The “L” word: Does anyone know what it means anymore?

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Love. What does it even mean? We throw it around so much, so often, that eventually it becomes one of those words that sounds funny and are void of all meaning. Love. Love.

What does it mean to you? What does it represent? I’m not sure I even know anymore. Actually, that’s not true. To me, love means that doing anything for that person. Unfortunately, it also means sacrificing my own happiness for theirs.

It also means wanting to experience my life with that person by your side. The person I turn to, and can rely on, when I’m spiralling downwards, and the person I want to share my greatest joys with. In fact, the lowest lows, and the highest highs, are not the same without the person you love.

But what happens when the one you love has a different view on what love is? What happens when your views don’t match? What then? No one prepares you for that. No amount of talking or yelling or reasoning or compromising can change what you think love is and what they think love is.

And then? Well then you’re just screwed.

What about you? What does love mean to you? And what does it mean to the person you love? Do they match? If not, how do you work around that?

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Take a different approach

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The other day I was up the street with my 4yo son. I had my arms full of groceries and was holding his hand. I needed to get across the road to my car, so I chose to cross where I was rather than walking 25mt to the pedestrian crossing (I know, I know, bad mother). So I waited for the cars to stop and hurried across the road, dragging 4yo along.

Then I heard a woman yelling at me from in the car I’d just walked behind. Something along the lines of “Use the crossing!” She was mad, shake her head at me and clearly enraged at the terrible crime I’d just committed. Now, I feel the exact same way as this lady did when I see people crossing the road with their children and not using the crossing. I just don’t say anything because I know that hey, sometimes I’m imperfect like that too.

The lady pulled into a park two parks down from me and, since my defences had gone up, I was incredibly mad at her, wondering how dare she judge me. But as I’m trying to work on my patience and tolerance of other people I thought hard about what I could do instead of hurling abuse back at her, and calling her a child when she poked her tongue out at me (oh yes she did!).

So what did I do? I went across the road and bought some daffodils. I wrote a note that went something along the lines of:

Dear lady,
Thank you so much for the concern you showed my son when I chose not to cross the road at the pedestrian crossing. I too feel that anger at other irresponsible parents who choose not to use a crossing while walking with their children. The fact that my hands were full was no excuse to not make the extra 50 metre walk to the crossing, over the road, then back to my car, rather than the 10 meters across.
However, I’d appreciate it if you did not judge me at my momentary lapse of judgement. I’m sure you, too have made mistakes and I strongly doubt that you are a perfect mother. If you are, I suggest you teach classes, since there really are not many of us.
In the meantime, please accept these flowers as a token of my appreciation, although maybe next time you might want to refrain from poking your tongue out when you’re trying to make a point. You lost a little credibility when you did that.

Thank you.

I was so proud of myself for coming up with this idea. I would still be expressing my emotions (much healthier than repressing them) and doing so in a positive manner. But, my awesomeness wasn’t to be recognised, as by the time I emerged from the supermarket, flowers and note in hand, I saw the woman piling her daughter back into the car and leaving.

What a shame I wasn’t able to give that lady my note. Oh well. I did end up with a beautiful bunch of daffodils! 🙂
How about you? What’s your way of dealing with awful or judgemental people?

Life, death and everything in between

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I know, I know, I’ve gone and done the disappearing act again. Well, let me put it to you this way. When I disappear for weeks at a time it’s usually because something big has happened, or I’m having another life shift (I’m really starting to get used to these).

So, my explanation for this disappearance is the very sad death of my dear 95 year old Nanna, and then another life shift. But first, my Nan.

Nan was a strong lady and one of my inspirational people, having raised 7 children and looked after her own parents during a period of no electricity, out on the farm, with no neighbours, while her husband worked all day. Yikes!! She had all her wits about her, though her body was weak, right up until the last week of her life. That was when she began the dying process.

In hindsight, Nan knew she was going long before she went. It was little things we’d all noticed over a period of time but never really put two and two together. The day she began having delusions and ended up in hospital we all realised that the inevitable had probably come.

I made it my goal to be there with Nan in hospital as much as possible over those 9 days. I don’t know why, but I wanted to be there to experience the process. I’m sure it sounds morbid, but all of a sudden I had this fascination with the whole dying process. Enough so that I decided to see what oh wise Google had to say about it.

