these days

A few short days ago, the air outside was so unseasonally warm it felt more like summer than almost-spring. The peach blossoms were celebrating and inviting the bees to take all the nectar they could carry. Freya just wanted to sit with her feet in the dirt and take it all in. There was a hazy, lazy feel about everything, and it was bliss.
Today it's colder than the proverbial witch's tit, too cold even for the rain to fall so it just hangs out in big grey clouds, being ominous. And spring plays its wicked little games: now you see me, now you don't. But that's okay. I can wait. I've felt your warm breath on the back of my neck, and I know you're just around the corner.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

the grasping

I was asked by two different people yesterday how old my children are, to which I gave a kind of automatic, matter-of-fact reply. When I thought about it later, I realised that those two numbers mean I have been a mother for six years and a mother of two for three-and-a-half years. And I thought to myself: That seems like a hell of a long time to be doing a job and still not think you really have a handle on it. But then I read this and realised that of course you never get a handle on it, and even if you think you do, the handle will soon change or disappear from view for a minute, enough to keep you grasping and thinking. All I know is I love being their mother, relaxing into it more every day and letting them run wild and happy then having them come back to me. It's not an easy job, but I'm beginning to believe it does get easier.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

on a lighter note

Okay, so it's all materialistic of me and they cost a small fortune, but how gorgeous are these little girls' dresses? I could spend hours, if I had that kind of time, looking at the sweet pretty things that clever people make for little ones to wear. Many are in small magazine, an online treasure trove of inspiring craft, fashion and design. The blue pintuck number above is by Baby Bean and the Liberty print tunic below is by Flora & Henri, available through Tiny McSmall.
Makes me want to get my sorely neglected sewing machine down from the attic. If only I could get past threading the bobbin.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

not drowning, wavering

I should clarify that when I say I have made a decision, it generally doesn't mean that will be the last decision on the given subject. My decision is not final. Correspondence between me and myself will frequently be entered into. So for all those who haven't long since given up caring, here is my position as of now. I can do this. I CAN DO THIS.

Friday, August 1, 2008

here you come again

It comes down to this: my children deserve to have a happy mother. They deserve to see me smiling more times than not, they deserve to hear me laughing and know that all is right with the world (at least the world that exists within these four walls). I have no right to deprive them of that. So while the past weeks have not been in vain, and I have learnt a lot and am still learning how to deal with my depression, I have made a decision. Mr Zoloft, just when I'm about to make it work without you, I want you to hold my hand again.

Because today, and several times in the past couple of months, it's just too bloody hard. Right or wrong, I'm tired of having to use every fibre of my being just to be able to get out of bed. To fight for nothing more than a feeling of not being depressed for a day or two. That's the reward. Not sheer unadulterated joy or heartfelt happiness or anything remotely resembling those things. Just head-above-water. I feel like I'm trying to run a marathon but to get to the starting line I have to climb out of a forty-foot hole. Even if I get to the top, my race is already run.

So there it is. All my reasoning, and I've needed quite a bit. But ultimately I think I deserve to be happy, and that right there is a major step forward from where I was six months ago. I think I deserve it. I know my children do. And even if that's all my knowledge, it has to be enough.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

so not child's play

Today we went to playgroup .. again. That sounds such a simple sentence, a straightforward proposition, even fun if you're into that kind of thing. For me, though, it's kind of like saying "today I went to have all my eyelashes pulled out one at a time''. Only today there were more tears.

I'm not sure why this is. I first went to this playgroup about two years ago, although I didn't really enjoy it then and didn't go back for some time. But this year we started out positive, I thought if I just kept going back every single week with Freya she would warm up. She would learn to love it. She would form friendships and feel comfortable and smile and laugh and do all the things children are supposed to do when they are in a group that does nothing except play. Playing. In a group. Sounds simple enough.

