26 December. I unwittingly tried to minimise change in my children’s worlds. Tried to protect them from the one thing they actually needed to learn to deal with. The one constant in the world we know. Change. I blame my control freak tendencies and forgive myself because my intentions were good, my motive was love. So I am grateful, so very grateful that I have learnt that whilst change can be painful, it can also be beautiful. If you embrace it. It is liberating, you grow from it, you learn a lot, not only about yourself but about others. And I most especially learnt what I was capable of. And not to be fearful. I know my girls have grown immeasurably too. I knew it for a fact today when I stumbled across this passage Kate had found meaningful enough in her book to capture. Things do change. And life doesn’t stop for anybody. I am grateful my girls know this. Really know it. And more importantly embrace it. Embrace the adventure of life, the ups and downs. And are learning not to take what they have right now for granted. And I’m grateful I no longer feel guilty they had to face fears I would rather they hadn’t, I now see it as a gift. To us all.
I’m not enjoying Kate being away. It’s day 4 now. Yes, it’s fabulous for her and what an opportunity and wow she has become so independent and shoo wee how proud of her we are. Yadda yadda yadda. I bloody miss her. I’d be cool if I could just text, you ok? and get yip back with a smiley face. I really do hope she is having a fabulous time. But it’s just weird not having her home, especially knowing its for one whole month. And that I can’t talk to her or text her or message her. I’ve always been prone to instant gratification. Now has always worked for me. Ask B. And I miss my nightly teeaaaa please. And bloody little shit should have written a letter by now surely. I mean the australian postal system is so fabulous, isn’t it. I just want to know she’s ok. And that she has all she needs, that she’s sleeping ok, that she’s eating ok, that her friends are being kind, that the camp leaders are ok, that she’s not too cold, that she’s not too hot, that she gets to have her tea at night, how the cooking’s going, where the bathroom is, has she cleaned out the long drop loos yet, when does she go on her solo, are her torches working ok, is her sleeping bag cosy, is her throat still sore. Ok, so my control issues are still a little out of control. Do you think its a bit much if I ask the post office again how often they clear the post daily. I mean the lady I asked yesterday could have been a temp?
After my lemon drizzle disaster I am grateful for my new go to never fail easy as chocolate vegan cake discovered only a short while ago. I made one quickly this am but forgot the baking soda so it tasted fab but looked flat. Very flat. So another. Third time lucky, I sent a cake off to school. Even Jem thought I was completely mad. I’m just a tad obsessive, and I’m grateful that I’ve finally made peace with that. And anyway, as you know, I love chocolate cake for lunch. And I shudder to think what a disaster our fair would have been if I hadn’t sent in a cake.
14 July I was blown away by Fratellini’s at Sunshine beach today. They hosted Kate and 20 of her friends for her 15th birthday celebration, with no adult present. I am grateful for how they went out of their way to make her night special with no input from me. I am grateful because I so wanted her to be made a fuss of but I was absolutely forbidden by her to do anything. And she loved it. The ‘no fuss’ I mean. Oh and I’m grateful B and I like Sam. Trust Kate to find a fabulous respectful, intelligent, well spoken, ambitious, rugby union playing, gorgeous, family loving boy. I love that she is still young enough to love that we think he’s cool too.
I ran away today. Day one and I ran away. From my kids. Kate is feeling ill and emotional and just generally needy and annoying and moody too. Jem wants to know what’s for breakfast after she turned down an offer to join B and I for brekkie downstairs. And she’s moody too. And they’re both bloody messy. And just there. Shit and its day one of school holidays. And I just didn’t feel like dealing with them today. I love my kids so much but I think I love them even more when they are at school. And if you are this far with me you know a lot about me and my family and the love we share and my gratitude for them and the characters that they are. But have I ever admitted that I never wanted them? Well, never wanted kids. My plan was not to get married, never to have kids and focus only on me and my career. My plan. Me. In Control. Then I fell in love. And we loved being the two of us. But then we decided at some point that something was lacking, not with us but just lacking and at 31 the kiddy thing started. I offered 6 weeks of myself. Then I was back at work. Well, that never happened either. I did go back, but later and as a very different person, with a very different view on the world. The thing about kids is suddenly you realise you are no longer in control. Not that I ever was, but I loved the illusion of it. So, this morning, I left. Because I could. Just for a moment. And I do love my kids. And I am grateful for them. More than anything in the world. But then, you knew that.