Turns out there is an actual process and it begins a few months before actual death. There were stages that my Nan had been through, and it turned out that, according to several sources, Nan was in her final days of life. She went from being a normal, albeit slightly immobile old woman to being barely able to speak, unable to eat or swallow, and floating in and out of consciousness. All just like *that* (clicks).

And reading about the dying process really helped me understand and accept what was happening. This combined with my belief of what happens after death, I found all the information almost…comforting. Nan had been waiting for this day to come for a few years, I believe. I mean, what else do you do in a nursing home, really?

I knew that Nan was done, she was tired. We all knew it. She’d seen 19 grandchildren and 9 great-grand children. She’d seen her children born, get married and in some cases pass before her, as well as her husband. She’d spent the last 30 years of her life living on her own, and despite constant visits from her family that must have been a lonely life.

So, 9 days after being admitted to hospital, she died peacefully, on her own, in Werribee Hospital’s palliative care ward at 12:30am on Saturday 14th August. Just half an hour after Friday 13th. Although she’d not been alone the whole time she was in hospital, Nan chose a moment she was alone and at peace to leave this existence. Typical Nan, not wanting a fuss to be made.

It will take a while to get used to the fact that our family of 52 no longer has a leader, our Matriarch, or, as one cousin put it, The Don. Nan was behind every thought and action in this family, even if those thoughts and actions never came from her. She was an enormous inspiration to me, as I would often find myself complaining about parenting…like having cracked nipples when trying to breastfeed number two. When Nan told me she had years of constantly painful boobs from her never-ending breast feeding I shut the hell up and dealt with it.

As for the life change, during this period of Nan’s dying I was again questioning my own place in existence. I’d found alternative therapies, writing and PR but I didn’t quite feel…there yet. I hadn’t quite found my niche. While Nan was in hospital I spent a lot of time talking to my family, sometimes offering advice, sometimes just listening. At the same time, two of my friends were going through an incredibly rough time, and I found myself desperately wanting to help them, listening to their problems and offering advice where I could. And all of a sudden, it hit me. Counselling! That’s what I’ve been put here for, to help people through their life problems. I often find that people I’ve only just met are telling me their problems, so that even they don’t know why they’re doing it. I get this wonderful feeling from helping people, or even just being there for them when they need to vent. And so, as of next year, it’s back to school for me!

I feel so lucky that I’m in the position where I can follow all of my passions; writing, PR, photography, alternative therapies, and now counselling. I plan on making a big difference in this world, and I plan on using all of my skills to do this. I know I’ve found my niche finally, and I have to say, it’s a bloody good feeling.

Grateful for…

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I’ve changed it from “Today I’m grateful for…” to just “Grateful for…” because sometimes I forget to do the post.

So, I’m grateful for…

  1. Being able to dress up and go to an 80s themed party; my first themed party since primary school, dammit!
  2. Having Shane home (albeit injured) and so spending time with my whole family
  3. My parents being home from their 3 week holiday and…
  4. The fact that I survived without their help for three whole weeks (three weeks with no one to dump the kids with for even half a day is a long time) and it didn’t even seem that hard!!
  5. The universe constantly prodding me (gently) back towards my calling…ask and you shall receive!
  6. The feeling of optimism that keeps me strong
  7. The amazingly clever, talented, well-rounded, caring, cheerful, patient, kind little boy I have for a son
  8. The other cheeky, cheeky, cheeky, funny, carefree, fearless, high-spirited little boy I have for a son
  9. Finding what I feel is the right school for Lachie
  10. The chance to help people
  11. The chance to spend time with friends
  12. Having balance

Life is a game of balancing

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My goodness it’s hard to find balance. I constantly find myself running head first into the things I love doing, only to find that I’ve done it so much that I then need a break from it. Then I pull right back to the point where, after a few weeks, I find myself missing it so much that I throw myself in headfirst again.

Like blogging.

The interesting thing is, though, that now I’ve come to accept that this is what I do, and that I’m basically just balancing the scales. Eventually, out of trial and error, I will find that perfect balance. The time between throwing myself head first, then needing a break is becoming shorter, as is the time between needing a break and throwing myself in again. Eventually there will be no throwing myself and needing a break, there will just be…me doing what I love.

