School avoidance, wagging and the online world??

It’s been a long day today. In fact it’s been a long week, month and year. It seems to be going so fast but also so slow if that makes any sense.

I have been battling what seems to be a bit of school avoidance with my soon to be 15 year old. Who would have thought?

Not me!

I deal with other people’s children and this issue all the time. Never did I think it would be mine. I sit across the table from worried and tired parents who have tried everything, but they cannot get their child to school. After all it is more common than you think.

It starts slow, a day here and there. You try and be the understanding parent when they are exhausted, anxious and assessments are building up. One day becomes two, two become three and soon enough it’s a daily battle.

I’ve watched this slowly unfold in my house.

Why does it happen? I can think of a few things….

It’s Thursday, day 4, week 2. The first week of actual classes after a full on activities week. They are already exhausted after the year it has been and it is just compounding.

Yesterday it was her tummy….. it was sore.. she can’t poop…. so being mum I say; ‘harden up’, drink some cranberry juice, eat some pears and get on with it. Little did I know kids have a fear of pooing while at school? I mean when you got to go, you got to go. It’s natural.

Anyway we conceded in her coming in at morning tea. I was not happy but just did not have the energy for the fight. This was my first mistake.

Today, again… my tummy is sore… round and round we go. Two pears, prune juice this time, vitamin C and more. I mean how is her poo still not coming out??

Again, I don’t have the energy to fight or argue. I say come in at morning tea. She debates this. However, she comes in and has a lunch meeting. Then comes to me to ‘sign out’. If you haven’t guessed she attends the school I work at. I stand my ground and say no. You can last the rest of the day.

It’s not even 40 minutes later and I am texting my mother saying how she is at school and it’s a small win… only to find out the almost 15 year old is in the toilet also texting mum, or nana. In tears.

Off I set, in a huff, prepared for whatever is to come. Three toilet blocks later I find her. There is nothing like listening to the tears on the other side of a door when your angry and helpless. What’s going on after all? Is it her stomach? Is it now something bigger?

I sternly but lovingly coax her out. She hugs me…. now for those of you who know us, that’s a rare thing. She used to love hugs and cuddles but that changed a few years back.

It took me by surprise and I felt some of the anger slowly melt away. I did however stand my ground. She was either to go to the nurse or go to maths. Just like any other student. Home was not an option… tough love is hard sometimes.

Needless to say the bell rang, she’s home and it’s like nothing happened???

Tomorrow’s a new battle it seems!

I was speaking to my mum, who asked; ‘did you ever wag school?’ I thought about it for a while and I said ‘no’.

I was allowed home to do French by distance education but I never wagged.

Why? I thought.

Maybe it was because we had no choice. We feared getting in trouble from our parents, we feared being grounded.

Why has that changed? It seems that fear had disappeared along with manners and respect.

Maybe it was because that’s how I saw my friends. We never had Face time, snap chat, NBN or our own laptops. It was a Nokia something or other which had the best version of the game ‘snake’ on it and that was it. To send a text and get the letter ‘C’ you had to push the number one three times…… what an effort! It was easier to ring and have a conversation. Or to see them at school and make the most of it.

There was no discord, no teams or zoom. No instagram or games where you all log on and play at the same time. Our internet would never have coped.

For us, it was one desktop computer in the study. Never in our rooms. You had a time limit and if you did not do what you had to do, tough luck.

Homework was reading books, turning the pages, using the index, looking up words in a glossary and writing with a pen.

How it has changed. I am not opposed to the change but I do wish they had a chance to unplug. There is no need to use it everyday, all day for all their learning.

However, what can one do when that’s what the world is doing. It’s what they know, it’s how they learn. It’s so different.

They have no need to go to school, it’s all online after all. They can literally teach themselves if they wished, online.

So where to from here? Who knows?

All I know is I will continue to laugh, cook and be present for her as much as she needs. Tomorrow’s battle is tomorrow’s battle.

Tonight is tonight.

The knotted anything,..

Have you ever had that knotted ball of fishing wire you just look at and cannot even imagine where to start to begin untangling it?

Have you ever had a knot in a necklace which doesn’t seem to ever want to come out despite how much you work on it? String? thread? knitting?

So many things! So many knots!

This is what I think someone who is suffering from a mental illness feels. Their mind is a ball of knots. No start, no end and certainly not an easy fix.

