Filling Their Cups!

My children all woke up cranky and tired today. They didn’t go to bed late but they’re just a bit fatigued and fragile. Some might say they need to toughen up and get on with it but I could see deep within their eyes they needed an adventure with Mummy and nature.

I sent them to school dragging their feet like cranky old men. In fact, the only way I got Miss Bliss dressed and in the car and at the school gates was by agreeing to pick her up early.

She made me pinky promise. A promise I had no intention of breaking or I would lose the trust she has in me and some days that’s the only thing that gets us through.

They reluctantly said goodbye to me and wandered to their respective circles of friends.

At 2.00pm I arrived at school and I signed them all out. Their excitement was delicious when I told them I was taking them on an adventure.

Our first stop was Baskin Robbins ice-cream. We all sat down eating our ice creams and they started talking about their memories of our beloved Joan and how she would love an ice cream too.

Our second stop was the park. Master Boris has this fascination with using his upper body strength to climb up the posts that hold the shade sail. He was in his element.

Our third stop was the beach. They stripped off their uniforms down to their undies, put on a hat, flicked off their shoes and their feet connected with our earth.

The wet, soggy sand seeped between their toes. The crispness of the water sprayed against their skin.

I watched as my three little humans dispersed to the rock pools to explore. Crouching and digging. Looking and finding. Navigating balance, sometimes they fell, sometimes they skipped, sometimes they walked slowly with caution.

They were forever smiling.

I took a series of photos of Miss Bliss as I marvelled at how calming and happy this small gesture made her. Later today, I zoomed in on one of the photos and the magic of happiness in her face shone through.

I already knew I’d done the right thing when I was watching them all at the beach but this confirmed it.

Sometimes kids just need to be kids. They need to connect with the natural world that breathes life into our soul. Which radiates happiness through our feet, to the sparkle in our eyes and laughter on our lips.

The simplest task of removing our shoes and feeling the textures of nature beneath them invokes calm. Today I saw it.

Often these experiences reconfirm my pure instinct as their mother when sometimes, I’m worried I’m overthinking it or doubting my ability to read the signs.

Today, I nailed it.

I felt guilty a few hours later when I suggested we leave the beach. It took quite some time to move them along and I laughed when they didn’t hear my requests because they were so absorbed in the moment.

We made it home and checked out our new baby chickens. We waited patiently for Daddy to arrive home.

Our final stop was Sushi Train for dinner. I watched delightedly as the child who told me repeatedly she wouldn’t eat sushi, managed to consume the most amount of dishes tonight.

Today was successful. I filled their cups! Just when they were nearing empty we filled them with good food (except for the ice cream), nature, exploration, fulfilled promises and loads of love.

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Inside her Mother’s Head

Dear Daughter,

I saw you today when you danced at the bus stop with your brother and your eyes sparkled. I wanted the bus to be late, so I could stand there and watch you all morning.

Your eyes always used to sparkle when you were happy or when you smiled and then they stopped.

You used to skip through life with a smile etched into your cheek bones, your hair flowing in the wind, your feet bare and your eyes delighted at everything they saw.

The moment it changed was that fateful day. One minute you were all chattering away in the back of the car and I was drifting off to sleep.

The forcefulness and explosive noise is etched in my brain forever. I have tried to forget about it. I have tried to talk about it openly so it can’t hurt me. But….

Nothing works.

I still hear it.

I still see it.

I still feel it.

Before I opened my eyes that day, I begged that guy upstairs who I don’t like very much to make sure you were all safe. But, your sister kept us all safe. She is truly an angel.

I opened my eyes and before I could move my body without being sliced by the glass I heard your screams.

You were all screaming. But yours was the loudest. It was a scream I have never heard before. A scream I hope to never hear again. The terror, the fear, the unknown, the want to be helped ripped through me like fire through my veins.

When I managed to get out of the car and I realised in my confusion what had happened I started blinking rapidly. I saw the front of the truck pressed against your seat.

The screams became louder.

Then I realised they were mine.

Daddy and I couldn’t get you all out of there fast enough. Time seemed to slow as the smoke seemed to rise quicker from our car and the petrol poured from the tank.

I have never felt such intense relief at being able to touch you all. I patted you all down over and over again making sure I didn’t miss something.

All three of you were attached to me like koalas. There was no way you were letting go.

You continued to scream. We tried relentlessly to calm you. Your screams hurt my heart.

I felt helpless and worried about how I was going to protect you all.

Today my darling, I know I can’t change it but I wish I could’ve gone with you in the ambulance. I wish I was there. Every minute I sat in my own ambulance and in a different hospital I was thinking of you and worrying about you.

It is doubtful the outcome would be different today but my heart hurts that I wasn’t there for you.

Some days when you wake up and there is the new darkness in your eyes and your face looks exhausted by all your brain and body has been through, well I hate him for you.

