August 19, 2015 § 1 Comment
About the time we were given notice to vacate our old home, I began this weaving. Almost every evening during the intense six week period of packing and procuring a new home, I could be found sitting on the lounge, hot chocolate beside me, weaving.
I made the frame myself from some simple planks of wood, some nails and a lot of string. At first I envisioned a simple blue/green theme, but then green led into yellow and the weaving itself began to lead me into unknown territory. The soft glass piece comes from one of my favorite places in Sydney to visit: Reef Beach. The leaves come from some awesome trees on the side of the road where I park to visit the chiropractor! Not so special in location, but more for the fact that for me they embody Sydney and the sandstone landscape that shapes it. This weaving is now incorporating the elements: two stones are next, from the garden of our old home, and then hopefully some feathers that will lay in my path one day.
I love the depth of weaving. The lines, the warp and the weft, the repetitive action going back and forth, back and forth. I love it that as I was weaving this piece, I was also in the process of weaving new elements together in my life….elements that even I did not know I was dreaming into existence back then.
I knew the weaving was to have pride of place in our new home. I had hoped to finish it before moving, but of course that did not happen. It is now six weeks since we have moved, and it sits, still unfinished. In those six weeks I have been in despair, feeling that the creative part of my life would have to be packed away as my physical crafting materials were. I could not see the path ahead, as our new home situation quickly made it clear to me that the way I was operating before was now redundant.
I was sitting fallow. Not knowing what to do, so doing nothing.
But as the cycles of life continue unabated, so my own cycles kept turning too, and I began to catch some new threads – so different from what I expected out of my life at this time, but so rich and satisfying.
The weaving is calling to me, ready to be finished now that the shoots of my new life have sprung.
To be continued…..
August 8, 2015 § Leave a comment
The bus slowly crawls through the city, mirroring the idleness of the sun on it’s descent. The golden sun streams over the city, some buildings bathed in its glow, some left in shadow.
I reflect on the past two months, and the changes which have taken place. Some aspects of my life continue to be bathed in the glow of my focus and attention and energy, and some have been left in shadow. Left to fade away.
We moved house in those two months. I have moved homes many times on the past twenty years, but somehow this move was harder than them all combined. I suppose moving a family of seven entails a lot of stuff, as well as a lot of organisation, as daily life must continue for the children, move or no move.
But I resisted this move so much. I was very comfortable in our old home, comfortably stuck and living with all the things that were not right for us at that house. I had such set ideas about my life was supposed to change, or not change, with this move. In the end, with three days spare, we took what we considered to be the ‘last resort’ house.
I cried when we moved in. Then I felt like a spoiled brat for crying over having to move into an almost brand new house with three toilets (after just one at our old home) and keys to a community pool. Some of my dreams for myself have had to be shelved with this move, unless I find a way to adapt them and make them not dependent on my home space.
It didn’t take long for the gifts of this new house to show themselves….peace and quiet, a lovely new area with great spaces for the children to play, closer to school, more space. And then, a new job for me, one that uses my own unique skills. One where I get to go into the city once a week on the bus to work, something I still find exciting weeks in.
I know now what happened. I thought I was God, or in control of my own life. I never was, and it took me a while to catch up, let go and let myself be held my the universe.
June 1, 2015 § Leave a comment
We are moving home very very soon. The decision was not ours, but all the same it was not an unwelcome one.
Or so I thought.
I have written before about my issues with our home. This house, that enabled us to move out from my mother’s tiny space, and into our own as a family. And in recent years, a home that has been integral for a business I have run, where the ‘home’ part became part of the appeal of the workshops and playgroup I ran.
Now that I am looking for a new home, I have renewed appreciation for all that we have had these past four years in this home. A great sized backyard where the children can play for hours (and do), with space for a swingset, a sandpit and one massive trampoline. Close to a great park, and close to both Sol and my mothers, who are such a part of our lives. Who knew it would be so hard to find a house with a double garage and a decent size backyard and some trees (or at least a view of them!)?