But Freya has not really done any of these things. Admittedly, she has smiled. A few times. And once she sang along with all the songs, and played with a couple of the other children. But mostly she clings to me, or sits grumpily on my lap glaring at everyone, or hiding her face, or crying. When she finally stands up it's only to demand that I pick her up so she can do ''ring a rosy'', which I can tell you is NO FUN when you are carrying a three-year-old and trying to ''all fall down'' and ''all jump up'' without seriously injuring yourself.

Last term we didn't go to playgroup at all. I was over it. Why should I put myself through it when the person I'm doing it for appears to be miserable the entire time we're there? I rationalised. We had fun. We played. Sometimes she watched telly, me being the irresponsible mother that I am. And guess what? I got the floor clean. It made me feel better. Freya appeared to have no ill effects. I didn't cry. She didn't cry. We just enjoyed each other's company.

Maybe this lulled me into a false sense of security. Freya is a happy, well-adjusted child, I told myself. She started enjoying other kids' company, so I thought maybe we could give playgroup another shot. It would be good for her, I reasoned, and everyone else appeared to agree with me (including the large, frightening entity known as SOCIETY, for whom nothing is ever good enough but which has generally decreed it is particularly not good for a three-and-a-half-year-old to have no social interaction with children of their own age). I think mostly society is made up of childcare centre operators and mothers who work full-time, but that's just my opinion. And it invariably falters when faced with the opinion of SOCIETY.

I would love to go to playgroup and be able to chat sociably with the other mothers, to drink herbal tea and compare notes on this crazy thing known as motherhood. I don't know about anyone else, but I need help with it. I think there is no other job in the world that so clearly requires an occupational health and safety overhaul. And the only people qualified to do that are those in the same position.

But it's a closed shop, this playgroup. You get the feeling all that bonding and knitting and tea-drinking and singing are reserved only for those who TRULY belong. And the child-rearing thing comes as naturally as breathing. Inhale. Exhale. Raise perfect children. Never be ruffled. Always know innately what the best thing is to do.

I realise these are all my own fears and uncertainties and that they probably affect the way I relate to these people, which in turn affects the way they see me. I get that. But I can't shake the feeling, and I can't, no matter what I do, make Freya enjoy herself when she is there. Today she hid her face almost the entire time, wouldn't sing or play or even walk. And I was in tears before the morning tea was even served. We went home. And at home the sun was shining so we had a picnic and Freya played on the swings and the trampoline and - god forbid - watched telly. I went from feeling hopeless to feeling okay. And I'm so tired of all this playgroup drama I can't tell you. Except I just did. So thanks for listening.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

i have a dream

Saw Mamma Mia today. The film, not the musical. Laughed, cried, ate too much popcorn, marvelled at how incredibly beautiful Meryl Streep still is, decided that some day I really must visit the Greek Islands - no, wait, did I say visit? I meant live on for the rest of my days. Because I'm fairly sure I can unequivocally state that people who have an all-year-round natural tan are INTENSELY HAPPY. ALL THE TIME.

I also remembered (and loved) every single Abba song and vowed to retrieve my Abba Gold CD from the back of the cupboard forthwith. Who knew Benny and Bjorn could write such beautiful songs, while still looking sexy-as in white satin tunics and flares. Thankyou for the music, gentlemen.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

bloom and grow

The camellia trees in my garden are older than me. They have solid, no-nonsense trunks that were nurtured in their early, twig-like days by a solid, no-nonsense woman named Josephine who owned this house long before I was born, and whom I never met but whose blood circulates in three of the people I love most in this world.
When I was pregnant with Elsa, I watched the camellia buds appear and grow larger as I did, and when I brought our tiny baby girl home their beautiful pink blooms covered the branches and the lawn beneath them. It was like nature saying "It's a girl!''.
Now that tiny baby has turned six, and if you were to ask her I'm sure she'd tell you there is no greater age to be. The camellias are blooming and falling, as they do, and although it is winter there is still tremendous warmth to be had if you know where to look for it. And on the branches of our peach tree, hope of an abundant spring.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

who is this harriet?

