90’s novelties

Remember Hypercolour?

Back in the early 90’s a US manufacturer put out the most amazing tshirts ever!

These Hypercolour t shirts were highly sought after & cooler even, than tencil jeans ever hoped to be.

The idea was you bought, say a purple Hypercolour shirt and when an area was heated, like by touch, it would turn blue! There were numerous colour combos available & I remember seeing handprints in inappropriate places, ie. Handprint bra, but the most fun was breathing on it & watching it change! This was incredible technology at the time folks! Proper witchcraft!

Of course the closest I got to owning one was in hand me down form because #youngestof3, but the brief & fading Hypercolour changes were every-bit as magical. Turns out the effects don’t last forever. Wash & wear reduced the magic change & eventually it was just a faded shirt with the Hypercolour logo as a tragic reminder of what was. #youngestissues

I also remember there was a beach Barbie in the 90’s who had a purple strip of hair, & same story, you could turn it pink with cold & back to purple with heat.

That Barbie spent a lot of time in our bathtub, leaping from the soap holder into the bathtub sea & having a great time.

She also spent a lot of time under the waterfall/thermal spring/bath tub tap. Pink hair, purple hair, pink hair, purple hair. And on on & it went till eventually the changes stopped. Bore-ing.

Anyway I’ve been thinking about Hypercolour a bit lately & I have come to realize that I, & all Mummas out there, are constantly dressed in Hypercolour.

Like a cloak of invisibility, my Hypercolour cloak is there without anyone knowing. But I know.

Every tear that falls from my babies eyes leaves a heated drip on my shoulder. Every negative thought leaves a great handprint on my heart. Every loss, every disappointment, every heartache, feeling of pain & anguish, anger & frustration marks me, hot & clear as a handprint bra on my Hypercolour mum cloak.

I wear it all. I feel it all. I would take it from them in a heartbeat. But that would of course rob them of the chance to heal, to learn. So instead I like to think my sharing it, even if they don’t realise it, helps to shoulder the burden.

And of course, on the flip side of the Hypercolour heat transfer, is the cool.

And so of course our Hypercolour Mum Cloak picks up every ray of happiness & triumph too. Seeing those girls of mine happy completely changes my cloak to a disco ball of joy!

It literally feels lighter. Every smile, every laugh, triumph & inside joke pours over me like a cool bath tub tap waterfall.

And I look for every ounce I can get. Every day.

Dan says I look to hard, and end up maybe seeing things that aren’t there. Hot Hypercolour marks where there are none. And on the odd occasion he’s right, but thanks to another 90’s novelty of witchcraft, I think I’m pretty on the ball.

The Magic eye fad was the coolest thing ever. Hands down. I wish it still existed. We had a dolphin one on our wall & I had many books & prints of it. And I could see every one. Every time.

And I see my girls feelings just the same.

Things will be a little off, but look deeper & bam, there’s your sailboat.

This isn’t a magic gift, sadly my witching skills need a lot more work, it’s quite simply a mum instinct.

Like the Hypercolour mum cloak. We didn’t ask for it, we probably didn’t realise it was there, till they act out & our shoulders tense up & our hearts start to race, or we lean to the left & right as they do on their first ride without training wheels, or our eyes get wet with happy tears when it’s nothing to do with us at all.

It’s them. It’s all them.

These magic gifts get bestowed upon us the second that kid flickers to life. Whether in your belly or another. And like it or lump it, they never go away.

No matter how old the baby.

No matter how many wears or washes or run ins with the hot tap.

I embrace my Magic eye vision & my Hypercolour cloak as hard as it sometime is. And sometimes it’s very hard. And I feel as thankful as ever that the gods seen me fit to raise these 3 beautiful girls.

And I’ll always do my best.

And I see you Mumma’s doing your best. Cloaks & all.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mums out there. It’s a roller coaster but it’s worth it.

And I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a Hypercolour-Magic Eye reboot.

Seeds

Next week my Mumma turns 70.

70 wonderful years young! Of course I’ve only know her for 37, but in that time I’ve come to know she’s a pretty good egg.

And ask anyone who knows her & they’ll tell you the same.

And though I have always loved & been proud of her, the way I feel about her now is a profoundly deeper love & deeper pride than I’ve ever known.

The kind that can only be felt from a grown up perspective. From a mums perspective.

Like the great Coolio once sang, I currently “walk through the valley of the shadow of death” that every parent must pass through on the journey that is raising children. With 20, 16 & 15 year old daughters, sometimes this journey feels incredibly overwhelming.

