Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Australia Day and onwards

In years gone by we had a long weekend for Australia Day, no matter where in the week the 26th fell.  The 'celebration' mainly consisted of an announcement of the Australia Day awards and a cricket match.  These days we have a day off on the day and it seems that more people are involved in the celebration.  Here in our little town a breakfast is held with local awards given and a bit of a concert and some competitions for best decorated tables, hats etc.  A couple of years ago my then 23yr old received the local Young Citizen award, but refused to go to accept it as she doesn't like to be in the limelight. My youngest accepted it for her.  She sponsors 4 overseas children while still studying and we had fundraised and she had travelled to Haiti to visit her Haitian child and 2 of mine.  This was before the earthquake and still she came home with the realisation of just how bad things are there and how far above their reality is our standard of living....even on a Centrelink income we are RICH in comparison.
It is hard to imagine living conditions that must prevail after the quake.  All of our babies survived as far as we can ascertain.  I feel very guilty that I don't write to them but will attempt to change that this year.
Anyway Australia Day is passing with no acknowledgement here....we have all slept in and only plan to leave the house as both girls have shifts at their work.
Happy Australia Day!
The last few days have been full of reflection on life, death and the need to do NOW and live NOW and be NOW as that really is all we can be sure of.  This always comes to the fore whenever we are touched by death and trauma but more so when we are confronted with the reality of a sudden, tragic death of someone vibrant and full of life and so, so young.  We all process this in different ways, we think of our loss, we think of how the family will cope, we think of it in terms of their loss, we imagine our own family coping should it be our death and we are thankful that we are still here.  And we realise we have no answer to the WHY?
All we can do is try to live OUR life in the best possible way, doing what we can for people and with people to enrich their lives and in doing so enrich our own.
That is my promise to myself and my loved ones.
Have a great day, Australia.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The happy and the sad.

Well my bags AREN'T packed and I'm NOT ready to go, but I am leaving on a (not JET) plane...... at 6.30am tomorrow morning to travel to, then through Melbourne to farewell my young friend.  Between now and then there are a myriad of things to do but I have been racing round all day so am trying to find the energy and brain resources to get my packing done.  I haven't as yet booked my home flight but I think I will see what happens tomorrow as to whether I come home on the late plane or stay overnight.....somewhere....
The washing machine is going and I am giving some thought to what I should put into my bag....but.....
It is in the high 30's here today but I see low 20's there tomorrow, so layers will no doubt be the go....so... choose the colour, grab the clothes and do it.....hmmm....should be simple.
I feel rather like I did when my Dad was dying, I had booked to do Work Place Training and Assessment at a University in Toorak... I had paid my fare with non exchangeable tickets and had paid out several hundred $$ to do the course.  I had spent 80 of the previous 120 hrs sitting at the hospital with Dad, so decided that rather than lose the money, I would go....
When I got to Melbourne it struck me that on all previous trips my daughter had been there to greet me and take me to where I needed to be....she was back home looking after her siblings... I caught a taxi, shared to the city with someone met on the footpath, then out to the Uni, $52 was my share...this is 10 yrs ago so felt like a LOT of money.  Anyway I muddled on and got to the training room, to eventually discover that the instructor didn't turn up and the course was cancelled.... I had not planned where I was to stay or how I was to get around.... It ended up that (very much pre p2p) one who was to join our group came to meet me and I stayed with her, was put on the plane back home the next morning, my daughter got my ticket changed, and I was with my Dad as he died a day later.  The Uni reimbursed me ALL out of pocket expenses, .... a fairly wild 24hrs but it did get me out of the hospital and allowed me a bit of a breather but then I was back where I was needed and not out of pocket....sometimes decisions are the right ones.....
I am hoping tomorrow's decision is the right one too... this time the death has already happened but I am equally unprepared and stepping out in faith that it will all work out.
The HAPPY news is that my previously very much single 'baby' sister, at 37 is engaged, and has set a date.... Aug 6, catch is the venue is LONDON....not sure that I will be able to work out THOSE logistics....or the financial side to get us there, but I guess it is on my wish list and I will see if I can make it happen....no earned income, studying full time, just used my squirrellings to buy my car....yerrrr sure I can.
Time will tell.
Well I better go and get packing or I will run out of time to get myself to Kylie's farewell and at the moment that is my focus and my intent.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Another Farewell, much sadder

