Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Cranky pre-holiday mummy!

When I was a kid, I could never understand why my mum got so stressed before we went away on holidays.  On hearing mum’s ominous stamping feet going up or down the hallway, or slamming cupboard doors, I’d bravely pipe up: “Chill out, mum.  We’ll be leaving for holidays the day after tomorrow!” Which was almost always received with “Uh?  Grumble, mumble, grrr, grumble, argh!”  But as with most things recently, I appreciate now exactly how mum was feeling!

You see, we’re going camping next week.  I’m not really a camper.  I’ve never been a camper.  I have very little idea of how to be a camper.  But I love simple things, peace, quiet and cheap holidays, so I’m embracing the idea wholeheartedly.  But there’s a lot more packing and planning when it comes to camping, and when you’re a novice (with a toddler and a work schedule, but more on that later), you’ve really got no idea what you’re doing – “Saucepans. Saucepans?  One or two?  One?  Um.  Meh, in they go!”

My wonderful in-laws are joining us on our holiday, and my mother-in-law rattled off about 30 things to pack last time we went to visit them, (most of which will be in use until the last moments before we leave), which I madly scribbled down.  This list is now my camping survival guide and I’m clutching on to that piece of paper for all I’m worth!  It could be the only thing keeping me together right now!

I finished work today, so you’d think I’d have the next five days to plan and pack everything up with a neat little bow by Sunday night, with plenty of time and mental ability left to cook everyone a hearty breakfast (and wash it all up) before we back ourselves out of the driveway on Monday morning.  “Heaps of time, you big girl’s blouse!  What’s your issue and so worth writing about?”  Yep.  Good point. 

This week has got to be the most event-jam-packed week I’ve had since our wedding!
But firstly, there’s our daughter who enthusiastically “unpacks” at a rate faster than I can pack, and with more enthusiasm and speed than I can match for repacking!  Then, my father and his new wife are coming to visit, have lunch and take us out for dinner… twice.  (Normally a welcome event… except this week when all I want to do is pack and cross things off my list!).  Then there’s Father’s Day and making a fuss of my amazing husband. And the long-trained-for, long-talked-about 5km fun run!  Add to that washing, cleaning, a trip to visit my mum, the library, grocery shopping and still making breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, and remembering to feed my daughter and give her “mulk” at 10am and 3pm and get her to sleep at 12.30pm and 6pm and I’m about ready to crumble in a heap!  I can’t guarantee I’m going to brush my hair or my teeth every morning this week, so be prepared if we’ve scheduled a catch-up I’ve probably forgotten about!

I so understand now why my mum used to get so stressed and cranky.  I’m acting the same way she used to, and probably feeling pretty similar.  I should have given her a big (but quick) hug to say thank you for remembering the sun-cream, bug spray, fruit cake, shampoo, conditioner and our toothbrushes, beach towels, books, puzzles, blankets, beach umbrellas, beach bags and snacks for the car, the butter, Vegemite, tea, coffee, milo and wine (for the adults), tomato sauce, tea towels and those biscuits we all liked…

Thursday, 9 August 2012

I'm such an old lady

I'm sorry to say, I had a grown-up hissy fit this week.  In the throes of hormonal upheaval (never a good time to take new information on board), I tried to learn something new and my brain, emotions and temper just couldn't take it.  I wanted to throw something across the room.  Instead, I went and had a long shower and cried to my husband afterwards about how dumb it all made me feel.  Then I sent myself to my room and took myself off to bed!

Let's back up a bit and start at the beginning.

I'm a simple gal, and I don't like change much, and, to be honest, my natural reaction to tough situations is to run away.  In recent years and in my line of work, this has shown itself most often in learning new computer programs.  With age and practice, I make myself sit still and keep plugging at it until it clicks (and it always does and quickly becomes second nature), but let me tell you, lots of cells in my body are screaming "Run away!  Run away now!" during the learning process!

Now, being a simple gal, I have very low tech needs.  I have a "dumb" phone just for calls and texts because I don't want or need a phone that does anything else.  I couldn't care if I was the last person on the planet with an old phone.  I don't buy into the brew-ha-ha about having to have the latest "this", "that" or "the other" (or with modern consumer behaviour, it's more like "this", "that" AND "the other" in white AND black, please).  But this Stone Age behaviour of mine means I am low-tech in gadget knowledge, too.

So, on Tuesday night, after graduating from my Couch to 5km running program, I wanted to go for a run on my own, with music to listen to.  For the past nine weeks, I have been running to the sound of traffic and my own gasping breath.   Now, the last time I needed mobile music, Walkmans were still the rage.  I had a yellow one, and I rewound it or fast-forwarded through the tracks using a biro from my pencil case.  But the 2012 process of learning to run required an iPod and the Couch to 5km App.  My husband (very tech and gadget savvy) borrowed an iPod touch from a friend, and knowing I was clueless and with a "please help" from me, he bought and downloaded the App for me, set it up and showed me how to turn it on and start the App.  Piece of cake.