Teenagers are mean, cold blooded gremlins. Then they’re sweet & thoughtful mogwai. It’s like raising gizmo. Everything’s going swell, then someone’s feeds him after midnight & all hell breaks loose. This is my life right now.

And it makes me think of my mum often.

“I would never have spoken to my mother this way”, or “I would never treat my mother like that” flits through my brain, or pops from my mouth.

And as I’m hanging another load of washing on the line, or racing from work to the shops for ingredients to dishes I’ll likely burn, or have snubbed & switched for toast (not all the time), muttering to myself “you bunch of ungrateful so & so’s” a wash of gratitude & respect comes over me as I remember that my Mumma did all this for me. And I don’t ever recall her muttering swears.

We’d frustrate her to the point of vigorous head scratching. But she never cracked.

Well almost never.

She would call my sisters & I witches occasionally.

Emphasis on the itch.

We knew what she meant.

We were teenagers.

And no doubt being very……witchy.

But overall, growing up, she was a kind & patient mother.

The whimsy & rose coloured glasses through which I see life, are all thanks to her.

Countless fairytales & adventure books were read & reread to us from our bedsides. And there she planted the seeds for creativity, imagination & a deep love of reading.

Movies were carefully selected from retravision (our video/hardware store) & mum would iron while we all lost ourselves in any genre we chose (except Leaving Las Vegas & Basic Instinct, they were shut down pretty quick!). And every Easter along with eggs, we’d get a video of something cool. Adrian Mole, Willow, Bloodbath & the House of Death. There she planted a love of film.

Dad had his records on high rotation, but mum had hers too. She’d hum along to patsy cline & tap her foot. I can still feel/hear the vibration of her singing songs, talking, while sitting with the ladies at a backyard BBQ, old brown leather esky with a few empty westcoast & melting ice inside, while dad & the men stood away speaking in their deep monotone, & I drifted off to sleep on her lap. There was planted a love of song, & a love of backyard BBQ’s.

She was always busy. Before she got her full time gig nursing at the mine she was a cleaner. I’d go along & “help” & vividly recall the huge array of colours & smells from the different cleaning products stacked up in their big drums (I’d love to say there was planted a love of cleaning, but alas, instead a love of clear liquids & gels & a good clean smell). She was a committee member of almost everything from swimming to tennis & Lions. And it was nothing to hear her click clacking away on her typewriter at all hours. I loved the little tool used to perforate edges the most! The only cutting device we were allowed to touch. Her love of sewing taught us very early on to NOT TOUCH THE GOOD SCISSORS! She was at every event & raised thousands of dollars for all sorts of causes, always coming up with new & odd ideas to get the people there. Air guitar competition? Done. Slowest bike ride? Done. Doll museum? Done ski! And there she planted a love of community.

If committees weren’t enough, she was sports mad. Playing tennis, squash, golf & touch football. To name a few. Often coming home battered & bruised, red in the face. But happy. Now she dragon boats & shoots! She always has to be active! And does things she enjoys, not for glory, but for the love of it. And there she planted a love (certainly not when I was young) of sports & staying in the game, no matter what.

She was a wonderful wife to our dad. Patient & forgiving. And her fierce love never wavered. Here she planted the seed of dedication & commitment. Of true love.

When Dad died, she stepped up to the plate & took the reins like a total boss. She showed a strength I don’t think many expected (we knew it was there). Grieving, she began a new chapter as the main provider & sole parent, & she never missed a beat. This is why I don’t get too worried when she now travels the world solo. Exploring vast, exotic, remote, sometimes dangerous destinations would be nothing on what she’s already tackled. Here the seeds of strength, bravery & adventure dig in.

On family holidays & camping trips she was the mum who arranged games, or would rise early while the hungover adults slept & take the kids to the beach or the park. She was and still is a magnificent memory maker. And that seed was planted too.

Her stories of her youth, from her days on the farm & the sweets they had to ration, the adventures she got up to with her beloved brothers & sisters, being chased by goats & hung up on flag poles, her dad, our pop, cutting all the girls hair short when gran was in hospital so he didn’t have to plait it. Of her early nursing career, sneaking through darkened, out of bounds wards to discover jars of pickled body parts. Her cross country adventures camping & exploring with her girlfriends, and my favorites, the times she spent with Dad before we were ever a thought (still twinkles in his eye), just the pair of them in their short wheel base Toyota & their silky terrier Robbie. She would (& does) retell these stories with such magic in her eyes. And here she planted the seed of story telling, the importance of remembering & the love of family.