I know it’s not productive, but I hate him anyway. For not doing the speed limit, for not paying attention, for hurting my family.

I wonder about him often.

Does he feel sad?

Does he think about us?

Does he wonder if he could’ve done better?

Then I feel terrible for thinking these thoughts and I tell him in my head that I don’t really hate him, because that word requires too much energy. Energy I can use on different things. I dislike him some days ALOT!

Some days when I feel like I’ve walked on eggshells for days, weeks or as long as I can remember to keep you okay, I just can’t anymore.

I put you to bed. Smother you in kisses. Tell you I love you. Cuddle you one more time, again.

Then I lock my bedroom door, turn the shower on, get in and take a deep breath. It usually takes a few minutes for the hot water to prickle my skin and then I sink to my knees and I sob.

Today when your eyes sparkled baby girl, my heart did star jumps. Seeing glimpses of your true soul shine through, is like holding you in my arms for the first time as a baby. A feeling I wish I could bottle for the tough days.

My free-spirited daughter, you have my heart in spades. Through all the shiny, golden moments and all the dirty, gray moments. I will forever be your hand to hold.

You are a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I am honoured to be your Mummy and to walk with you through all the colours life will shine on you.

Love, love, love you with all my heart.

30 Day Writing Challenge – Ten Interesting Facts You may Not Know about me….

I decided that I should start all future blog posts with 100 happy day posts to keep in line with the book that I recently read and loved.

Here is todays: Day 1/365: I am happy for the luxury of being able to wake up (nearly) pain free today and for the first time since November, I not only went for a walk but a gentle jog. I drove down to the beach, excited to smell the salty spray of the ocean. I put my earphones in and pressed shuffle on my playlist and got out of the car.

The sky opened up (this seems to be a common theme for me this week). There were people taking shelter under the marine building but I smiled and started jogging past them. No idiot except me, was dumb enough to be running in this weather. Lucky, because had anyone seen me with my hoody tied under my chin and the rain smashing down with a huge cheesy smile on my face.

I stood at the end of the wall at Ballina delighted I had accomplished such a simple task I had longed to do for months. The photo on my blog today was taken at that exact moment so I don’t ever forget that sometimes being really patient is totally worth the agony.

I suspect tomorrow I might be happy about nurofen and heatpacks, but it was totally worth it.

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There are numerous topics on this writing challenge list that I don’t like so I’ll use some and spare you the heartache of a shitty piece of writing for the sake of it.

So, here goes:

Ten Interesting Facts You May Not Know About Me

1. I prefer to drive a manual car than automatic. I got especially furious when a car salesman told me that the 4WD I was interested in didn’t come in manual “as most Mum’s can only drive automatic”. Could he be any more patronising. This “Mum” thinks your logic sucks mate!

2. My absolute favourite singer at the moment is Post Malone closely followed by Khalid. When I visited Sydney last year I was lucky enough to spend lots of time with my baby brother, Thomas, (who is turning 25 this year). I felt like I was 17 again, driving along in his cute little car, with groovy tunes pumping loudly and I fell in love with the sound of Post Malone.

3. I have given birth to four, perfect, live babies. Orlando, Indiana, Charlize and Lucia. I have also miscarried four times. For me, the loss of a miscarriage is tough but, it can never compare to the loss of my newborn baby in my arms taking her last breath.

4. It has been twelve months since our legal team dialled us in to a conference call to tell us they could not prove in a court of law that the hospital was at fault for the death of our daughter, even though they can see they are. It is strongly believed, when Charlize received a blood transfusion immediately following her birth, that it was contaminated with Group B Strep and that is the reason she died. (Note for self: Write a blog on this).

5. I am an extraordinarily impatient person. It means I can get bored easily, which is why I often move all our furniture around at home and have had numerous jobs in my lifetime.

6. Following from point 5 I will list all the jobs I can remember having …. from the age of 13-17 I worked casually in my Uncle’s camping shops and often worked at the Caravan, Camping and 4WD show at Randwick Racecourse. When I was 14 and 9 months I began working at Woolworths as a “Check Out Chick”. I worked at Rockmans. I worked as a receptionist in a Sand & Soils supply company. When I finished school I worked for Telstra. Firstly in customers service, then faults, then complaints dealing with ombudsman complaints (people really hated Telstra), then I was lucky enough to work at the International Broadcasting Centre during the Sydney 2000 Olympics. I then changed direction and started working in Real Estate. I worked at PRD Nationwide Manly as a Property Officer, LJ Hooker Narrabeen as a Sales Assistant to one of the biggest wankers I’ve ever met in my life, LJ Hooker Mona Vale as Property Manager, a boutique Real Estate agency as a Senior Property Manager and then I got tired of working Saturday’s and became an Office Manager and Personal Assistant to the Director of the largest Real Estate agency on the North Shore, Ray White Neutral Bay Mosman. I am still in contact with many of my Real Estate friends today.

