When I was 21 years old my darling big brother was shot at point blank range in the head and lived to tell more tall tales. A pair of beautiful strangers helped him survive the attack and paid for his medicine and his travel. Not long after that my mother’s car was stolen after I’d borrowed it. The police found it later that night and when I went to the police station to collect it the young female cop said to me, “You don’t seem that stressed that the car is damaged.” I said to her, “It’s just a car, it can be fixed, my family and I don’t worry about inanimate objects any more.” I’m really lucky that I received a life lesson when I was young about what is important. A car is replaceable, people aren’t. Too often we worry about our stuff or how much we should spend to insure that stuff and it ain’t worth replacing. When I talk to the parents of kids who have survived terrible accidents or multiple operations or horrible illnesses they all tell me that they tend not to worry about the trivial stuff like the latest electricity bill any more. No one is going to read a list of the emails you replied to quickly at your funeral. If your child can’t go to preschool take the day off work, your report can wait. You may never have a day with just you and your four year old again, enjoy the precious moments reading a book in bed or doing a finger painting or talking about snot. Kiss people, hug them, tell them you love them, visit them with a bunch of motley flowers from your garden, don’t wait, just go, even if you can’t afford a present or don’t think you have time.
“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough” – Meister Eckhart
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
Yesterday another precious soul left us, way too young, surrounded by the love of his beautiful sisters and parents. It was an honour to watch his courage and strength. His mama and papa inspire me to be a better parent. RIP sweet boy, you are so loved
My senior school kid has been back at her girls’ prison camp for a few weeks and I’m already suffering. One day I had a beautiful child, the next the HSC devil dragged her away and left a lovely ‘personality’ in her place. Part way through Term 1 the pressure of big exams is already driving me crackers, so I’m starting a therapy group for mothers of HSC students.
Hello I’m Lou and I’m going through HSC stress. Symptoms include cranky cat’s bum face, lethargic dinner making, chocolate eating, bitching and moaning during over long phone calls with other mothers, slovenly housekeeping, delusions and fantasies about holidays.
My week looked like this:
Revolting moody child, homework piled up.
Revolting moody mother, work emails 30% finished
Coffee drinking, insomniac mother reading celebrity crap on internet until small hours
Under eating daughter
Over eating mother
Beautiful sunny child woman (weekends only). Highlight of week: 85% for essay mother helped with despite the tears. Mother calm.
Sunday nights at 5.30pm
Tearful tantrum throwing mother, only 61 pages of homework to finish.
I’ve had to call the chardonnay support group hotline three or four times this week.
When I tell my mother about my worries, she laughs and lets me know that the karma fairy has caught up with me. In the past fortnight I’ve finished a legal studies essay, written a piece on Warhol’s contribution to the art world and discussed the origins of World War 1 all while indulging her taste for exotic foods like feta cheese and olives. I’m up late every night doing all the study I should have done for my HSC back in the dark days of the 1980s. I hope I get a good mark this time.
“Grown don’t mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown. In my heart it don’t mean a thing.” Toni Morrison
Today I feel sorry for my postman, he’ll be off on compo for months after breaking his back delivering 1000s of cards, flowers, chocolates, garden gnomes, truffles, pet pigs and poison pen letters to my front door. I’ll give him a big hug and all my love when he gets out of hospital. I’m sure my 157 Facebook boyfriends have sent me their bank account details as well. As I reflect on the sorry state of my love life this Valentine’s Day, AKA VD or Singles Appreciation Day (thank you teenage daughter for that bit of wisdom) I’m thinking of the words of my spiritual guru George Michael,
“It’s so hard to love, there’s so much to hate, when there is no hope to speak of….” I don’t know how George Michael knew about my future love life and unsuccessful internet dating attempts when he wrote that song back in the glory days of the 1980s, but I feel there’s something in those profound words for all of us.
Thank you for the joy you gave the world with your singing and dancing Shirley Temple Black. I remember performing in a tutu in my front garden as a four year old; I’d watched one of your movies and I wanted to be you.
Shirley was rare, a child star who turned into a high achieving adult. Shirley Temple Black started raising funds for the US National Multiple Sclerosis Society; a disease that afflicted her brother. By the early 1960s, she was co-founder of the International Federation of Multiple Sclerosis Societies. In the years that followed, she became engaged in politics and served as the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia.
She also became one of the first prominent women to speak publicly about her fight against breast cancer. After she had a mastectomy in 1972, she held a press conference in her hospital room and urged women discovering breast lumps to seek medical attention and not “sit home and be afraid.” Due to her openness around her experience, the New York Times stated that, “she is widely credited with helping to make it acceptable to talk about breast cancer.”
Today the ladies of the Shirley Clubs around the world will remember her with a smile.
“As long as we have Shirley Temple, we’ll be all right.”
My eldest child has been ‘dating’, and it scares me. I’ve met some of these guys, some of them are players, some of them are nice. She is testing the waters and learning that love can hurt. This worries me because it makes me question what I could have done differently as a parent. How do I keep her from harm? How do I narcissist-proof her and my other daughters? How do I warn them away from the creeps that I fell for? How do I teach them all that falling in love is magical but they must mind the gap? The gap between the face people show you and their real self. How do I tell them that the words people say are largely a mask and that their actions speak volumes? I’m trying to teach my gals about the ‘red flags’. I saw the red flags and I chose to ignore them. I will say to my gals, if your beau has no money and you are constantly paying for everything then perhaps he can’t get his act together (I’ve read that book, I also have the T-shirt, the ruler and the DVD). That bailing your boyfriend out of every financial disaster is no way to run a partnership. And watch out for boys who are tangled in a scary Oedipal relationship with their mummies. Some mothers aren’t able to say to their sons ‘grow up and be a man Peter Pan.’ But what would I know? I’m only their mother. The lyrics to this song are the kind of rubbish I listened to (and believed) when I was a teenager. I love the Rolling Stones’ music but I tell my gals if a man ever says these words to you, run fast and do not look back. That way co dependency lies….