Mental health is such a hot topic at the moment. It has been, and will continue to be.

However, it is now at the forefront of our minds more, now than ever.

What a year!

Watching those you love and those you know, try and unravel their own ‘knots’ is harder than you might think.

The moments of confusion, complete misunderstanding… it’s hurtful, actually heartbreaking.

The moments of distrust which have stemmed from a knot, not from the love, the memories or the special moments but from a seed planted by the mind. A misinterpretation which one did not understand.

A knot forms and it grows.

The moments of paranoia, where you think everyone is watching, everyone is thinking something less or more of you than they actually are.

The moments of just loss and confusion???

Those moments speak the truth of mental illness.

Where you watch someone, so lost, so confused start to let the knots take over.

You can say and do all you can. You can try bring back the good time’s, the great time’s and even some of the hard times. You can recount all the important moments, the funny moments and the moments you overcame the challenges… it may not be enough. Remember, it’s all in knots!

But… if the knots are tied to tight there may be no way out. We cannot see it, we cannot feel it. Only they can. We try all we can to ease the knots, untangle them or even show a way to ease them off.

We cannot untangle the knots of someone else. No matter how hard we try.

If we do see some small window of success ….. we can hope it’s enough, a small amount of give can unravel any knot.

Once a knot is unravelled, or has begun to be unravelled, it will be kinked, it may even become knotted again, but, as it was when we first started we have to start slow. One small knot at a time.

Just remember with mental illness those knots may just be so tight we can try and try and try and try again, and to us personally we may feel we are getting somewhere. But for the person suffering we may be doing nothing but adding to the confusion.

They hide it well. That’s the hardest part!

The kinks of an unravelled knot remain. They are the reminders of what you/we/I have survived. What you/we/I have managed to separate and untangle from the mix.

Putting my own knotted wire aside to help unravel my own child’s and others is a challenge. How does one set aside the knots we have ourselves to try and help others?

I pause here and imagine the airline safety videos – put your oxygen mask on before you attend to your child or others.

Is this realistic?

I am the cause of half her knots, I know it, she knows it and many others know it. Parenting is bloody hard! You never know what’s right or wrong. You’re pushing to hard, you’re not pushing enough.. you are not disciplining enough, or it is to much!

Who knows! In this day and age you cannot even smack a child without repercussions!

I was smacked and boy did I know when I was wrong. I am so much better off now because of it.

However as you crawl into bed, despite trying to help others, including those most dear to you, unravel those knots, you realise yours are still there. Still a twisted mess, a knotted unrealistic mess and at some point dismissing it, is in some way pushing it to one side. This won’t suffice, and you may find yourself, just like those you loved and lost.

One day I/we/ you will have to begin to unravel your own knots. If you don’t, it can lead to unhappiness, loss and immeasurable suffering for those around you.

Take it slow, ask for help. Stop. Breathe, and start again.

Eventually the knots do come out. Whether it be on your own or with help. Who cares!

I can say this, and write this but I have yet to start to unravel my own knots. I can tell you I am one twisted mess and it’s going to take time.

However, over a few months, I believe I have managed to work on one of my knots. That knot for me, while not completely unravelled is titled ‘acceptance’. There are some things in life, no matter how hard, no matter how deeply they affect you, no matter how much you feel alone and left behind… you can unravel. It just takes time, support from others and patience. It’s not quite unravelled and I still get into a knotted mess, but there are those that when I walk in the room or arrive help me feel like; ‘you can do this’ one second at a time.

The kinks you say… they are just reminders of what you overcame.

Think about it….

Take the time, enjoy the moments of sadness, reflection and happiness. Because when all is said and done, that all we have.

Travel soothes the soul and heals the heart….

For those of you who know me there has not been a year where I haven’t spent many a weekend or a holiday travelling.

This may be with school groups/students or even personally.

What a year it has been. Not only has losing someone changed all that but add in COVID, and the ‘normalcy’ turned to shit.

I promise to not refer to COVID again! We all hear way too much these days and it has been all consuming for way to long.

Instead I am going to take you on a journey, the first this year. One of healing, time out, adventure and really, to put it bluntly, a necessary one.

It was time to take a break. To try and relax and take some time to ‘take stock’, ‘reflect’, ‘laugh’ and be somewhat normal.

Here we go!

The borders were due to open and we had a week free. So before the outback was booked up by all the travellers we planned our escape.

