Our little family is moving house in the near future. There are pros and cons to this, most of which I’ll not be aware of until moving time comes. I don’t know where we’ll be next, but the change in itself is inevitable. And because things will change I’ve been trying to be intentionally mindful and appreciative of the things I enjoy about where we are now – friends and family that live close; great local parks; a bath tub; our most excellent housemate and his most excellent dog; a lovely kitchen with a dishwasher and a matching cutlery set owned by said excellent housemate; and did I mention the bath?
I am currently sitting in my almost one-year old son’s room, curled up on his rocking chair, with his heater powering through the cold chill in the air. His breathing gently breaks into a weirdly adorable child-snore every six or seven breaths; he mumbles gibberish in his dreaming, while reaching out a sleeping hand to fumble for his dummy in the dark. The same piano gospel lullabies he’s listened to every night since birth are chiming gently through the spluttering of the warm vaporiser, while traffic rumbles around on one of the main roads in what seems like a million miles from the stillness here.
Dear Mama: You need to stop thinking you are responsible when your children “ fail ”.
I still remember the first time it happened to me: right after I received and read through my oldest son’s first school report card. Or as they call it here in Western Australia: “Student Achievement Report”. You might have seen this format yourself, where your child gets scored in various categories to be either excellent or not so excellent.
Summer is here. Which means the birds are singing, the weather is warm, and kids no longer *need* shoes outside. But with this newfound freedom (you’re welcome, toes) comes the chaos of the season. Unstructured days bring unpredictability, frustrations, and a great need for a few minutes of calm.
There are so many words that I could use to describe my journey and the different aspects of motherhood: elation, joy, completeness, love, fulfilling, frustrating, tiring, demanding, life-giving, life sapping. But looking back on my journey so far, a phrase I would use to encapsulate all of these words is “a courageous mission”.
I wasn’t sure I would ever be ready to be a mum.
I have always loved the idea of having children. I grew up with a sister and a small group of friends with big families. We went on a ton of vacations, visited extended family interstate often, celebrated every single birthday and, as I got older, family life only became deeper and more tight-knit as we worked through the throes of adulthood together. I knew I wanted to have my own children one day: two, and preferably girls (mainly so I could forcibly pass on all of my beautiful barbie dolls to them).
These were the upgrades I signed up for when I became a mum, or so I imagined.
I like surprises. When we got married I let my husband plan our whole honeymoon and delighted in being whisked away without a clue where we’d end up or what we’d do. I really enjoy the injection of the unexpected into everyday life.
Infertility was never a part of my plan.
I’ve always been slightly obsessed with babies. From an early age, you could have seen me wandering around my house and the neighborhood with a Bitty Baby, you know, the one from American Girl, strapped to my chest. My parents must have figured this was a sign that I needed siblings because they quickly had nine more children and until I left for college, my arms always had a baby to hold. When I got married at the ripe young age of twenty-one, I couldn’t wait to start a family of my own.