Sunday, December 05, 2010

Christmas- The real deal.

Christmas time is a bit of a conundrum. We all are filled with longing for things... not quite sure what "thing" it will be this year that will fulfill our wildest dreams. Of course, we won't get it (because we never knew what it was anyway), and we'll inwardly grumble about getting yet another pair of grandma's homemade socks that aren't the same size or colour.
We stuff ourselves cross-eyed with food and roll around in the lush decadence of the season. Drunk on cheap wine, frothing at the mouth with eggnog, loosing teeth to the fudge, and packing on kilos, increasing our pant sizes by 3 or 4.
All the music, which begins to haunt our shopping centers in early October, is about how magical and wonderful Christmas is. And about a Silent magical night many years ago that something(if only I could remember what?) happened. And how it's a wonderful, joyous time. It's a time for families to skip around together carrying hams, for friends and neighbours to come together and hold hands and sing and smile and sprinkle glitter into the air.
We fly from shop to shop spending millions of yet un-earned cash on frippery. A dolly for mom, and skateboard for gramps, and some reduced-price tea towels for hubby. Maybe the kids can get another electronic gaming console to add to the 4 they have already. Maybe the "fit" one so they'll get some exercise.
By the time the glorious day arrives, and the presents are stashed under the tree which has been decked out in this years latest teal baubles, we are haggard and harried. In debt, fat, and tired. And why do we do all these magical and wondrous activities? For fun? Was there ever a purpose to all the expense, the faux magic, the red and green? If it is, it's been buried somewhere beneath 5 meters of santa wrapping paper.
Is it really the way to celebrate the birth of a homeless, religious fanatic? Is it really the way to celebrate a teenage mother giving birth in a stable? It's hard to find the real deal in all the fudge-covered lust, tinsel covered avarice, and sparkling debt.

But here we are, in a season of juxtaposition, celebrating the birth of our rebel Saviour and homeless KING of the UNIVERSE. So Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


When someone old dies, we don't grieve so much for all the things they weren't able to do. We are glad that there is no longer pain and the chronic irritations of an aging body. We are glad that they are with their loved ones who have gone on before. SO glad that they are finally at rest.

When someone old dies, I think the grief is more about what wasn't done. All the "I love yous" never spoken, all the time never spent, all the cards never written, the phone calls never made.

I've pulled my head out of the sand of my PND and have discovered someone that I loved very much is gone. I ache for all the things undone. The photo book I had in mind to make... undone. Now it will never be seen by the eyes it was meant for... All the phone calls I never made. I didn't say I love you enough. I didn't go to Chicago while I was in the states. He will never see my babies in person... because I took for granted my time. I selfishly left people who have loved and cared for me, unconsidered.

I will not be able to hear "Yallo" when I call. Grandpa's tired and tremulous voice will no longer be there. The way he called my Grandma "Soph" although her name was Jean. There is no one to call me "peanut" or sing silly little songs to me.

He was truly a good man, and I look forward to running with him again. someday.
But right now, I am just so sorry.

I'm so sorry. I really am, really sorry. I wish...oh how I wish I could change things.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Being an American in Australia was a relatively painless transition. I had a few months of culture shock, and will always be a little on the "outside" but only a little. But yesterday I was reminded how truly far away from "home" I am. My grandfather died. He's the only one I had, and now he's gone. I feel each mile that separates me from the family that knew him. I desperately wish I could be there to cry with them and swap stories. I am alone in this country, and feeling, for the first time really, my foreignness.

Goodbye Grandpa. I am so sad you are not in this world anymore. But I am thankful that you can finally rest. Your days of dreaded physio are over. No more worrying about sugars and steps. No more having to navigate the world with a cane or in a wheel chair. I loved you... although not very well. I'm sorry I took for granted your final days.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Points of Gracious Humanity

I recently traveled back to the US with my 3 little guys. Along with me, was my intrepid teenage helper, Jane, who helped entertain the kids during the 24 hours of travel to and fro. There are so many stories I could tell from our trip, the thorough unhelpfulness of United, the amazing feeling of coming "home" to summer and family, the opening up of the spirit in the wide skies of CO, etc etc, but I decided to write about the 4 people who truly shined on our trip.

