Inspir-rational

There are many joys being locked in with a teenager for an extended time. Extra Lockdown 3.0 has given me the time to go on exciting endeavours like delving through my junk mail folder and scoring lovely new online connections. I received this beautiful comment on a Facebook post:

I must confess and thank you so much my friend request. Although I translated to your language and hope you don’t mind, you are beautiful? My new best mate is clearly a high ranking, good looking Army General based in Texas.

I’m filled with happiness when complete strangers with expertise in marketing or real estate sales in their bios try to add me as a connection, and nothing makes me feel more soothed than the comments written by professional networkers on Scotty from marketing’s LinkedIn posts.

I’m revelling in reading long essays by conspiracy theorists with obvious expertise in epidemiology commenting on health professionals’ social media posts; relaxing reading that I highly recommend in the middle of a pandemic.

I’m deeply moved by the inspirational quotes obviously written by Gandhi, Jesus and that lady influenza who promotes yoga pants on Instagram. I feel so motivated now that genuine celebrities are following and messaging me on Twitter. I am focused on success instead of endless hours of TV watching.

And I’m humbled that I’ve secured a large sum of money from long-lost distant relatives in far-flung places who only want what’s best for me.

I can’t tell you how exciting it is to know that I can buy healing anti inflammatory lollies from one of my online mates who did extensive research on YouTube. Honestly, I can’t tell you.

Like, I’m really, really, really like energised by social commentary online, like for reals totes legit like, as the people I gave birth to love me to exclaim regularly in front of their friends in enclosed public spaces while I’m hitting the chardy. Sorry. Like I forgot about the pandemic pandemonium for a second there.

No really, I’m thrilled by your business opportunities, I haven’t left the chat permanently, I’m just having a nanna nap for a couple of years.

https://youtu.be/dKdJhL6WEgUhttps://youtu.be/dKdJhL6WEgU


Totally biased mothering

I miss my mum even though she’s still here. Dementia has taken away her speech and her legs, but left her with a sparkle in her eyes whenever my children walk up to her chair. She glows when she sees her grand kids. When I hold her hand, she smiles. She could still pick me out in a police line up. And some days she tries to feed me. Even if it’s the crust from her sandwich or a spoonful of watery soup.

Barbie was a totally biased mother. She cut people out of our family photos if they were mean to her children. She stood up for us even when we probably didn’t deserve it. The older I get, the more I appreciate her bias in the face of evidence that proved her children were occasionally wrong. Not me, of course, but my siblings.

My kids were also blessed to have a wonderful indigenous grandmother who survived, built a family on her own, fed us, made art and laughed with us, and taught me resilience with her protective, fierce mother energy. She loved her family and actively gave her all to us. She never wanted slippers; time, cake and loving care was her greatest gift. She left us too soon. We miss her.

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone, especially those without their mothers and grandmothers, and those whose children have gone or didn’t get to be born in this life. Today can be tough. Let’s all spread mothering love to our friends and chosen family, whether fur or human. Wipe dribble off your friend’s face, help them tuck in their shirt, make them toast and tell them off for their messy car. Your mother would be proud.


Shiver me timbers

Today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day and also my 450th birthday. In order for my day to have meaning, I’m harnessing the power of celebrity (raising teenagers and eating their two-minute noodles will do that to your brain). Growing up near Crows Nest I was obviously born to plunder. Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum, hoist the mizzen.


I share a birthday with Twiggy, Mama Cass and my spiritual guru, chocolate maker and philanthropist George Cadbury. I work for a charity that was sponsored for years by Cadbury chocolate. As Oprah would say, I found my destiny; I was born to consume chocolate, preferably the expensive stuff.

aaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

I’m no longer a child and I still want to be, to live with the pirates. Because I want to live forever in wonder. The difference between me as a child and me as an adult is this and only this: when I was a child, I longed to travel into, to live in wonder. Now, I know, as much as I can know anything, that to travel into wonder is to be wonder. So it matters little whether I travel by plane, by rowboat, or by book. Or, by dream. I do not see, for there is no I to see. That is what the pirates know. There is only seeing and, in order to go to see, one must be a pirate.” Kathy Acker


Sanity is over rated

Ways to help ourselves in the time of covid19:

Avoid expert guidance from wealthy influencers who live in massive houses when you’re stuck in a small flat

Turn off the TV when the corona virus celebrity advice special comes on

Avoid listening to politicians who talk endlessly about the economy. We’re a community

