Archive for the ‘gratitude’ Category

Lots of things are more historic than a new famous baby.

July 22, 2013

A lot of historic things have happened in the last week. Marriage equality has happened here. TMD and I went away alone for a night. The kids’ adoption went through – we had no idea till today. But after almost exactly four years, the kids finally have two legal mothers.

And another thing. I wore skintight cropped leggings on the past two evenings for my walk. That shit is something I never thought I would say.

They are so gross but SO COMFORTABLE.

I am trying to reemerge, folks. These nightly walks have literally taken all my time and energy. It is a big commitment. I have a rest when TMD gets home, because my days can be tiring but also because it is currently hotter than the sun, then go on late night walks and come home and write a bit about them.

Oh, the sheer rocky ride of finding the discipline to go out every single night. It has been a tough settling in period, and even now, on day thirty four, I wouldn’t say I’ve settled. I have missed three nights – two due to pelvis problems, one due to a cat slashing my fucking toe open – but I am getting there.

More and more I am thinking about starting a more public blog. I miss posting pictures with heads, real names, being more easily able to connect with people who live near me. I hung out with a good friend I met courtesy of this blog earlier in the week and we discussed this a bit.

I have often started ‘niche’ blogs, only to drop them because I like writing about all of life. So I think a new blog would be like this, but with more personal details…and less ranting about family members. Something to think on. And whether I’d keep this blog going, which I think I might.

It’s a dramatic week. Snort’s collarbone is still causing him pain, I’ve found a brown itchy spot on my labia, of all places, and we both have doctor appointments Thursday. The kids also danced on a stage in front of 7000 people, which was awesome, and I got to hang out with a friend ALL BY MYSELF AT NIGHTTIME. Another historic thing.

30-365 THREE

June 21, 2013

The only thing I thought tonight’s walk would have going for it was that I was wearing sandals, shorts, and a sweatshirt. Such a summer’s evening outfit, I thought, even as I stifled a yawn and cursed having to leave the house. I planned on an amble, taking it easy as I’m sore from yesterday.

Well, I didn’t count on the storm system that was blowing in. The wind was cold and fierce, and at one point I realised I was leaning into it and it was holding me. I went along to the woods/meadow I walked in the first night, hoping for shelter, and you know what? It was AWESOME. The wind was whipping the leaves of all the trees upside down, so they looked all silvery. The grasses in the meadow were rippling violently and it was just beautiful. That wind blew a smile onto my face, and I swear I opened my arms up and just smiled so wide I thought my face would crack in half.

On the way home, the wind dropped and I actually felt disappointed. In the stillness I noticed how achey my legs were – it would be a lie to say they weren’t – but then I realised I was thinking about my legs. Muscle aches. I didn’t even notice my pelvis. And that was the greatest gift the absent wind gave me. I felt like the old me, the ‘normal’ me, who was feeling the same aches and pains any other able bodied person might feel.

You’d better believe I smiled even bigger then, and the wind kicked up again just as I did. It was perfect.

30 minutes, 3.2 mph, 1.64 miles

What I just posted on Facebook. (30/365 ONE)

June 19, 2013

I remember how I felt that evening two years ago when I walked fifteen minutes without any assistance. I dubbed it ‘the summer I would learn to walk again,’ and after two years full time in a wheelchair, and still on crutches every day, it seemed a big task.

I developed symphysis pubis dysfunction during pregnancy, and I still have it – along with the resultant arthritis – today. But I haven’t used a wheelchair in a year, though I’ve had a handful of days where I couldn’t walk. I’ve only used crutches on less than ten occasions.

Today I start a new goal – thirty minutes of walking every day for the next 365 days. Walking can be substituted with a DVD, class, etc. I may have to be flexible in cases of severe relapse or illness, but would prefer to swap walking for meditation or stretching on those occasions.

These thirty minutes have to be separate from whatever other activity I may have done that day – like walking miles at the seaside today and being sore before I even went out this evening!

I’m doing this for head space, for time to rediscover me, to work on my next novel, to explore my neighbourhood, to get more healthy – and I guess, I’m doing this because I’m just so grateful I can. After being told I may be in a wheelchair for life, after finally coming close to coming to terms with daily, chronic pain, I can walk. I don’t want to forget how amazing that is.