Jane and I were outnumbered from the get-go. That we knew already. So she would shepherd and herd the older two while I fumbled boarding passes and passports with Asher in the front carrier. All was well until we got on board. The older two fell to sleep a few hours into the flight and slept for a good long bit, but the baby, who struggles to sleep unless conditions are right, struggled to sleep, as conditions weren't right. The floor bassinet provided was conveniently made too large to put on the floor. Asher doesn't sleep very well being held. He was becoming more and more miserable as he was WAY overtired, and I was in tears as I was over-tired too. About 6 hours in, I was fighting rising panic that he wasn't going to sleep at all... At some point in my delirium Ken and Bess sitting catty-corner to me offered to hold Asher for a bit. I gladly accepted. I rested my arms and shoulders... for 6 hours. I glanced back again and again to see Bess holding him gazing down as mother's do. I kept asking if they wanted to hand him over, and they consistently declined. Even after 6 hours, as we were heading towards descent, they seemed reluctant to hand him over. Asher slept the whole time, and I was even able to rest a bit. God Bless you, Bess!
Our time in CO went fast and wonderfully. We played in the sun and the kids wore next to nothing and played in my parent's fountain. It was great. But I lived in terror of the return journey, dreading, once again not being in a bassinet row, and dealing with the money grubbing United Airlines.

True to form, United was not helpful once again, but we sat next to Sonya from Denver to LA. She asked to hold Asher, and was so friendly the kids were lining up to talk to her. We exchanged information after the flight and I have heard from her since.

Our La to Melbourne besty, was Jenny. She listened as the kids jabbered away at her from between their seats. She chatted back to them. Leif was excited that she didn't have to be a stranger anymore.

Perhaps if United had been more helpful, or if we had had more comfortable seats, those people would not have shone so brightly. They generously touched our lives and I will be forever grateful that, instead of running scared, they jumped in the foray with us, and made the trips bearable. Despite everything, they left us with good memories of a difficult time.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Confessions of a stay-at-home something

The truth is I've been battling post-natal depression. I have been depressed before, but didn't recognize it this time. I am ashamed to admit I spend my days counting down the minutes until Chad comes home so I can tell someone who cares that I am tired and want to go to bed. I cry nearly every day, and spend lots of delicious time feeling sorry for myself (while fully acknowledging that I have it pretty damn good). I have no room for anyone else, even my children, and feel unable to cope (although it has been pointed out to me that I am coping). Fortunately, some days are better than others, some days I can shower and smile and care. But others I am barely able to get through without screaming and crying. I am disconnected from my emotions, and feel that I am being demanded to perform far beyond my abilities. I should be able to feed the kids, get a bit of laundry done, dress myself and them, and make it down the street to the park. Yet, some days, that is an unimaginable task.

I feel keenly that my children should see me as a functional adult, I want to be molding and shepherding them, that is the entire reason that I stay home with them. But I am aware that the person that they see now is someone who is hanging on by a fingernail. I want to change something but feel incapacitated to do anything. I know I should be loving and caring for people around me, my neighbours, my friends, my church-mates, but I can't seem to carry anyone else. I feel crushed beneath the weight of the constant demands of the people I've made.

So, I suppose, I am writing this as a justification for my failures. I don't want to be doing any ministry. I just want to survive. I don't want to line any more jobs up for myself, I just want to make it through today. And hopefully, the cloud will lift, and I will be able to do more than just survive. Hopefully, someday soon, I will be a person I can be proud of. But it's not today.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Notable Faith of Enoch