We were encouraged to do everything & anything. She’d cut ads from newspapers & sign us up to classes (still does). And she never doubted our ability, or told us things were out of our league. And here she cemented in us a belief that we really could do ANYTHING.

She was a wonderful homemaker, sewing our costumes & uniforms, baking, dusting & polishing our rosewood furniture. And still the 50’s housewife comes out in her when she makes sure our husbands have cold beer & steak waiting for them during visits. But she was also independent. She’d take time for herself. Usually with us in tow. I recall many, many times waking up early with mum at Potsville & totting off with her over the bridge to the surf beach, promising all the while that I would happily carry the giant smurf tube, towel & bucket & spade myself. Before bailing half way. She’d still make me carry it. Once at the surf I’d bet board an hour in, thirsty & ready to go home I’d have to content myself with more playing in the rip tide while Mumma tanned the other side of her body & read her book. No budging till she was done. This planted (reluctantly) the seed of patience. And the knowledge that everyone, even mums, need some time out.

She seen us through brownies, guides, swimming, piano, guitar, netball, cross country, outward bounds, ski trips, school camps, boyfriends, best friends, fads & phases, never bemoaning too much when we’d quit one or the other. She welcomed our friends (& strangers. Backpacker buddies from across the world) with an open house & open arms. She loved our friends, she still loves our friends. She sees the best in everyone. Even when no one else does. Or when there isn’t much to see. She doesn’t judge. Forgives quickly. Is atrociously optimistic. She is smart & determined & fun. And she loves whole heartedly. And I hope, I do the same.

In everything I do, & everything I am, I try to emulate my mother.

I want my girls, when somebody asks them “are you Alaina Earls daughter?!” to feel the swell of joy & pride that I do when someone asks me “are you Sue Murray’s daughter?!”.

And if one day, when we’re through this gremlin filled valley of teenage darkness, they can think back on me with half the fondness I do of my beautiful mumma growing up, then I’ll know I’ve done well.

Although I may be a rubbish gardener (that was definitely a trait on Dads side) all those seeds, all that love, encouragement, forgiveness, determination & kindness, are the only seeds I ever really need see through to fruition.

And I know I will. Thanks to you Mumma.

I love you.

Happy Birthday!

P.S sorry for the times I was a witch! Xx

Just starting out as a nurse, back in the crisp white hat days!
Growing up means now I get to have cocktails with my Mumma! #blessed

Willow

A week ago today, the youngest member of our pet family, our Willow, died.

Today, a week after she left our lives, we received her ashes home. To forever rest with us.

Her urn sits next to our Dukey’s, surrounded by some of my favorite things.

My heart hurts. My girls hearts hurt. And I miss her terribly.

It’s hard for some people to understand the heartbreak of losing a pet.

“It’s just a dog” they say.

Thinking with their brains perhaps.

I’ve never thought with my brain. Well not directly anyway. My first port of call is always my heart.

And the heart, my heart, never ever thinks “it’s just” anything.

Unfortunately what my brain does do, is tick over constantly. Particularly in bad times. It relives & heckles & questions & taunts. It leaves me unable to sit quietly. Unable to concentrate, and makes sleep impossible.

Last week was traumatic.

I’m not putting this up with the death of a person.

This isn’t my first rodeo. Death has been a visitor in my life enough that I know him well.

But yes, it was traumatic.

A coping mechanism I’ve picked up along the way is a wall.

It does literally feels like a wall. It’s bizarre. It’s like on the beginning credits of ‘get smart’ when all the different doors close.

My wall is like that. A big iron vault wall that just creeps up & slams right when things get bad.

I felt it the day Willow died.

I felt myself slipping, falling into an utter mess, then I looked up & seen my girls & I knew I had to be the strong one. I had to be the mum.

So up went that wall. I was a mess inside. But I functioned. And I comforted. And I kept my head busy.

We sat that afternoon. My 3 girls & I. And let the sadness & mourning drape over us.

It was awful. But it did them good. To sit in sorrow.

All week I stayed up as late as I could, watched movies with the girls, played free fall & Tetris on my phone until my eyes blurred (thank goodness for school holidays), cried my heart out in the shower, then I would retreat to bed.

And my brain would tick. Tick. Tick.

