Monday, March 30, 2015

Transition {hint: it hurts}

I'm not going to lie. Transition is tough.
It doesn't matter what changes you are going through,
it's hard. In childbirth, transition is the bit where the mother tells the midwife
that she's had enough, she will just got home now, thanks very much
and have the baby another day.

Transitioning from one life to another is pretty tough too.
It's not just packing boxes, finding a place to live,
shifting the boxes and then unpacking them.

There's a whole lot of life to be unravelled and it seems the strangest things
feel like open heart surgery on the field with no pain killers. 

Today was the final day for me as a director of the company which David and I have run
together for over twenty years. I used my bank cards and fuel card for the last time
and then went and handed them in to the accountant.
There are some papers to sign, but my part of the company
is no longer mine and the rights and responsibilities that go with that
are no longer mine to carry.

I well remember as newly married 23 year old,
learning to type quotations for David (what is a soffit?? a barge??)
and to balance a ledger with a pencil, a rubber and a calculator.
I did the book work for years, through pregnancies, sick babies,
in good times and in bad.

And then later on I did other things, like drug tests, systems,
health and safety and even for one horrible period, quotations.

My heart is sad today. This chapter is over
and the next has barely begun. 

I think the thing to do, is take a moment;
acknowledge how shit this all is, and then wake up tomorrow and carry on.

This too will pass.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I'm a strong person. But every now and then I would like someone to take my hand and say everything will be alright.

So we are getting towards the end of the second week of our new normal
and we know from our earthquake experiences
that it only takes a few weeks for the new normal to feel normal.
We are managing pretty well on the face of it,
everybody is getting off to work, school and study
breakfasted, in clean clothes after a good night's sleep.

We've almost succeeded in getting the right wheelie bins out for rubbish
and recycling and solved the problem of the disappearing dog
with some plastic netting and cable ties.
The list of things we need is getting shorter
and we can mostly find the things we do have when we want them.

Our house is made of weather boards 
and has nice timber floors and some character features 
that make it endearing to us, especially with our mishmash
of old, thrifted, hand-me-down and found furniture.

The responsibility of being the sole adult in the house
(apart from James the almost-adult)
is an interesting one. I'm learning once again,
that I can do hard things and that is good.

It is a huge balancing act I'm finding,
with almost full time parenting and full time study.
I'm tired to my very bones.
We are on the last two crazy crazy weeks of the term,
rushing full tilt with assignments, exams
mixed with harvest festivals, fundraising events and shared lunches.

I feel like I'm always one step away from tears.
But there is no time to waste on that,
there is always another thing to do,
one foot in front of another.

It's going to be better, isn't it?

Friday, March 20, 2015


I've been in my new house for a week now.
We unpacked all the boxes the first weekend
and then we have spent a bit of time this week
moving things around to make things fit better.

It's lovely to come home to, especially after weeks of packing and sorting at the other house.
I may be gone a bit crazy banging nails into walls to hang pictures
and I now have a huge book case in the living room crammed with books
of all shapes, sizes and genres all mixed up together!

It's going to take a bit of adjusting to being single.
I have relied on David for so long especially in social settings
and now I'm going to have to do all of those things by myself.

It really easy to just reflect back to the people around you
their expectations of you.
You act in the way that they expect you to act,
it's almost like a role that you play.

I'm the one who stays home and looks after the children,
I'm not the one who hangs out in parties,
drinking and chatting.

But now that it is just me,
I guess I have the chance to figure out what I want to do,
and to break out of that box.

It's kinda exciting and a little big scary.
But that's just how it is, so I gotta get on with it.
This may take some time!

I still fall on my face sometimes
And I can't colour inside the lines
'Cause I'm perfectly incomplete
I'm still working on my masterpiece
And I, I wanna hang with the greats
Got a way to go, but it's worth the wait
No, you haven't seen the best of me
I'm still working on my masterpiece

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

For the children's sake

I never imagined in a million years that our children
would have to learn to live between two homes
and so I never gave any thought to how it would be to parent like that.
However now that this is just about to happen,
I've been giving lots of thought to the practicalities of it.

First of all because we are moving out,
I have been working hard to make sure the rooms we leave behind
still feel like home to the children.
To this end I took out all the really obvious things that we were taking
as early in the process as possible 
so they could get used to how their rooms look now
and they will still feel like theirs.

It's hard for me to know that they will be spending regular weekends away from me,
but I'm leaving enough of me here so they know I still love them.
Both of the children have brand new mummy-made quilts
 on their beds that they chose and there is still a cupboard of quilts here
for them to snuggle with if they need it. 

It seems to me there is no win/win solution in a marriage ending,
the children will always miss out. I know that I have failed them in this,
that I couldn't be enough to stay and keep the family together for their sakes.
I'm hoping that greasing this process with kindness
will make it as painless as possible.