In my new attempt to read through the Bible, or at least to read the Bible regularly, I stumbled upon a character that had escaped my attention before. While doing my obligatory reading through the boring ol geneaologies, I read about a man named Enoch. Enoch was noted as walking with God. It says very little about him apart from that except that he walked with God and he didn't die because God took him away. It never mentions how many hours he spent in his daily devotional readings, or how many times a day he bowed in holy prayer. It doesn't mention whether he was a glorious preacher of a church of 10,000, or if he was a missionary in the outer regions to a people who only had gourds as clothing. I have been stewing about him for days now. How does someone walk with God in such a notable way? All it says is that he walked with God. So whatever it was that he did, whether it was being a Doctor, or a teacher, or a preacher, or just some boring old stay-at-home mom... ahem... dad, he was noted for his walk. A walk of faithfulness to his creator God.
I went to a party yesterday, and invariably the question was asked "SO, what do you do?" and invariably my answer was "I stay at home with my 3 kids!" and, invariably, the silence ensued. There was a time when I would feel a sting of shame, after all, I made a fuss about their boring real-estate careers. I know, however, that although my current career may seem boring (it is not) it is not the sum of who I am. I like to create, I like trying to be "green", I like home made things, I like getting recipes (although I will never use them properly). And above all, I am a believer of and in Christ.
Someday, it will be different. I may become some famous Doctor who cures people by blinking in their general direction, or I may change the rotation of the world with my mediocre sewing skills. Whatever I do, I will be a Christian, a follower of the creator God. Enoch and I share the same God. My prayer is that some day, my epitaph will say the same, simply that I too walked with God.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Believing the Samaritan Whore

I was recently challenged by a friend to use some of my Facebook time to read the Bible. I have tried successfully twice now. One of the passages I have read is John 4. It tells the story of Jesus, a clean Jew, speaking to a dirty, slutty Samaritan woman. Jesus, the religious fanatic, the feminist, speaks to a woman his religion would forbid. As I read, and re-read this passage, more and more things stuck out to me. Not only was this woman a "woman", she was a woman that most people, whether Jew, Baptist, or Apiscopalian, would not speak to. She was lurking in the muck of society. She was not allowed to draw water at the same time as the other ladies. She was dirty in a people considered dirty to a Jew. Yet, Jesus, unashamed, speaks to her. He asks her to get water for him. That would be like asking a pig to share his slop. She acknowledges this with a surprised,"Why do you ask me this, since I am a Samaritan woman?" He wastes no time in his theological parlance. He tells her to ask him for the "water of life". She misses it a bit at first, but it doesn't take her long to get on track. In the course of their discussion (Yes, He was talking theology with a whore) He points out to her that He knows who and what she is. This seals the deal. She knows who He is. She drops her water and runs into town, into a town in which her story is no secret, and pronounces the coming of the Son of God. People believe what she has to say, and come to speak to this strange Jew themselves. It doesn't take long for this crowd of half-breeds to believe Jesus for themselves. They beg Jesus to stay on in their sty, and He easily agrees. Jesus is so willing to defy His current trend of religious beliefs for the love of PEOPLE. Jesus loves Samaritans, He loves me, He loves the people of Melbourne, and even the people of the Western Suburbs. He is not a discriminator. I have realized that I am a racist, supremacist, bigot. I judge people based on their attire, skin colour, and cigarettes. Who is ever going to see Jesus through me? I have realized that I, too, need to follow the Samaritan woman. It's my turn to race after her to the feet of my beloved egalitarian, to sit at his feet and see through His eyes.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

To tie or not to tie

So, with the advent of a 3rd person in our family the big discussion has begun. Is this the last of little additions to our family? Before Asher was ever conceived I knew we were missing him. I have not had any similar revelations about a new addition... in fact I sort of feel DONE. I am pretty sure I am at maximum capacity with 3 small ones. I am thoroughly looking forward to losing my baby weight, and getting back to looking fabulous. I can't wait to get rid of those stretched, space consuming maternity clothes. But, I feel like surgery (for him) is so final. I am not sure if I feel comfortable making such a major decision. However, since 2 of our children were conceived unplanned, and with my personal intolerance to "the pill", it seems that surgery is our most reliable option. It's final. So, now we have to decide what "final" we want. Another little addition, or none... it seems that both could spell DOOM.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Post-Partum Essentials

