Firstly we had an unexpectedly fabulous Old Year's Eve with great friends. We simply went to Monte for an early dinner, gazed at the musical fountains (which I love) and then went home (as you do with 5 children aged 6 and below). It was so cool and laid back that the New Year was upon us without us even noticing and hubby magically produced the Boney M version of "Auld Lang Syne" seconds before the stroke of midnight! I swear we would have stayed up all night talking, sipping champagne and eating wasabi peanuts [read as: blow-the-back-of-your-head-off peanuts] if one of the tots had not woken up and battled to settle again. Ah yes an awesome "parent-of young-children" new year party.
Well hubby was not having a wonderful holiday because his armpit became home to various abscesses which caused HUGE amounts of pain. Luckily I was not left out of the pain game because I picked up Lettuce and strained my back and neck and my sciatic nerve was playing up, so I was walking like a duck with no peripheral vision, so we were a sight to behold!
THE LAST 8 DAYS!!
Bacon started Grade 00. She had a tiny clingy moment but happily waved me goodbye on her first day. I thought I better check out my aching neck so I embarked on the journey of my own personal hell, paying good money to experience the wonderful [read: torturous] technique of dry-needling and "fishing" which was performed on numerous occasions to my misbehaving neck and shoulder muscles throughout the week. The physio took delight in my pain and didn't even try to hide it! At the booking of each new session she actually rubbed her hands together in glee and said "goody!!" *unimpressed* Now Tomato was due to start school on Wednesday, and being very sensitive and nervous I took her for the fourth time to her "big" school to orientate her, show her the class, the tuck shop etc. She was fine until she saw the pool and promptly had a nervous breakdown thinking that she was expected to swim lengths on her first day. Poor baby.
I decided to "focus on me" and go to the Optometrist (did you get that? focus on me, haha I think I'm hysterical) as I had received a script back in November for glasses (bleugh) and kinda forgotten / ignored the fact that if I don't get glasses soon I'm going to need to put in an order for a guide dog instead. I was in a bit of a strange mood so my chosen glasses are in fact purple (Tomato is beside herself with joy as we are now apparently twins). Well at least that cheered her up - the calm before the school-storm.
I spent 4 hours labelling each and every item of her stationery and uniform. Why ON EARTH do they need 4 glues, 2 scissors, 2 sharperners, 4 erasers, 2 rulers and hundreds of wax crayons, pencil crayons and kokis? (to name a few). I was shell-shocked!! But as the good mommy that I am, I marked them all.
Our first-born, Tomato started Grade 1 and it was a shock to all of our systems. Firstly I have to actually get out of bed at a specific time!! Yes that time being the crack of dawn! Okay only 06h30 but it feels like the crack of dawn when you haven't had that pleasure for a while and let's face it when winter comes it will be BEFORE dawn has cracked. Hubby and I drove her to school, showed her where her class was, found her locker and orientated her. We eventually ducked away while she was playing and I ended up sobbing into my cappuchino instead of enjoying the seldom-experienced, potentially romantic brekkie with hubby. I even made him cry when I snapped at him and said "why aren't you crying?? Don't you care??" Not my finest moment! When I fetched her she burst into tears and told me she was so scared. She was apparently singled out and told to tuck in her shirt and when she took her socks and shoes off she was told to put them back on (she always did that in grade 00 but this is "big" school now). My heart just broke for her.
After getting Tomato ready amidst her screams of "why are you forcing me to go to that horrible place?" I managed to take little Lettuce to a photo shoot for a print ad (he was not amused). Work continues and I had just finished checking 3 lots of packaging - that I had insisted on checking (good thing because being the detail-freak that I am, there were a lot of errors!) when it all hit me - I was in pain, hubby was in agony and miserable, my poor little girl was battling to adjust to "big" school and I still hadn't finished all my lecturing preparation. I was not a happy camper! But a mother never gets much time for a pity party because I had to go and fetch Tomato, wondering how her day had gone. Oh no! It was worse than the day before! She wasn't allowed to go to the toilet because she had just had break time. After a lot of consoling (and a McDonalds ice-cream) she was feeling better but I was shattered. I had had such a hectic and bad week it really couldn't get any worse. WRONG! It got waaaaay worse! That night hubby found out that the mom of his oldest friend, who he has known since primary school, had passed away, wow what a shock!
I was beside myself. Tomato was still battling with adapting to her new school and goodbyes were on the cards for me. I really avoid goodbyes as I find them seriously depressing. I like the ostrich approach where we just pretend we'll see each other in a few weeks time but we can never co-ordinate our diaries, so the meeting just gets pushed out and we only see each other again a few years later. Works for me. Don't deal with the emotion - that's my strategy and I was sticking to it. So I had to woman-up and deal, but I was not looking forward to saying goodbye to an awesome woman (and her gorgeous family), who has become an even closer friend over the last 8 weeks.
The evening turned out to be really fun and I forgot all of my worries for a while - amazing what a little strawberry daquiri and some great conversation can do! We met up with other friends of mine who were at a dancing place nearby and we had a great time. Then, instead of saying goodbye to my friend that night as planned, because we couldn't bring ourselves to do it, we agreed to go and say goodbye just before she left for the airport on Monday. WHAT WERE WE THINKING?? PROLONGING THE INEVITABLE GOODBYE! That was NOT the strategy! I eventually got to bed at 2am but it was well worth it, we had had a lot of fun. Until the next morning.......
4 Hours later I was awakened by the wonderful *groan* sounds of my ever-chipper offspring in the morning, fighting over the iPad - welcome to Saturday. "Nooooo" I barely whisper. "I need sleep!!" Not going to happen. So I dragged my sorry butt out of bed and did the motherly duties i.e. make bottle, feed baby, make breakfast for the girls, play play play, put baby back to sleep as soon as he shows the slightest tiredness, put the TV on "kiddyville" and get ready for sleep number 2, my bed is calling....... nearly there...... The phone rings - it's my mom to tell me that our dear long-time family friend (my mom's best friend) had been diagnosed with inoperable cancer of the gall bladder which has spread, so her only option is chemotherapy for 6 months. This lady is 81 years old. OMG!! Nobody saw that coming!
A sad, but at least normal day. Aroma Cafe cake can solve most emotional issues.
Dread. As I eventually had to say the final goodbye to my friend and her beautiful little girls as they jetted off home to Australia. I tried to be strong. Luckily we were rushing to fetch kids so it had to be quick at the end.
Looking back at the past 8 days, I suddenly realised how fragile life is, how friends and events play bigger and then smaller roles in our lives, but they are there in our memory-bank of experiences forever (especially the first day of school). The good ones will stay and the not-so-good, will fade but each and every friend and event has taught us something, given us something, left us with something.
This week has left me with hope and gratitude. Hope that my little girl will adjust to school quickly, hope that my friend will settle quickly back into the Australian way, hope that the family of hubby's friend can find comfort in the fact that their mom is in a better place, hope that my mom's friend will recover and enjoy her golden years cancer-free, hope that our own aches and pains will diminish as they always do, over time.
What I know for sure (thanks Oprah!)
Is that looking back at my week, I can't complain about a thing.
- 3 gorgeous, healthy children
- A loving and devoted husband
- I still have my mother and all of my siblings in my life
- Wonderful, supportive, friends and family
I am grateful for all the blessings in my life. Ah yes, one of those blessings needs me now...... coming Lettuce!!!