I won't be able to be there for them in this house after this weekend,
but I hope that the little things I have done and left behind will help them feel loved.
There's a tin of the soothing ointments Annie likes by her bed,
Reuben has one of Grandad's cellphones so he can text me.
There is a night light in Annie's room,
and Reuben has his room organised the way he wants it.

So I won't be here for them in this house,
but pretty much every single thing in their rooms,
are things that I have found or made or purchased for them.
I'm hoping this will make them feel loved
even though things haven't turned out the way we all planned.

Monday, March 9, 2015

All endings are also beginnings...

Things are about to change forever in the Robertson household
and it is hard hard times.
After 22 years of loving and living with David,
its time for each of us to find our own path, we are separating.

On Saturday, the children and I are moving into a worn, tired house
and we are going to make it into our home.
This is such a big scary thing for me to do.
I left home the day I married David and we have done everything together
for a very long time, but now I have to do things by myself.

I'm still trying to get fit after having my hip replaced and now 
I have to learn how to maintain and look after this house,
I have to remember to put out the rubbish bins myself.
I have to organise and corral the children to where they need to go,
and I'm going to continue my full-time studies to finish my degree this year.

I don't regret the last 22 years, we worked well together,
we have four lovely children and we have achieved so much
through some really tough times.
I'll always love David and care deeply about him and his well being.

I have spent hours in the last few weeks, 
sorting and packing and separating out what feels like a lifetime
of things we accumulated together.
I've put a lot of thought into making the process easier for the family
and to ensure that after we move out on Saturday
that this house still feels like home to David and the children when they stay.

I feel sad and disappointed that we couldn't make this work,
I never imagined a time when I would make this decision.
I know that it is going to be hard, it is already hard,
but I am going to move forward step by step,
I know that I can do hard things and this is just another one of them.

It's the end of one chapter,
and the start of another one.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Maybe it's not about the happy ending, its about the story...

I'd like to think I'm a fairly optimistic person,
someone who sees the best in situations and in others.
But recently I've found myself in a situation that I never ever planned for
and it's difficult to see the good amongst the pain.

It feels like it has becomes a slippery slope, 
where I can only see the things that are going wrong,
the challenges and the difficulties and the things I can't have.

In this strange and unnatural feeling no man's land I find myself
between what was and what will be,
I have to fight to stop my own resentment
take away from the joy of others.

I truly want to be a person who is honest and transparent
in my interactions with others,
but right now I feel like the flawed human being I am
and I find it easier to just not share how I feel about things.

I acknowledge this period of my life is not the end of my story,
but the thing is I have no idea even what the next plot turn is.
The challenge is to accept the hard times
knowing that things will eventually change
and get better.

Just like in this quilt, where I used the scraps from shirts,
the dark fabrics contrasting with the light
and together (the light and the dark) make a lovely pattern.
So in my life, the pain and the joy are working together for good.

Right now I'm not focussed on whether there is a happy ending,
but on integrating where I am now into the story of my life.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

I'm going to love you anyway....

This semester I'm doing a paper on Advertising and Cultural Consumption and one of our assignments is to create what the lecturer called an 'anti-advertisement'. This is an advertisement for a non-for-profit organisation on a topic of our choice. I decided to do a poster for Rainbow Youth because I have been reflecting on how I communicate acceptance to our children and to those around me.

My sister and her girlfriend had been living as "roommates" for years before they finally decided to open the closet door and tell us they were gay. When Sharyn told me, it was not a surprise because obviously I had thought it was a strong possibility!! But the thing was that it didn't change how I felt about Sharyn one bit, in fact I admire her for her strength and courage, both to keep the secret for years and then to set it free.

I have four beautiful, strong, courageous, funny and strong willed kids and there is nothing in the world that will stop me from standing up for them. With the older kids, we joke around about them bringing someone home to meet us. Apparently we are so embarrassing there is no incentive to bring home a boyfriend/girlfriend. I say I don't care if its a boy or a girl, I just want you to find someone to love you as you deserve.

But what I really want to say to my kids is this... I love you no matter what. I love you when you hate me, I love you when you mock me, I love you when you do things that break my heart. I love you in the good times and in bad and there is nothing that will stop me from loving you. I'm so proud of you in all that you do, I am your greatest supporter, I'll never ever stop loving you.

I want to tell them that it doesn't matter who you love, gender is not important. What is important is that you find someone who loves you for who you are, someone who respects you and admires you, someone who will be your constant cheerleader and encourager. I want them to find someone who inspires them to be the best person they can be while still loving them when they have ugly days, when they are miserable and when things have all turned to shit. I want to communicate to this to my kids that who you love does not change how I love you. My acceptance of you is not based on anything that you do. I'm going to love you anyway.