Inclusion.

I had Lucia’s NDIS planning meeting today and I mostly just spoke about inclusion.

They requested a family statement that just gives an understanding of what Lucia’s family life entails.

I talked about the fact she lives with her Mum and Dad, brother and sister, dog, cat, goat, chickens and ducks.

I wanted to ensure that it was noted that Lucia is a twin. She is a surviving identical twin and it’s part of her identity. More often than not Lucia is the one to correct me when we are asked how many siblings she has.

I drove home in the pouring rain and once at home I sat at our dining table with a cup of tea. I noticed Orlando had left a whiteboard on the table with a welcome home message and picture for Daddy.

I smiled as I looked at his stick picture drawings of us all.

I drew in a deep breath as I noticed he drew Charlize as an angel and wrote her name underneath.

Six years on and I am continually amazed at the deep connection our children have with their baby sister. She truly is never far from their thoughts and she is included ALWAYS without them thinking about it. As natural as it is for them to state their name, it’s just as natural to say her name when they list their siblings.

Our darling angel, I’m hoping Heaven is keeping you warm and dry today and that you too smiled when your big brother drew you this morning.

Did you notice that every time he visits the fridge, he touches your face on your photo that is pinned on there?

I imagine you whisper words of encouragement into their ears when they need it.

I imagine you hold their hands and lead them when they’re feeling reluctant.

I imagine you wipe away their tears when they’re upset and show them something to be delighted about.

I imagine you’re in our lives every moment of every day when we don’t even realise it.

I see you darling. I really do.

Your quiet comfort from above has kept us safe and warmed our hearts. I hope you know the enormous impact you have had on our lives.

Because of you we want to be better humans.

Because of you we want more meaningful relationships.

Because of you we will love fiercely.

Because of you, my heart skips a beat.

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A friend named Jaye

My biggest worry when we decided to pack up the only life we knew in Sydney and move to this little town on the Northern Rivers, was that I would have no friends.

You may have guessed I’m an extrovert! I know you’re shocked, sometimes even I don’t believe it!

I had such a beautiful circle of friends around me in Sydney. Some I had known my entire life. How would I even try to replicate that in this little town of 5000 people.

I got involved in as many things as I could to build myself a network. Lucky for me, we have the most generous human living next door (our darling Rhonda), who introduced me to a large circle and arranged play dates and coffee dates for me to be part of.

When I opened my Family Day Care business I was lucky enough to build relationships with these families that I never thought possible.

Actually, to be honest the friendships I have built up here are the purest and most beautiful friendships. Country chicks are truly awesome.

I am, and always will be honoured to be entrusted to care for people’s children.

One day in July 2015 I interviewed a family who wanted me to care for their daughter. Lucky for me I got to spend lots of time with their beautiful daughter and she’s become like a surrogate sister to my children. Nik and Jaye have become dear friends to me.

Jaye would drop everything and come over if I needed her. Regardless of what she’s going through. She is the rarest of gems one could ask for in friendship. She is gentle, she is real, she is nurturing and she makes you feel special.

Today I was lucky enough to visit Jaye at her home. I got to sit on her lounge with a cup of tea and chat.

When I arrived she passed me a gift. Don’t tell her but I very bravely held in my sobs until I got home.

I was gifted a framed, hand painted picture of some of the most beautiful butterflies that call the Northern Rivers their home. It is one of the most beautiful gifts I’ve ever received … and it’s not even my birthday!

I am so touched. So honoured, to call this beautiful woman and her family my friends.

I cannot wait to hang this heartfelt gift on my wall in my kitchen so I can look at it and smile everyday.

Dear Jaye, please know you will now be bombarded with photos every time I see one of these butterflies in my garden.

You my darling friend are the greatest gift any woman could ask for.

With eternal love, huge thanks and water falling from my eyes, I am lucky to have you in my life.

Tear them down or Build Them Up?

Today I happened to see something on Facebook that really upset me. I’ve put the picture below.

I totally appreciate the point this picture is trying to make about technology but, it concerned me immensely how quick people were to tear this woman down.

