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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Sometimes, when I’m overwhelmed, I get in the shower, turn the water as hot as I can stand and sit at the bottom with my hands over my ears.  It feels like I’m in another world, totally removed.

Lately it’s been a daily occurrence, sitting, counting to ten, letting tears escape, rinse and repeat.

I’m starting to get used to the idea that I might not reach this ‘acceptance point’ and feel stable from then on, that it’s going to be up and down, good and not so good days mixed in with cancer counts and banana pancakes, reading eggs and nosebleeds, horses and long drives and friendship and bullshit.

This hurts, you know? It sounds so juvenile but at a base level, cancer has hurt my feelings. It’s not fair. I’m not the type of person who gets sick young. I sleep with men I shouldn’t, get addicted to television series, love avocado and can catch the trickiest horses.  Bailey’s not the type of kid who has a sick single Mum. He’s homeschooled, wants to be a ninja, loses his brain on sugar and likes Adventure Time. I have no idea what these ‘types’ are, I just know we’re not it.

It’s ok. I’m as ok as I can be. There’s no point being otherwise. Last year when I realised I’d been misdiagnosed, mistreated, could have been cured I fell into a hole over it. When I had to write an ‘impact statement’ I felt like I would explode before I got it down on paper. How do you add up hours driving to specialists, whole weekends away from my infant son after radiation, relationship breakdowns, seeing my father cry, the loss of a lifestyle I worked hard for? How could I even halfway articulate how it affects me to know that Bailey didn’t have to know anything about this? That if I’d been diagnosed correctly I could have been in full remission before his first birthday?

These things happen, and no-one is to blame, and that’s the truth. I’ll admit to feeling some closure after seeing my first Doctor, who has no bedside manner, didn’t listen to my concerns, and downplayed independent testing I had done, avoid eye contact until I actually said ‘Fuck You’.

He apologised and it sounded sincere. And I know he would have been asked not to.

*****

So now, I just get to be brave. I’m choosing less treatment in favour of a life where I can play ponies and have my son at home directing his own learning, where we can grow things and take day trips. Where there’s room for coffee, hugs, sex, novels, stargazing. Where I have to be brave enough to deal with the possibility that this won’t pay off, that I may look back and wish I’d done more mainstream treatment. Sometimes, when you have a gut feeling, you have to be brave enough to go with it.

Ash x

 

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Last year when I moved, I was so rushed that I was still throwing shit into boxes, onto a tarp, and into the back of my horse float, while my tenants were moving their stuff in.  Kitchen utensils mixed well with clothes, bathroom things, and stationary.

Most of that stuff is still downstairs, still in boxes.

Obviously I had planned to have a big clean out and sort it all and move back into my house (or another house) with shit totally together, physical, emotional, spiritual and financial, but clearly it hasn’t worked out that way. Part of me wants to ditch everything and start again, the other part knows that’s stupid and wasteful and I’m sure there’s some things I’ll need when I get back to reality.

I need to do so many things, instead I just sit and look at the beach.

Not to mention fucking Christmas.

Craig has started being mildly painful again, I think he senses me moving on, becoming self-sufficient and making big decisions for myself and Bailey without his input and is like ‘oh fuck’. I know I shouldn’t engage with him. But a big part of me still wants that eventual happy ending. Especially for Bailey.

It is what it is and all that.

I have to go back for now, but that doesn’t have to be permanent. The plan is, stick it out for 12 months, then see what I can work out. I want to be near the ocean, and have some space. I want to work for myself (so I’m starting a new business) and I want to do everything I can for my health. And I still want horses. Stupidly. The worthwhile things are always hard.

I guess I just wanted to give you guys a little update, but this is good for ordering things in my head too.

In health news, I’m doing ok. I’ve suddenly started having migraines, which scared the absolute crap out of me, but I went for all the relevant scans and there’s nothing new. In the last few months my body has become increasingly reactive to food, which I’ve really been struggling with so I’m thinking that this is just another reaction. Right now I seem to have reactions to wheat, dairy, meat, soy, tablets (!), liquid supplements, summer/ tropical fruits, corn, and I’m sure there’s more. I can eat bananas and feel ok. And fish. Some types.