As the days all too quickly run towards our deadline for moving, I have to admit we still do not have a home to move into. We have been in this situation before, one where we made the leap into an unknown and adventure filled future, both exhilarating and terrifying. That kind of leap is not going to happen this time. Four of our five children are very settled at school and in their lives, and as much as I sometimes dream of that alternative life we lived for a time, I know it is not my path right now. Maybe one day, when we can make that choice from a place of abundance rather than desperation.
As I look at house after house for us to begin the next phase of our life in, I have too often felt some anxiety creep in, making choices harder. We have our family list of what we want, and we look at houses that tick all our boxes, except they don’t: they don’t inspire us, or feel like ‘home’. As I write now, I look out the window and see tall gum trees swaying in the winter wind. How will I be inspired write in the future if the view is just a fence?
I don’t think it is folly to wish for a home that uplifts and inspires us. But it feels almost impossible to find that in suburbia, and for various reasons we are not quite ready to move out to a rural location. Maybe it is our family and our life and our living that will make a house a home. Maybe I just over-think this whole thing! We have moved more than eleven times in fifteen years, but somehow each time it feels harder, like there is more at stake, and a greater fear of mistakes.
In the meantime, each day, I pack two or three boxes, dismantle beds, and act as though we are moving in two weeks. Not having a new home to go to yet makes it all seem rather unreal, and I feel somewhat ungrounded. I wonder whether I really am happy to move right now. I thought I was excited to move to a new area and to have the chance to build some new rhythms in a new home, but the more I look around, the more I can’t help but feel that what we have here in our too-small, somewhat cluttered house on the corner is perfect.
Every night I send out a prayer to help our family find the best new home for us.Time to find a new perfect.
May 20, 2015 § Leave a comment
The days are running by too fast at the moment. We are preparing to move house – something I have done many times in the past fifteen years. However this time feels like an epic move, it being five years since the last one. Who knew that just one more child could mean so much more stuff?!
I have three jobs at the moment: pack the house ready to move, make endless phone calls and visits to open homes in the search for the perfect home for our family, and to keep the household and family running smoothly throughout all this time.
In between this busyness however, I have experienced two weekends of sweet moments with my family. Mother’s Day came and went rather fast, as I was studying that day and did not see my husband at all! But he sent a box of chocolates with the children to pass on to me when I picked them up from Nana’s (which they did not), as well as a lovely hand drawn card that Samuel made for me.
The girls made their own special cards and gifts for me at school. I am so thankful for teachers that think to do this with the children in their care – as Sol is still learning that these occasions and gifts are one of my ‘love languages’, and as I am still learning that they are not for him – well, sometimes these days get fraught with tension. This year it was liberating, and all the more meaningful for me, that everything except the chocolates came from the children themselves. The girls showered me with hand drawn cards and felt necklaces and bulb babies wrapped in felted autumn leaves. So beautiful.
And best of all was the spontaneous “happy Mother’s Day mum” I received from my teenager when I picked him up from the station. No one to prompt him, or remind him – made those few words enough.
The following weekend my teenager and I indulged in our shared affinity for Asian cinema with the movie Helios. Movies are my go-to activity when I need a break from children clambouring all over me, from childrens’ noise and mess and demands. To sit in a movie theatre in the dark for two hours and be transported into another reality is bliss for me.
That was Saturday night. And now, back to packing….
May 6, 2015 § Leave a comment
I noticed that this week it was International Day of the Midwife. It made me think of you and the journey we have shared.
I have been so lucky to live in a country where I have been able to engage the support of one midwife for all of my care throughout pregnancy, birth, and beyond.
You were there with me, beside me, for the births of three of my children. Tears spring to my eyes as I remember those births: the intense ecstatic water birth of my very large first daughter; the gentle, peaceful, melancholy birth of my second daughter, born in my mother’s living room; and the dramatic and joyous birth of my youngest son, born on the rug in my living room at dawn after the birth pool broke.
The births of my children have been initiations. As I have birthed each new soul I have re birthed myself, as a woman and each time as a stronger mother. The gestation and birth of each new soul into my family have been times of accelerated personal growth. Each pregnancy brought new, different fears and issues to the surface, ready for healing. And you always met me in my deepest place, wherever it was on any particular day.