Do we actually know that she is not interested in her baby at all? No, we don’t. In fact, this woman could’ve just received a phonecall about something stressful, heartbreaking or life changing and she was processing it. Maybe her baby was sick of being held after it took her two hours on a delayed Sydney train to get to the bloody airport, squashed up under someone’s smelly armpit for the whole trip.

Can you believe she put her baby on the ground in an airport? I can actually. I’ve sat on those floors, I’ve actually gone to sleep on those floors and I’ve very likely put my baby or children down on those floors. So what.

I responded a few times to that post today and suggested people not judge a book by it’s cover. I suggested people be kinder than necessary.

Look, I’m no Saint! There’s plenty of times I’ve probably said things that should’ve stayed in my head but this week alone I’ve seen women torn down and it’s just got to me.

This gorgeous woman I used to work with many years ago has a very talented sister in fashion. She started her own fashion styling business and she was recently subjected to a group of women being rather cruel via facebook. This is not okay.

It is not okay to judge a woman because she didn’t have children or the woman who had too many children. How many is too many children anyway? My great-grandmother had something like 16 kids. As far as I’m aware no one judged her.

What about that woman who had an elective caesarean rather than a homeopathic, home, water, lotus birth and left the placenta attached for two weeks, then cooked it up and ate it for dinner.

I’m that woman who had an elective caesarean and you know what I’m bloody proud of that too. Because guess what?  My babies were all born safe and breathing, instead of getting stuck in the birth canal.

How about that woman who didn’t breastfeed her baby. I can’t believe she bottlefed. How could she deprive her baby of breastmilk? Well when her nipples were so cracked they were actually hanging off and she was so tired and depressed she had the worst post natal depression I’ve ever seen, I don’t blame her. That person is my best friend. She tried her little heart out and carried the guilt for a long time. Her baby is the best cheerleader I’ve ever seen and no one even knows she was bottlefed.

How about those women that want it all.  They want a good job, a career even, they want a big house that goes with the big mortgage and then they want kids. I bet they will get a nanny and a house cleaner and have their groceries delivered.

I was that woman too. In Sydney, you have no choice once you buy a house, you need that job and you end up with a huge mortgage that dictates you get an even better paying job which dictates it’s probably cheaper to get a nanny than pay ridiculous childcare costs, especially because you can’t keep taking time off work for sick kids, then you need a cleaner and your groceries delivered because you are travelling two hours each way to work every single day and you have no time for anything.  I doubt this is a life anyone really chooses.

How about those “Stay-At-Home-Mums”. To be honest, I take my hat off to ‘those’ Mums. I realised a long time ago that as much as I love my children, I’m a better Mum and wife when I have balance. That means I need to work or study and have time away from them because they drive me crazy at times. I am totally alright with this and you should be too because they’re not your kids.

What about that Mum who put her baby in childcare at three months old. Guilty. I was that Mum too. We had bills to pay. By the looks of him, I’m pretty sure he turned out alright.

What about that Mum who fed her baby something that wasn’t organic, homemade, kale with tofu. Yep, you guessed it, that was me. There was a time that all my kid would eat was chicken nuggets. Even the paediatrician told me to get over it. Feed the kid whatever he will eat because he’s too skinny. So I did. Today, he eats everything I put in front of him. EVERYTHING.

How about that Mum whose baby still doesn’t sleep through the night. Look how tired she is. Her baby is a toddler now, surely she should be sleeping through. I bet she hasn’t been to sleep school. I bet they rock her to sleep in their arms every night. I bet they’ve created bad habits. No wonder she looks exhausted.

My dear friend and I are those Mum’s. Her daughter is nearly three. She doesn’t sleep well. Actually, hardly at all. My friend is awesome. She’s tried everything. There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with her daughter. She has a very active mind. My friend needs a hug and my friend needs your support and love. My friend needs you to tell her it’s ok because some days it’s not ok for them.