Day one – Saturday saw us take just a short trip to the Sunshine Coast where we began our weeks journey at Chateau Haines. The food was fresh, the beds amazing and the company even better (it was with my parents). What a way to start 💐

Day two – Sunday.

The driving started! We were up before the sun had risen. An eskie and picnic packed by my fabulous mother! Coffees made and a roadie croissant breakfast. The aim was to get to Blackwater. Approximately 8 hours away. Easy I said!!

It was great, along the way my co-pilot kept me going with trivia, reading the news, readers digest articles and more!

We passed the big orange and all sorts! There really are some ‘big things’ in the Australian outback!

The big orange, the big banana, the big elephant, the big spanner.. and more. However, I digress.. (what a word!)

We did make a slight detour to visit a friends old stomping ground. We even managed to take a photo outside the house she grew up in! That was a ‘tick’ on the achievement list!

Blackwater….. I’m not sure what to say but …. it is a small town. Not a lot was happening and the Japanese gardens they advertise were great to see through the fence. With not a lot open and the coal trains km’s long passing by we settled into our accomodation.

We did visit the second largest show of flags in the world – when compared to the flags in New York. Each flag represented the nationality of the miners/workers. That is pretty interesting! Brings to the forefront of the mind how multi cultural we are!

Dinner….. to be honest this set the trip up… red rooster was the only real option! I mean it could only get better! With time to relax and read, the TV on, I settled into my sofa bed and slept like a log! Nothing was open! Including the motels bar and restaurant.

Stomp, stomp, stomp!!! It’s 5;30 am, I believe and the shift workers were up and walking down the steps which backed onto our little ‘donga’. They were up and laughing, their work trucks beeping as they reverse!! Okay it’s time to rise!

I do not remember what breakfast was that day!! We packed up the gear and the car and we set off… Longreach here we come!

Actually now I do! We stopped in Emerald at a great cafe called Vybe. We only drove past the hospital three times trying to find it. I did comment on the fact if we went past the hospital again they might get suspicious! However, breakfast was delicious and the bucket of coffee even better!

There is a lot to see in Emerald. With our time limits though we narrowed it down to two things. Two amazing things.

First the walk through the mosaic tiles showing the past, present and future of the times! This was brilliant. Reading the plaques and ‘walking the story’.

The start of the walk
Each mosaic has a story!

Of course, the second thing we wanted to see was the largest Van Gogh sunflower painting on an easel in the world. I mean why wouldn’t you!! It was pretty cool!

Here it is!

So, goodbye Emerald, here we come Longreach. With a full belly and some sights under our belts we continued on our way to Longreach.

The next stop was Rubyvale and Sapphire. The place to fossick for the real thing! We topped up our coffees at a local shop and experienced the budget cuts it seems in the building of the public toilets!

The coffee stop at a local shop.
Budget cuts! Where the heck is the door?

Back on the road! With a short stop in Jericho, which backs onto Jordan creek. How biblical!

They may not have had any stores open but they were taking care of the open air drive in theatre, old style!

The schedule!
Old town sound!
The murals in town! Beautiful!

Okay Longreach here we come!! The destination and one of the main reasons we set off to experience the outback!!!

This was actually sunrise at the welcome sign!

Longreach is amazing!! We managed to sneak into the luminescent light show at the Qantas museum! This was brilliant! Not to be missed! I cannot show you any photos nor describe how brilliant it was! You will have to go and see this for yourselves!

Sunset in Longreach
The accomodation 🙂

Longreach has so much to offer! The Stockmans hall of fame, the Qantas Founders museum and just what is around town. The town centre is a hustle and bustle of life. The Merino bakery a place to visit. Casey’s has great coffee to kickstart the day! So much to see including amazing sunrises and sunsets!

Oh and they have a courtesy bus to the birdcage hotel. The local pub which provides decent pub meals and a great atmosphere!

Sunrise!
The amazing murals at the accomodation!
We traded the pasture for the poisson (fish) on the second night.
Stockman’s hall of game – the traditional wife beater singlet and the history of it!

Longreach was an amazing place to visit. So much history, so much to read! Along with my new akubra we set off to Winton!

Winton – a place with so much history! It is known for the one place in the world where a dinosaur stampede has been recorded. In fossil form!

Banjos, our wonderful, amazing and most certainly memorable accomodation had a lot to offer. The one ply toilet paper, the brown towels, which disguised the stains, and the brilliant maroon shower curtain which stuck to you if you tried to turn around in the shower!