Balance is so important. There’s balancing time to yourself with time with loved ones, balancing doing things for yourself with doing things for others. You have to balance work, play and rest, and if you don’t get that balance just right, then something gives.

I am managing to balance spending time with family, time on my own, and time with friends. I am NOT managing to balance a healthy diet and plenty of exercise. I am balancing writing and spirituality (though this needs some fine tuning) but I am not balancing other things I want to be doing with things I need to be doing.

Do you have balance in your life? If you do, how have you achieved it? If not, where do you think you need it most?

For my friend

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When the night is dark and lonely,
And you’re feeling scared and cold,
Just picture me beside you
As someone you can hold.
The pain won’t last forever,
You know that this is true,
And you’ll emerge much stronger;
This you already knew.
Tough times don’t last forever,
And yet, tough people do.
You’ll find that feeling once again,
This I promise you.

-Melissa Wallace

Today I’m grateful for…

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It’s been a few days but I still have plenty of things to be grateful for…

  1. I am grateful for the chance to go out to dinner with a friend last week
  2. The new yummy tapas place in Yarraville I discovered!
  3. The fact that somehow, despite my parents being away, I’m managing to stay on top of my studies, the housework, and work!
  4. The very cool science mags my (past) obstetrician lent me (we’re friends) with loads of stuff about consciousness and the amazing human mind in it.
  5. The new motivation I’ve found to eat healthier.
  6. The fact that I’ve had a lot more patience with my boys lately; enough to actually be able to sit down and enjoy just spending time with them without thinking of the next thing I need to do.

Through Shane’s eyes

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Thanks to Talia (fellow weheartlife blogger) I was inspired to do this post…

Isn't he perrty?

1. What is something your wife always says to you?
Do you love me?

2. What makes your wife happy?
Chocolate

3. What makes your wife sad?
No chocolate

4. How does your wife make you laugh?
Being funny helps

5. What was your wife like as a child?
Cheeky

6. What is her favourite thing to do?
Eat chocolate

7. What does your wife do when you’re not around?
Write about me on her blog

8. If your wife becomes famous, what will it be for?
Writing

9. What is your wife really good at?
Writing

10. What is your wife not very good at?
House work

11. What does your wife do for her job?
Writing

12. What is your wife’s favourite food?
Thai

13. What makes you proud of your wife?
Writing

14. If your wife were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Tinkerbell, waving the little wands, with the crystals and the magicalness

15. What do you and your wife do together?
Spend time with our family

16. How are you and your wife the same?
Ummm…we’re not?

17. How are you and your wife different?
In every possible way

18. How do you know your wife loves you?
Because she’s still here

19. Where is your wife’s favourite place to go?
Outside this house

My oldest son starts school next year and I’m freaking out

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I’ve been pulling back a notch with my online presence because I’m tired of thinking about what to blog when I should be spending time with my kids. It’s only just hit me, holy hell, my eldest boy starts school next year! That means all that time home with me is practically over! For the rest of his life! This is IT!!

It really scared me when I came to that realisation, especially since for the last 2 years I’ve been saying that I can’t wait for him to go to school so I can get some sort of life back.

So instead of being online, tweeting, blogging and emailing, I’ve been colouring in, teaching small man how to read, kicking the footy, and drawing with him (I don’t do the cars and trains thing, I have a line and it gets drawn there). And I have to admit, it’s fun to be so “in the moment”.

At the end of the day it’s the things you do together that kids remember. We never had much when I was a kid (it was just my parents and me) but the fact that I didn’t have a video player when everyone else did wasn’t a big deal. We used to go for holidays (which I hated at the time), drives (which I also hated), and to the footy (which was kind of boring but fun to go out). When people say to me “I just want them to have the best things in life” I think “but all kids want is for their parents to be there, play with them, do things with them, make them feel important and loved, not stuff.”

Small man’s not going to remember that he had a wii and a play station and a big screen tv. He’s going to remember going for bike rides together and going down to the river to kick the footy. I don’t know why it took me so long to realise this, I guess I knew it all along really. It’s just a shame I only realised it in the last 6 months I have left at home with small man before he belongs somewhere else for 6 hours a day.