Sunday, June 5, 2011

Half my life

This year, I have been a parent for exactly half of my life.

Wow, what a journey. I am certain it has been the making of me, and I can't imagine my life without them in it, but I'm beginning to understand that daily contact is not necessary!

Our eldest moved away from home last December, 3000km away. Where all the cool people live. (waves at Melbourne). He is back at the moment for my birthday, and it is actually strange having him under the roof again (yes, he still has the same squeeze). No flies on him though - at what age do they stop hoping to cadge free shoes from parents?

When he left home I was a bit of a sook for a while. I figured out that it was because I didn't know when I would see him again. In the past I had had a date on the calendar for when he would walk in the door again. I was quite bereft without him, and was struck by how much I missed his presence, his bulk, his hugs and his company. I realised how unnatural it was for me to not be able to picture where he was. I had given birth to someone who was now a large man, roaming the Earth in a different city, and being all . . . functional and adult and grown up. Someone would see my son walking down the street, and interact with him, appraise him, like him or not, and it was out of my ken. I was not a face in that particular crowd. I was not breathing that same air with him any more. He was not returning to me. I felt the apron strings come undone. I had underestimated the lump it would make in my throat.

Once I figured out that it was a lack of a calendar entry that was troubling me I had to mentally commit to a visit to Melbourne mid-year. The separation then became easier to bear, and I settled down, and could think about him without become teary. I enjoyed my mental image of a confident capable adult son out in the world.

When I arrived home one day in late-March after a super day at work, with TWO births I was as high as a kite and bursting to share the fantastic day I had had. It was also our daughter's birthday, so all in all a great day, with a restaurant meal to look forward to. My key was in the door when I heard an adult male voice talking in the kitchen - he had been brought home on FF points by the squeeze as a surprise for his sister's birthday! He had been in town for 2 days already, lying low for a surprise! He scooped me up in a huge hug, and was really very tolerant of me patting him reassuringly all evening. I was so surprised, and so delighted. It was brilliant.

Our youngest is still home, and likely to stay here for some time, although she is keen to move out, in principle. She is not working at the moment, had to resign her job due to terrible eczema/dermatitis on her hands. Her health has been quite challenging in the last 9 months, with one thing and another, and the appointments are very frequent. We thought we were off all that frequent flyer stuff, but she has had 2 operations and not too many answers, although it is reassuring to have ruled some stuff out. She is doing one afternoon of maths refresher stuff at her level, and other than that sits on the computer/ watches DVDs, plays her music (Glee anything) and obsesses about the cat. She finds it really hard me being out all day with this new job, coming and going as much as I do. She has few friends and doesn't go out much, and is not nearly as independent as most people her age, although that is improving. She really needs to meet a sweet boy, but doesn't go anywhere to meet any :( She has however taken up the challenge of cooking dinner one night per week, which is a help. Now - how to trick her into taking up the rest of the housework! Well, thats not strictly fair, she does do a bit of food shopping as well during the week. However she has NO idea how to plan major stuff, and we are frustrated by her passivity in this matter. If she moved out next week it would be a fast-track to boredom, anxiety and malnutrition. . ..with added cats. We are starting to look into future options.

DD was away for a fortnight in April and we experienced the wonder of the empty nest.

And we want MORE!

Monday, May 30, 2011


We have three layers of skin.

These lie sequentially beneath each other, and collectively they shelter us from the outside world, and keep us from oozing ourselves out.

You can tell someone's age by the state of their skin, especially on the hands and the neck. About a year ago I noticed that my hands were getting a little crepe-y. My neck likewise, at certain angles. Unless it was being held out by fat layers when I pulled my chin inwards while laughing. Or breathing. Or living life. It was surprisingly easy to capture me with a round face and double chins. Did you notice I mentioned that as if it was the past tense? Snort! well, I have lost a bit of weight but there is no danger of my face falling into sheets of wrinkles any time soon, I promise you.