Eeeeiiikkkkk that was a surprise and one I hope not to relive! The darn shower curtain!

I mean for me it’s just a bed. However, it will be a fun memory. Good old Banjos!! It’s for sale everyone, just in case you wanted a slice of dirt and dust in outback Queensland.

Our cute exterior!
The shower dripped so I wrapped it up!

It was time to explore the town and the sights. This included the Winton club, where the first Qantas meeting occurred. Next to this is Arnos wall. A wall made up of all sorts of ‘stuff’ collected from the dump and inserted into the wall. Not only are there those amazing places but there is also the musical fence. A place where you can pick up a stick or a tube or even a metal pole and create sound on the pieces of metal, tubing and more that have been placed in all the right places.

The drum kit!
More of the musical instruments!
Arnos wall!

So while in Winton one cannot miss the dinosaur stampede! We booked a 3/4 day tour with Vicki from red dirt tours and boy what a day!

She was exceptional and took us on a day to remember. Off track with morning tea on a ‘jump up’ and lunch outside the stampede. We learnt so much from her and she was so amazing to travel with!

Here are a few photos to help!

Approaching the stampede! A preserved, only one in the world, dinosaur exhibit.
Can you believe this is natural erosion! Spectacular!
Who would wear shoes when one can be totally in touch with nature!
Beautiful! The outback is mesmerising if given the time to take it in!
Someone has a sense of humour!

The main area… the stampede!! So here goes! The history behind it is amazing! So many people were involved, it lay undisturbed for so long after it’s discovery! It is quite a place to visit!

The level of sandstone and rock that was removed to expose the stampede!
The larger carnivore on the hunt for the smaller herbivores while the ‘chicken’ size dinosaurs went crazy!
Take a walk around the area where the stampede occurred!

Winton was amazing. As the QLD borders had opened we did not get a chance to get in to see the Age of the dinosaurs which is a place which has the bones of dinosaurs, workshops and more! Next time!

Leaving Winton we headed off to Tambo. On the way we stopped at Ilfracombe and also Barcaldine, where the tree of knowledge is.

Again so much history, so much has happened in our own back yard! Who would have thought!

The machinery museum in Ilfracombe!
The structure built in response to the real tree having been poisoned!
Spectacular! The sounds even more so!
The ‘Eureka flag’ and statue. A place where the Labour Party was formed from the shearer’s strike!

Tambo. We arrived. What a tiny but spectacularly tidy and beautiful town. The people so friendly, bar the lady at reception, the pub with such a nice atmosphere and more.

Sitting outside facing the pool, the birds buzzing around, the sun setting and the breeze picking up, one could not enjoy the downtime. We even popped into Tambo teddies. A ‘must’ visit for those passing through.

The view for the evening.
Tambo teddies
The locals enjoying our crackers!
The country pub meal!

From Tambo we headed off to St. George. Our next stop. We passed through Mitchell and much more. The landscape, the tall grasses yellow and green, the mulgas and of course the kangaroos and cows!

Artwork at Fanny Maes
We stopped just in time for the echidna to safely cross the road!
The Balonne river weir St.George!

St.George has a lot to offer and with more time we would have explored. However, we did the most important thing. A wine tasting and of course this was accompanied with a ploughmans platter. The cool breeze and a Merlot from the winery’s grapes could not have been a better way to enjoy the cool crisp breeze.

The ploughmans platter
The vines!
Riverland motel – a lovely place’

So the journey and outback adventure was coming to an end. We had seen to much and been so many places. So much history in our own back yards.

It was time to not necessarily relax, as the alarm was always set for 7am, but there was time to read, time to talk, time to learn and more.

The frosty morning and fog covered lands were the sight that greeted us on the last day!

So off we set, homeward bound. A long day ahead and a slight detour!

The painted silos something I had seen along the way. So while on the toilet I googled the nearest one to Yeralbon, a place we were passing through.

What a sight and what a story!

Spectacular!

To sum it all up.. as words and photos just do not do it justice, taking the time to, ‘take the time’ was just what the soul needed. The brain and the heart often rule our lives. More often than not one wins over the other.

This time we trumped them both and just got in the car and drove!

The outback is amazing, the landscape soothing.

If you get the chance, fill up the car, pack an eskie and just start driving. Who knows where you will end up and what you may see!