I was so tired. And so sad.

We stayed a night at Mummas & I repeated the process, but that night I dreamt of her. Of our Willow. And it was so lovely. So sweet.

But though it brought me peace, I could not shake the sadness. Couldn’t shake the ticking of my brain.

Back home Dan asked me to mow the lawn. At midday. I just felt so lethargic, so sad. I did not want to step in the yard & not see her there.

But I did. Wether Dan knew I needed to do something, or he just wanted the yard mowed. Who knows.

But it was cathartic. I cried. Nope, I bawled. I sobbed scooping up dog poop, let tears stream down my face while I emptied the catcher & struggled with that mower. For over an hour, safe behind the roar of the engine, I let my wall fall.

When I finished, I walked inside, lay in the lounge & slept. And when I woke up, I finally felt peace.

My brain now lets thoughts in, and I let them out. Like moths trapped inside. They need to be on their way. Not to flit around in my head & torment me.

And I am getting better at that, better at opening that window & letting them go.

And I know my wall serves me well when I need it. And as a mum, you definitely need it. But knowing when & how to drop it can be hard.

You have to control it, like letting the thoughts out.

Today upon picking up her ashes & her beautiful crystal keepsake, I let my wall fall again & my girls & I all cried together.

Thoughts flitted in, then out.

G1 has been applying the same trick of keeping busy, & I see the sadness catching up now she’s home.

And I want her & her sisters to know, that death hurts. Any death hurts. Any loss hurts. If you love something, a person, a pet, losing them, saying goodbye, hurts.

And in order to make peace with that pain, to begin a return to living life, you 100% need to mourn. You need to cry. You need to be angry & confused & sad.

You need to cry.

And it’s ok.

Don’t stifle your tears for people saying “it’s just”.

What a life they’re missing out on to have never given their heart over to a dog.

Because let me tell you, our Willow was not just a dog.

She was Willow Woofgood, a dashing little dachshund. Black & tan. Wirey & spritely & full of bounce & life.

She was fast & clever & l loved us with every ounce of her screen door chewing self.

There was not a ball she couldn’t find, and when worse came to worst & her Arab sisters destroyed her ball, she could find the tiniest speck in an overgrown lawn & being it to you to throw.

She could jump higher than any little dog I’ve seen, making a super cute little guttural sound as she exploded up & onto any surface. Her favorite was our laps.

She knew to shoot through the door as soon as it was opened of an evening & chose a different girl to sleep with each night.

She loved sleeping in, she was blessed with 3 teenage girls. She’d groan like a sleeping bear when you tried to move her.

She loved walks & the call “walkies” would send her into a frenzy. Generally ending in the chewing of wars while you tried to strap her into her harness.

She was just a people dog. Unless there were toads. Her vice. She loved to lick toads.

She loved the water & chasing waves, she loved the hut & hunting lizards, she loved the van, hated the boat. Hated men, most men. Was a terrible racer. Loved to steal soft animals and teddies. And had a heart as big as a lion.

She comforted broken hearts & listened to tales of woe.

She was a smiling happy face when everyone around you was cranky or moody.

You see, she was the perfect addition to a house of teenage girls. For both myself & the girls.

She just loved.

She loved her girls.

She just wanted to be with us all the time.

And as I write that I feel my wall go up.

It hurts so much to miss her.

But I’d never swap a day of loving her to ease it.

So much more than “just a dog”.

Rest well my little Willis, until we meet again baby.

“If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they are” Will Rogers

The Edges

When I was a kid growing up in Tieri, nothing was more exciting than the big town events.

The 2 big days for us were May Day, a big union celebration on our Touch Ovals, right in town celebrating the workers. There was a parade, games and activities for kids, put on by Mums and Dads, all the food, soft drink and ice cream you could handle, and a water slide down the hill using black tarp and detergent from the mine (burned the eyes. A lot). And even a band or 2. It was a great day. And as a bonus for the parents and over 18 folk, dollar spirits all day. Unsurprisingly once the evening wore on and the formal activities were over, us kids would busy ourselves making forts from social club chairs on the oval or loitering in the cricket nets totally unsupervised whilst the parents danced on the tables and took turns on the microphone belting out tunes.

Seriously good times.