Little did I know when I signed in to Facebook midway through Tuesday morning....
the emotions that would surface, the devastation I would feel as I read of the sudden, unexpected, death of a young, vibrant, sassy mum.
She was one of a group of mums (and a couple of dads) that I met online over the last about 10 years.  We 'wrote' each other through pregnancies (theirs not mine) through separations, divorces, illness and general everyday trials.  Girls who did not know each other became close friends and gradually those online friendships moved into 'real life' with small meetups for coffee then in the latter years we held a Jamboree where a large group of us from all over Australia got together for some meals and shopping and a general wonderful time.  K was right in there, taking photos, telling stories, sharing her life....We are so going to miss that.
She was such a loving mum who adored her kids and her 'spunky' husband. So talented with her new business and so full of joy!  I can't imagine how he and they will be feeling...beyond, beyond sad....
We are all so sad.
I have found it hard to pick myself up for the last couple of days and have been going back over our site, reliving memories.....there are so many on there both good and bad.... a real HEART place.
Over the last couple of years the original forum has been left behind to a certain extent as other online sites have come into play but the relationships that formed there have remained extremely strong and like families in crisis often come to each others needs, so have the members of this group, supporting both K's family and each other.
I am sure though that these relationships would never have developed in the new world of FB.  It is okay to keep in touch there but to form the deep connection that these young people (and a couple of us oldies) have there has to be a forum where it is safe to air ones sorrows and deep feelings, and tell our joys and successes.
I for one am so glad we had that place, and hope that we manage to keep it alive and well so that those relationships can be nurtured and that even more young mums and dads can find a connection and a safe place to vent and celebrate and form that 'family' relationship that we have.
I have also been constantly going to her FB page, reading and looking at the photos with such a sense of unreality, almost waiting for the next posting....or wishing desperately that it might come.... and that a HUGE mistake has been made.  But this is the reality of life, we MUST make the most of today as that is all we can be sure of.
I am so going to miss her vibrancy, the almost daily photo updates, the joy that flew from the screen, even through the rants and raves and more than that I am in mourning for the loss that her husband and children are having to face, and that they no longer have her there caring so deeply for them.
Farewell my friend, we will miss you.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Endings and the trouble with time

Today I farewelled an old acquaintance.  She was a member of our sister church and the parent of a 'girl' I went to school with, many a year ago.  It was not an overly sad funeral as she was 81 and a committed Christian so most were of the opinion that she had lived a good life and would now be rewarded for that life.  It is however always tough to say goodbye.
Along with many of her friends and fellow worshippers and members of the many groups she had been involved with, were a handful of my peers, not real school friends but certainly from my class at high school. During the service a letter was read from her lifelong friend who was unable to attend but with whom she had shared a friendship of over 60 yrs and they remained as close, up until her death, as they had in their teen years.
It got me a thinking.....
Over the years I have had many periods of friendship with different people.  Some due to similar interests, children, craft, work, church congregations that we have been part of and a few, a mere sprinkling of friends from childhood.  As we grow older that list gets bigger but in reality there are only a few that I have kept in touch with over the years.  Is this a failing on my part or a natural turn of events.  These days I don't even send out Christmas cards as I used to, with that yearly missive listing the events and achievements of the year.  There are some people with whom I had very close contact that I don't even know their current whereabouts....sadly.
I must admit that Facebook, with all its down sides, has allowed some reconnection with a few but not many of my generation are as computer dependent (addicted) as we in this house are.  But even there I find I am not nurturing these past friendships as not just the physical distance but the changes in our lives has changed the connection and those shared interests that gave a link to build the friendship on may not be there now.
I can think of two right now who are on my 'friend' list but with whom I have not shared more than a few platitudes over the last 12 months.
I wonder if the friendships we form in our latter years can be as intense as the ones we formed when young and will any of the ones we form today last more than a few years.
In some ways I still feel as close to some of those 'old' friends as I was when we shared daily lives but it is kind of attached to the time we were living it rather than reality and the fact that many, many years have passed and those things like children playing after school, and play groups, are far from being a part of our current lives and perhaps we have no shared experiences to tie us now.
I did go back to one of my old towns a few years back and just turned up on doorsteps and said 'hello'.  With some it was a quick transition back to it being 'just the same' but with a couple there was a noticeable 'gap'.  But as the last couple of years have gone by I have not maintained that renewed contact... it is a shame. 
I don't think I really nurture the friendships I have now but find I am happy in my own company but do experience a slight pang when I see peers who spend many hours a week with their 'friends' and rely on each other for emotional and physical support....perhaps I should seek out and develop more of that type of friendship....but then again it might mean I have to expend more energy than I have at the moment......