So I’ve given in and started on meal replacements. I don’t agree with it and I never wanted Bailey to see me doing stupid diets, but I can’t keep vomiting, having cramps, carrying excess weight while being low in absolutely everything that’s testable. So far, it’s a lot better. It’s expensive, tastes awful, but worth it.

The water is so blue today. I’m going to miss this so much. Is it stupid to grieve for places that will still be here? Maybe. This house is going, and it feels like the last link to the small amount of happy childhood I had before life started to implode.

When I close my eyes here, I’m four again, at the beach. I don’t know what cancer or divorce or alcohol or sexual abuse is. My mother has come down a couple of times, and I think she is trying to forge some kind of new relationship with me separate from the truce we’ve established since I had Bailey.

She’s still hyper-critical, but I’m beginning to see that’s more about her than about me.

And I think I’m a better parent than her, arrogant I know. So does she, I can tell when she watches me with Bailey, that hint of wistfulness at what she’s missed and can never get back. It’s true what people say, they grow so quickly, and you get one shot. One.

You can’t fix a childhood, that’s something that I’ve really truly learnt this year. But you can choose to forgive, be a cycle breaker, work with the good stuff. Bailey’s childhood isn’t perfect, not by a long shot, but he’s loved and wanted, and he knows that I didn’t choose to get sick and make things difficult. And that I would never choose to leave him. The thought wouldn’t even cross his mind.

So I’m stopping beating myself over the head for things out of my control, and starting to trust that he’ll be ok with me, regardless. He might even learn some important lessons.

Ash x

 

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That you’ll never be the same again.

Sure. If I keep on top of myself and I’m careful and I have a hell of a lot of luck I *might* be able to put our lives back together. For awhile. Some bits. The important ones I’m hoping.

What’s important has changed. And that’s not all together a bad thing.

I’ve lost most of my friends, which I only realised today when I really sat down and thought about it. Some of the few that remain are surprises, as are some of the ones who left.

I haven’t written much about it, but there are cracks in my relationship with Bailey now. At the start of the year I would have said we were bulletproof.

IMG_0167

He’s over me being sick, and everything that comes with it, and I don’t blame him one little bit. I’m tired, on edge. Everytime I start to get on top of things, something happens. I love him more than life, but fuck this is hard to deal with. I’m failing him, doing heaps of things I thought I’d never do, just to cope.

He asks why it was his mummy who had to get sick, and I have no way to answer that.

He lucked out with me, really.

*****

I’m having a flat day, obviously, but overall I’m still doing ok :). I’m not getting a heap of sleep, because I was honest enough with my Doctors to admit that I shouldn’t really be trusted with pills at this point, and it was one of the harder things I’ve had to verbalise lately. Of course, I want them badly and I’m kicking myself a little now, but I know myself, and unfortunately I think I’m always going to struggle a bit with things that can numb me or take me away.

Alcohol, sugar, pills, cigarettes, sex, it’s all part of the same problem for me, and I’m committed to sorting that shit out. I’m not an alcoholic, a sex-addict, I’m a chronic cope-r, and I just do anything in order to keep going and then to switch my brain and feelings off at the end of the day.

I think I’ll get to the point where I don’t need to, because I’m starting to notice the things I fucking love about my life, and building on them.

*****

So Craig called me other day. He didn’t have Bailey the previous weekend so other than me texting him to say Bailey was sick, we hadn’t had any contact, and for a couple of weeks before that, it was very quick drop offs, no dinner, no chat. Basically because Fuck him.

It was awkward. Up until now, unless it’s been in the direct aftermath of a massive fight we’ve still been able to talk pretty easily. I mean, I could talk to practically anyone though.

‘Hey, I was just wondering how you were? What’s happening?’

‘Um, nothing much, you? Did you want to speak to Bman?’

‘No…I just wanted to know how you are? How’s treatment?’

‘Yep. It’s fine thanks. How’s work?’