I experienced two hospital births before I turned to homebirth and an independent midwife. The birth of my first daughter was so different to the first two. Despite her almost 11lb size, the labour and birth were just a few hours, and an experience which I would call intense, rather than painful. In fact I experienced some moments of spiritual ecstasy. I knew it was because I was at home, relaxed, with loving support around me. I will never forget the knowing of giving my daughter the best possible beginning, thanks in part to your confident care.
Our journey together eventually became about so much more than birth. You were there throughout my journey with PPD, with gentle support, and then throughout the hardest days of my life when my youngest newborn had a serious illness. Your confidence in my strength kept me strong. You were probably the only person I knew who understood exactly what my little son and I had been through.
Our relationship has been one of the most intimate of my adult life. The gift of having one midwife and that continuity of care is the gift of time together, and over the many hours of appointments our conversations often strayed far from pregnancy and birth. You showed me what it is to be a mother and woman in her own integrity.
As I leave my childbearing days behind and enter a new phase of life, it becomes clearer to me how much of a rollercoaster ride of hormones and massive life changes that time was. You were a constant throughout those turbulent years, as I found myself through birth and mothering. I only wish every birthing woman could enjoy the kind of support I have been lucky enough to experience.
April 29, 2015 § 1 Comment
My daughters are real little ladies, and one thing they love to do is to drink tea. A while back I threw Lily a High Tea for her birthday, and gradually tea drinking has evolved from a special event activity to more of an everyday thing that we do.
Recently I bought my daughters some new dainty cup and saucer sets. The ones we were using we a mismatched set of cups and saucers left over from my own days as a twenty something who loved all kinds of obscure herbal teas, to sets that the girls had been given but were broken.
I also found, at the grocery store, some awesome looking bedtime tea. Now getting to sleep is not always smooth sailing in our house. In fact, getting three children under eight to sleep at a decent hour is impossible sometimes, especially with hubby working until 11pm most nights.
So this is where sleepytime tea comes in. After dinner, after pyjamas have been put on, the girls come out for their ‘sleepytime tea’. I make them a small pot and they sit at the table with their dainty cups and saucers and sip until the pot is empty. Then they go to bed.
I don’t know if the sleepytime tea really helps them to get to sleep faster, but I do know that the act of coming together before bedtime to sit quietly and sip, brings my girls back into themselves, into their bodies, and they at least go to bed with less shenanigans along the way. I love it how these simple acts become sweet rhythms that anchor our days.
April 12, 2015 § Leave a comment
Suddenly, everywhere I look, the age old traditional childhood activity of coloring in is cool again.
From this article espousing its stress releasing benefits, to the news that a coloring book aimed at adults has hit the top of the Amazon best seller list, coloring in is everywhere.
In my little family, coloring in has always been a mainstay. As a child I loved this activity, and as an adult with children I rediscovered my love for it some 13 years ago when my eldest could first hold a pencil.
I remember a time, around 2001, when my husband and I had separated, but I had followed his move to QLD (a no-brainer that we would reunite, I know). I was in a caravan park with William, alone, and rather scared. I had moved away from my family on a whim, and it was a very different adventure when is ostensibly a single parent with a child to be responsible for.
One particular night I was feeling so lonely, and alone. I made dinner for William and I and then we sat and colored in. In those days I used to go to the massive bookstores in the city to find some cool coloring books, with lovely thick paper and clear lines. On that night it was a stress release: it was about the only thing I could manage to do that didn’t bring on a flood of tears, and that was fun for my son.
It’s funny how certain moments of our lives stand out, never to be forgotten. That night must have been a turning point of some kind to be counted as one of them: later that night I packed our car with all our belongings and drove the hour up the coast to where Sol was living. We moved into his share house and eventually we reconciled and moved into an amazing house on the Sunshine Coast hinterland, where our second son was conceived.
But back to coloring in: whenever we go to a restaurant for dinner I bring the books and pencils. Whenever we go on a long car journey I pack a board for my daughters to lean on and they spend the trip coloring in. Nowadays we do not use textas, but lyras – thick, sturdy German made pencils with pure colours in all the shades of the rainbow. And nowadays there is a much larger range of awesome coloring in books to buy – including the one I received for Christmas – that one made for adults that topped the bestseller list recently.