Although, it is great for the heart and good for the soul!

A pearl arrived??

A gift arrived today in the mail. Addressed to me and in a protective black envelope.

All the way from Texas it says.

It was a pearl in a gold chain. It’s called the Grit necklace.

I never ordered it, nor knew they existed but yet here it is on my kitchen counter.

No note, no letter, nothing. Just the pearl on a gold necklace and a description of what it means.

Take a look;

The gift

Where is it from? The package says Texas. Who is it from, I have no idea.

It did make me smile, it did warm the heart. After all I am a teacher and we talk to the students about developing ‘grit’ developing ‘resilience’ and here I have something telling me that I have grit.

Things happen for a reason I suppose. I question that often these days. However, maybe I should look at this as a gift. A welcome surprise from someone unknown.

Thank you, whoever you are. It will be cherished and read over and over again.

The touch of trauma – suicide.

I often wonder what my life would be like.

I did wonder, often over the past few years. Many hurdles, so many curve balls, I managed to dodge so many or take them on and recover.

I did not expect this one. Suicide, a word we all fear saying, I must admit I am still hesitant as if I say it, it becomes more real. What’s real you say?

The fact that one minute your life was perfect (well had been) and the next it’s not. It’s gone, in an instant. One phone call changed it all.

The police at my door the night before, our last conversation where you were so lost, so confused.

Where to from here?

The days are long, the nights even more so. It seems the nights have become even more sleepless as the mind wonders. I only had you for a short time but we had memories from a long time, so I wonder how the minds of those who had you for even longer are managing.

I am sure they are not.

The tears come at the most random of times. It could be at the bakery where we had a joke about the long jam cream donuts, the songs you sang to in the car, the random places we visited or even the small sayings or just waking and sitting at window and having three coffees before 8am!

Trauma results in so much….. unease, confusion, disconnection, solitude, drive, guilt – as though you could have changed it and you question over and over how.

You can read books on how to manage the loss of someone by suicide but to be honest only some of the points are valid.

Some not.

Each journey it’s own. Each journey takes its own path, its own time.

I see, so far on my journey, the fear of reconnecting. The fear of moving further from my home than 50km. The fear of laughter, the fear of being with the family I love and know love me beyond words. I fear having touched them by suicide and more has made me even more of a ‘curse’ than before. Not that I am a curse but when so many curve balls hit you sometimes you wonder.

It’s hard enough realising you’re on your own again, your child on her own again. Our lives keep moving forward even if we wish they wouldn’t.

It’s a choice really, keep plodding or give up.

I wrote a blog about choice over a year ago, I also wrote one about time healing all wounds.

I so wish he had read the one about time healing all wounds.

The holiday of dreams, the laughter, the intimacy, the future and for once it was real it was perfect and then it was gone.

Everyone keeps telling me it’s time to get out, come here, visit here, dinner out, take a walk….. I know all of these would do my mind good.

However, it’s the fear, it’s the fear of the trauma that keeps you in that safe ‘vault’ that safe space.

How can one be happy, or laugh or even feel like you’re moving forward when to be honest you’re not ready.

The sweat beads form, your heartbeats so much faster but no one understands. You were never anxious before but you are now. You used to look forward to adventure and time away, new experiences, watching the students/children thrive and now organising a weekend makes you feel ill.

It’s normal some say, it’s abnormal others say. Who’s to know, unless you have been in these shoes.

All I know is it’s confusing, it’s hard, it’s emotionally and mentally exhausting. I have to trust that as I wrote before, but in so much a different context, time heals all wounds. I have been given gifts from this loss I could never imagine. People who have become such amazing parts of both my daughter and my own lives. Experiences, work, learning and more.

One has to try…. I mean try…… to take the time it takes to heal a wound when affected by losing the person you loved, finally to suicide.

What was once perfect was obviously not.

To question where you yourself went wrong will get you nowhere. I still do, every waking moment but one day maybe I won’t. Until then…

The eye of a needle

Often when you are pregnant or even a new mother you are ‘told’ to read all sorts of parenting books. This doesn’t end though, even as your child grows up….. there are books about milestones, the terrible twos, the middle stages, the pubescent years and being 14.

Really there is so much literature out there about how to be a parent and how to manage every situation you may be confronted with.

Reality check!!!

A book is nothing when compared to what is “REAL”.