I washed today and ironed today and washed some more and ironed some more. I am grateful B is home with a bag full of washing. I am. Really I am. But I hate ironing. And no, I simply cannot find my meditative ironing bliss. But I am grateful for the little chuckle at my life. At change. At choice. I am grateful for my newfound humility and my silly pride at a job well done. But I still hate ironing. And I still don’t do windows.
I think my medication is wearing off. Did I mention I take a mood stabiliser. I prefer that description. I don’t tell many people. It does help me. Not cope, but not fly off the handle, so it helps those around me probably more, cos I don’t really think there’s anything wrong with my tone, my attitude, my shouting, my yelling, my screaming and the next minute, my calm. What’s the matter with everyone? Why are they looking at me funny? Anyway, my pills help keep some stability whilst my hormones are being manipulated elsewhere. But the efficacy definitely wears off. Ask B. My need to control seems to have gone off the richter scale again. I still can’t seem to get why people don’t think like me, I mean really, my motives are so selfless, I’m just trying to protect everyones’ feelings, make everyone’s lives perfect. As defined by me. Not that they asked me to. Or maybe I’m actually just trying to protect myself. By controlling from afar. Protect me from the guilt I do still feel being so far away. Knowing the gap we have left particularly in my folks world. And my intentions might be noble and selfless, but I, like us all, need to let others live their lives, make their own way, build their own relationships or not at all. Even if it’s not the way I would. So it seems, every day, I still learn a lot and let go a little. Or maybe I just need to up my meds.
I am grateful for tuesday evenings, no I lie, I have become grateful for tuesday evenings. Now I see it as my ‘mindful picking up balls meditation’. (I do try not to count.) There is something about quietly picking up tennis balls with a tube tennis picker upper (obviously) for an hour, that is calming and reflective. I love being the quiet observer. There but not there. Just for an hour. Now if I could only figure a way to make the girls actually enjoy tennis, but I am grateful that they do it for me. They will thank me one day. They will.
I forgot Kate today. For the first time ever. And in the worst thunderstorm I’ve ever experienced here. She had to text me. For some of you I’m sure it’s no big deal. For control freak, always 5mins early me, it was a huge deal. For the kid whose controlling mother was always there 5mins early it was a huge deal. The guilt. And not only at forgetting her, but at having spent the morning on the beach. And then forgetting her. The guilt at B’s raised eyebrow at my packed briefcase this morning. Aka, my beach bag. B’s word, not mine. But especially because I had felt slightly superior this morning when Jem told B mom always does things right. This was because she didn’t want B to drop them off at school. The last time he drove up the bus only lane. And stayed there and said leisurely goodbyes to the girls as they died a thousand deaths. I’m sure, knowing B, he might even have yelled I love you to them as they scuttled away. It didn’t help that one of the better looking boys in Kate’s grade was watching. And laughing. So, I was feeling understandably superior. Because I always do it right. Yeah right. Not only was Kate affronted when I finally turned up, she was also soaked. What a fabulous lesson for us both. She now knows I don’t always get it right. And I now know it doesn’t matter. If she knows that is.
This control thing is bothering me a bit. Especially because The Happiness Code Jo gave me says that being a control freak is a sign of a vulnerable self esteem. Apparently the better you feel about yourself the less you need to control everything around you. Hmmm. I actually think there is quite a bit of truth in that. And vulnerable works for me. As opposed to low. I think I do have a vulnerable self esteem. It wobbles a bit from time to time. Hence my constant need for validation. Which is apparently linked to over achieving… the more I achieve, the more I’ll be validated, and the better I’ll feel about myself. Despite this mild epiphany if i”m really honest, it’s something I’ve always known, but the ripple effect of my wobbling from time to time is what’s got me worried. All I’ve ever wanted to do for my girls is help them develop a strong sense of self and self worth. To believe they are good enough. But controlling everything the way I do, or trying to, is probably doing the opposite. I am not letting them make their own mistakes, not letting them learn enough about how much they really are capable of. How they are good enough. And I’m not talking about school work here, but life. Living here has definitely helped me be better at this. I am finally accepting that I am good enough. But sometimes I wobble. Like we all do. I am wobbling less and less and learning to let go more and more. I am. Except maybe of the packing of the dishwasher. They just don’t do it right.