For my little sister

My dear little sis. Your belly is swollen and your walk slower. Your bra size has wildly overcome mine, and you old clothes don’t fit anymore. You have life growing in you; you’ve heard her heartbeat and can see her kicks in your tummy daily. You know she will be here soon. But do you know how much your life is going to change? Do you know what is waiting for you at the end of the labour process?

LOVE.

Unthinkable, unimaginable, all consuming love. A type you’ve not known before. A type that will crash into you like a wave on a windy day, with full force and a pressure you weren’t expecting. You will cry with joy, with pain, and with tiredness, over this little bundle who will be placed in your arms in only a few more weeks. And she will be yours. And she will make you a Mum. She will turn you and Michael into parents.

I could continue to try and explain this feeling of having your heart on the outside of your body… or being linked to another person’s needs in a way you didn’t know existed, but I can’t. You will experience it soon enough. And your experience of it will be different to mine. And different to your friends… and will be this little secret that only you two share. That is why Motherhood is so bloody special.

What I can say is how excited I am that we will finally be on the same road again. For so many years of our lives we have been doing the same things at the same time. Only 17 months apart we reached many milestones simultaneously, or shortly after one another. We were only a year apart at school, were at University at the same time and even ended up working at the same school. So we understood each other’s existence.

 

 

And although you have been a wonderfully supportive sister, and an amazing Aunty to Raff, it’s not the same. I just can’t wait for you to experience it. And for us to share a look or a word that only other mums understand. Other mum’s who are also sisters. Sisters who are also friends. Friends who enjoy so many of the best things about life…  chocolate, coffee, literature and teaching.

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Your wedding, Dec 2015

This will be the best thing we share.

And do you know what? I can’t wait to become an Aunty! You are going to make me one for the very first time. How special. The way Raff talks about you is unique, he knows you are different from some of my friends… I can’t wait to be that for your baby girl.

You cried when you held him for the first time. I wonder how it will feel for me. Holding your child. A new member of our family. Raff’s first cousin.

MEMORIES: Raff 1st week, keeping me company while Daniel was away, and at Raff’s 1st birthday

I have to be honest here too little sis… it will be the hardest time of your life. If only for the reason that you will never feel like you have had enough sleep, among other things, you will feel like a novice. A newbie. An employee on her first day of work trying to navigate a situation you’ve never found yourself in before. If you’re anything like me, and I know you are, you like feeling in control, and enjoy a feeling of competence in what you do. Your baby girl, who will fill you with crazy amounts of joy, will also challenge you and make you feel incapable… if even for only a passing moment.  A collection of seconds will add up and you will feel unsure of your role, of who you are and what you are meant to be doing. But, don’t worry… you are not alone. Even the most chilled Earth Mother’s in this world feel this way every now and then (I think!), just remember… this too shall pass… this feeling of inadequacy, of failure, or tiredness, or frustration. It will pass. And something will happen that makes you feel like you are the most important person in the world. That makes you feel like this is exactly who you are meant to be. A smile, eye contact that shows recognition, hands reaching for your face … first words. They will remind you that you are a Mum. Her Mum, and that you are growing just as she is, and that you are not meant to know how to do everything on day 1. It’s a journey of growth for you, for her, for Michael.

Enjoy it, because it goes so quick. Not on those nights early on when she is cluster feeding, or cutting her first tooth… but in the bigger sense. I’m about 95% sure we won’t have another child… so when I see old baby photos of Raff, videos of him gooing and gaahing… my uterus contracts. It was such a special time. Enjoy it. And, I might just live it vicariously through you again.

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Just the two of us; so special

So, for you, my little sister, I wish you luck for what is to come next. I promise to ask how you are and not just your baby. I promise to bring coffee every time I visit. I promise to put food in your freezer and hold my niece so you can shower. I promise I wont judge, and I promise to support your journey into the world of Motherhood as best I can. We will be adding another amazing human to these photos soon.

 

 

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My dirty little (reality) secret

Justine

I have a confession to make. A dirty little secret to share. I’m slightly ashamed, slightly embarrassed to admit it… I’ve undertaken an activity I often mock. An activity I often think I’m slightly above. But it has happened. I have fallen down the rabbit hole and am completely obsessed with watching MARRIED AT FIRST SIGHT.

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Oh My God… reality TV at its bloody finest. People living together, bitching together, getting to know one another, trying for a chance at love… or just reality stardom…?… tense meetings with family members, awkward moments on dates where you physically cringe at their utter social incompetence… Married at First Sight has it all!

Apparently this show is in its fourth season… I barely noticed the other 3, although I remember having discussions with friends along the lines of…  how in the world is it legal to marry someone you don’t know… but illegal for same sex couples to marry in Australia? Seriously, WTF, but… that’s a discussion for another time!