I am not discounting their value only putting it into perspective!

Every child is different, every family is different and NO one, I mean NO one can predict what your tiny helpless being will be like! What it will experience as it grows up.

I say this as I have read all those books, I have the being 14 book next to my bed right now.

Have I read it???? Not yet…. why you ask? Time….volcanic teenage eruptions… work….. assignments…. dinner…. lunch boxes… English…. maths and more!

I think you get the idea.

How do we know who we have in our house at 14 if we cannot read the book! Well you learn through the tears, the tantrums, the anxiety, the ‘life is not fair’ statement we hear more and more and beyond that. The list goes on!

Life is not fair – that’s one of the biggest milestones I think a teenager can learn at this point in their lives!

It’s been a huge year for the students, let alone our own children. What a change in learning…. started as normal (for most) and the next minute we are encapsulated by a virus we cannot control.

Life is nothing like it was before. No morning teas, no normal day do day lessons to chat and no sleepovers! Who would have thought.

To sum this all up, or make my point, my daughter is 14 and has worked on a project while learning online. Her mind has developed this amazing idea of what her design, or wearable art project should be, and here I am trying to thread some expensive as shit red cotton through the tiny eye of a needle.

It’s been a big few weeks! I am currently threading red cotton through a needle to sow black lace onto a shirt, one part of a massive mad hatter/queen of hearts themes assignment.

I am tired after and emotionally exhausting day. After all a typical day as a teacher is far beyond what anyone can ever imagine. Yes, you may scoff at that as our next holiday approaches and many think we down tools at this time, however, for those who actually know a teacher this so so far from the truth!

Back to the needle……. The end won’t go through. It’s frayed. So we cut it again…. still it frays and just won’t fit. You lose your patience as you continue to try.

Persistence is key……

It may have just have thread through a tiny bit.. that small piece you try and grab… but as you go to grab the other end…. it’s gone and you have to start again.

To be honest, I think if we ran “threading a needle classes” our children would be better off.

There is nothing like trying to thread a needle for a costume that is due tomorrow for a hormonal 14 year old!

If that’s not a life lesson I do not know what is!

All I can say is keep trying to thread that dam needle…. survive the tears, the tantrums and more. It’s worth it!

To show you a snippet of what it has been here is the progression of that one assessment that tested me and tested us! There are no books written about how to deal with this!

Love you dad – thank you for being a mediator!

Piloetection.. what an awesome word!

Winter is coming…

Winter is here…

It’s been the phrase we have all heard over the past week or two. However, have you ever really thought about being a woman and winter! Sorry to the men… but winter is a real problem for women!

In summer we shave our legs, our underarms and all the various places as we wear less than we do in winter.

Winter comes around and I don’t know about you? but I breathe a sigh of relief in some ways.

The armpits may grow a little longer, the leg hairs a little bushier and who would know. After all we are rugged up… the jackets are on, the long pants or stockings become the norm and we wear more clothes to bed.

Lately, for me anyway, it’s been months.. Okay you’re already cringing, but it’s been months between shaving. I mean why not?

For me it’s a sadder story than most. For some it’s because you cannot be bothered, for some it’s the principal, for some it’s the reason/person you shaved for, has gone.

It had been weeks for me, actually I am not sure how long it has been between shaving all those parts…

All I know is I was sitting one Sunday afternoon in my work clothes and I looked down…….. the Amazon had arrived! Like literally in Australia.. It was here, poking itself outside my leggings! I was the Amazon! If this was my legs… what were my armpits!

It had been so long!

So the main job that evening was to start the deforestation project! A massive effort mind you.

Armed with the razor, and a new blade, I knew it would take more than one, the project began.

It’s always a nice feeling to shave I suppose. You feel clean, smooth and all sorts of things.

However, in winter, you step out the warm/hot shower and PILOETECTION or goosebumps happens and you realise what was the point!!!

Piloerection is the scientific term for goosebumps!

Why bother in winter? That smooth shaved feeling only lasts seconds! The goosebumps come as you step into the cold and you think, what was the point of shaving….

All those hairs just stood back up!

Square one!

Be brave and press play!

Remember all those posts you made on Facebook (FB) or even the photos you have taken in the past year or more?

No?

Well FB and your photos folders do.

It’s only in the past few months I have realised that my iPhone photos folder makes videos of all sorts of things…

Folders of family, friends and loved ones. Always with that sad memorable music as it plays.