I have that daughter too. Mine cried for 16-20 hours a day. We failed sleep school three times. In fact, we left in ambulance on one occasion. We tried melatonin, rocking her, bathing her, massaging her. I would’ve tried anything. I even let her sleep in bed with me so she had free access to my boobs. If I didn’t do that I probably wouldn’t have survived. We even saw a sleep specialist. Yes, they are a real thing. He told me I have jumped through every hoop possible, I just basically have a kid who is a shit sleeper. At 6 years old, that delightful little terror still doesn’t sleep well. That’s why, instead of telling my friend she looks tired, I invite her over so my kids can play with her daughter and she can sit on my lounge eat a tim tam and drink a hot cup of tea and feel a bit more human. If she’s lucky she may even get to go to the toilet on her own with the door closed when she’s visiting.

Judgement and tearing down eachother is not okay. It has to stop. We have to build eachother up. We have to be kinder. Our children see everything we do. That’s how they learn to be kind little humans.

It takes less effort to smile than it does to frown.

Over the past few months I’ve had a few women who I thought were my friends and have acted unkindly towards me. Originally I thought I was over-thinking the situation because, if I’m really honest with myself I’m struggling. I’m fragile and I’m barely getting through the days smiling.

What I really needed was those women to show me some kindness. To not look the other way, to not deliberately sit somewhere else, to not assume whatever it is they’re assuming about me or my life. Because unless you’re in my house every day of the week you know nothing.

I will not apologise for my personality. But, if I’ve offended you tell me, or how would I know.

I am a strong minded woman. That’s how my parents raised me to be and I’m proud of that.

Sometimes I am loud. I won’t apologise for that either. I am Maltese, a wog at heart, and in my family unless you’re yelling over someone else, you’ll never be heard.

I wear my heart on my sleeve. If you ask me how I am, I’ll tell you. If you don’t want to know, don’t ask the question.

My life seems like one long drama. I won’t apologise for that either. I haven’t chosen any of these dramatic events to happen and let’s be honest, who would. It’s shit. Sometimes even I can’t believe it, but it has made me the woman I am today. It has made me strong.

My daughter died. Her name is Charlize. I’m so sorry that you’ve heard me say that before. I’m so sorry it makes you feel uncomfortable. I will continue to tell my story and say my daughters name because if I don’t keep saying it who will?

We are on this beautiful planet only once.

Choose kindness.

Choose to make that phonecall to your long lost friend rather than texting.

Choose spontaneity.

Choose hugs and flowers and dancing and swimming in the ocean.

Choose jumping in muddy puddles and belly laughs and sliding down a grassy hill.

Choose to see the warmth of the sunshine on your face just as the sun rises or to stand in the rain as it splashes on your face.

Choose to love and to be loved and to smile. Choose to build them up, don’t tear them down.

…. and waffles with maple syrup. They make everything so much better.

What’s in a name?

I happen to be doing a subject at uni on identity and one of this weeks tasks was to write about where your own name came from.

I rolled my eyes because I knew it would be difficult to stretch this to 300 words.

So, began a series of text messages between my Mum and I.

Me: Mum, what’s the story behind you choosing my name? It’s for uni … make something up if you have to lol

Mum: Actually dad picked it because he liked it.

Dads relatives wanted to know who you were named after and what saint your name came from and we said we did t name her after anyone. Just because dad liked it. I actually had another name picked out for you but dad didn’t like it x

Me: Well how can I make that reasoning into a 300 bloody word explanation lol! Now I’ll need to make something up. Don’t we have a relative somewhere called Christine?

Mum: You can make something up if you like.

Pa wanted to call you Christina so he could shorten it I Tina but I said no.

Meaning of Christine

Feminine name of Greek or Latin origin.

It is derived from the work Christ and that is the Greek translation in the Hebrew word “messiah”.

It means follower of Christ or a female Christian. This was a very popular name in 1968.

(Thought you’d like this information – NOT)

Apparently my Dad told Mum to send the last part of the text. I could imagine them both sitting on the lounge with their cups of tea, pissing themselves laughing at my reaction.

