Thursday, July 28, 2016

Would Mother like a chair?

It has taken me several goes at logging into my blog. And now, rather than feeling all sweet and reflective I'm annoyed and worried about my brain "functionality". That's a word, I hear it a lot, I know it has something to do with computers. And my brain.

So 51 is just around the corner and while the 30 something artists and crafters out there are posting gorgeous photos of their new bundles of babies and hand knits, I can't even log on!!
Ok. Some context. I ran my own business for 10 years. I was a maker of things, mainly jewellery having completed a degree in Gold and Silversmithing. I was legit. I had a little shop in Kensington and a loyal following as well as selling to boutiques in Australia and New Zealand. Kylie Minogue had worn my jewellery. Once. I was proud of my "brand" but making hand made things in a fashion accessory market was tough. And then the babies came, and I wasn't making any money, and I was frustrated by my inability to balance my creative life with Motherhood so… well, I began to knit and be a mother. Happily.

Then a few years ago my dear friend Denise gave me a book, The Divided Heart, Art and Motherhood, by Rachel Power. I put it aside for a while, tucked away with reminders of a my past life as an artist. At the time I was working as a doula. My passion for birth and motherhood had lead me down that path but this book, oh dear, everything just fell away and there I was, that girl who loved to draw, who was  happiest when she was  making something. It was time. So I did a painting and it made me happy and I liked it and couldn't understand where this big painting of the Australian bush had come from. I had written in my high school year book that I wanted to be a painter and live in Warrandyte.  I have always loved  the Australian bush, muted and familiar. From somewhere in the depths of my creative self, it had waited patiently, timing it's return for a moment in my life when my girls are of an age that they are moving into new places and maybe I was becoming a little sad about this.   And so I will paint, and I will care for this part of me and welcome it's return whole heardedly,  I will call myself an artist with confidence and conviction. Again. I'll blog a little bit about it and other things.  And I will put things on Instagram and see where it takes me.

But I'm still about to turn 51, and I feel like I'm starting this new phase a bit late and recently while shopping with my 15 year old in some shop called Glug, or Glum or something, as I flicked through hangers of inappropriate tops (for anyone),while maybe humming a show tune, a friendly young lass approached me as my daughter went to try things on and motioned to a large leather wingback in the corner. " Would Mother Like a Chair? I think I went a little pale, or maybe a little flushed. Probably flushed. I wanted to remind her that I am a customer, not just a credit card and that maybe just maybe I was about to try something on? But the truth was, I was hot and tired and the sugar high from my Muffin Break had worn off and to be perfectly honest,  Mother would bloody love a chair. Thank you. 



Friday, August 28, 2015

Bad Mother

I don't enjoy the school productions. No offense to my amazingly talented nephew, he is always the star in my eyes. But I have a very bad habit of sitting there in the audience of beaming parents trying to imagine what it must feel like to watch YOUR child on stage. Envy. Always gets me into trouble. Then I turn nasty, standing alone during intermission, arms crossed, refusing food and a cup of tea like an over tired toddler. I am revolting. I am like the terrifying stage mother...but my kid doesn't have an agent. I'm worse.

"It's not my thing", I hear them chime at which point I start to question money well spent? Or not. At this point I've passed revolting, I'm just mean. And then the other day as I stood chatting to a teacher while waiting for Tobie to finish her orientation ( more money wasted I was probably thinking... I wasn't but we know I'm capable), when suddenly his words reddened my face and swelled my heart all at the same time. He was talking about happy, well balanced "great" girls. My girls. 

At 6.30 every week day morning when I walk into the kitchen and turn the kettle on theres a smile and a "Hi Mum". Their lives are becoming increasingly complex as they navigate their physical world, their emotional world and their cyber world. But they remain happy kids and really, it's all I have ever wanted. I just need a slap every now and then.

And so the other night as I sat and watched William perform in A Midsummer Nights Dream, I laughed and clapped and ate chocolate and looked across at Lucinda as she smiled and enjoyed her cousin's performance. 