Borrow a dog or a cat or a rabbit and stroke their fur to lower blood pressure

Wear your pyjamas all day if it helps

Send a postcard to a nursing home wishing the locked away oldies and nursing staff well

Check on your neighbours

Burn your bra

Enjoy your sleep in

Shop local

Cherish your time off the treadmill

Dream a little dream

Watch Gene Kelly dance in Singing In The Rain


2020 vision

The Pollard definitive guide to enjoying 2020:

Pat puppies and kiss kittens

Don’t vote for morons

Eat, drink and be merry

Don’t buy ‘beauty’ products

Stay off the internet

Help a refugee family

Read books

Unsubscribe

Stop buying plastic crap

Thank firies, ambos and nurses

Check your emotional baggage

Get fresh on the dance floor

Support the Uluru Statement

Be kind, even to dickheads

Don’t use the words onboarding, textural or disruptor

Buy the Big Issue

Sing every day

Bring home the facon (don’t harm piggies)

Love your friends

Swim in the ocean

 

 

 

 


The greatest of these is love

When I tell people my mum has dementia they invariably say,

“Does she still know who you are?”

She does when I hug her and hold her close and tell her I love her. Her brain may not remember my name but her body can feel that she loves me. I know it.

The gift of dementia is that I have had four years to say goodbye to my beautiful mama. Four years to create new memories and remember some of her old ones. To hear the same stories again and again so the family history is firmly locked in my brain until it is my turn to fade away.

Four years to hold her hands and tell her that she is still a devoted mother. Four years of visits to calm the madness rush of single mother life in my head while I put her hand in mine. Four years of quiet afternoons to sit with her in silence while I rub hand cream into her old dry hands. Four years of cups of tea and bickies. Four years of running away from the nursing home in tears with a broken heart while remembering all the small ways she loved me. Four years to be reminded how she cared for our dogs, yelled at me over homework, washed our clothes, fed us endless dinners and sang in the kitchen.

Mumma loved her career before kids but she loved us more. Her four kids and seven grandchildren were her life’s work. Having our family was the greatest joy of her life.

Four years of stories shared with whoever else came to visit. Four years being able to take in her I am your mother and I’m not going anywhere fierceness, and four years to realise that I don’t care any more about our differences, fights over my clothing and hairdos and politics, I feel grateful that she cared enough to argue with me.

Four years to look at old photos and realise what she built for us. Four years to be reminded that she introduced me to Stevie Wonder and Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald and taught me how to sing.

My mum interviewed Squizzy Taylor and met Frank Sinatra and talked to colourful Sydney racing identities and was invited to all the best parties when she wrote the social pages. And still my dad, my brothers and sister and I and our kids were the best part of her life. Not all kids get to have a mumma like mine.

Some families have their loved ones snatched away in an instant, but I’ve had time to be with her and hug her tight and tell her how much she means to me.

In the past year she has wet her pants and worn her clothes backwards and spilt dinners and tea all over herself. She has let her hair go and not worried about matching her top with her skirt. All the petty little problems of life have slipped away and all that remains is that my mum’s face lights up when my kids and I walk in the room. That is love.

I know my dad is coming to get her soon, they will get to be together again and I have to remember that on the days that I’m missing her so much that I can’t breathe.

My mum was from a family of godbotherers, devout Anglicans who often quoted the bible. This is the only verse I remember from years of reluctant Sunday school attendance (Corinthians)

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.


Daddy’s girl

Dear father who art in heaven

Happy 93rd birthday. Today I wish your body had stayed around longer. You were a devoted da and a workaholic. I love you Jack Pollard. You taught me:

*To do what I love for a living – Dad wrote/edited over 100 books

*Travel opens your mind

*A sense of humour will help you in the darkest days of your life

*A good swim in the ocean can clear your mind

*Hard work is good for the soul

*A tough childhood doesn’t define the rest of your life

*Even if you haven’t had your own dad, you can achieve a lot

*Dancing a slow tango in the kitchen is magical

*Kids raised by single mums are tough

*A full fridge means you are doing really well

*Stray dogs are worth rescuing

*Some days we must get up and go to work even when we think we can’t

*Singing love songs is great for families

*Lovingly made freshly squeezed orange juice is better than an expensive restaurant breakfast

*Taking your kids back to your old childhood haunts opens their eyes

*Listening to the stories people tell you will help you learn about the world

*Love is a verb

*Singing to your kids at bedtime may soothe them or freak them out

*Saying yes to new adventures is scary but

worth it

*Everyone looks good in a snappy suit

*Never let the truth get in the way of a good story

17 long years without you have gone by in a flash. I would sacrifice a few of my fingers and toes to see one of your cheeky smiles, hear your laugh and have a hug.