‘Yeah…ok…’

-awkward silence-

‘I miss you’

-disbelieving laughter, massive smile-

‘I don’t really care’

You know those moments that make life worth living? Pretty sure that was one of them.

xx

 

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So yeah, it all sucks a little right now.

Basically, I’d really like to just delete myself from facebook, here, my email, and throw my phone into the ocean. Sit under a doona with tissues and hot tea and no interruptions. I even got to the point of considering just not doing treatment, and feeling lucky because, you know, at least I have an out, right? I could just pretend to be ‘leaving it in the hands of fate’ because I’m not suicidal, I’m more just…not into life.

Bailey. I know right? I’m a terrible mother and probably a horrible person right now. Of course I love the hell out of him, even if I can’t quite touch that feeling lately. Except for when it breaks through, blinding light through shutters, and it’s absolutely all I can feel, too much, leaving me winded and gasping.

Anyway. Today, I bullied myself into having a shower AND brushing my teeth *slow clap*. Ran a couple of errands, more than I’ve done in ages. I was exhausted after. School is on hiatus, so I am sucking at that too. Speaking of which, we got assessed week before last, and I smiled and made coffee and Bailey was gorgeous and she was so pleased with us. I felt like the most worthless piece of shit after though, because it was such a total act.

I have this shitty cold, and you’d think in light of everything else it’d barely register…wrong. I felt like shit before, all I can taste is chemicals, everything keeps bleeding, and god forbid I should try to have some time with the dogs or horses…it’s not worth looking like I’ve been beaten after with huge purpley black bruising. So add a blocked nose and pounding head and dry hacking cough, and yeah it’s noticeable. I’m so close to the edge of my ‘coping capacity’ now, that it takes very little to push me through to the ‘clinging by fingertips’ point.

It was Bailey’s birthday over the weekend, so we had his best friends down for three nights. I love these kids and usually love having them, but yeah, it was a bit much for me. Craig came down, and told me everything I’ve ever done wrong in our whole relationship, from his point of view. Because apparently it’s my fault I’m overwhelmed. And I can’t even write about it, because it hurts too much, making my chest squeeze and eyes prickle, and I don’t understand how he could, when I’m so obviously doing my best and still not coping.

I’m not a fucking punching bag, and yeah it’s easy to say, but if there’s something I know about myself, it’s that I prefer that to … nothing … That’s gotta change.

Anyway, out of the seven mediations I’m on, I think maybe one of them is having some weird side effect…some of the thoughts in my head, about stopping treatment etc, it doesn’t feel like me, and it’s the weirdest fucking thing. Or maybe this is just depression, I wouldn’t know. Anxiety, I get. PTSD, I get. But I *am* going to the Dr tomorrow, and a different one next week, and between the two of them I need some kind of treatment. Like, last week.

Wow, that was exhausting to write.

In other shit, my tests are slightly better, so we are on the right track treatment wise, I still don’t have my iphone back but can’t be bothered pushing for it, I can hear the beach and it sounds angry. My cat won’t leave me alone, and I’m stupidly grateful to him right now.

I watched the surfers for ages today, just sat and stared out. The sun kept peeking through dark clouds, making the grey waves sparkle. Bailey asked why they do the same thing over and over, they already know what’s going to happen. Maybe that’s the point.

x

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I know I’ve said this lots of times, but my son is amazing.

IMG_2288

Bailey and the dumbest dog ever. And my foot. Ew.

I love him, I love him, I love him.

I had to take him with me to get blood tests and a scan today. I usually wouldn’t but it was unavoidable and I felt awful about it. People stared a little, sympathy in their eyes as I towed him down a long corridor. My favourite nurse pursed her lips and asked if I wanted to see if the crèche was open.

‘No, he’ll be fine. He’s well-behaved and knows how to sit quietly.’

‘I know he’s lovely, it’s just that if you need to tend to him, we have to start again.’

My son is me. I know him. I can actually feel his feelings, know instinctively how he is going to react in most situations. I felt his pride, ‘I’m almost six, so I know how to be good’, and his offense at being doubted.

‘Honey, you can sit just there quietly and not interrupt, can’t you?’