Tuesday, July 14, 2015

JULY

July is dreary. I tell people I love winter, "I'm a winter person" I declare. But the truth is, somewhere near the end of the school holidays, I just get a bit dreary. It's silly because many many great things happen at this time of the year, not the least being a special wedding anniversay next week (yes, love winter so much got married right in the middle of it), but almost equally thrilling is that this weekend is the Bendigo Wool and Sheep Show.  More about that later.

Yes July is dreary and shuffling around Highpoint hasn't helped. When I came home I remembered I hadn't picked up after the dog for a few days, that will be nice considering all the rain...and the corn. But then a miracle. The sun came out, just for a twinkle, helping me to discern between old brown autumn leaves and well.... Thanks Sun. And then something else. Buds. Buds on my Magnolia and natives flowering and if by magic I felt that dreariness lift. And can I say, I'm very lucky that "dreary" to me is just a bit of a flat feeling, for a couple of days somewhere in July. But there it was, that something I needed. And then a lovely friend sent me a photo she had found, and the sun was back out.

Sorry July, I don't know what gets into me.


Monday, December 22, 2014

GRATEFUL

The past few weeks have certainly dampened the Collective Christmas Spirit. Such sadness and tragedy, children losing parents, parents losing their children. I found myself slumped on the couch last week, having sheilded the younger ones from the news but knowing Ailee and Lucinda had sat glued to the rolling coverage of the Sydney seige while I was out shopping. We were all feeling the effects of something so frightening and so close to home but unable to articulate it so instead at 9 pm we all sat on the couch watching a re run of Modern Family but I know my mind was elsewhere. Finally I mustered the energy to send everyone to bed, but no reading, no lovely rituals, just a tired mother not in the mood.

An hour later I walked past Hazel's bedroom and noticed she was busy with paper and scizzors, working away in the dark. I flew into her room "It's bloody 10 o'clock Hazel go to sleep!!! And I bundled the mass of craft into my arms and threw it onto the table. " Don't break it" she bawled.

The next morning I opened the curtain in her room. I glanced at the pile of paper I had thrown on the table the night before, hoping secretly I hadn't damaged it, oh the regrets a mother faces in the light of a new day. I picked it up by a corner and could not believe what she had made in the darkness of her little bunk bed, she was like Edward Scizzor Hands! I was a tiny bit freaked out and a little scared of her for a split second. How did she do this? "Oh Haze, this is so beautiful, you are amazing". And all of a sudden all was forgiven and I knew it was time to just be grateful. And so I am more than ever.

The house is so quiet right now. Daryl has taken Ailee, Lucinda and Hazel to Lorne to set up for the summer ahead, Tobes is snuggled upstairs with Russell and a hot chocolate. Phemie is somewhere in the Amazon jungle (no seriously she really is), and I am sitting here listening to the coo of the doves outside, and feeling particularly happy that it's almost Christmas. The past few days have truly been filled with good cheer, family, friends and a little Christmas miracle in the form of a  bird who hit our window yesterday and after a few moments of convulsing on the lawn was held by Tobie and Ailee and soothed and petted and whispered to in gentle voices then finally it flew up to the tree and back to it's family.




Wednesday, December 3, 2014

FULLNESS






On another blog I love to follow from day to day, and often whine that whilst I am quite addicted to and inspired by this blog, it does makes me feel a little pale and useless, I happened upon a word I rather fancied. Fullness. It's not a word I would naturally use to describe this time of year, other words come to mind, um, chaotic, stressful, stupidly stressful ( two words), but I have decided to focus on the word " Fullness", because despite the mountain of stress induced coldsores that are making small children scream in horror AND the fact that my GP would like me to wear a 24 hour heart monitor ( don't worry Mum, he's just humouring me, I'm as healthy as a ox), I think the word fullness reflects gratitude for all we have going on at this time of year.  New take I know but I'm giving it a shot.