The other big day, the biggest of them all, was the Town Party. It was an end of year Christmas party put on by the company and the whole town was invited. It was held at our Rugby League Oval, a little out of town. All kids under (if my memory serves me right) 14, received a gift, and the older ones got a disco. By the time I was an older one, there was no disco. I do fondly remember receiving an Asian Barbie doll early on in the piece, and pretty sure the last year I was eligible for a gift it was a talking watch, think Macgiver. It was super cool.

And just like May Day, there was soft drink and snacks and ice cream, but there was also rides! Proper rides, chair swing, dodgem cars, jumping castles! And I don’t recall a bar, but that wasn’t necessary, as families would just roll up on the edge of the oval, reverse their cars up, set up a tarp, pull out some camp chairs, lounge chairs, blankets and eskies, and enjoy the band set up in the middle of the oval, while the kids ran an absolute muck. All. Day. Long.

Again like May Day, this was a kids dream, so much activity and excitement, and next to no supervision. Want to go on that chair swing ride till you vomit? Go for it! Want to shotgun 5 cans of coke in a row? I’ll see you with 6! Wanna chase the fireworks parachutes and sniff their gun powdery deliciousness? Bet I can find more than you! Heaven!

As we got older we would loiter on the edges, out at the pipe (a literal big cement pipe that spanned a gully, great fun to balance on or just be a delinquent at), but there was always something about the other side of that oval. And come to think of it, it was the same at the touch ovals.

No one was comfortable hanging near the edges of these ovals. And there was good reason.

We lived in a town surrounded by bush. You could get anywhere you wanted in town via a bush track, barely ever having to cross a street.

And it was the bush that slunk up to the edges of our sporting ovals. It was the bush that hid dark things.

Mysterious things.

Things that made one tree sway while the others stayed still.

Things that made sounds the adults didn’t notice.

Dark things that ran by in the corner of your vision.

Dark things with white masks that stared. That watched. That waited.

Terrifying things that, by all reports, had taken children before. And never, ever returned them.

Now we had all seen displays of this mystery bush lurker. Ask anyone.

May Day or Town Party, he never missed an event. Never missed his chance to spring.

So we never, ever went into the bush at the back of the ovals.

We’d dare each other and get close sure, but no one was that stupid.

Our parents, blissfully unaware, would be partying, dancing, singing, catching up with friends and blowing off steam, whilst we, Lord of the Flies style, did our best to keep the gang together & never leave anyone behind, lest they be the next victim.

Fast forward many moons & over here in Moranbah, we are putting together a podcast series on “Untold Stories of the Coalfields”, chasing stories on strange stuff, ghosts, UFO’s, beasts etc. and it made me smile to know that Moranbah sporting ovals have their own mystery lurker.

We are currently producing an episode centred on stories of a beast or monster that lived in the old buildings on the sporting fields here, terrifying the teenagers who used to party there and slink away for some unsupervised time in the dark.

I’m loving hearing the retelling, and noting the similarities.

And sensing a common thread.

A logical adult explanation put forward for the Moranbah beast, which of course could only come with time, and would have given zero solace to the teenagers who encountered this critter, or who had to try and cross the oval in the dark, was that it was a seed planted by parents to try and get the kids off the ovals and to stop the teenage shenanigans.

And you know, this is just sly and trickster enough to work. Maybe that was our mystery. Wanting to;

a. be left alone to party, and

b. not wanting us to run away or wander off, just maybe our parents invented this masked demon bush stalker to keep us all in one place, & busy.

After all, children’s imaginations are an absolute gold mine of fear and magic. There would have only have had to be one tiny suggestion of what could be out there, in the bushes, just out of reach of the flood lights, & Chinese whispers would have done the rest. Spreading the rumour like wild fire. Like the flames after every years fireworks display.

Our Union Christmas party is tonight, it’s a huge event, full of families and fun. And ironically is held at the sporting fields. There’s been no word of the beast here for years.

Has it gone?

Has technology taken over imagination?

Have parents become more responsible?

Have kids become more boring?

Who knows?

My life and my Tieri town changed dramatically in the space of a few years, so I never had the chance to attend a May Day or a Town Party as an adult & the big town events, sadly, aren’t anywhere near what they were back then. Which does make my heart ache quite a lot.

But I see they’ve fenced off the ovals. And I can’t help but wonder why?

All I know is that tonight, I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes on the edges.

Emperors New Clothes

18 months ago I took on one of the biggest challenges of my life. A nude swim. In a beach in Sydney Harbour. With 1500 strangers.

It was terrifying.

No big deal for an extrovert per say, but a huge deal for me.