Eager nodding.

More guilt seeping, the better he is, the worse I feel some days.

After, waiting in the pharmacy, she takes the seat on the other side of him.

‘You’re a well-behaved little mite, I can say that much. I think you deserve a sticker.’

Wide eyes, excited smile ‘Really?’

From behind her back she brings out a whole sticker book, a packet of smarties, a little metal car.

‘This is for being such a good boy for Mummy today. Do you think you can go over there and play while I have a word?’

He looks at me quizzically, I nod so he says ‘Thankyou!’ and scampers off, only to dart back and throw his arms around her, exclaiming ‘I’m so lucky’. She laughs and hugs him back, but I see her eyes fill with tears as he turns away.

Look love’, she begins, ‘I know we probably seem like a group of unfeeling fuddy-duddys sometimes, but in this job, if you don’t have some level of detachment, you’d be crying yourself to sleep.’

‘You don’t seem unfeeling… I couldn’t do what you guys do.’

‘I just’, she fumbles a little, ‘us, me and the other girls, we think you’re fantastic. You’re doing really well. We see all types in here, you know. But we all like to chat to you, even though we wish you didn’t have to come in’

‘Thanks…that means so much’ I probably sound kind of cold, but I can’t have another crying session at the hospital. And I never know what to say when people compliment me.

‘And you’re a good mum. Look at that little treasure. He adores you’

‘He’s wonderful. I don’t think dragging him to the hospital when he should be doing his schoolwork really constitutes good parenting.’ I’m smiling though, so she does too.

‘Because of this unfair mess, he’ll have empathy and resilience in bucket-loads. Don’t forget that, love.’ She pats my shoulder as she walks out.

*****

I always try really hard not to spoil him out of guilt. I want him to know what it’s like to really, really want things, to have to work for them, know how much more stuff means when you’ve earnt it.

‘We need to stop at the shop baby, can you think of anything we need?’

‘Toys’, he jokes, grinning at me in the mirror.

I laugh, ‘How about some bananas and milk, um bread…something for dinner?’

‘Where are we going?’ he asks suddenly, a few minutes later, noticing we’ve veered off our usual route.

‘Just a different shop’

‘This looks like the toy shop!’, as we pull into the parking lot.

We hop out of the car, him asking if we need to buy a present, why are we here, can we look for a little while. I pick him up, struggling under his weight. Balancing him on my hip, I stroke his cheek and say, ‘Pick any toy you want’.

He’s confused ‘What for?’

‘Just because I love you and I want to buy you something.’

We’re there for about an hour, and I don’t rush him. I let him look at bikes, cricket sets, remote control aeroplanes. Eventually he picks up a little container of slime, $4.99.

‘Can I have this?’

‘Really? Are you sure you don’t want something different?’

‘I’ll keep looking’

Eventually I steer him to the Lego aisle (islands, he calls them), and catch him gazing up at the big Lego city boxes, even while he’s holding a much more reasonable fire truck set.

‘Do you want the big box?’

The look on his face is like all his Christmas‘, birthdays and special treats have come together.

‘But it’s huge-mongous. I bet it’s really expensive.’

‘If that’s what you want the most, lets buy it.’

He grins as I hand him the box. It’s a lot wider than he is, but he manages to get it up to the counter, and is almost vibrating as I pay and chat to the checkout chick.

‘I can’t believe I just got that! THANKS MUMMY!!’

It doesn’t make up for anything. But holy crap, it was good to suspend reality and day to day shit for a little while. To not ‘be sensible’.

Today, he just felt heaven sent.

*****

I’m so annoyed my iphone is in the shop, because I’d love to show you guys a picture of him holding the box.

I’m so grateful for him, for kind nurses, teddy bears, sunsets, my friends, soft sheets, love in every form. I’m grateful I express myself writing, otherwise I don’t know what I’d do.

Much love

x

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Image“Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.” – William Makepeace Thackeray.

I haven’t really written about my mother before.

She’s smart, free spirited, young looking. She’s funny (with an edge). She’s short like me, with the same long legged and minimal torso ratio.

