Monday, February 20, 2017

Dear Reuben {15 year old, Ex-Champion Centre kid and all round good bloke}

Dear Reuben,
Happy Birthday Son. I cannot quite believe you are fifteen years old. It seems such a milestone. I wish wish wish I could have seen how amazing you would turn out when you were just a little tike. I love how you are so funny and kind and PASSIONATE about stuff. I love how you give great hugs and the finger in equal quantities. 

You hopefully don't remember this, but your first few years were pretty darn rocky. I told the doctor when you were six weeks old that you were either blind or deaf. He thought you were deaf but maybe you just didn't give a f*** to what I was saying. Who knows. You can hear perfectly when it comes to dinner time, handing out money and bad jokes.

You weren't that keen on hugs then. In fact you cried for the first three years of your life. No joke that was. I have hearing loss, yes this is why I am actually old and deaf. Thanks son. Luckily you grew out of that one or you might not be here to put me in my place.

You and I, we worked so hard for a few years there. We did A LOT of stuff together, stuff that you didn't think was fun, but your therapist thought was important. Remember the Champion Centre? those guys changed your future for you. Helped you find the way back from the screaming little runt that you had been. 

You were not that keen on talking in those days (thats an understatement) but man you make up for it now. I must remember that when you are rabbiting on, I actually worked so jolly hard to encourage you to talk. hahaha. There's a load of stories I could tell, you can ask me about it if you want to sometime. 

Anyway I just wanted to tell you that if I could have seen how you would be at fifteen, I would have been so encouraged. You have turned out more than all my wildest dreams. You are a great kid with tonnes of real potential. You are probably going to say a lot of very rude (non dad approved) words when you read this, but you know son, sometimes it is really good to stop for a minute and look back and go, wow! I've come so far. I want to acknowledge this for you today.

You have come far. You have a fine future ahead of you, doing goodness knows what. Yes you have a few challenges, I won't lie, but I have high hopes that you are going to be a strong, independent, happy, functioning member of society. (No, Playstation is not a career) So Happy Birthday Reuben. You are a great son, a great friend and an all round good man. 

Love mum xox

Friday, February 17, 2017

The ex is getting married...

In a few short weeks David and Rhonda are getting married. The younger children are really excited and they have been telling me lots of little details that have been organised. It sounds like it is going to be a really nice celebration of their new beginning. I'm so stoked for them all, I really hope that they are going to be happy together. I mean, obviously there is part of me that wants to tell Rhonda to run, run for the hills while she still can (lol), but the other part of me, really really hopes that they are crazy in love with each other and that they will be happy for the rest of their lives together.

I really don't know why people think I will be upset about this. It is no secret that I am the one who left, I tapped out, called it quits... however you wanted to call it. I knew that I could no longer love David the way he deserved to be loved, and I really did pray that he would find someone who did love him in that way.

The really good part about David getting married is that Rhonda is really good with the kids. I feel heaps better about them going to their dads when I know that Rhonda is there. She is organised and tidy and she cooks dinners the kids like. She knows about things like kids needing sleep, warm clothes and the little things that sometimes dad forgets.

The first time I realised how good, was when Annie was going to her cousins wedding. I had found a pretty dress for her, but Rhonda took her and got some stockings that matched. She looked so much better. I knew then, that having another person was going to be good for Annie. I'm a bit rough around the edges, and I think Rhonda will be really good for her. She is reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to her, and she tells Annie stories about when she was little. 

I'm not going to lie, I'm thinking the day that they get married will be a bit hard, but the good is far more than anything that makes me sad. I'm grateful that the children's dad has someone who keep an eye on and I'm grateful for a truly good influence in Rhonda. 

And as for me, I've built a secure and happy home for us, I have a job that I love and some really amazing friends. Don't feel sorry for me. I'm good and the kids are too. I think this has turned out for the best for all of us. I have hopes for the future for us all.

Monday, February 13, 2017

To cherish what remains of the earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival. {Wendell Berry}

Last week the quilts that I have spent seven months sewing were hanging at the Exchange Christchurch. It was an amazingly heartwarming experience to have so many people visit the Exchange just to see my work. I sew all by myself at my dining room table and it made me feel quietly proud to have people make the effort to go and visit my work.

When I decided to do this Exhibition all those months ago, I wanted to make a statement about waste and about using what you have. I wasn't sure if I was the only person I was talking to, but I wanted to try. Did you know that the garment industry is the second most wasteful industry in the world (after the oil industry)? 

I only brought three metres of fabric for the tops of these quilts, (i did buy some old sheets and some fabric for the binding). But if you saw the exhibition, you will know that these were large quilts. I started off with my fabric stash that fitted in a drawer and with a basket of scraps. I asked for people to give me old shirts and their orphan blocks and their scraps. I used up nearly all of my scraps and most of my fabric stash and it is a good feeling.

I sold six quilts and kept two. The rest of them have homes to go to. I think the thing I love the most about making quilts is letting them go to new homes. It makes me so happy to be sent photos of people snuggling under their quilts.

I made these quilts because I enjoy a challenge, I wanted to make a statement, I wanted to use what I had and I wanted people to think about fabric in a different way. I also wanted to make some money so that I can buy a design program and start putting the designs in my head onto paper. My dream is to eventually write a book of scrappy quilts. I'll let you know how that goes!!

I just want to say a really big thank you to all of you who made the time to come and see my work, who encouraged me as i worked on them and who spent their hard earned cash on them.