My dad was the Prince of Kings Cross


Smothering Sunday

Today I’m thankful that I still have a mother, but if we’re going to have a day to celebrate mothers, please don’t ask me to:

Bake a cake for a fundraiser

Select a nanna scarf for me before I’m a grandmother

Volunteer for any initiative to improve the lives of already well-off people

Mend garments or

Clean up after babies

Also please don’t:

Buy me ugly socks

Make me a ceramic thingy that I’ll smash

Give me any more craft

Advise me to take vitamins, colonics, miracle cures or go for a run

Rescue another animal for me

Suggest helpful ways to brighten my floors

Today I don’t want to grow, inspire, achieve, strive or nurture, I’m cranky and I’m having a day off. Please quickly bring me a bottle of gin, tonic, lemons and an obedient bar man, then close the door on your way out. Your best present for Mumma is obedience and a big dose of shush.

Mother and Child Reunion Boney M


Memento infantia

There comes a weekend in every mother’s life when we have to put on bad music, trample on the walk on wardrobe AKA floor-drobe, cough our way through crusty bits of rubbish and throw out the last remaining bits and bobs of our offsprings’ childhood. That weekend has come for me. There will be no more Hello Kitty pencils, no more craft that comes home saying I luv u mummmy and no more genuine joy at seeing me at the school gate.

I am emptying the unfinished projects into the bin and opening old One Direction pencil cases and finding handwritten notes from their friends. These painstakingly produced jottings were all written at the age when my kids were discovering the magic of writing a heartfelt letter to a beautiful new friend:

Dear Senny, I thik youre really specil and I reallly lik your shoos. I had funn wen we went to the pak and i now we wil be freinds forever. lov you

I’ve been a single mum for 10 years, so there are many jobs in my house that are being tackled well past their use by date. Despite our multiple moves, some special stuff was placed in boxes and carted from new address to new address. The perfectly unused birthday present textas from the seven-year old’s best friend in the hole world that were saved in the back of the cupboard for special occasions have been dug out, the lolly wrappers that she didn’t want mummy to see, beside the half-dressed dolls with real nail polish on their hands. I put together a box of nostalgia, thinking that my last teenager would be remotely interested in the lost cuteness and innocence of her childhood. She came home from a day out at the hideous local shopping trauma centre and said,

“That’s my stuff, what are you doing?”

“Cleaning.”

“Don’t.”

“We need to chuck out.”

“No, I’m too busy.”

A few short weeks ago she sobbed because the Easter Bunny hadn’t left her an elaborate trail of eggs in our shared yard on Easter Sunday. But now she’s watching make up tutorials on how to copy the subtle facial contouring of the Kardashians on Youtube. She actually wants to look like a Jenner. I’ve failed as a mother. What the hell will I keep from this phase?


Put it in mothballs

Autumn winds make me extra allergic to the online world of success coaches with glow in the dark teeth, perky personal fitspo gurus with Instagram famous bodies and shiny women with trout pout lips on an endless loop on Youtube. A generation of children are growing up with mothers who’ve had so much Botox put into their faces that these women cannot express the full gamut of human emotion on their dials. These zombie women scare me but I can’t stop staring, wondering when the fillers will stop working.

Then I get scratchy when I hear the words mastery, motivation, personal best, inspire, disrupt. Show me the leaders in lethargy, excellent examples of ennui, successful sloths, wonderful worriers. These are my people. To mangle Kerouac: the only ones for me are the crazies, the Bukowski drunks, the shabby, the borderline criminals, the drop outs, the dribblers, those grungy, suffering, unshaven cats who get thrown out of the best parties, the ones who always yawn out loud, the rambling, boisterous messes who convey every sloppy human emotion on their cracking apart faces. These are the people who make me feel good about myself, as I hide away at home reading, not wanting to face the world or climb any ladders.

Growing up into a cranky old cat lady, I’m pondering the autumn and winter of my life with a countenance that moves. As I slip under the radar with a face that loses its sheen every day, I think I like my mangy self best.