She left permanently when I was 9.

She’d been gone before, for long stretches of time, sometimes a couple of months.

I never really minded, and I can remember being confused when people would sympathise with me. About friends going on about their mums as a teenager, and then looking awkward ‘sorry Ash’. It really never bothered me.

She was kind of a huge bitch to live with, and I remember feeling annoyed when she would come for visits. She favoured my brother quite blatantly. We used to visit her most school holidays…she chose to live overseas from us…and that’s ok.

I miss her now though. Not her, specifically. We have an ok relationship, not a mother-daughter one.

I look at my friends and the relationships they have with their mothers now, in our 20s…I could use some of that. That nurturing. I’ve never really had it, but I somehow miss it now.

I wonder if it’s part of the reason I often end up in close friendships with women older than me, if it’s that yearning I can’t quite put my finger on. I have this one particular friend…I love her to death. She makes me soup and tells me to whip my jeans off so she can hem them. I roll my eyes when she talks to me about organising her freezer and how to make meals from leftovers, but secretly I’m lapping it up.

I know people have been worried about me and Bailey. Craig, in one of our worst arguments ever, confessed he was worried that I could do the same, because I’m like her. In so many ways. I’m intensely curious about other ways of life, and when I go somewhere I don’t want to be a tourist… I want to immerse myself in people, live like them, experience their lifestyle, not just look at it. I’d talk about living overseas for 5 years, revisiting orphanages, riding in Europe, staying with family in Venice… He’d talk about what was on TV, his favourite beer, and I’d feel like I was drowning.

I’ve got no idea how to be a mother really, my memories from when I was little are all blurry and skewed. I never ask her about when we were small, there’s this unspoken truce that prevents it. I’m not like a mother now, and I know that. I’m cool with that. I love love love my friends who are mothers, and I think they love me back and we laugh about our differences and they trust me with their children and think Bailey is beautiful ‘and he’s so you, Ash’. They laugh hysterically at my attitude towards it all, when Bman asked why I was ‘vacuuming that funny table’ (ironing), and my apparently ‘holistic ideals’ about parenting (I don’t smack, rarely yell, say yes a lot. and now I homeschool.).

But when they talk about ironing, or school lunches, or nits, or poo, it makes me twitch. I have no idea how to get over that. I love my son more than life, I actually feel honoured to be the one raising him. But holy fuck, give me a conversation about psychology, spirituality, the most hilarious thing their offspring did that week, who they are as a person, and what they feel and how they got here…

I suck at this mum thing.

I rock at this mum thing.

I swing like a pendulum between the two mindframes, and yeah sometimes it’s dependent on his behaviour (when he swore after I let him watch Drop Dead Fred to when he picked up coins for an old lady, when he did a poo in the kitty litter after I spent 2 weeks trying to bribe him to use the toilet, to when he befriended the four year old in his class who couldn’t speak English) but other times I feel sucky because of my genuine disinterest in the day to day mundane…

Does it make me a bad mum? Does he feel my ambivalence?

I asked him, and he said ‘Life isn’t about that stuff. I wish we could have McDonalds’.

:)x

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One, Two, and Three.
After what at the time felt like a semi-spiritual-epiphany or something, I had a bit of a crash. The next day we went to a tattoo place, my bestie needs to get one of hers fixed up and I’ve wanted ‘Bailey’ on my wrist for ages, with some kind of design around it, so I figured I could just get the writing and save the design for ‘when I go into remission’.

I wasn’t nervous and felt kind of out of it…I picked a script that I liked but wasn’t perfect… Took some amusement in the artists and other customers trying way too hard to be badass and original…I just felt so removed from it all. The guy was aware it was my first time, kept asking if I was nervous and stopping and checking that I was ok.

I guess it hurt a little, over the vein…I don’t know. Honestly, I wished it’d hurt more, burnt like acid.

We walked through the city in the sprinkling rain, and I didn’t want to go home.

*****

Since then it’s pretty much been a blur of tests and drs and friends saying how sorry they are, and is there anything they can do.

There’s nothing, really.