I’m morally against this ‘social experiment’ yet I want to watch it… what is wrong with me?

So, there you go… my dirty little secret is out… I’m somewhat (ashamedly) obsessed with this show. I don’t know why I started watching it in the first place. Maybe I saw a commercial with the groom on horseback, the twins wearing exactly the same dress or the hashtag #runawaybride…. And just had to know more. These TV editors know a thing or two about hooking their audience.

I rarely watch TV at its actually screening time… thanks to those lovely apps like 9Now… I can watch it whenever I like. And for someone unknown reason, one night, in bed, feeling a bit unfulfilled by my current book, I scrolled through the popular shows on my iPad, tapped, and was hooked.

I’ve watched 18 episodes… so that’s over 20 hours or my time wasted watching the lives of strangers unfold on television. Why am I doing it? I just have to know if Simon’s haircut has won Alene’s heart, and if Susan and Sean can overcome their lifestyle difference to end up together because they are just so in love. And, to mock the absolute ridiculousness that is Andrew ‘Jonesy’ Jones. What a loser. Biggest tossbag I’ve seen on TV in years. They made him out to be the poor victim who didn’t get a chance at love due to his bolting bride in episode 1… but now… I want to send him to finishing school, or home to his Mum to learn how to treat Women with respect… and not blame verbally abusing his ‘wife’ on Boys night!

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Tossbag

Clearly I’ve got a problem. I’m too involved… I can’t just stop watching, I have to wait it out to the end of the season. Then… I’m banned. No more reality TV. If I start, I can’t stop!

This seems to happen to me once every 12 months… last year I couldn’t get enough of The Biggest Loser Families… There was something about seeing these families with member just as overweigh as each other, tear each other down and find excuse after excuse to not change their lives! Wait… that was just the blue family… it was pretty rewarding to see the others, especially the young guys, and the ones with kids, to turn their lives around and become good role models for the other obese people in our society… see… here I go again. I know too much. You can see… I was obsessed.

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Those faces… of sisterly love?

And the thing is… I don’t condone realty TV! I think it’s a waste of time… I could be reading so many more books, or WRITING… but instead I go brain dead and watch other peoples lives play out in front of me on the big screen. I guess that’s the point of it… to switch off, not think and find a way to laugh, relax, and realise your life ‘aint so bad compared to others? Haha. I don’t know… I love to think… I love teaching about thinking… but sometimes a gal needs a good dose of trashy TV, and when it is paired with a bag of Cobs Salty and Sweet popcorn, then my day is done!

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The bomb

Big picture parenting

Whilst lying on a table with my un-mentionables exposed to my beautician, we casually spoke of some similar bed time behaviour we exhibited with our children… the art of lying down with them while they fell asleep. As she oh-so-carefully waxed my bikini line, we spoke of the comfort it brings our children, and how nice it was to meet someone with similar parenting ideals. And it really made me think about BIG PICTURE PARENTING, and more specifically, why people get so hung up on the smaller details of someone else’s life.

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A (date) ball of emotion

Do you ever feel like your emotions are on high alert and frequency? Like you can really, truly feel and see everything for exactly what it is, and what it was intended to be? Well, that’s how I feel right now. And it’s not a bad highly emotional state where everything makes me sad and whiny, it’s a beautiful collection of things happening in my life, and I feel like I am incredibly present in them.

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The start of something new

So here it is. Today is officially the last day of my time as a stay at home mum. The last day of my family leave before I return to the paid work force tomorrow. I am so lucky. I’ve been able to stay at home for as long as I wanted to, and I get to return to a job that I love, a job that I am passionate about, and a work place full of people that I admire… and who include some of my closest friends.

But, this sense of change is strange. I am excited. I am nervous. I am eager. I am cautious. I am acutely aware of how different it will be to go back to a job I once did in a full time capacity as a part time employee. And… I will miss my boy more than I have probably let myself realise.

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If there is ever an opportunity for a High School Musical reference… I’ll take it!

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Life by numbers

How do I love thee? Let me count thy ways…

I never knew there were so many things to count. I thought my days of excessive counting were well and truly done after I completed Mathematical Methods in year 12. After school I use to count how many boys I’d kissed as a teenager. How many pairs of shoes I owned, or how many music concerts I had ever been to. Now the counting has a slightly different focus…

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Grief

Just the other week I wrote about grief… incongruous grief really… the kind that has derived from my boy not napping everyday… I am grieving about losing my often only bit of ‘me time’ until my head hits the pillow at the end of the day. It’s in jest, mostly, because it’s a natural part of life… we all stop taking day naps eventually… although I know many people, 2 females in my immediate family in particular, who’d love an arvo nap daily! 😛 But just because something is a ‘natural’ part of life, it doesn’t make it easy to deal with.

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