Ever.

So here is where you come in. I’m posting this publicly because I need support. I know my motivation will flag and I will want to give up. I need likes and comments and support. I won’t flood your news feeds and I will never write a status this long again, but I WILL post every day.

Today is day one. I walked for 33 minutes, 2 mph, for 1.11 miles.

That sense of possibility. It never gets old.

June 13, 2013

There is something special about being in that time of life when everything is sexy and full of possibly.

As a teen, one of my best friends was very different than me. She went to a state school and I went to private – there was more to it than that, but that seemed to be the major difference. Her friends from her school called me ‘Mary’ as I went to Catholic school.

I had my first alcoholic drink with her. She was fucking daring; she mixed my mother’s Peach Schnapps with orange juice and we drank on the balcony off the kitchen. She knew people our age who had kids. She took me to parties where people smoked pot. We sometimes bought Coke just to drink a bit and pour rum in the bottle. This was serious shit, very real and different and risky.

Her windshield had a big crack through it, she knew tonnes of cute boys, I helped her stalk ex boyfriends. We drove around for hours, listening to her country music – some songs I have such a deep nostalgic fondness for because of the hours spent with her.

As it turns out, both myself and her male best friend ended up being gay, which is neither here nor there, but in those heady days it was about flirting and drinking and just seeing what it was like to not be me. Her friends thought I was cute. They found Catholic school girls a challenge and sexy and odd, but in an alluring way. She was ballsy and loud and amazing, and it rubbed off on me a bit.

I did a lot of kissing, a lot of stepping outside my comfort zone and discovering I was actually a lot more comfortable when I was outside of the box I’d been raised in. Most of the time, anyway.

When we were about fourteen, long before the drinking and kissing and stalking began, we were at camp. I remember a late night in the counselor’s tent, talking about sex, and we both vowed there was NO WAY we would have sex before marriage. We both broke that vow, but the spirit of it? Two young women so sure of themselves and their beliefs? The beauty of it all was that even when our world views shifted we maintained that sense of self and rightness and boy, did we laugh.

Thought processes of a mother of three year old twins.

June 4, 2013

Today is the day for ‘Pirate Ship Storytelling, ‘ the one day a month where we crowd into a room with lots of people, find a comfortable cushion, and let this totally amazing weirdo spin tales of goddesses, shipwrecks, and treasure islands. Then we wander around the top deck of a huge ship, because we are too afraid of the statue people (aka mannequins) on the lower decks. We eat lunch, maybe outside, always chips. Wander along the river, maybe climb into a boat for a breezy ride.

It is always an amazing day, and it is today, so then how come I woke up thinking, ‘Oh, JESUS, I just want to stay home’? Even at the risks of more Jehovah’s Witnesses, even with the annoyance of trying to stay awake in the late afternoon.

So then the guilt kicks in. And I think, ‘Hey, no big deal if we skip that even though we also skipped last month. It is a beautiful day. This may be the only beautiful week of the summer. Wait, I know! We should go to the zoo! They can splash in the little kid fake river and we can just wander around.’

Then my pelvis aches, my inertia keeps me sitting here in bed (though showered and dressed) while the kids lay together in Snort’s bed watching YouTube videos about people making Angry Birds out of playdoh.

So I think, let’s take it easy, let’s stay in, then maybe later we can go to the little farm around the corner. I test it out. No immediate objections of my mind or body. Coconut suggests the library, and I think, yeah, okay, I can handle that. No weird time limits, stressful drives across town, etc. We can wander and maybe buy them chips in the little cafe we sometimes go to.

Still I sit here, wondering if I am somehow shortchanging my children, even as my head knows it is GOOD for generic children and great for MY children to play outside, to have empty hours to fill with imagination, to just do what we want. My mother guilt kicks in, and I think, Jesus, am I depressed? Is that why I don’t want to go out? Or is this chickenpox hangover? Or am I just the laziest person in the universe?

I remember summers past, how time somehow slows down and stretches out, how we do less but it feels like more, how we have lazy days watering plants and drawing with chalk and splashing in the garden. And as I write these words, as the visceral memory of two babies who could not yet sit up stretched out in the sunshine, as two bigger babies crawled like maniacs later that summer, it comes back to me. I remember the next year, the daily trips to the park, the wandering hikes in the woods, eighteen months old and walking for an hour on narrow paths littered with roots and stones.