Excellent question. I like to think of Harriet as someone who watches over me, an employee of the universe if you will. I credit her for leading me into the arms of the man I love, for taking us both into a rundown old house in the early months of 1997 and showing us (okay, maybe just me) the love and life that dwelt in its tobacco-stained walls and could resurface with a bit of hard work and several thousands of dollars. I thank her every day for bringing me home.
Sometimes it seems Harriet has deserted me in my hour of need. When I'm beating myself up and shutting out everyone around me, it feels like Harriet has run for the hills, and I am in no place to blame her. But then, without fail, she comes back to me and it is clear she was just checking in with the boss, getting new instructions from Universe Pty Ltd on how to deal with her charge.
Today I read dooce and thought for the hundred-and-ninety-ninth time how much I'd like to be Heather B. Armstrong's best friend, then thought how unlikely that is because 1. She lives in Utah. 2. She is the world's most popular blogger. and 3. She recently had more than 40,000 comments posted for one entry. I almost wet myself when I get just one. But still I am bordering on obsessive about Heather, and I recently sent her an email because I was sure we could have a meaningful connection beyond me slavishly reading her blog and idolising her. Today her blog entry mentions in passing that she often listened to Pearl Jam's Alive at high volume during her college days for hours on end. And today, somewhat later, I was driving to work and trying to find a decent song on the radio when I heard John Butler Trio and instantly stopped searching. I was now listening to a radio station I literally NEVER listen to, and then the 18-year-old announcer came on and said something hip and rad and groovy, as they do, and I was just about to change the channel again when he said ''Pearl Jam'' and then ''Alive" and then Eddie Vedder starting growling to me and I swear, Heather B. Armstrong might as well have called me directly on my mobile phone and asked me to fly straight to Utah so she could adopt me as her new best friend and constant companion. Harriet and I drove the rest of the way in stunned silence. Eddie growling. Me purring.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

blow wind blow

Windy. Man, is it windy. Enough to blow a brown dog off its chain, in fact. The kind of wind you might call 'lazy', since it opts to blow right through you rather than go the long way around. That wind you can pretty much feel in your bones after you've been in it for a while. My grandma used to hate this kind of wind. I figure that's because she worked a dairy farm and had to spend hours out in it, roaming around a windswept cow paddock chasing 'the girls' in for milking when she probably would have much rather been sitting down to a slice of fresh butter with some bread on it and several cups of tea. These kind of days remind me of her, and the farm, and the cold that you just couldn't shake (although the Lan-Choo did a pretty good job of it). I hope that wherever she is, Grandma has a bottomless cup of tea, an endless supply of butter and a nice spot to sit, out of the wind.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

are you receiving?

So I asked the universe for help. And literally within the hour I had received my brand new laptop (one week early) and received a phone call from a dear friend who, it turns out, was coming to see me this weekend, one month earlier than expected. Good things were brought forward for no other reason than to show me that help is out there. Friends are out there. And shiny red laptops are right here, helping me to write these very words.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

one forward, three back

It seems news of my recovery was slightly premature. It seems, also, in this particular moment that hope is heavily camouflaged as struggle. I'm not sure I'm ready for the struggle. I'm not sure why I make things so difficult for myself. I'm not sure when or how the light will return and I'm not even sure what I'm going to do today to try and make a difference. But mostly I'm not sure why I find everything such a struggle when clearly there are millions of people out there with a real and gigantic reason for hurting. I don't know. I just don't.

Monday, June 2, 2008

my reading list

A very special delivery arrived last week from and I'm already struggling to know which one to read first. Rather than make the decision, I've been flicking through all three and finding little gems in all of them that are so close to the mark it would be scary, if it weren't so exciting and liberating at the same time.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

worth mentioning

I don't think my Dan Zanes link was working on an earlier post, but all should be revealed now. Watch and learn (at least once a day if possible).