It's day 3 after "the Bear" has entered the world, and I wanted to jot down a few things that have been super beneficial to me in recovery.
#1- A supportive, and loving hubby. Absolute necessity!
#2- Food. Whether made for you or before-hand by you, it's so important to have a lot of ready made food around.
#3- Metamucil or something similar. Along with a stool softener.
#4- Panadol, Tylenol, and/or Ibuprofen. Just takes the edge off.
#5- Tubigrip or some control wear. I totally feel like my abdomen has been blasted away, and the tubigrip has saved my back.
#6- Satiny jammies. At least bottoms. Makes getting in and out of bed a million times more comfy. No sliding stitches around on sheets.
#7- Piles of cheap Homebrand Super Pads. Great for the first few days. Useful for C-section protection, and cheap enough to change hourly.
#8- Water bottle. Full please.
#9- Pillows. Pillows. Pillows.
#10- Ice pack. For sitting on while feeding, or for stuffing down shirt for a little nipple relief.

I also treated myself to some goat's milk soap before getting into the hospital and find it fabulous for the sorer bits. It cleans so gently. I also like it on my face.
Also, a big jug of cranberry juice won't go astray, as it's good to be a little preemptive with other discomforts.

Here's to babies and their glorious entry into the world!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Power in weakness

This week was a rough one in parenting land. My daughter, the princess, was sick. She whinged all day, and cried all night. She exhausted all our collective sympathies in the first day. My son, has been stricken with the terrible 3's. Some weeks are better than others, and this one was a rough one. I think both children are getting the pre-baby freaks, and desperate for us to prove that we will still love them when there is a new baby around. Leif is also dropping his one and only nap, and is therefore usually quite tired. On one particularly rough day, after herding my kittens into and around the Dr.s office we were called in. Piper had no symptoms of anything but a virus, or urinary tract infection (which she did have). The Dr. pointed out how "brave" I was. At first I didn't know what she was talking about. Then it dawned on me she was referring to my enlarged abdomen, which obviously held another "one". I stammered something unintelligible, like "Oh, yeah, blifp durbit", which had a meaning as confused as it sounded. Then we headed over to pathology to get a pee bag for my little princess. There the nurse also pointed out how busy I would be. I again nodded knowingly. At this point, I was exhausted from little sleep, and a 20 lb ham who needed to be carried everywhere due to her illness. I was near tears at the constant reminder of how much BUSIER I was going to be. We headed out from there, pee bag intact, to the grocery store for a few items. At the grocery store, the cashier remarked how busy I was going to be, and again how "brave" I was, as if my swollen belly was something I obviously acquired will wind-sailing to the moon. There was no confused mumbling here...just a subject change. After our groceries, I had to take a peek at the pharmacy for one or two more items. Once again, I was graciously reminded how much work was ahead of me.
I got everyone home, sweating and hungry. I fed the masses, changed nappies, inflicted toilet time, wiped bums, unloaded the groceries, read books, and put to bed. I tried to nap, but my sleepless toddler was not sleeping today, and the ol' late term heartburn was setting in anyway. I made it to 4 pm that day, and broke down in uncontrollable sobs. Is there nothing good about being a parent? Do we simply survive it until we can move on? Am I going to fall apart having a 3rd baby? Can I keep it up day after day?
A lovely lady had sent me a sermon, so after I called Chad to come home ASAP, I put on the sermon and listened as scripture was read. It was the passage about God's power being shown in our weakness. I felt so weak, and yet somehow picked up and carried by a God who is bigger and stronger than I. Even though I didn't plan #3, God had. He looked at me, a haggard, but loving mum, and thought I could do it, so BOOM! Here comes my badge of "bravery". I felt so encouraged that God knows how fragile and weak I am. He knows even better than me, how I am failing. But He is strong, and He is wise, and He is the creator of my fabulous little family. So I curled up in the arms of my maker, and trusted Him to get me through another day.

Friday, February 19, 2010

In Pursuit of Pretty

Lately, I have been hounded by the question "Is it important for a woman to FEEL beautiful?" Sounds like a simple question. Maybe it is to some, but beauty is something that has confused me for years. I feel like I'm the only girl in the world who is still dealing with this subject. Like I should have dealt with it at puberty. I don't think that the Bible has any opinions. So I feel lost. I don't feel pretty, but I have felt pretty sometimes.