Then I had a baby and became an Executive Assistant to the CEO of JF Infrastructure. This led me to one of my favourite jobs ever, Executive Assistant to the Managing Director of Sara Lee Australia. These gorgeous colleagues saw me through the toughest time of my life with the loss of Charlize. Without them I would not be standing today. I was offered a redundancy package when my maternity leave finished as Sara Lee was sold to MCcains.

I then decided to use my awesome skills and work for a not-for-profit and scored a job as the EA to the Country Director of The World Bank. It wasn’t what I anticipated and my CD was out of country 3 weeks a month and didn’t value our relationship (an executive assistant is a director’s right arm. If the relationship isn’t there, the job will never work well. This is the only time I experienced this).  Lucky for me as I was getting tired of him I was head hunted for the role at Hasbro Toys. When I quit, the CD at TWB begged me to stay. I even felt a little guilty but who wouldn’t want to play with Nerf Blasters, Mr Potato Head and Play Doh for a living.

I loved the job  at Hasbro immensely but in hindsight I was grief stricken and was not ready to work. I quit after six months to stay home with my babies. My old boss from Sara Lee heard what I had done and offered me a job partially working in his new office and from home so I had the best of both worlds. So began a new role working for Keurig Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. I loved working for him again but my heart was broken and Sydney was not where we wanted to be anymore. So, we packed up and moved to the country. My first job in our little town was working in the Commonwealth Bank. I met all 4900/5000 members of our town in a few short months. I then decided to follow my heart and moved into Early Childhood where I was lucky enough to work in our community preschool and run my very own Family Day Care.

7. After our car accident I became unintentionally unemployed. Much to my disgust I had to close my business due to my injuries. During the accident I smashed the left hand side of my head pretty badly. By the time the trauma ambulance arrived at the scene to assess us, I had lost my entire peripheral vision and then promptly lost my balance and collapsed on the ground. It turns out the vitrious in my eye completely detached from the retina. Because the vitrious came off in a big chunk I often lose 1/3-1/2 of my vision depending on the location this piece wants to float to. Apparently I can have surgery to try and rectify this but it’s quite invasive. I’m not there yet. In addition, I smashed up my pelvis and hip pretty badly and running around after tiny little humans was no longer an option.

8. My favourite thing to do, EVER, is to curl up on the lounge with a book. My Granny was an avid reader as is my Dad and I followed suit. I generally read a book every 1-2 days, which is why I prefer a kindle these days. However, I love nothing more than walking around a bookshop or a library and piling a collection of books in my arms to read.

9. I applied for university in January and then promptly talked myself out of going. I happened to get declined for my first preference at UNE but was accepted for my second preference. I let it go and moved on to enabling our whole family to recover and trying to enjoy not working. I felt quite lost. I don’t enjoy doing nothing, unless I’m reading. On Friday 2nd March my husband came home and told me on his flight he had been thinking about uni and I should absolutely do it because I’ve always wanted to. We are lucky enough to be in a situation where I don’t have to work and I could go to uni full time. I looked up the closing dates for the uni I really wanted to go to (which wasn’t UNE) and realised it closed that day at 5pm. I rapidly started typing my submission and application and submitted by midday. The following Monday I was accepted and I started full time uni on the Tuesday.

Life. It never ceases to amaze me.

Let’s hope I can be patient for the next four YEARS.

10. My husband works away from home. They call this FIFO (Fly In Fly Out). Since June last year he has been away four nights every-single-week. I miss the little things, like waking up next to him every day, rather than just on weekends. I miss the luxury of him coming home after work on a weekday and being able to quickly race down to the shops on my own. Instead, I have learnt to adapt to a very structured weekday routine. Our house runs with military precision during the week. I’ve learnt to be Mum and Dad during the week. I look after the children, I keep the house clean, the washing up to date, the lawns mowed, the animals looked after, the vegetable garden blooming. I consider myself lucky though, I have friends whose husbands are FIFO and are gone 3-6 weeks at a time.

Happy Sunday!

My Earliest Memory

We have never been able to understand this completely, but one of my earliest memories is of being a little girl, a toddler maybe.

I was wearing only my undies and my hair had ribbons in it.

I knew that I shouldn’t, but I walked up to the ironing board where the iron was sitting hot after my mother had just been using it.

I reached my right hand up and pressed it against the hot metal of the iron and then I screamed as I pulled my hand away.

I don’t remember anything else.

My Mum tells me I never, ever, burnt myself.

But here’s the crazy part, this is my Mum’s story which seems to be where my earliest memory came from.

My Mum was heavily pregnant in 1981 with me.

She was running late for her obstetrician appointment.

She needed to iron her dress.

As she was ironing her dress she burnt her belly on the iron.