I would class myself as a high functioning introvert. Flying just under the radar with my overhead locker stowed full of anxiety, body hang ups & a hand bag or 2 of PTSD.

I like to think I keep all of this cleverly hidden.

Like Clark Kent with his glasses on.

Could be more of a case of the Emperors new clothes & everyone see’s me as I am.

Who knows?!

But in the past month I’ve been gifted a few opportunities from the universe I truly never saw coming. And never, ever thought would fit.

You see what I also have tucked away in my excess baggage is Imposter Syndrome. “A term to describe the psychological experience of feeling like you don’t deserve your success”, aka forever waiting for the fraud police to kick down the door and drag you from your desk, your home, your life, yelling “liar” like Miracle Max’s wife in Princess Bride.

But I said yes.

On the fly!

On a whim!

On a wing & a prayer!

So I’m on exciting new side quests, one will take me to being on the board of directors for a truly amazing, giving, & community orientated organisation (I feel like I need a power suit, purely from the job title. My responsibilities will be nothing compared to the main players. But still, I feel I need shoulder pads stat!), the other leaving me as vulnerable & scared as my kit off swim.

MCing a massive music concert in our beautiful home town.

2 challenges, 2 big responsibilities.

The board of directors was an easy yes. I’m still nervous & excited & worried they’ve seen something in me that isn’t there. But I am so in awe of everything they do for our community & stoked to play any part, that I wouldn’t turn this down for anything.

The concert, now I love this concert! Love it! Everything about it! The opportunity it brings to our remote region to experience AMAZING live music! The atmosphere of families hanging out, kids off burning energy, playing on rides, in the giant sand pile (best concert accessory EVER) mum & dad able to have a beer & wander about, great food, amazing charity beneficiaries, the accessibility of towns in a 250k radius! And I know I mentioned the music, but again, the music! It’s an incredible, outdoors, fun & fireworked filled day & night & I just love it!

And this year they asked me to man the stage!

It was a request I initially laughed off.

Until my coworkers said, “well why not?”.

And I stopped mid guffaw & thought, why not?

Then I lost sleep & heightened my pulse worrying over how I could best become a great MC!

What way I should act or talk or behave!

And I realised, thanks to my wise husband & some wonderful tips from friends, that they didn’t ask a whacky, charismatic, extrovert to MC.

They asked me.

Someone who loves this event, who loves the music, who loves the community. Same with the board, they didn’t ask a power suit wearing professional.

They asked me.

I really do love this town.

And that’s no act.

That’s just me.

And maybe that is what people see.

Not the Emperors New Clothes.

So I’m stuffing my anxiety down in my belly.

Sucking that belly in with a lovely skirt. Donning a genuine smiling face (with artificially dyed eyebrows & makeup to make my children happy).

Drawing on every bit of bravery & resilience I earned in my nude swim. Including averting eye contact if need be.

And taking that stage.

I have double sided taped my top, stoically taken the brutal honesty of my teenagers (Who needs enemies)

Made notes & purchased rescue remedy lozenges*.

Yes, my biggest stint is a mere 4 minutes. And I am 100% aware I’m not the main act (clearly John), & I will undoubtedly be ignored by 80% of the crowd, but I’m still nervous.

I have talked at weddings, funerals, birthdays, events & even on radio (for over 3 years).

But I am an introvert at heart.

Even Clark Kent takes his glasses off eventually. No cape.

How I get through all that, is knowing that what I have to say is important.

More important than my stupid ego worrying about people judging me.

More important than the grip of my anxiety.

More important than the fraud police.

And MCing this event is the same.

On a much larger scale.

Being a voice on the board of directors is the same.

I know these things are far more important than me & I want them to run as smoothly as possible & I want people to love them as much & enjoy them as much as I do, I want everyone to benefit.

So I’ll MC & direct my little heart out.

I’ll be the epitome of brave, for my girls, once again.

Being scared but doing it anyway.

Plus, I get to meet the Eurogliders, the Radiators, Killing Heidi & John Stevens.

Even the Emperor couldn’t turn that down!

Now, wish me luck.

Kit off!

*I have, on one or 2 stressful occasions, lost control of my face. Like teeny invisible puppet strings have been placed on my facial muscles & yanked from all directions. Much like the party trick. But involuntary. So if you happen to see me in what happens to look “mid stroke”, don’t be alarmed. Just shove a stress lozenge through my clenched teeth & send me on my way.

On the eve of your 16th Birthday, G2.