Now, on Tuesday, nine weeks on, I thought it high time I learned how to use this gadget I'd been running with for two months, and I asked my husband to teach me how to put music on it.  Ah, that was the beginning of the end!  Having to register it, and put my credit card details in, and name folders and find music... ARGH!   Why so hard!?!?  The way I moaned and "how come?"d my husband made me sound like I was 80, lamenting about the good old days, and how the world today has gone mad!  The urge to hurl the thing against the wall and storm off in a 3(3)-year-old huff was immense!  At least I was mature enough to give myself a time-out and send myself to my room!

But the simple truth is that I AM a simple gal. I don't like gadgets and they baffle the bajeepers out of me.  I have an old TV that weighs a tonne and I'm fine with that.  I don't want any Apple products and would happily do without them if it wasn't for a desire to see the progress I'm making with running, without the need of maps and the car's odometer to measure the distance.  I work on computers all day and the last thing I want to do when I get home is pull out a smaller version of the same screen that I've been staring at all day.  I'd much rather talk to my husband, read my daughter stories and cuddle her to sleep, and watch TV, and have a long shower and read a book.  Am I so odd in my lack of tech-gadget savvy?  Does this cheese stand alone?

But I know if I just keep forcing myself to use it, I'll get it eventually.  I always do, and I'll be laughing at myself... eventually.  I might just need a few more time-outs along the way!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Argh, trusting in God can be so hard!

So, another friend has announced her pregnancy.  This adds to a seemingly ever-increasing number of women I know who are pregnant.  Before I keep going, I should state that no, my husband and I aren't infertile and aren't currently trying to have another baby, but the women who are expecting just brings home a little issue I have within myself and with God.

I always wanted a big family.  Four children.  A boy first, then a girl, and two random draws.  In my childhood, I thought I would get married young (early 20s) and have my children while I was young, so I could enjoy them and keep up with them as they grew.  I was going to be the cool, young, hip mum at the school gate, and the mum who participated on sports day and won a race or two.  But, the thing is, I didn't find my beloved husband until my late 20s and we got married two weeks before I turned 30.  We thought it best to "figure out how to be married" before adding kids into the mix.  My oldest sister said once (or read once) "Having a baby is like throwing a grenade into a marriage."  While I wouldn't go that far, it sure does test the two of you, so we wanted to strengthen our relationship a bit more before we "threw a grenade" into it!  So our darling daughter wasn't born until two weeks before I turned 32.  We actually left hospital with her on our second wedding anniversary.

Now!  More children.  Where was I?  I know I'm not old, but in the fertility stakes, I think I'm bordering on middle age.  I have a few more years up my sleeve, all things being equal, but my dream of having a big family has had to be surrendered.  That hurts.  I'm not going to be the mother-of-four I'd dreamed about, unless I'm slammed with natural triplets next time around!  Eee gad!  But I've had this picture in my head of our "big family" for a long time now.  Perhaps that will entail taking in our children's friends and hangers-on.  Perhaps.  But in my heart of hearts, I want at least two or three more children of our own.

I know I'm blessed to have been able to fall pregnant naturally and relatively easily with our beautiful girl.  That, in and of itself, is my life's greatest gift and blessing and accomplishment.  I'm SO blessed.  SO blessed.  So, so many beautiful women, who would make AMAZING mothers, aren't able to have children of their own.  Adoption and IVF are SO expensive and a red-tape, government-burocracy-gone-mad nightmare that many of these wonderful couples aren't even able to try that!  It's not fair!  I don't understand it.  I get cranky at God for the injustice of it!  I'm not the most patient Christian.

Which brings me to the crux of this blog post.  Trusting God's plan and how freakin' hard that is!  Oh, I've had many a long conversation with God - mostly one sided with me doing all the talking - about what I want my life to be like.  I even picture our conversations in my head, and I can almost see God smiling and shaking his head at me and my demands and plans.  "Poor foolish child.  But how I love you" with a God-like chuckle (whatever your imagination makes that sound like).

I want more children.  I want a big family.  I've pestered God long and loud about it, but I also have to trust God knows best and has a plan for my life.  For whatever reason, maybe I'm only meant to have one or two children?  Perhaps having a smaller family will enable me to do something wonderful that might not be possible with a big family?  Foster children?  Adopt children?  Take in my children's friends who otherwise don't have a loving and stable home to go to.  And if that's God's plan for me - not meeting my husband until late and thereby capping our family size to "family sedan" - then so be it!

But wouldn't it be nice if God gave you a head's up?  Ah, but then it wouldn't be faith, now would it?