Sparky is, unbelievably, 5 1/2 years old. Our school year has just started, and this year his is in Prep and will go to school 5 days per week. Last year, for kindie, he went 5 days per fortnight.
So I was in the office this morning before 8 am starting my new routine. Rather than having 3 full days of work and 2 days at home alone with my boy, I’ll be starting early and leaving early. This means that I’ll be able to pick him up from school most days, so we’ll still have afternoons together.
It also means a lot of bustling around. There’s 5 days of needing to be places on time, and the afternoon pick up time is more critical than it used to be. I want my face to be there when the classroom door opens. I want Sparky to know that I’m there for him.
In all the bustle of our changing schedules and new plans I haven’t lost sight of the fact this all means he’s growing up. Time is passing. It feels that opportunites are missed. I’m thankful for this time with him, but it is going by so fast.
When I was a young girl in the 80s, my best friend was Vietnamese. Her family were ‘boat people’.
I had had another Vietmanese friend when I was younger. She was adopted. I remember once she drew a photo that had bombs and soldiers rescuing her, but she didn’t talk about that life.
I spent a lot of time at my best friend’s house. I loved her house: it was clean, stable, there were family meals, there was studying together. This was the opposite of my house.
My friend remembered leaving Vietnam on a boat. The distress when the first person they had paid to get them a place ran off with their money. The fear that they wouldn’t get another place. Once they were on their way, their boat started to sink at sea. When another boat came to rescue them, a woman was crushed between the vessels as people transferred from one to another. Then they had to wait for refugee applications to 3rd countries to be accepted. These were bad memories, but for them it was worth doing to escape. . .from a country they loved and was home.
I think that people forget that people don’t want to NEED to leave home. They were proud not of what it had become but of its heart. They were proud of their language; my friend taught me some Vietnamese because I was interested. They were proud of their food and shared it with me. They had a large flag in the dining room. They also felt an obligation to the country that took them in. They worked really hard at work and school and reminded my friend that it was part of how she should respect her new country.
My father’s family left Sweden twice, once during the great migration and once after WWII when people feared Soviet invasion. Both times they left for a safer, more stable life. But we still keep our traditions and love of a country. I’m allowed to feel proud. My mother’s family left Germany because of their religion. They had to change their surname so that people wouldn’t immediately realise they were German, however a few decades on and they too are allowed to feel proud of their ancestry again.
Why shouldn’t others be allowed to feel this? I think people forget that refugees aren’t coming to another country because they prefer that country over theirs; it is necessity. It is not a holiday; it is safety.
I’ve been reading When the Children Came Home by Julie Summers. I don’t know that it’s the best choice for me lately. It’s about the evacuation schemes for British children during WWII. Children as young as 4 years old were separated from their family live in areas that weren’t as likely to be hit by German bombs or directly in line of a possible invasion. Some of the children returned home fairly soon, but some were away for years. Some never returned to their birth families. Think of the impact that would have had on a family. I look at my 5-year-old son and my friend’s 8-year-old son, and they’re different types of creatures. They learn and change so much in that time. And families who resisted were labelled as unpatriotic and manipulated in other ways. This happened to people alive today. This is in living memory.
Anyway. Hold your loved ones close, and when you think of other people – remember that they are people.
Hmm. . .I thought I’d published this post a week ago! Sigh.
Yes, my laptop is still dead and I haven’t gotten a new one, but yes – I do want to try to be here more.
In some ways the writing is not too difficult (I’m writing this in a document on my lunch break at work with a proper keyboard then will email it home to post) but to me ‘being here’ means reading and commenting on other people’s blogs. When I don’t listen to others, it feels selfish to put something out. I think I write for myself more than some other bloggers, which is fine – we all do this for our own many and varied reasons. Writing without commenting reminds me of this world where there are others who need to feel supported or need feedback, and I feel selfish.
However for now I might have to try to work through that feeling of selfishness. I might have to accept that I need to write for me, and at the moment reading for others is something I will do as I can – although it isn’t as mich as I would like.
A friend is going through a very hard time. I try to share news of anything just to distract her. I try to offer any help I can give.
But I can’t help. She has to go through this. She’s experiencing the endlessly long days of not knowing what will happen and probably is already living through every scenario in her head. It’s possible that my well-meaning offers of help and nonsense are just noise. It’s even possible that I remind her of how bad things can go.
I can’t go through this for her to spare her the pain. It’s her pain. I wish it could be otherwise.
I have been quiet because my laptop died. It died a sudden and complete death. Luckily, Mel’s reminders meant that I had backed up recently so I don’t think I lost much.
However now I need to purchase a new computer. I hate pecking away on devices, so I’ve been completely silent here. And there are so many priorities above getting a new computer as it feels like a selfish purchase when I do have a tablet and phone.
So I wait. But please, PLEASE, do a backup. Don’t have regrets.
I don’t want the honesty of my recent posts to make anyone think I’m not grateful what for I have and for the amazing living child I get to watch growing up and thriving around me. My life is quite perfect from the outside; all the darkness is within. I know this. So here’s a post about this little spark of light and wonder that I live with.
Last month Sparky turned 5. He’s amazing. He loves cuddles. His best friend is his Monkey George (Monkey was a 2nd birthday gift and so has just turned 3!). He’s in kindergarten so is learning numbers and is starting to read. He has a billion best friends and is always making more. He loves dancing just because dancing. He’s climbed the walls of a Japanese castle (oops!) and patted a penguin. He adores babies. He loves Weird Al and ABBA. He and my precious girl dog are finally beginning to play with each other – although they will never be close as neither wants to relinquish being the centre of the universe. He’s appalled by the idea that now he’s 5 I’m requiring him to wipe his own bottom. He can fall in love with a rock if it is a colour or shape that appeals. He adores Spider-Man, Batman, etc just because they’re cool (I wish there was a better reason, but he’s his own self.). This year he has added a new country to his travels, Japan, and has visited our capital city, Canberra. My Sparky.
No – not that kind of rich or thin.
Over 9 years ago now – HOW?! – my beautiful dog died suddenly of kidney cancer. This was in the middle of failed cycles (7 stim and 3 thaw at that point), happened suddenly, and coping was difficult. One of my strategies at the time was to teach myself to knit. I knitted a scarf and hat for my husband. They took forever, but they weren’t bad. And it was a good strategy. I was concentrating hard on what I was doing, so gave my brain a break from grieving.
After Blobby had died but my friend whose baby was due the day after he should have been born was thriving, for some reason I took up quilting. I lost myself in trying to figure out the measurements and colours – and used it as a way to make her a gift that I hoped said ‘it’s not ok, but of course it’s ok’. She understood.
I’ve kept at both crafts and have increased my skills a lot. These are of course on top of other things I like to do to occupy my time, such as photography, gardening, etc and now of course being Sparky’s mum.
I’m using this rich selection of pursuits to try to ‘drown my sorrows’, however I need to rethink my approach. I constantly have too many projects on the go, and I’m spreading myself too thin. I think I’m cluttering my day and becoming addicted to not having any down time. While this used to not give me space to let evil thoughts in (this doesn’t work any more), it also leaves no space to just be.
So I’m trying to organise my time and try to bring some balance. I love all of the things I do, but in order to enjoy them more I need to step back. Prioritise. Put myself and my enjoyment of them into the centre rather than an ever growing project list driving me. I can’t spread myself so thin that I’m at breaking point any more.