This time of year is full of birthday celebrations. I plonk one vanilla cake after another on the table, decorated half heartedly with never the right amount of candles. But this year I stirred and smiled and thought about the gathering of our neighbourhood family and more about the birth that the day celebrated, and although the dog ate half of Daryl's cake, Phemie cut it into the shape of a "D" and it was funny and Hazel and her dear friend Ambrose did a beautiful job of decorating it.

And then there are the concerts. Who ever would have thought I would have so many performers? But here we are with a line up of evenings of song, dance and amazing feats on parallel bars, my head is about to explode.......with the fullness of watching my children being braver than I could ever be.

But the coldsores and heart pulpatations this year I suspect are for a completely different fullness. This time next week Phemie will on her way to Ecuador.The child who wouldn't stand up in assembly to receive and award, or walk into a party if there were already other kids there, or dance alone at Mangala, always forcing me to leap around with her holding that tiny little hand. She has worked for most of the year to save, and now the time is here and she is excited and calm. I can't quite pinpoint my feelings but the thought of waiting for her at Arrivals on January 11th really does make my heart swell a little. Fullness.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sixteen

On birthdays I love to remember the day my girls were born. Funny little details come flooding back to me, I indulge myself in those wonderful memories, not in a sad way but in a reflective and grateful way. Phemie was such a happy baby, surrounded by a family that love her, especially my parents who for them she was their first grandchild.

She is growing up to be such a beautiful person, so at peace with herself, riding the waves of adolecence with grace, maturity and a wisdom beyond her years. She is her father's daughter when it comes to calmness and kindness.

She will never let me give a speech so I guess this is where I can say how remarkable I think you are Pheme, and how wonderful it is to watch you grow into your life. Initially you were cautious making soft little impressions with every footstep, to now being someone who takes on life's opportuniies with courage and joy. But most of all you never like to waste a sunny day and that my love is a wonderful thing. Happy Birthday.xx




Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Back to Blogging

As I drove home from school pick up this morning I realised I was grinding my jaw as I thought about the list of things I had to do today. Nothing major, just the sort of things I personally feel the need to do before I go on holidays. Let me think of some examples...ah yes, clean out my 15 year old daughter's cupboard (sort of urgent and necessary because she is away and this gives me the perfect opportunity to chuck ugly clothes out without her knowledge), wash the dog, fold the giant mountain of washing and put it all away which probably also requires a clean out of everyone elses cupboards, get the dinner on, compost my veggie patch and get the beetroot seedlings in, oh, tomatoe seeds, probably left that too late? It goes on and on, full of weird little tasks that my personality requires me to do before I can allow myself to enjoy the 10 days in Bali we have coming up.

So I made a coffee and decided it was time to blog. It's been a while and I miss it as writing and reflecting always gives me such a sense of accomplishment, far more than any pedantic little chore that in the end just gets undone and then I get cross and blame my family for actually having the nerve to exist in this home and maybe muss it up just a bit. So I'm going to sit and write and think about the self imposed deadlines that I met, and the phone calls to publishers I was too scared to make but did (and now my book submission sits somewhere out there and I may never know if someone else thinks it was lovely but just not quite good enough. I think it's lovely, I'm actually really proud of it but we'll see). I think about those two families who brought babies into the world with a little extra support form the Knitting Doula, and blankets that Lee and I have made for two very special babies born in Mexico. I think about my daughters who are for most of the time pretty happy and kind, and my Daryl who works like a dog but rarely complains, in fact never really and is always the person I just want to be with forever.

And so this contemplation puts the guilt I feel about skirting around the outside of family life, wiping and folding, of not needle felting or reading enough Little House On the Priairie with Hazel ( who let's be honest would probably rather be drawing with nasty gell pens in front of Good Luck Charlie!) But it's OK to stop and reassess every now and then. Life does feel too busy and the family so disconnected at times but then we will spend and sunny day at the farm all of us out in the field checking irrigation jets, the blue sky above us, and that's what I need to breath in and remember and write about. Feels good to be back.