We still both think this is absolutely crazy. My memory is as clear in my head today as it was when I was a little girl.

And my Mum is still adamant that other than burning her belly I absolutely never burnt my hand.

What age do you recall being for your earliest memory?

Stir Fry Tonight?

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My friend posted the funniest Instagram post tonight. It was #keepingitreal and #realmumstyle. I laughed for about fifteen minutes afterwards because she showed us how social media often or nearly always, masks REAL LIFE.

This got me thinking.

I accepted a challenge late in 2017 to write every day for an entire month with specific topics each day. Clearly, that didn’t happen and I REALLY wanted to do it. I realised I was a little scared to do it in case people got sick of seeing my posts.

Then, I read this book “How To Be Happy” and I’ve literally thought “Fuck It”. If you don’t want to read my posts, DON’T. This is who I am. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I write and talk about those subjects that people don’t really like to and I’m not going to stop.

So, this brings me to this week. I’m going to write about how my real life looked in the past 24 hours. Sometimes, when we are having a shit day and we read about someone else’s shit day it can make us smile, make us happy again, as we are on this earth to feel happy every day.

By the way, in real life, I swear … sometimes a lot. I blame my Mum. If you know her you’ll laugh at that comment.

Last night was a tough night at our house.

The littlest one burst into tears at bedtime when she told me that kids at school keep asking if her and Indiana are twins because they look so much alike. For any other kid, this probably wouldn’t bother them. But she is a twin. I asked her how she felt when the kids asked her this and she said “Mummy, it just makes me so sad for Charlize because she is my twin and no one will ever know her”. With tears slipping down her face I picked her up out of her bed and walked her to my bedroom and told her she could snuggle with me all night. Within a few minutes she was fast asleep.

I let our puppy inside like we do every night. She waits on the mat for me to tell her she can go into our big boy’s room, and then she races down the hallway and curls up on his bed after she’s slobbered all over his face. Last night I was exhausted. I would normally put the dog out at 10.30pm before I go to bed but instead I fell asleep quite early.

2.30am – I’m woken to the sounds of our front door opening and realises O is putting the dog outside. He tells me he thinks she’s limping. I tell him she will be fine and to go back to sleep.

3.00am – I’m woken to the sounds of a dog being tortured. I race outside to find the dog curled up in her crate panting. I get her out and notice she’s in a lot of pain. I bring her inside and find she can’t stand on her front leg. Shit.

I wrap her in a blanket and give her some water and let her sleep at the end of my bed so I can keep an eye on her. I realise I’m terrified she might die.

Somehow we all sleep in till 8am. The vet calls me as I sent him a text at 3am. Oops. He tells me to bring her in now as he has consults from 8.30am. No one is dressed. Two kids are still asleep.

We manage to get dressed for school and out the door in 9 minutes. Why can’t they do this every morning. I remember I’m teaching O’s class how to make bread. My hair isn’t done, my jeans have red dirt stains on them but at least my clothes are clean.

We drop the dog off at 8.25am. Everyone looks exhausted and no one has had breakfast. We go to our local café and order breakfast. Whilst we are waiting for breakfast I remember I didn’t pack anyone lunch for school. Shit.

I log on to the canteen website and let them have all the nutritious items they want. I start ordering hash browns, chicken nuggets, sausage rolls. Oh god, they don’t have recess. So we order grain waves. Fuck it, it’s Friday it won’t kill them. I’ll cook us a stir fry for dinner with lots of vegetables to combat the shit I’ve just ordered them.

My husband calls me repeatedly to update me about the dramas at Sydney airport which mean his flight home is very delayed. I think he might be scared that I’ll completely lose my mind if he’s not home soon. He’s probably right.

I manage to get the kids to school on time. I unpack my luggage to take into O’s classroom to make bread. Why on earth did I think I had time for this. I have 70 questions for my maths topic I haven’t touched and an assessment due on Sunday which is probably another 70 questions on things I don’t know the answers to.

Surprisingly, the bread making goes so very well. The kids were delightful and the bread rolls turn out fabulous. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with his class and was glad he asked me to do it.

I pack up my luggage and walk from one end of the school to the next, with my very heavy bags, to find the gates are locked and I have to walk back to the entry and walk halfway around Alstonville to get to my car with my Thermomix on my shoulder.

I manage to get all my stuff in the car and drive to the coffee shop. I can’t get a park anywhere near the coffee shop. I need that latte like my life depended on it. I have my lifeline in my hand and start walking back to the car when the sky opens up and it literally pours buckets of water on top of me. I look up and laugh and take a nice big slurp of my coffee as I walk leisurely through the pouring rain.  I get to my car and the bloody rain stops.

The sun is shining when I get home to the chaotic mess we left in haste this morning. I give myself 20 mins and race around picking up clothes, making beds and washing up the dishes. I venture into the laundry and smile when I realise I’m completely up to date with all our washing and it’s even folded in neat piles for everyone to collect.