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Yay! (verily)

And yay, verily, the anti-happiness wall began to crumble, and it fell, and life strode in with great purpose and renewed vigour and deep, fulfilling mirth ensued. Thanks, Eckhart Tolle, for handing me the world's quietest, most powerful jackhammer. I will treasure it always.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

more about me

It's a shocking admission for a person with a blog, I know, but just lately I'm getting sick of talking about myself. It's been an enormous reawakening, that much is true, but I think I'm at the point in my 'process' where I just need to focus on something else. So hooray. Now what could it be? In my ideal fantasy world, I'd quit my hideous, unfulfilling but ridiculously well-paying job and become a freelance journalist specialising in home and lifestyle articles for those glossy magazines that have me salivating with covetous intent. I'd write a book about trying to live with depression. My blog would be read and admired by lots of people in all different countries, and I'd be on a first-name basis with like-minded individuals on the opposite side of the globe. I'd learn to cook, and my family would learn to eat. I'd become a vegetarian. I'd have another baby, when the time feels close to right.
Two things have become apparent: 1. I'm still talking about myself. Old habits. 2. None of these things are technically in the 'fantasy' realm at all. They're all quite achievable, in fact. Who knows what might happen?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

mummy's here

One of the things that came up during my visit to the kinesiologist last week was my relationship with my youngest child, Freya. It came up a lot, actually. Maybe because on any given day it feels like it's taken over my life. I love her deeply, innately, but there are times when I despair of her behaviour, her aggression, even her anger, which seems so out of place in such a tiny soul. I go through blaming myself for not being emotionally available or for just being a bad mother, because that's always such an easy guilt trip to take. But Marlene came up with a different theory, one that rang painfully true. I was taking anti-depressants during my pregnancy with Freya, up until just before she was born. She suffered severe reflux as a baby, and I suffered what was almost certainly post-natal depression for a second time but was too busy trying to think positively to see it. So my darling child was taken from my womb and from the drug that I'd been providing her and into the arms of a mother who could not fully bond with her and clearly could not cope with her precarious temperament. Any wonder separation from me is so frightening for her even now. If someone had told me that even a month ago, I may well have curled up into a ball and never got back up. But being newly empowered by my energy balancing, I felt it was a gift. I looked on our mother/child relationship with different eyes, and because I felt stronger, she related to me quite differently. It was like we were both tuned to the same frequency for the same time. Channels open.
I've been thinking, and telling anyone who'll listen, for about a year that it seems like Freya is hypersensitive to everything, to sound, to emotions, everything's amplified by about 100. And today I found out I was right. We had a meeting with a child psychiatrist, who diagnosed Freya with regulation disorder. Basically it means everything I just described. Sensory overload, and no way of dealing with it. The daughter of said psychologist has the same thing, so tell me that's not the universe handing me a great big merit certificate for being on the right track.
So it's day one of dealing with this newfound 'problem', but knowing what it is and that there's ways to approach it makes it so much easier to face the future. I just want to hold her and tell her it's all going to be alright. Mummy's here.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

emotional rescue

You know what, it's such a long story but I really just wanted to put something down. To see it written.
I went to see a kinesiologist on Tuesday, having read a bit about the therapy and its use in treating depression. Basically it harnesses the energy in your body and uses it for good instead of evil. That's the simplified version. Anyway, having it rock bottom and revisited my depression, I made the appointment. I tried really hard to stop myself thinking this woman could 'cure' me, make everything alright again. But at the time that's exactly what I thought because that's all I felt I had to hang on to.
Then there I was, crying, sobbing, wracked with despair and uncertainty and fear and sitting in this stranger's room hoping to hell she could help me. And somebody did help me. Somebody who was also in the room, but not the one I thought it would be. It was me. The will, the energy and the emotional rescue I'd been waiting for was right inside me all along. She 'balanced' my energy and did some relaxation and muscle memory work and I left feeling so much stronger, and so much braver. I know it's not the end of the road, not by a long shot, but I feel like I have the tools right here should I find myself in another ditch. I know there is happiness, strength and wisdom deep down within me, and that knowledge has come to me like a mid-summer rain storm, washing away so much self-doubt and self-loathing.