I remember all that a lot more clearly, more sweetly, than most of our trips out. The days we accidentally have a great time doing nothing, but what a shame- they can’t be planned. They just have to happen.

But I guess what I can do, what I can try to not feel guilty about, is giving them an opportunity to happen.

High tide.

May 21, 2013

beach

Oh, we have the time to see what it feels like for our feet to get sucked into cool, wet mud. We won’t cringe or scream unless we want to, but we won’t….we’ll be too busy laughing and figuring out how to move again. We will be hunkering down to watch sand swirling in perfect circles. We will be standing halfway between dunes and the ocean, in the halfway sort of place that is half land, half water.

And if we wander down to the sea, if we walk that long distance, no one will say no. We can get messy, we can explore, we can try it out. When we fall into the warm, brown water, our clothes will stick to our bodies and show the outlines of all that we are and will become.

We have the chance to watch the tide race in, fifteen feet distant to ten to rising to cover our feet. We usher the water in, it follows us and we stop now and then and let it engulf our toes, calves, knees. The waves are small and unrelenting, they rush us closer to dry sand, to the sandcastles waiting to be built, the sunshine wanting to drench us.

Oh, that water is so warm, so unbelievably warm, and it’s water we’ve never seen so high, the tide usually pulling it so far from our eyes we can only imagine the water at the horizon. But we tried, and we walked far, and we laughed and struggled through the mud. The water rewarded us, following us home like a puppy, lapping at our heels. We watched waves roll in, one after the other, spitting perfect small seashells onto the sand. We marveled at the millions of years that caused the sand, the many, many moments that led us to this spot.

And it was beautiful.

Chicken pox is my beer.

May 20, 2013

Yes, you read that right. Chicken pox is my beer. It makes me lose my inhibitions and live an awesome life.

We are naked in the front garden, running around in wild circles, waving at neighbours, making a nest for our Angry Birds. We are dancing unabashedly to the Moto Moto song, singing along that we like them big and chunky.

We are running up to the bath, empty two litre bottles (from my new sparkling water addiction, as I have not had Diet Coke in months now. Sob.) in hand, and that bathroom echoes laughter and science and splashes. Pouring into big bottles, hitting them on the sides to make water erupt upwards, working together to hang out, music pumping in the air.

We are on a pirate ship, Snort’s new-to-him bed, looking at maps and searching for treasure. We are wearing our pajamas to the drive thru, just to get out of the house and get a treat.

It’s silly, really. There is no reason every day cannot be like four days of holiday time. We have no school, no work, and no obligations that can’t be skipped. But for me, I think the chicken pox gives me a permission slip to just live like we want, with none of my guilt attached. It is a glorious reminder of all that unschooling/autonomous education/life can be, if only I relax and just let go now and then. When we follow the sun, when our days stretch before us with nowhere to go but here, we find new and exhilarating ways to fill the time.

We cut straws and stick the pieces in playdoh to make Angry Birds. We read books and nap in the afternoon to the soundtrack of Phineas and Ferb. We sit in the garden and look at ants, we call people up just to say hello, we trace out the spots on his body¬† like he’s a dalmatian or the night sky, covered in a thousand stars.

This first round of chicken pox brought joy and peace to my life.

You’d never know he was ill. Snort was his normal self, just covered in spots. Two nights were hell on earth, but the rest of the time was a welcome break from what has increasingly become an overflowing schedule. Now we are in limbo, waiting for the second outbreak of The Pox to hit our house. I don’t think it will be as relaxed or illness-free, somehow, mainly because Coconut is a very itchy child in general.

But I will not forget the lessons I’ve relearned from this first bout.

This week will be a reminder that we don’t HAVE to do anything. We CHOOSE to do things.

I’ve felt so overwhelmed by the amount of invitations to various playdates lately that I’ve literally stopped responding to texts and messages. I will get back to them all, but never did I imagine a life where we would have more social commitments than all those ‘socialised’ school children. ;) My friends remind me I am a part of this family, of this journey, and if it is too much for me, then I deserve a say. I am grateful for all the people we know, all the choices of activities we have. I never thought it would happen like this, so quickly, and I am delighted and surprised by it.