Growing up and even into college, I was terrified that people would think I was trying to be pretty. As if I was trying to be something I wasn't. I wanted to be comfortable with the fact that I was not. I felt like a bit of a joke when dressing up. Again, it was like people would see through my facade and realize that I was just a plain or even unattractive girl being a try-hard.

My husband tells me daily that I am beautiful. I know he means it because if he doesn't say it with his mouth he says it with his eyes. And sometimes there's lust there, and sometimes it's just that he sees me as beautiful. He will say it in the morning and he will say it when he comes home from work. It doesn't really matter what I am wearing or how horrible my hair is or whether I have make-up on or not. One would think that would be enough.

But sometimes I still hear the boys in High school laughing at me for being ugly. I hear that boy in grade 8 say "she was ugly before... she's even uglier now" referring to a change in my hair color. I see that car of boys barking at me. And then I feel that maybe I don't have the right to feel pretty. I have never been "the pretty one" but the ugly friend, the side-kick, the funny girl.

Funny how, at 30, those voices are as loud as they ever were.

But, at 30, I think I should be over it. I have made 3 kids, a very womanly feat. I am symmetrical. My body functions mostly like it should. And I have a husband who thinks I am beautiful, and he sees me more than I do. So I have been wondering how important is it that I feel beautiful/sexy/pretty? Part of me thinks it may be worth the journey. Part of me doesn't want to try. I don't want to care. I want to just be a good person and allow that to satisfy. Some days it does, others I'm not a good person, or it doesn't make a difference.

I always look like me. I assume I always will. I'm just not sure when that will cease to be a disappointment.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Either Or

Just a quick note to share a little thought that is constantly rolling around in my mind. I have been frustrated at the way I hear many modern married people talking about children. Many claim that they "need" to get financially stable before starting a family. I am not against this, of course. Children are expensive, but not as expensive as some think. They don't need to have the most modern stroller, or the $5,000 play equipment. Also, financial stability has nothing to do with "Dad" buying that new boat first. It makes me crazy when people say they want to travel first. I can totally understand if you have never traveled, your first trip to Papua New Guinea would be quite hampered by little guys. But there are opportunities to travel with children. Children can make a travel experience richer.

I know that kids take their toll on parents. But life doesn't end when one has kids. It's just that it is a changed life that begins. A life full of the wonder of little things, a slower life but a richer one. Every new phase brings it's limitations and freedoms.

My life did not end when my son was born. I like to think that he has only enhanced my life. He changed it, for sure, but I didn't die. I still have plans, too, for a time when after this very brief period of certain limitations.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Navigating in threes

Upon reminiscing, last year was a hard year. Black Saturday kicked it off. Then we proceeded on to issues closer to home. The threes. In a stroke of parenting "genius", Hubs and I decided to toilet train, put the kids in the same room, and teach Leif to dress himself all at once. Never were there born "wiser" people than us. Kids sleeping in the same room lasted only one month, but began a series of months where no one slept more than a few hours. Three months into toilet training, after many more episodes and screaming and bribing and yelling and fit throwing (by both parties, I am ashamed to admit) I reluctantly threw in the towel. Evidently, when baby #2 starts to crawl that can be a very traumatic time for baby #1. Well, guess who started crawling around our toilet training time. Yikes! So we kissed goodbye to this milestone. So exhausted beyond words, due to #2s lack of sleep, and #1s lack of cooperation, I had my first moments of crying to go back to work. After a while, we started sleeping again, and not worrying about doing anything in the toilet, things settled. Although Leif's behaviour became more and I put it up to the recent chain of events, and consistently made excuses for him. "He's tired", "he's got a sore bottom", etc. That was a year ago now. He has been getting more and more "tired". I realized the other day that, all this time, I have been dealing with a little boy who is learning his way through this world. Learning that he can say "NO!" and have power to ignore, or claw, or scream, or tantrum his way to achieve his will. He's learning he has a will. I guess I'm learning it too. Not a lesson I'm a fan of. This has been a very rough year in toddler land. I only hope that the 4s aren't worse.