I sit down in front of my laptop with my cup of tea and start the 70 torturous questions for today’s uni activity. My husband finally walks in the door from Sydney delighted to be home.

I get a call from the vet who tells me the dog is not going to die. She didn’t get bitten by a snake and she didn’t break her leg. She got an abscess from a grass seed that penetrated her skin. She currently looks like a shaggy teddy bear so it’s not surprising. He suggests we get her clipped regularly to avoid this happening again.  I make an appointment to get her clipped.

I drive back to the school to pick up my darlings. The middle one trudges towards me and growls rather than talks. The big one seems happy as he’s still eating bread. The little one approaches with her hair pulled out and crazy and all the while she continues to talk to me about her day whilst scratching her head. I have a look at where she is scratching.

Standing next to me is her teacher telling me how adorable she is and my dear friend. I bend my head down to look closer at the scratch marks and I snap my head up and look at both my friend and her teacher. In my head I said “FUCK” but in the school yard I said “Oh great, why not have nits. That just completes our week”. They both looked at me and laughed.

We arrived home and I made everyone strip all their clothes off whilst I lathered their heads in that head lice stuff that burns the shit out of your eyes. I stripped beds and watched as my perfect laundry turned into a tsunami of washing.

My husband walked in and looked at me and said “I thought I’d get us chicken and chips for dinner so you don’t have to cook”.

Who was I kidding, I was never making stir fry tonight!!

An addition to …. Inside Her Head

I decided to re-post this blog tonight. I only recently wrote this one but this afternoon we were at a function and I got some looks and we needed to leave early or there would certainly be more than looks.

I can’t explain our situation with verbal words often as it would be greatly detrimental for my daughter, but I hope this gives people some insight into her (our) current situation.

This situation we are now living with is called a ‘ Traumatic Brain Injury’. She wasn’t born with it, we didn’t ask for it, it’s just a gift that she received after the accident caused her brain to be shaken in so many directions that the injury is similar to ‘Shaken Baby Syndrome’.

Today, she was grumpy.

Today she was stomping her feet.

She wouldn’t smile.

She yelled rather than spoke.

She was hungry, then she wasn’t.

She is sometimes inappropriate. She forgets to be polite. She forgets to eat neatly. She interrupts.

From the outside looking in I knew what people were thinking.

That kid looks out of control.

She is, because she just did five full days of school in a row since November. Her body and brain are tired. Her sensory processing are in overload and will shortly meltdown. That you do not want to see. The noise of so many people is hurting her brain. It cannot block out all of those sounds.

Why isn’t the mother trying to control her?

Because THAT mother knows her better than your judgement. That mother knows she needs to conserve her energy to get her out of this function without making a scene. That mother knows her own cup is empty from the drain that is brain injury and sometimes you only fight a fight worth fighting.

This is brain injury.

What you didn’t see is how long it took for her to calm down when she got home.

What you didn’t see was the torture in her mother’s head on making a decision to go to that function today or not. If we didn’t go her littlest sister misses out on something she’s been looking forward to since last year. If we did go her mother had to be prepared for a showdown.

Here is my original post I called ‘Inside Her Head’.

Today I woke up happy but my body felt tired.

I had toast for breakfast and I never have toast for breakfast. But, I felt like toast. Or did I feel like eggs? Mummy makes me whatever I feel like. I always change my mind.

I get dressed for school slowly after Mummy kept telling me to. I did my hair, brushed my teeth, packed my lunch in my bag and walked to the car. Mummy kept telling me what I should do because I forget sometimes.

I had to go to a doctors appointment this morning because my brain got hurt after the truck ran into us.

After the doctors appointment I was late for school. I didn’t want to go to school but Mummy told me I had to go.

My body made me feel angry. I really don’t want to go to school. Why won’t people listen to me. I’m feeling tired.

Mummy told me I could have hot chips after school if I get out of the car and go to school. Mummy knows they’re my favourite. Now I feel happy.

I do reading and writing and my brain gets tired so I need to rest. But someone is sitting on my special chair that I’m allowed to rest on. I can’t get angry at school but my body feels very tired and very unhappy at this girl sitting on my chair. I wonder if her brain hurts too.

I lie on the floor in the classroom and try to stop all the different noises and have a rest. I close my eyes. My nose is itchy. My legs won’t stay still. So many people are talking. The tap is running water. Someone is running outside. The floor feels scratchy on my body. The birds are screaming. The trees have too much wind going through their leaves. I cover my ears and try to make all the noises go away.

It’s lunchtime. I’m hungry but I don’t feel like eating pasta now. It feels funny in my mouth and my teeth hurt. It’s so noisy in the playground.