I see my counsellor, my safe place for the last couple of years, and she says she won’t be able to see me any more, her hours are being cut, and it’s the worst timing ever.

I might not go into remission. That doesn’t mean in any way that this is terminal. It means it might be an ongoing thing, that I’ll have to live around. Treatable is different to curable. I may have to rewrite what ok means to me.

Just. Fuck.

It’s grey today. Thankfully. I don’t think I could do blue skies and sunshine. I can’t tell where the water meets the sky, everything’s murky and blended and undefined. Like me. We’ve got no milk, I need to clean up. I just told Bailey we’re starting school holidays early, and we can have a movie day.

I haven’t talked to him about anything yet, or most of my family, and I really truly feel like I just can’t. It feels impossible. Totally.

x

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…but I still want to 🙂

So I thought I’d do some of those ‘Daily Post‘ prompt things, not on the day they’re meant for, but oh well. I just had a scroll through and liked this one :

Daily Prompt: Playlist of the Week

by michelle w. on March 10, 2013

Tell us how your week went by putting together a playlist of  five songs that represent it.

So here we go!

Jack’s Mannequin – The Resolution

Trying to live in the moment, to get away from someones hold on you, wanting some sort of resolution but knowing you’ll have to find it within yourself…yep. Seems pretty familiar.

Guns n RosesSweet Child O’ Mine

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-AYAv0IoWI

Saw them in concert last weekend, so awesome. This isn’t actually my favourite song of theirs (its November Rain :P) but I always used to sing it to Bailey when he was younger and now he loves it :). Yeah, I’m a bogan 😛

Lissie – Nothing Else Matters

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFQvdrOW29w

Awesome cover of one of my favourite Metallica songs. Heard it on Californication and have listened to it all week.

Garbage – When I Grow Up

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-7Yxel2gHM

Because I’m still waiting, haha.

Powderfinger – Sunsets

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGDDqTUrJXA

Happy Monday friends xx

 

 

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Been listening to this a bit lately…

I’m a shockingly bad blogger. Everyday something happens, and I think ‘I’d love to blog about that’. I haven’t been able to find a lot of words lately. Not to mention air.

I’m getting through.

I need to leave here for awhile and while I know it’s the right choice, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. I dont mean the practical stuff, although packing up a house, 3 sheds, 3 horses, 2 cats, 2 dogs and moving to a beach shack is challenging. I mean it’s ripping my heart out to let go a little bit. I’ll miss some things here intensley, my friends, work, my lifestyle, the horses.

Things that I love when I am well are just such a burden when I’m not well.

At the same time there is this almost sickening lightness, a high that comes from living through things you never thought you’d be able to, not that you could have imagined having to.

Not much scares me now, and thats both good and bad.

I’m planning on coming back in time for the start of the school year in 2014 but maybe I never ever will.

Once the decision was made, that was that. I am getting a fair bit of judgement from people, but for maybe the first time in my life I just don’t care. No-one has to agree with me, no-one else has to live this. No-one else knows the full story, and I don’t feel the need to explain.

Bailey and I are going to have a fantastic year. I am going to recover. And if this new tumour spreads into my brain tissue he will remember the year we took time off to hold each other close.

I feel quite pleasantly detatched most of the time, thank god. That will dissipate at some point but I’ll be ok.

I’ll never be ok, not truly.

But that’s ok.

x

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‘Mummy, what you have, cancer, is that what it’s called?’

Huge dark blue eyes staring unflinchingly into mine.

‘Yes darling, that’s what it’s called. Is everything ok?’

‘Sometimes. Sometimes people die from cancer.’

He’s 5.

Image

My heart broke.

I didn’t even know he knew the word cancer, or had any understanding of it. I’ve never felt it necessary to be too honest with him – I try to remember how young he is and keep what I say on his level.

I guess I underestimated him.

Of course I reassured him. Told him that even though I am a bit sick right now, I am getting better and I’m not dying.

And I could say that honestly after my last lot of tests 🙂

God, we’re so lucky. So so blessed.

I’m so grateful we’re getting through this.

xx

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