Your story begins with a solemn G1, gently placing down her coloured pencil & looking to the distance saying “I wish I had some friends”, before continuing her colouring. She was 2. And my heart broke. I thought I was pretty fun up till then.

Your Dad & I decided it was time to give her a sibling.

And thus began 2 long years of trying & failing & testing & crying. Given the relative ease that we fell with G1, I never excepted conceiving to be so difficult.

It took me a long time to look towards myself in the journey to get you.

Turns out I wasn’t doing very good.

Mumming was still going great, but wife-ing was hard. We had moved away from all I’d ever know, I missed my home town. I had no family, no friends, and for the first time since I was 13, no job. I felt isolated, useless & was clinging to a past that I desperately missed.

I was not healthy. I was a big smoker back then & would indulge in booze a bit too often. Zero exercise.

I was a child surrounded by adults, still trying to fit a mould that simply didn’t exist.

A neighbor kindly invited me over for coffee, I don’t drink coffee so she offered tea! Yes please! We only have green is that ok? Me, overtly polite, yes thank you, white with 1.

She did give me an odd look, which now is obvious.

But there I sat, drinking one of the worst concoctions on earth, quietly sipping. Playing the adult.

While my milky sweet green tea went ice cold. Staying oh so polite while cringing inside.

The perfect summary of our first few years in Moranbah.

I don’t know what the switch was, perhaps a lightbulb moment came from one of the million Take 5 or That’s Life magazines.

Nestled between the conspiracy theories & home tips.

But I decided to go back the pool, G1 was in lessons, so I’d do a few laps. Shirt & shorts on of course. Then I started aqua aerobics.

Then more lap session. Shorts & shirt came off. I started to get more serious. I stopped smoking. I laid off the booze. I totally changed my diet (all those Symply Too Good to be True cook books I have were purchased here). I let go of my past, starting living in the now & I got happy.

And you know what? I got you!

Who ever would have thought that a healthy body & mind was the secret?!

(Please note the sarcasm)

From the moment those little lines turned blue, actually in the weeks leading up. I grew up.

I wasn’t playing wife anymore, I wasn’t playing grown up. At the grand age of 21, I grew up.

In retrospect the change was dramatic. I felt amazing. I was swimming frequently, walking with G1, seeing as your presence had put me off lots of food, I mainly ate fruit, my health was great!

My head was great. I had stopped trying to fit society’s mould & I had made my own. I was happy.

After multiple false alarms, you arrived the night of Game 2 of Origin.

Causing middle sister & your Dad to periodically leave the delivery room to check scores on a game that I couldn’t have cared less about.

As happens with me, time ticked on, the game ended & still we laboured.

Dr Rowles left his night out early to come see how I was doing, & after “checking” & being satisfied that birth was still hours away, (such a terrible thing to hear when your already 8 painfully long hours in) he went to have a cup of tea, a biscuit & a rest.

Cue your arrival!

I’ve had a few time stopping moments in my life & this was one of them.

Dr Rowles raced back in, tea untouched, & discovered the umbilical cord tightly around your neck.

A few helpful contractions & there you were. Held up by your feet, cord unwrapped, but blue.

The world stopped. It’s like everything paused & went silent except Dr Rowles whacking your back urging you over & over to “Breathe!”.

It was agony.

The world axis spun again when you took a muffled breath & squawked a tiny little cry.

It’s a girl!

I hadn’t known I was holding my breath until then.

Finally our little G2 was here.

Head full of dark hair, covered in goop & oh so perfect.

You were an angel baby. (You all were)

Porcelain skin. Kissin lips. Big blue eyes. Full head of satin curls.

You turned every head.

And the majority of comments, even from

strangers in shopping centres’, on first glance, were; “oh she’s been here before”!

And my baby, it’s like you had!

You tolerated no nonsense. Smiles were earned, not flittered away.

Outside your Daddy, myself & G1, folks had to work for your grins.

You were the exception to the rule.

Walking at 9 months (first steps on the hill at the Calliope Barefoot Nationals), & talking (in proper conversation) by very near the same age!

Stirring strife in our street, pinching the other babies (your age! & when we were at Barefoot schools, your own cousins) dummies & running, while they kicked in frustration, unable to chase you!

Skiing solo at 3, reciting to yourself on the boom over & over “arms straight, knees to my chest”, then bawling out the back for the entire lap of the Lake that “I can’t ski out the back”, whilst keeping perfect form.