The bell rings. I cover my ears. It’s screaming in my head. I wish I could put my ear muffs on but other kids might laugh at me. But the ear muffs make the noises go away. But kids will definitely laugh at me.

We learn about tornados. I like thinking about the warm air swirling around and around and around. That’s how my brain feels sometimes.

My Mum comes to get me early she said she would and she did. This makes me happy. Sometimes I go home early because my brain hurts. Sometimes I have to stay all day. Sometimes Mummy forgets to tell me. Or she does and I forget what she says. My brain forgets a lot.

We go to another appointment. I like this one. I do lots of words and sounds but I get to play with the new puppy. Mummy is talking to the lady and my brain is tired.

I lie down in the puppies bed and cover my face in its soft fur. It makes me feel safe and warm and my body stops moving. I close my eyes and take deep breaths. The puppy makes me feel happy and calm.

We pick my brother and sister up and get home with our hot chips like Mummy promised. I want more chips but there are none. My body is angry. My words don’t work properly so I yell mean things. I really want more chips. My brain is so tired. No, I want an egg with toast NOW!

I throw things and run and cry and then my body falls on the ground and it’s just so angry. I can hear my body huffing and puffing but I don’t really know why.

Mummy holds me. I’m angry. I don’t want to be touched.

Now I want a hug but she’s making me an egg so, I stare at her with my cranky face. Why doesn’t she know I’m sorry and I want a hug and I want my egg.

I eat my egg really fast even though I really want hot chips.

Mummy helps wash me. I bury my face in the warm face washer and want to keep it there. Mummy brushes my hair and my teeth and puts my clothes on. My body is so tired now it doesn’t want to move.

Mummy carries me to my bedroom and covers me with blankets and talks to me. I don’t want to listen. I want a movie now.

Mummy puts a movie on and gives me a kiss on my forehead and I see her looking at me with sad eyes.

My head tells her that I love her but my brain is too tired to talk. I smile at my Mummy. I think she knows I really do love her so much.

I don’t want to go to school tomorrow. My body is tired of seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and feeling too many things.

Tomorrow I’m going to wake up happy and give my Mummy a big hug and tell her I love her, like I do every morning.

Big School

When you’re pregnant, you’re constantly told that time just passes you by and to enjoy every moment.

I didn’t realise how true this statement was until I blinked and my first born was eleven.

It seems like only yesterday that I took my first born, Orlando to school.

It was February 2012 and Orlando was five. Indiana was 22 months old and had only just started walking. Only three months before this huge milestone our family announced the arrival of our twin girls, Charlize and Lucia and then we sadly lost our darling daughter Charlize.

The week after Orlando started school Lucia finally came home from hospital. I started the juggle of the school drop off and pick up with a toddler and fragile newborn.

Before I knew it we had left the city for the country and Indiana was starting school.

I felt I had savoured the moments in time and had enjoyed nurturing my little people. I knew though that my heart was not prepared for the next big school milestone.

When Lucia was struggling to survive in the NICU my dear mother in law told me to look forward to all those milestones she would reach. Leaving hospital, learning to walk, starting preschool and going to school.

I found this advice tough. How could I look forward when my daughter couldn’t breathe on her own. Her life was uncertain and we’d just buried her twin sister.

Little did I realise her advice rang true. I became focused only on getting her home and would let nothing get in the way.

In February 2012 she came home and my heart although fragile fluttered with hope. She took her time to grow but she settled in to our family rapidly and her bond with her big sister was stronger than I imagined.

In November 2013 she finally started to walk at two years old and my heart rejoiced for her.

In 2015 she started preschool and my heart missed her.

My maternal instinct and my heart was scared for her but I realised our hope had been mastered and this little girl was truly our Super Lucia.

She had defied all the odds. She is strong, she is resilient, she is funny, she is kind, she is loving and she is ready.

February 2018 crept up on my delicate heart and I felt it evolve. It was time to really let her go. Let her shine. Let her thrive. Let her be independent. I had nurtured her exactly as I planned and it was time.

I’m not sure how I managed it but I didn’t cry. Her excitement was so contagious that you couldn’t be anything but happy.

Deep within, my heart was beating faster and my mind kept saying those words my hearts sadness was feeling.

As she skipped along the pathway to school I felt myself falter as I whispered those words to myself ….

‘There should be two of them. Skipping. Smiling. Going to school. Lucia. And. Charlize.”

I wondered when she would show herself to me. I never doubted she would.

We said goodbye to Orlando, to Indiana as they walked to their own classrooms.

We walked Lucia in to her very first classroom.

We spent time talking to other families we knew who were in her class and then she grabbed my hand and told me she wanted to colour in.

She sat down at a desk and started to colour in a butterfly.

And there she was.

As I marvelled at what I was seeing, Lucia’s teacher came over to talk to us. We told her about our special butterfly.

She told us she was a Mum to twins born at 27 weeks.

I smiled and hugged her.