My hands display the scars of careless usage, of play-fights with friends in a high school yard, or at the weekends - turns out her nails were sharper than mine! I bit my nails until I was 12, quite deeply, into the quick, down to about a third shorter than their length now. I stopped through an act of great determination, and with the assistance of a classmate, who was invited to poke me and remove my hands if she saw them stray to my mouth. Bless her. I think it was Mandy Johnson. I can't bear to have rough nails now, I have an emery board in every handbag, my purse, my cars, behind the mirror, in most rooms of the house. I hate to wear rubber gloves, and somehow I am continually surprised that my manicures won't last beyond 2 days, some less than 24 hrs!

The first touch of ungloved hand on intimate flesh is a threshold I never thought I would cross, but I have - willingly. There is an immediacy, a truth in the connection between the parties involved that stretches back through time. Receiving a warm slippery life from the depths of a woman's body, after watching a head emerge and pause, blinking and blowing bubbles, poised between worlds. A final impetus and the baby emerges to claim their own place in the world. My skin sings with the memory of such things.

My skin has known feast and famine. Stretch marks and blows. Massage and sunburn. Kisses and fibreglass rods. Sequins and blisters. Cotton and raindrops. Passion and cold shoulders. Yet it survives.

When I look around at my peers my facial skin is quite supple, aided no doubt by the, um, cushioning beneath. Not dry, still relatively oily really. Some crowsfeet, a few shallow wrinkles, that neck tendon separation thing in the front. Quite a few freckles. Lots of moles (note to self). Laugh lines are visible. Grey hairs too, faster than I can get to a bottle sometimes. I wonder when I will be ready to go grey? I don't think it will be this month.

In terms of thickness of skin, I think mine is pretty tough. I have had a few slings and arrows aimed at me lately, and seem to be doing ok. The odd glancing blow, a bruise here or there, but nothing I need to really worry about. Self-inflicted injuries. . . .well, not too many, on the whole. Skin needs to be thinner in places, its natural, especially around the eyes, otherwise how would tears escape (for escape they must). However I wouldn't like to be thin-skinned all over. Such a raw ended life must be intolerable.

Skin comes in so many shapes and colours. The contrasts are astounding. The deepest blue-black hues, pink bits, creamy cafe-au-lait, lobster red, sallowed and ivory and porcelain. Blue-tipped fingers in the cold, flushing with vigour or first breaths. It is all such a miraculous rainbow, yet skin all feels the same to a blind man.

How is it that we are judged by the state or colour of our skin? By the lines or wrinkles? By the colour expressed by genetic pre-destiny? By the masks we wear? The amount of skin we show the world? The money we spend to tan it, cover it up, rub it back, tattoo it, shade it, repair it or remove it? The scars and marks accumulated by wear and tear, choices and no-choices. It all tells a tale.

I will be happy to drag my carcass of skin around with me for a lot longer. It has given me good service so far. I wonder how many marks it has yet to accumulate?

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Why the blog silence?

Long story.

Short version : this is a very different arena with so much more I would love to share with you, but these things and events must essentially remain unbloggable.

Long version: It seemed a good place to leave things, with me heading off into the sunset (or maybe it was a sunrise) over the horizon.

My life as a midwife has broadened immensely. And so therefore I have so much more to lose should this small world be revealed. Plus I've signed all manner of contracts to that effect.

I am not so vain to assume my meagre life outside my (challenging but rewarding) new job would hold much interest for many. Besides: life outside work? What life outside work?

At this point I am 8 days away from a month long holiday. And I am, shall we say, most keen for this to commence.

This post is to say I have neither forgotten how to blog, nor forgotten any of you. I am reading your blogs, if not quite as voraciously as I once had the time to do, then at least regularly. And I am (oh, slings and arrows) Facebooking much more than is required. Its hard work 'keeping up' with 400+ friends. I have spoken to all but about 10 of them in real life, or online, even so it is a little amusing to think I have so many acquaintances ;) Lets just say that it is both a good and a bad thing.

Lastly, I am about to turn 50. In 16 days time.

I think I feel ok about that.

But I thought I would work out any potential issues I had with the big 5-0 by talking to the Universe. And that's where you come in.

Stay tuned.