Man oh man they are a flash backs to the past. Long ago past and of course those ‘best moments’ of the past two months or six months.

They are meant to be happy I suppose and bring laughter and those ‘oh my’ moments. But, yes I started a sentence with a ‘but’, they also bring tears. I mean your phone doesn’t know what has happened in your life. What may have transpired. After all it is just a tool.

In an instant life can change. In an instant it can become something you never imagined. In those times it can be joy, it can be happiness but it can also bring sadness and confusion.

Who knows, your phone doesn’t… it just does what it does.

You hesitate……. but press play. After all it’s a 6 minute video. In that 6 minutes you are transported to the time and place the photos were taken. Your mind builds on and takes you to those moments, scoops you up and you’re there again… right there…While the photo is a snapshot the memory is more, so much more.

The music never helps I must say… who picked it???

You smile as the images flick by, you cringe as you remember the real memory behind the image, after all you were there. You laugh at the small snippets of a video it chooses to show and you cry as it becomes real that these are now just memories.

6 minutes, that’s all it took for a phone to sum up an extraordinary amount of time. So much more in between but it did the best it could. After all it’s a phone.

You play it…. you smile, you laugh and you cry. Yet you play it again and again. Over and over.

That 6 minutes means it all.

Pictures are snapshots of the memories we make, it just attempts to put it together into something meaningful.

And… sometimes it gets or right. Sometimes it gets it so right you experience all the emotions you have as a person in just 6 minutes.

I guess all we can do it be brave and when it says press play, press play. It may be laughter it may be tears but at the end of the day you took those photos for a reason so why not see what they look like as a memory.

Be brave, press play 💐 I did.

The Prep Playground..

Nothing could have prepared me for today. The experiences I had in just half an hour were truly remarkable.

It’s started as a normal Thursday, well, as normal as normal is now. An 8km walk, breakfast, online classes and more.

However, today was going to be different. I had a ‘duty’ or ‘super’ as we call it. I had to look after the students in the prep playground for 35 minutes. Lunchtime.

Little did I know what this entailed.

I walk onto campus ready for whatever is ahead. In long pants, a sports top and trainers. After all the preps are crazy so who knows what lunchtime would look like.

I arrive and they are all calmly sitting eating lunch. This was such a false way of leading me into the time ahead. 12:30pm arrives and the teachers literally disappear. I mean disappeared. Doors shut, silence and I was alone. Completely alone. In the blink of an eye they left me in charge of the young ones! Their beady eyes now looking at me, the air of challenge ahead…. I could feel it…

It was like magic! The teachers disappearing! Wish I could learn that trick!

Little ‘H’ had to sit in the naughty chair for 10 minutes as he had tried to strangle someone, Miss ‘A’ had 15 minutes as she didn’t think the rules applied to her. I had to police the sand pit, the soccer field, the dinosaurs, the mini kitchen and of course the playground and tyres!

Here it is in a nutshell…..

I was obviously the flavour of the day for one little girl as she proceeded to tell me all about herself. Including about her asthma, her beach trips, her vaccinations and more. Then she stared up at me and said “are you a boy or a girl?” I was like um….. what do you think. She says after a fairly long pause… a girl… relief floods over me.. at least she knows her sexes….

Then she moves into serenading me with Frozen two songs, all while I let H off the chair, tell miss A she has to remain on the chair, keep an eye on all areas and pray for time to speed up!

Someone’s throwing sand, the tyre fell on a foot.. someone’s hurt. I go and have a look, but no, it seems the pain has subsided as the dinosaurs flew past and a new game was started. The pain forgotten, the tyre just another toy laying discarded on the lawn.

The sand pit… now this place is a hive of activity! It’s actually a dangerous place for any adult! I had to actually police it.

‘H’ wanted to dig a hole, right next to two others ‘Eiffel tower’, a mound of sand which you had to look at in awe and of course was an exact replica to the towering structure in France and of course the tunnel leading upto it!

‘H’ couldn’t dig anywhere else but right there. I said “H, why not dig somewhere else?, why right there?” He says “how do you know my name?” I said well you were in the naughty chair. I will never forget your name. That quieted him down! He still kept digging though! I did admire his persistence even if he was doing it just to be a pain.

Picture this;

‘Shovels and sand going everywhere, kids running around untamed.

Singing from all sorts of places.