I knew Lucia would be fine and couldn’t be in better hands had I planned it myself.

I kissed Lucia’s precious face, held my husbands hand and walked out of big school with a smile in my heart and a sparkle in my eyes.

Dearest Lucia, enjoy your school years my darling. You are an inspiration to us all, your determination and love of life makes your eyes twinkle, the sun shine and the colours of the rainbow bright.

Love Mumma x

The Year of Rainbows

“Life is like a rainbow. You need both the sun and the rain to make its colours appear.” Author Unknown.

2018 has definitely been a rainbow.

In January, we got the distressing news that our dear Joan had terminal cancer.

In February, my Granny had a terrible fall and required surgery.

In March, I had surgery to remove a nasty cyst and make amends to the mess that was caused after our twins were born.

In April, our beautiful Indiana turned seven.

In May, Indiana was diagnosed with epilepsy.

In June, we said goodbye to our darling Joan.

In July, a very unexpected ray of sunshine was taken from us when we miscarried. Again.

In August, our fabulous Orlando turned eleven.

In November, we lost my Granny to a stroke.

In November, we celebrated our gorgeous Lucia’s 6th Birthday.

In November, on the day of our daughter Charlize’s 6th Anniversary we buried my Granny.

This was the day we were involved in a life changing car accident.

I harbour intense upset for this day and it has taught me lessons about life I wished never to learn.

My Granny’s funeral was originally planned for Lucia’s Birthday until I made it very clear I would not attend. Instead, the powers of be, who clearly do not understand the impact at the loss of a child, booked her funeral for my daughters anniversary. The only day of the year my family and I choose to take a step away from life and mourn our daughter and their baby sister.

Being the first grandchild I wanted to read a eulogy for my Granny at her funeral. The powers of be cited time restraints of keeping the service to an hour and suggested I share ‘a memory of her’ at the wake!

On the day, the service went for two hours with the eulogies taking over an hour on their own.

It made me realise very rapidly that sometimes families forget that children grow up and become adults and should be treated accordingly. I loved my Granny deeply and should’ve been able to acknowledge that on the day we laid her to rest.

The emotional exhaustion I feel at that time of year as our daughters anniversary approaches is indescribable. To have to bury my Granny on this day too was unthinkable.

At my Granny’s burial there was a butterfly release. One of the butterflies landed on my Dad’s hand and would not let go. My own family all looked at eachother with a smile and we whispered in unison ‘Charlize’.

You see, not long after our Charlize died my Dad called me. He told me he was working on a property and he noticed a butterfly following him. This butterfly stayed with him for quite some time and eventually she touched his cheek. It was at this moment my Dad said ‘Hello Charlize, have you come to say hello to Grandpa?’

It was from that day that the significance of Charlize as a butterfly was an important symbol in our family.

At the burial we watched as the butterfly fluttered from my Dad’s hand and landed on the metal tracks that wind the coffin into the ground.

It was such a hot day and I was in no doubt that butterfly was my daughter. After watching her for a while feeling anxious she would die my brother nudged me to get her. I quickly walked to her, picked her up in my hands and left the burial site.

I walked towards my car where my husband and children were waiting for me. I beckoned them out still holding that beautiful butterfly.

Once we were all standing together in the shade I opened my hands and she instantly flew to Lucia. She was resting on her hand.

I knew at this point for absolute certain this was Charlize. She eventually flew to Indiana and Orlando and we then placed her in the shade of a tree. When I looked around I realised we were actually standing in the baby cemetery not far from where my own baby sister is buried.

We all left the cemetery with smiles on our faces and hearts filled with love.

It is no surprise to me then that a few hours later we walked away from a horrific accident. This miracle, or rainbow, was Charlize protecting her family. Of that I am sure.

We had so much rain in 2017 that at times I wondered if my heart could take it anymore. My body was heavy and soaked through to my soul.

But then there is always sunshine. It warms the heart, the body, the mind and gives you strength to get through the next puddle of life.

Our sunshine in 2017 came in the form of a delightful golden puppy named Caramello.

She creates an element of magic in my children’s lives.

We got a pool and we built the most tranquil vegetable garden I’ve ever seen. We saw shows, we went on adventures, we learnt new things, we made new friends, we started new traditions and as a family we learnt how to conquer epilepsy (well sometimes).

For all the rain and the sunshine there are plenty of rainbows but this year we were blessed with pots of gold and here they are;

The courage and bravery of my children who watched as life took Joan away from us makes my heart melt. It taught them that whatever is born must die. No matter how much we love and nurture them. No matter how hard we wish it not to be true. My three little people loved her with every ray of sunshine they had and they continue to love her and keep her memory alive.

My Nanna, or Buz-Nanna to my children is a true pot of gold. This year we were blessed with numerous visits from her. Each time she stayed their knitting progressed, they learnt more of our family history and they fell in love with her over and over. Always begging her not to go home. Each time we farewelled her at the airport she cried.