I'm so encouraged by this whole process and looking forward to making many more quilts.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

I signed the divorce and I'm ok

Yesterday I signed the document that formalises the end of my marriage to David. I never in all my wildest dreams imagined this day. Nearly 24 years ago I promised to honour and obey David till "death us do part", but it turns out that the rest of your life is a really long time. In 51 days David is getting married again and I truly hope that his new life is all that he imagines it will be.

I guess I never thought I would be strong enough to be a single parent, to earn my own living and to own my own home. But I can and I am. I make mistakes and I struggle, but honestly I have no regrets. I hope that I am showing my kids how to be a strong, independent person, someone who makes plans and who works their hardest to make them happen. It's pretty liberating to be able to make your own decisions (both good and bad) and have to be responsible and accountable to yourself for those.

I've had a lot of new experiences in the last two years, good times and hard times. There have been tears, there has been frustration and just common old exhaustion. But through it all there has been the knowledge that this is actually going to be ok, it might now be what I planned back when I was 22, but it is all working out.

Here's to the next stage of my life, even though there were loads of things I was worried about, it is going to be ok.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

One year at Big Boy Websites...

Last night the Big Boy Websites team went to Tom and Keri's place
for wood fired pizza and a few drinks.

Last year, Alex was building one website a week at his desk in his wardrobe
(which I nicknamed Narnia) and doing all of the sales, marketing and paperwork
all by himself.

This December we have a whole team of people all doing their bit
and building between 3-6 websites a week.
I was lucky to get a job with Alex as soon as I finished Uni
and I've been getting busier and busier as the year goes by.

The best part about all of this is that we all genuinely like each other.
I would choose all of these guys as friends.
It makes for a great work environment
and it makes going to work so much better.

I'm super proud especially of my son James,
who joined us mid year. He's been doing an on-the-job
crash course in sales and he's doing so well.
I'm proud of how he has transformed his life.

I have loved loved loved getting to know Sarah.
She's our uber talented senior designer.
She's smart and she's funny and she's a shopaholic (along with Tom).
We send each other silly jokes and we have each other's backs.

Seeing the world through Tom's eyes is a revelation.
It is so cool to see things from a different perspective.
It's difficult to be an uptight human when you are around Tom.
He's kind too. He is someone you can rely on in a tight spot.
(I know because I have).

My dream when I went to University,
was to end up with a job where I was a small part of a team.
I wanted to be someone that could be relied on
but who didn't have to do the whole job.

I can safely say that I have found that spot.
I'm beyond grateful for this awesome team.

So looking forward to seeing how 2017 goes for us.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A coffee cup and an idea and a new beginning

Sometimes good things start in really unexpected ways. A few months ago Aliesha at the Exchange gave me my long black in a cup with an extra cup so it wasn't so hot. She suggested I could bring it back next time for a coffee. I fully intended to, but it fell to the back of the car and kinda got squashed. I felt really guilty because I promised Aliesha that I would bring it back, so I tried to think what I could do with it. 

Anyway I had an idea, and I suggested to Annie that we sow a sunflower in the coffee cup. Turned out we had a couple of packets of sunflower seeds, so we collected up coffee cups, and frozen coke cups and noodle cups. We brought a heavy bag of potting mix. We collected other people's coffee cups. Lots of them. And then Annie filled them with potting mix and pushed the seeds in.

It's kinda got addictive. People keep giving me coffee cups and we keep on filling them. We have pumpkins and gypsophila now. Oh and some nasturtium seeds that Jerome gave me. They look so good and are growing so well. Such a simple thing from something so tiny.

Another thing that is growing slowly in my life is a new relationship. I have been so honest along this journey, that I decided to be honest with this too. I've written about this topic already here and here and here

Anyway a few months ago I met a nice guy and we have been quietly getting to know each other for a while now. Letting someone into your life when you are older and have a ton of responsibilities is really scary. You worry about whether you are good enough for the other person or do you have too much baggage. But you also worry about whether you have enough of a foundation to build some kind of future together and how you even begin to do this having failed so spectacularly in the past.

Right now we are just learning about each other slowly. I'd like to think that it will work out for us, but even if it doesn't I believe that I have made a good friend with a kind, funny man who I love to hang out with and is lovely with my kiddies. Isn't that the best way to start a relationship? I believe it is, and just like our tiny seeds, we will water it with time and patience and dare I say it, love; and who knows what the future will bring. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Are you ok?

I notice there is a thing on Facebook at the moment where people are cutting and pasting a thing to raise awareness about suicide. New Zealand has ridiculously high suicide rates, this year it is the worst it has been since they started keeping records about it.

I'm sure that all of our lives have been effected by someone we love who either tried or succeeded in committing suicide. Recently I was having a drink with some friends and one of them was telling a story about how a close relative of theirs had ended their life. She said,

I wish they knew how much they were loved

and it really struck me how that is something we all wish. My mum used to tell me that suicide was a long term solution for a short term problem. But seeing as it is epidemic in our country, I think we all need to be more aware of those around us. This week someone close to me has been struggling and it is so hard to say, are you ok? because you don't want to put the thoughts in their head. But the reality is, that someone is not going to kill themselves because you suggested it.

They are going to take that long term solution because they simply cannot live one more day with the pain they are living with. They need us to ask, are you ok? because they need to know that we recognise that they are struggling.

So don't just cut and paste something on Facebook and think that will be sufficient. Make sure you go to your friend you are concerned about, spend some time, maybe have a coffee with them. And make sure you ask, are you ok? really ok?