But I am also grateful for last week, for that one hiatus where no one expected to see us, where we had nothing but time and everything to do with it.

Home education ‘school trips’

May 9, 2013

We are lucky to live in one of the best places in the country to home educate – there is a huge and varied population of home educators, including more than a handful of mamas from Country A. We have home education classes/groups/social meet ups available every day of the week, with everything from drumming to rock climbing to ….well, anything you can imagine. If it doesn’t exist, you can create it. We also have regular family meets on weekends throughout the year, a large not back to school picnic in September, and lots of other stuff going on.

Including trips.

Now, we have avoided the trip circuit as I felt the kids were a bit young, but now they are a great age. We went on our first trip yesterday. These are basically the equivalent of a school group having a field trip, and yesterday we visited a working farm. We were so not what those farmers expected.

Our children were not all one age. There were kids there from babies through to teenagers. Our ‘uniform’ was whatever individuals were comfortable in. We didn’t stay in strict groups and keep quiet.

The bit that made me laugh was the opening tour. None of our children are trained into staying in a neat, orderly group. As individuals and families, we are all very used to doing our own thing. So while some people stayed right with the farmer, a few children would be looking at nearby stuff. Whenever we moved locations, our group strung out into a huge, rambling, evolving thing, as children asked questions of each other, the adults, and the farmers. It was fantastic. A day that really reinforced our decision to home educate.

And we get to have every day like this, if we want, not just once or twice in the year. That’s awe inspiring to me. We can do what we want….whether hours of play at home, or out exploring the world. That is empowering.

On a side note, we met our first real live person who appears to replicate school at home. Of the hundreds of people I’ve met, no one uses a curriculum or makes their kids sit round the table for formal lessons. This seems a more common approach in Country A, where this lady was from. It was interesting to chat with her….albeit while Snort was covered in blood from a trampolining incident!

These trips will further open up our world. Because most home ed families are fairly autonomous, they give us a chance to meet people we might not otherwise know. An interesting thing is the influx of three and four year olds who would be starting school next September – people new to the idea of home educating, and lots of new potential friends for the kids. Coco made a particular friend of a four year old boy who apparently liked being bossed around, and they stuck together like glue all day. Snort played with older boys, got upset with them, and the six year old ringleader came over to sort it out with him, so he and Snort ended up playing together for a long time.

The flexibility of ages, interests, and abilities means that getting together with large groups of home ed families is always enjoyable. Even when your kid is bleeding everywhere – the immediate concern and support of other parents and children was awesome. It’s a group of people who are ultimately very accepting, and we are a collection of individuals accepted and celebrated for our quirks and joys. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Next week, assuming chicken pox doesn’t hit us up, we have our second trip ….to a fire station! TMD is so excited for the pottery class in the morning and the fire station in the afternoon she’s taken the day off work! I really hope we make it, but suspect the pox are on the way. Soon.

I need to remember how much I appreciate these 2.5 hours.

April 5, 2013

I dreaded it, this day called today. Coats and sweaters and shoes and hats and backpacks and a walk through the cold to the doctor. Loading kids in and out of cars as we shopped for compost and short style underpants.

But all the things I would have missed!

Standing on the path outside the doctor’s, making our shadows do various body shapes from gymnastics. Watching them form and dissolve with the shifting clouds.

Snort’s exhuberation at finding chilli pepper seeds at the shop, so we can grow plants like the ones in Plants Vs Zombies. The stupidly fun trying on of Spiderman crocs, as the kids chat with with a random lady and we sit on the floor in the middle of the aisle. Buying an insane amount of balloons for TMD’s birthday.

A morning out of the house, only errands and standing in lines and putting coats off and on. But also so much more.

It’s pretty great.

February 19, 2013

Two weeks ago on the way to gymnastics, that Taylor Swift song was on. And I heard Coconut’s voice tunefully sing along….’stay, stay, stay. I’ve been loving you for quite some time, time, time…’ So I joined in.

When the song ended, I glanced back at her and we exchanged huge grins. So I played it again and made it louder. We sang joyfully and car danced and I thought, ‘This is what is is like to have a daughter.’ It’s pretty great.

Last week she and I climbed into the car for gym again, and she said, ‘Hey, let’s have that stay stay stay song!’

So we did.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 130 other followers