Friday, April 18, 2008

the red, the blue and the black dog

Blue is blue
Sky's colour
Sea's hue

But red is red.
When you're losing your head
And you're better off dead.

I wrote that many moons ago, when I had too much time on my hands and life was just a gaping great hole really, filled with doubt and self-loathing and not much more.
These days I can't say any of that is true. My life is full of wonderful things. But this last week the old self-loathing crept back in, creating doubt, eating away at the wholeness of things and trying to suck me back into the gaping great hole. I know its name. I know its tricks. But even as the black dog had me pinned by the chest, baring its teeth, I couldn't find the strength to call it off. If it were only for me it might be forgivable. I can't bear that I shrink from the fight when my family is involved. I want to be like the lioness who'd give her life for her cubs, but all I seem able to do is lay down and pray for it to be over quickly. I don't know if it's just hormonal, if it's seasonal, or if it's the more logical thing - I'm facing my demons without medication. No safety net. But even while the slightest thing makes me weep and sob and wail at the moment, I'm not ready to bow down to the god of Zoloft again. It took me so long to crawl out from his shadow, and I'm sure there are other things I can do. It might just take a little longer. But this too shall pass.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

right here, right now

If there's one thing I know, it's that there's a lot I don't know. A lot I have yet to learn, and some things I never will. But just lately it feels like a huge chunk of the universal syllabus has landed in my lap, daring me to read it. Go on, it's saying, take a peek. Read page 124, it's a masterpiece. I'm not far in yet, it's early days, but something is changing. I will never regain the stillness, the all-consuming focus of a five-year-old colouring in a mandala but sometimes just being in the same room as her is an education in itself. Live in the now, says the universe. Happiness 101. Leave your notebook at home.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

jazz hands

These babies have been languishing in the laundry for longer than I care to admit .. dismembered and kind of mouldy from too many happy bathtimes. After a couple of days and a bucket of bleach, hey presto! Good as new. It doesn't get much better than a freshly washed cherub.

I rest my case.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

someday we'll find it

I'm so out-of-control inspired by the people of this great big, tiny world called the internet. The mothers, the friends, the incredible creativity that is ours for the sharing. I love it. I love that on the face of it, it's all big computers and techno-speak but deep down, at the very heart of it, it's a long and winding path that you follow without a map, and the wonders you find are so very small and the people are just other people, just like you, dreaming and making and living one day at a time. People you're destined to meet, or even to meet again after what seems like a lifetime. It's a crazy world out there, but there is so much hope.

Monday, March 17, 2008

come the revolution, baby

Let's all hear it for Mr Dan Zanes, a man I first saw on Sesame Street and instantly fell in love with. From what I can gather he's a music man with a huge heart but all you really need to do is watch this and all will be revealed. Come the revolution, baby, we'll all be wearing yellow ponchos and playing the guitar. Dare you not to smile.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

with my own two hands

I can't really put my finger on it, but today was a special day. Not only because I spent it at home with my two girls, and not only because the sun was out and the sky was a cloudless blue. I think maybe because I just didn't think about being anywhere else. We played, I cooked pancakes, we painted, sang, danced, read books, and not once did my mind wander past these four walls. It was breathtaking.
Yesterday as I waited for Elsa at school I watched her class playing outside, running but they could have been flying from the looks on their faces, holding their little paper aeroplanes and letting them go, watching them fly then picking them up and doing it all again. It almost made me cry. Today was a bit like that too, just feeling the sheer beauty of everything that I just haven't felt for so long. Not really felt, not the kind of feeling you do when you're just so happy you want to cry.
Been listening to Jack Johnson's soundtrack for the film Curious George, and loving it. Particularly With My Own Two Hands, featuring the divine Ben Harper. The words: Gonna make a brighter place, with my own two hands, gonna help the human race, with my own two hands and the voices, and the sweet guitar, get me every time. I can't think of a more beautiful song, or a more beautiful message, to give our children.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