Whilst we were in Sydney we stayed with my parents. Each night for some reason Indiana decided she would not take her epilepsy medication unless Grandpa promised to sing with her. She didn’t need to be so drastic because Grandpa would sing with her anyway. After the other kids were in bed I hid one night and watched them. Curled up together with Indiana’s iPad singing along to ‘Riptide’. Indiana’s current favourite song. Dad found the words and watching those two sing together made the rain come out of my eyes.

The pots of gold in our life have been those moments that made my heart feel like it would burst out of my chest. It was pride, amazement and most of all love.

For all the puddles we’ve jumped in this year, the splashes have been worth it.

Dearest Life, Without rain and sunshine my garden doesn’t thrive. I just ask that next year you balance our life with more rainbows and pots of gold to heal us after the storms of this year.

With love,

Christine x

The First’s and The Last’s

This gorgeous photo was of Lucia’s very first day of preschool back in January 2015. She was only just three years old, still had a dummy, wasn’t toilet trained and was still our baby.

I remember crying in the car that day that I needed to let go of her a little and let her blossom.

Blossom she did. From the shy, hesitant baby girl her preferred her own company if relied on being with her big sister she began to grow.

We moved her to a preschool closer to our home when she was 3.5 and this was the photo of her first day!

This picture still makes me laugh!! Lucia has never done anything unless she wanted to!

Six years ago today, I was sitting in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit holding my baby girl who had just weighed in at a little over 1kg. All those months in hospital where I hoped and prayed and begged her to survive I never looked too far ahead. It was too frightening.

Today, weighing in at 13kgs, still tiny but full of fire. She put her bag on her back and skipped to our car for her final day of preschool ever!

She actually let me take this beautiful picture of her at the front door!

Snuggle has been with her every step of the way to support her too! He even looks a decent shade of white in this photo.

This darling girl has a beautiful group of friends around her that made her days at preschool a joy and taught her to trust in herself.

So, although this is the final day for our family at Preschool we look forward to all the firsts to come in the future.

Thank you to all the beautiful staff at Wollongbar Preschool who set Lucia on the path of happiness in life. We are eternally grateful for your love and nurture.

Darling Chi Chi, the road ahead is exciting. Enjoy every moment as you shower your magic on all those who are lucky enough to meet you. We love you to the ends of the rainbow. You are our pot of gold.

Car Seat Safety

Last week I was interviewed by a news publication about car seat safety due to our recent accident. I am the biggest advocate there is for this topic and even more now.

Due to the holiday season being upon us I thought I might share a few things you may not know. Feel free to share my post with your friends or scroll past if this doesn’t interest you.

The law in NSW states that no child under 12 years should be sitting in the front seat unless there is no other seat available in your car. At 36 years old and my husband at 45 please let me tell you that an airbag deploying against your body is not a pleasant experience and 2.5 weeks on we still have bruises. The front seat is no place for our children regardless of what their friends are doing or saying.

Although the law says you can turn your baby at six months old to forward facing its actually safer to keep them rearward till age two. If you think they hate being rearward facing imagine how much you’d hate them to have a neck injury. For life.

Have a look at this car seat from 6months to 8years.

https://www.britax.com.au/car-seats/britax-safe-n-sound-maxi-guard-pro?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIkOerjLLt1wIVwgorCh3X4gpeEAAYAiAAEgJrMPD_BwE

Although the law says once your child turns 7 they can sit in a normal seat, the recommendation is to keep them in a booster until 12 years old or 145cms tall. Have a look at this amazing car seat below. Even if you think your child is big enough for a normal seat let me tell you I saw my husbands body thrown around like a crash test dummy – no one wants that for their child.

https://www.britax.com.au/car-seats/britax-safe-n-sound-kid-guard-pro/

This is the seat that saved Indiana’s life. She is 7.5yrs old. She has a spinal trauma that will affect her for the rest of her life. If she was in a normal seat she would not be here today.

It is important to remember that twisted car seat straps will not do their job. Loose straps will not do their job. A car seat not installed correctly will not do its job.

Every car seat has an expiry date ten years after its date of manufacture.

There are Australian standards and then there are Australian standards. You can buy the $79 car seat or the $499 car seat. I happened to be that annoying person who purchased the expensive version. Today I am delighted I did. The extra safety features saved our children’s lives. Because they were installed properly they saved our children’s lives. Our son sat in a booster until he was nearly 11 years old (much to his disgust). I didn’t care what other parents choices were this was our choice to keep our family safe.

This weekend measure your kids and put them back in a booster seat if they are under 145cms and please keep them out of the front seat.

I wrote this post with safety and love in mind. No judgement at all. Our own experience has made me want to keep everyone as safe as possible. Happy holidays xxx