Hands groping my legs and arms, being asked to listen to 10 different conversations all at once.

Having to admire and comment on the potion being mixed with the bucket which once contained the dinosaurs now strewn across the place.

Explain to another that the dinosaur wouldn’t survive being whacked against the pole again.

Calmly state; ‘H’ stop digging in that hole……

Your ankle is fine, no you don’t have sand in your eye

No your leg is not broken

Wow you had a vaccination, boy look at that scar. You’re so brave.

Is grandma okay…..

No 35 is not old’

Meanwhile I am stranded, dinosaurs continue to fly through the air, soccer balls have been found and the Eiffel Tower is slowly being dug out, which of course if causing a melt down in the sand pit!

It was like a comedy show…. it was the longest 35 minutes of my life!

Respect to all those Primary teachers!

I couldn’t do it! I barely survived 35 minutes!

Poetic injustice (no TV)

A romantic weekend away, all the plans set out in your mind. It is the first time you/we had managed to get away as a couple and you were nervous, gosh so was I. You were hoping the place, in this case Binna Burra lodge, was exactly like the photos showed it….

You pack the eskie, I pack the clothes bags. Some outfits for all occasions as we are planning on going to dinner so you have to dress up, you are planing on doing some of the bush walks so you pack for that. You also prepare some of the other outfits, or the lingerie for the evening. I mean who knows! It was always an unknown with you! That truly was the best part of it all! Waking up to the present, literally a present.. it unwrapped as the day unfolded, first the bow, then the wrapping! Who knew…

However, as mentioned always an adventure. I miss that the most!

We had spoken about getting a DVD for the evening so I rang the lodge to check if they had TV’s in the rooms and was assured there were TV’s but to play a DVD we would need to bring our own DVD player. By this point we had started driving so we turned around and retrieved this from your room, also stopping off at pretty much the only DVD shop still open on the gold coast and stocked up on movies!! Excited for a night away. Finally, we set off off for Binna Burra.

Well the weekend did not go as we had planned, in fact it was hilarious and a total disaster.

Checking in was easy and we found out all we needed to in regards to dinner and what walks were around. We lugged literally all the stuff down the small tight pathway which seemed to go on forever. Anyone would think we had packed for a month!

We get into the room and we start to unpack.

It did not take us long to realise that in fact there was no TV, yup, no TV!!!!

We had in fact double backed for a DVD player and had DVD’s but there had been no need. It was hilarious!

This was in fact the first of three attempts of me planning a getaway where the DVD player did not work, there wasn’t one or in this case there wasn’t even a TV.

It made for a funny weekend of late night chats, listening to the man next door flush the toilet as the rooms were so close we could tell what was happening without even listening! You made so many hilarious comments about it all!

We sat on the small deck, hidden from our neighbours by the smallest wooden wall. Not allowed to smoke…. that didn’t last… the eskie full of cider and beer. The blankets wrapped around us as we watched one of many sunsets through the trees.

Dinner and the sunset on night two was beautiful!

You were never one to sleep in, instead it was an early wake up, the sun barely through the trees. Binna Burra was coming to life. We made coffee and walked through the small bush track upto the viewing platform near the lodge. We watched the sun come up in spectacular form! It was beautiful!!

Then it was breakfast and we were off, getting lost on the tracks available around the lodge. We loved the bush. You loved the trees, the sounds of all sorts of animals, the way it shaded us and surrounded us, separating us from the world. It was so glorious to escape!


You certainly made the most of all Binna Burra had to offer. Even the kids playground!

We got so lost! You even broke your thong. However, thankfully we had a bread clip!

We got so lost on one occasion, doubling back in the path we had taken. It was hilarious as you were always the ‘GPS’. I knew I could relax when you were around as you would always get us home. This time, while it made us laugh hysterically and wander in all sorts of directions.. we still found our way home. It did make for some funny conversation as yet again we wrapped ourselves in our blankets and watched the sunset on our little deck, all while listening to the next door cabin flush it’s toilet and us reminisce about how there was no TV.

You never let me live it down….. you always said when you planned the next getaway there would be a DVD player! You would show me up. Well you did, that’s a story for another time! It’s a wonderful memory and a DVD player will never be taken for granted again!

From here on in I will always take my own DVD player! In honour of you!

You are missed! More than you know!

I publish this as the name you said it should be. We laughed about the lack of a DVD player and you came up with the title. Well here it is ❤️