tantrums, tears and trims

I had my hair cut today. Quite a substantial haircut actually, with an alarming amount on the floor afterwards. Ordinarily this could be cause for panic, or gut-wrenching regret, but I'm okay. Really. Hair is hair. It grows back. Could it be I'm getting old and these things have fallen away? The outward artifice? Probably not, but it's nice to think so. And it's nice to run my hand through my cropped off hair and think how nice, to be comfortable in my own skin.

But today was not all good. It involved crying, by myself and others, and I wish I could say there will be no more. But three is apparently a very bad age to be, because you want to do exactly what you want to do, when you want to do it. And not everybody agrees. Tres frustrating, for all concerned.

But I soon learned, your love burned brighter than the stars in my eyes. Now I know how and when, I know where and why.

So sings Missy Higgins in her beautiful version of the Split Enz song Stuff and Nonsense, one of many on the She Will Have Her Way album that lives permanently in my car's CD player. Such a beautiful song, such a beautiful album. Never ceases to amaze me, the Finn brothers' way with words. A portrait of the lovely Neil, my pin-up boy from way back, won the Packing Room Prize at the Archibalds today. When I saw it I felt like I was 14 again, dancing around the loungeroom to Mean To Me and pledging my eternal love to Finn the Younger. I still would (pledge eternal love that is, and dance around the loungeroom given half a chance).

Thursday, February 7, 2008

And that is me

Some days, when you least expect it, you find a quiet strength within yourself that you didn't know you had.
On Monday, I left my three-year-old daughter at preschool for the very first time. She was screaming, crying, inconsolable, and I spent the entire day with my stomach in a knot, wandering around the house like a zombie. I felt like Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice.
The next day I did it again, and there was no screaming, but lots and lots of tears from both of us.
Today I spoke to friends, a passing acquaintance and some family members who I somehow didn't think would have an opinion, and by telling them how I felt it just crept up on me, that quiet inner strength, the knowledge that what I think is right is actually really right, the only right, the only truth and there can be no other way.
So this Monday, instead of feeling that knot in my stomach grow even tighter, instead of doubting myself and my mothering instincts, I will spend the entire day with a three-year-old girl who will only ever know one mother. And that is me.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

At the end of this path

Time marches on. It is weeks into a new year, and thoughts have turned to real change, not just superficial promises. I took the girls and Sunday for a very long walk yesterday, on a path we had never travelled before, and it was lovely. I'm not sure who enjoyed it more, though Sunday was quite delighted to find a duck pond at the end of it. When the girls grew a bit weary and asked 'Mum, where's the duck pond?' all I could answer, quite honestly, was 'At the end of this path'. There was a moment during our walk that I really wanted to keep. I even had the urge to find my mobile phone and take a picture so it would stay with me forever, but then I decided I could write about it, and keep the image inside my head.

I came around the corner then, and saw her standing, watching me from such a distance that she looked quite small. Just a tiny girl, I thought, and then I realised just how small, how precious, how fleeting, was this moment in her life, in our lives. She had never seemed so small, not even when I held her for the very first time, when she was barely as big as my own two hands. She had taken up so much of my world that I had never realised what a tiny soul she really was. And now I watch her, watching me, waiting for me to catch up to her, but I am suddenly aware that soon she will be on her own way, and I will not be able to catch up to her. I want to run to her and hold her and tell her how precious she is, how precious this day is to me. She just smiles up at me, and we walk the rest of the way side by side.