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What am I starting here......

I have often been told that I should write a book, but really don't think I have either the fortitude or the interest to do such a thing.  I guess standing back and looking at my life so far there are some memorable and perhaps interesting things that have happened that could serve as a lesson to others and some that could serve as an example but whether I want them paraded in print is questionable.

This has been started purely on a whim as I read the first blog of a friend and just kept hitting buttons as one is wont to do when procrastinating about a couple of tasks that I am finding too daunting to tackle.

I am currently on holiday from both my jobs and from my full time university course but have a mountain of housework and backed up paperwork that I should be tackling.  I am also inflicted with the hoarders disease that includes books, clothes, paper, anything belonging to my six children, and all things crafty.  Not conducive to being able to do anything without first clearing a space, and the 'clear to' areas are diminishing fast!!  Hence the Badmumma title which has the added tie that B.A.D. are my initials. 

Okay, maybe an introduction.
For the last 13 years I have been single parenting my six children.  I am currently down to two at home as they are all growing up and becoming pretty wonderful adults, biased I know, but they are.
Last year, 2010, my third and fourth finished University degrees and my fifth finished Secondary School so will head off to university in a couple of months.  The eldest two have been travelling the world, one is paid to do that in her job as Tour manager for a group of young acrobatic musicians, but the other, my only son has had to self-fund his travelling.  They are both back in Australia and have new work contracts so look like staying in Australia at least in the short term.  One is co-producing a large Arts Festival the other working in IT.
My uni graduates are both going to do some further study this year but are looking for jobs in their chosen fields, Nutrition and Science, so far not successfully.
I am going into the third of four years of the Bachelor of Education degree with only 10 units left to complete as I have moved some forward over the last two years.  This has meant juggling my other two jobs and my family which has probably added to the disaster zone of my house but does mean that these two years will be somewhat lighter, study wise.  My jobs both involve working at schools, one as an integration aide and the other as an Out of School Hours co-ordinator.  I have been doing OOSH work for the last 21 years, starting two programs from scratch and working at several others as the need arose.  My integration work has been for the last 10 years the first 4 as an unpaid volunteer (as were ALL the staff of my chosen school - a story for another day) but the last six as paid.  In all the previous years to joining the workforce outside the home I was involved in Family Day Care and as a volunteer in each of my children's classrooms on a regular basis.  I also spent a couple of those years running the school canteen and on many school and kinder committees.
Sadly all of that experience meant nothing in getting any credit for my degree.  I did receive some exemptions but they were due to my Diploma in Children's Services rather than my experience.  Oh well I am getting it done... counting down the units now.
Should head into the disaster zone now and make the most of the cool wet summer we are having and tackle at least one of my daunting tasks.