When I was born, I was the first grandchild on both sides, to a family with a very strong Catholic connection. I was baptised and went through all my sacraments in the Catholic Church. Then life changed for me and I made a decision to leave the church and my belief. I often feel guilty because my grandparents have always held their faith so strongly. Some of my fondest memories are of being in Church with my Pa or Nanna and having lunch or dinner with our Priest.

So, the day I was born my Granny and Pa were in Rome, in St Peters Square when the Pope got shot. What a day to arrive with a name with such a deep connection to Christ.

Clearly, this definition of my name was not what I was after so I did some googling and found the perfect definition of who I think I am.

Alas, when you read it you’ll think that I have tickets on myself! I really do!!! Not! But I felt this fitted my personality a little better.

So, you’ll all sleep better tonight knowing that I managed to write 500 words on my name. I know, I couldn’t believe it either.

I’ll finish with the best quote I’ve ever read;

‘If I only had Christine, I could do anything.’

Be kinder than necessary.

Since I read that amazing book “Wonder”, I have continually prompted my children to be kinder than necessary.

On Friday, I experienced such overwhelming kindness that it brought me to my knees.

I have a wonderful friend who as she puts it, “is carrying a bit of extra baggage at the moment”. She seriously is amazing and I thought I’d drop around to her house this particular morning very briefly and give her some flowers because they always make me smile.

I drove myself to the wonderful Alstonville Florist and ordered a posy of yellow flowers. Yellow always makes me think of the sun and for me symbolises happiness. Kerry, the owner happened to be sitting at the front desk and we embraced as it had been quite a while since I’d seen her. She asked me how things were and I realised she didn’t know about the accident.  For some reason I poured my heart out to her.

Kerry was beautiful as always, and we talked for quite some time. The posy of flowers were completed and beautiful but she refused to let me pay. I told her they weren’t actually for me but my friend and I insisted. She wouldn’t hear of it.

I noticed that I had a lump in my throat and as quickly as I noticed that, I promptly burst into tears. I was so overwhelmed by her kindness and the kindness of the lovely staff who listened to me pour my heart out. I could not thank her enough.

I got in the car and cried all the way to my friends house. When I realised she wasn’t home I left them at her door. I got back in my car and cried all the way home.

I made myself a cup of tea and tried to pull myself together. I later realised that it was the first time I had actually verbalised the true realities of my daughters injuries. I had heard the words from the doctors and I parked them in a place in my brain where I could bring them out for medical appointments and put them away again after that. I didn’t need to truly acknowledge them yet as hopefully they wouldn’t fully show their true identities. Alas, they have started to show their true colours to us and the realities of what that means is truly heartbreaking. A heartbreak I’m not yet ready to put into typed words.

This experience also showed me how much I need to grieve the 15th November. To sit and process the enormity of the shock of what happened that day. To grieve the death of my Granny and acknowledge that she is no longer here. Although I know it, so many parts of that day don’t feel real. I was surprised on Friday as I was driving home from the florist how hurt I felt that the family members that organised the funeral didn’t care that it was Charlize’s anniversary. For them I guess, she is a great-niece that they never met. A baby that doesn’t have a face or a place in their heart. They didn’t consider how their own niece, me, actually felt by that decision. If she was anyone else but my Granny I would never have attended her funeral. I hope they may read this and realise the enormity of that decision and they affect it had on my family. Kindness is the simplest of gestures that can be life changing.

To Kerry, that one amazing, kind gesture has touched me and I am truly thankful. I will pay it forward this week and hope to bring a smile to someone else this week. Your flowers made me smile. Thank you.

To all my devoted followers who have kindly started following my blog via Facebook, THANK YOU!

So many of you have recently sent me messages of support and encouragement and love. Keep sending them because it makes me feel as though my writing does actually have purpose when sometimes it truly doesn’t feel like it when it’s in my head.

For those of you that often say that I should write a book, I actually am. I actually have been for too many years. It’s basically my life story. I am kind of close to the end but I get distracted and then when I come back and look at it I worry it’s not that great. I may share parts of it with you soon and get your opinion.

This week, be kinder than necessary and bring joy to someone’s day.

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.

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.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

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!!