You were my trooper.

My Farah Fawcett with the most amazing little people hair ever!

You were funny, & tricky, (hiding upside down in the dirty clothes basket in hide & seek), & so quick with a hilarious smile (I have so many photos), but always, always, like you’d been here before.

You seemed wiser.

You were.

You always have been.

Like you really have been here before.

And it seems like a burden now, I know, but my girl, it will come in handy one day.

Because you ARE wiser.

Perhaps it’s because you’re a Gemini, perhaps it’s because you’re the middle child.

I think, it’s why you had such a prophetic affect on me during your creation.

You changed my whole being.

So it’s no surprise you are so empathetic, so kind, so smart, so thoughtful, so compassionate.

So capable.

You’re the very best parts of me & your Dad.

And the very reason we have them! (Spread not so evenly between us of course).

You have better taste in movies & music than most, have higher literal taste than most, have way better morals & sense of humour than most, love more than most & to your detriment (& sometimes benefit), you feel more than most.

And that’s just you.

And I thank my lucky stars that you are the way you are.

Perfect.

I thank my lucky stars that on whatever trip around the sun this is of yours (you were probably Cleopatra or Mulan, or a Greek Goddess of nature, maybe Hera!) that you chose me to be your Mumma.

And I will forever be grateful.

Call me Vishnu

What am I doing?

The war cry of every mother.

Or maybe that’s just me?

This job of being a Mumma is tough. This teen part. Tougher still.

It’s gruelling. Unrewarding. Frustrating. Defeating. Infuriating. Testing. Trying. Exhausting.

And then it’s not.

Or maybe that’s just me?

It’s becoming Vishnu, the Hindu deity, trying so hard to balance the dreamer, the sensitive soul, the firecracker, the tiger. All the while treading water & trying desperately to keep it all together.

Or maybe that’s just me?

It’s trying so hard not to take to heart the harsh words siblings throw at each other, & mumble at you.

It’s holding back your own childish tantrum & retorts. It’s wanting support & advice but dare not ask, for fear of looking the failure, or seeming ungrateful or unhappy. It’s trying & failing, & cooking & cleaning, & working & draining & drowning.

It hurts.

And then it doesn’t.

Or maybe it’s just me?

Like the sun through the clouds they get along! They laugh, cooperate, share. They love each other.

They play your 90’s songs, they twerk in the kitchen, they have inside jokes with you included.

They call you from 500k away at 2am to tell you they feel sick. And you wish they were home, but can rest knowing you gave them the tools needed to look after themselves.

They share their feelings & their fears. Their lives. And even though you can’t fix everything or sometimes anything, you can rest knowing your giving them skills needed to face hard times.

They push you away & rage against everything & everyone. But you can rest knowing that you understand what lies beneath that exterior, & that they 100% know you love them no matter what barbs they throw, & will be the first to hug them when the storm passes.

They want you there.

They need you.

They love you.

And all the tough stuff fades.

In that glimmering, glittery moment, you’re a Mumma.

Not a soldier. Not a failure.

Not trying, but being.

Just being.

You’re a Mumma.

And we are all winging it.

Not for a second am I ungrateful for my lot. These girls are my everything. My entire being, & without a doubt my destined reason for being on the planet.

I beam with pride at the thought of their amazing-ness, & shake my head that we could make young ladies so wonderful.

They are funny, loving, kind, compassionate, intelligent & determined. The absolute best parts of Dan & I.

They can also be the worst parts of us & right pains in my ass.

And I think it’s wrong to pretend we have it all together when we don’t.

No one does. Not all the time.

And that is A-OK!

No one likes dirty laundry being aired. Yet no one likes pretenders. So it’s a tough gig.

It’s the Vishnu balance thing again.

The content, having it all-together-ness, is doled out in life like sweets, like smelly erases from the prize box in primary school.

A carrot on a string designed to keep you keeping on when times are tough & the outlook is grim & seemingly impossible.

The biggest reward?

I love you Mum.

The sweetest, most healing words on the planet.*

Sometimes I get one from each, every day.

Sometimes I don’t.

But on the don’t days I know I’m doing my best.

I know I love them.

I know they love me.

And I know I wouldn’t trade this job in for ANYTHING.

Or maybe that’s just me?

Call me Vishnu.

I’ve always been good at treading water.

P.S I love you Mum, sorry for being a jerk when I was younger! Xx

*A close second is a genuine I’m sorry, to either siblings or parents.