Tag Archives: love

The Bad Days

They don’t tell you about the bad days.

They don’t tell you about the bad days when you’re sick and you’re alone with two children and everything they say, every little thing, leaves you feeling like your eardrums have been pierced by a thousand needles and your entire world is confined to an everlasting world of noise and pain and pointless arbitration.

They don’t tell you about the bad days when your fever is so high you’re starting to hallucinate, but your two-year-old still needs cuddles and your children still need dinner and you find yourself crying while you’re cooking some barely-nutritious meal and you don’t even know why.

They don’t tell you about the bad days when your entire body aches and your children give you ninja-cuddles that leave you breathless and overwhelmed and you do your best to smile and thank them, but after the fourteenth time you snap and yell at them not to touch you.

They don’t tell you about the bad days when you sit inside your mind, watching yourself be the parent you never want to be, and you can’t. Seem. To stop.

They don’t tell you about the bad days when the guilt is worse than all the sickness in the world.

They don’t tell you about the bad days when you want to yell and scream and punch the walls and tell these beautiful children in your care that you just want them to leave you alone for five expletive minutes, and the effort of not doing exactly that is so draining that the tears flow freely.

They don’t tell you about the bad days when the effort is too much, and you do yell at them and you see their little faces crumble and you would do anything, anything, if you could just step back in time two minutes and take back those words and be the person they need you to be.

They don’t tell you about the bad days.

And when they come.

(Because they will.)

All you can do.

Is hope that tomorrow.

Is a good one.

The Superheroes

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Conversations with Children: Pros and Cons of Reincarnation

(Note: I wouldn’t normally post two ‘Conversations with Children’ in a row, but I didn’t want to forget this conversation.)

2012-12-12 December Import 010

We’re in the car, where so many of our conversations seem to happen. Six-year-old Big Brother has been quiet for a while, thinkingthinkingthinking.  And then the question.

“Mummy, after I die will I come back and be born again?”

As often happens, I find myself mentally pinwheeling. What should I say? What’s the right answer? I don’t even know what I think about reincarnation beyond a vague sense of generic maybe-ness, but my son is looking to me for reassurance and understanding. How do I answer this question with honesty, simplicity, and compassion?

“Well,” I say slowly. “You might.”

“Do people come back again as babies after they die?”

“Some people do,” I say, struggling to put my hitherto unspoken thoughts into words. “Sometimes people choose to come back and be born again, and sometimes people choose to stay dead and live in the Afterlife.”

“I’m going to be born again,” says the boy who was born with the most ancient, knowing eyes I’ve ever seen. “And when I am, if people give me another name I’m going to tell them they’re wrong and I already know my name. I’ll be Big Brother forever.”

I smile. “Will you?”

“Yes.” A pause. Hesitation. “Can I do that?”

“Well,” I say again, my mind racing but my voice calm and measured. “Usually when people are born they don’t remember if they had another life before. So you might not remember your name, because you’d come back as a baby.”

“Oh,” he says. “But… When you die, are you going to choose to come back?”

The questions keep coming, and I don’t know where the conversation is going, and I’m feeling a little scared. Of what, I don’t know.

“I might,” I say.

“Then we can come back together. I don’t want to be born to someone else. I always want you to be with me. So when you come back, I’ll just wait in the Afterlife until you’ve grown up to an adult and then you can born me again. Okay?”

“Okay,” I say. I can’t say anything else. I’m fighting back tears of… of something I can’t name, and trying to drive, and trying not to sound like I’m… like I’m feeling whatever I’m feeling.

“How many days will that take?” my beautiful son asks.

“How many days will what take?”

“How many days will it take for you to be a grown-up?”

“Um. Quite a few.”

He thinks. “I’ve changed my mind,” he says. “I don’t want to be away from you  for lots of days. We should both just not be born again and stay in the Afterlife. Then we can be together forever and ever and ever.”

He reaches his hand towards me at the same moment I reached mine back to him.

“I love you, Mummy,” he says.

And the tears flow, whether I want them to or not.

 

 

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What I Believe

I believe in idealism.

I believe in a world where all people are loved and respected and treasured.

I believe in equality.

I believe in joy.

I believe in wisdom.

I believe the strongest blade is forged in fire.

Believe

I believe in grief.

I believe in friendship.

I believe in recovery.

I believe in making the hard choices when they need to be made.

I believe in respecting the choices of others even when we don’t agree with them.

I believe in respect.

I believe in love.

I believe in the power of positive action.

I believe in art and music and stories.

I believe in truth.

I believe in magic.

I believe in fairies and dragons and elves.

I believe in personal responsibility and self-discipline.

I believe in offering help to those who need it.

I believe in asking for help.

I believe in honour.

I believe in justice over law, and reparation over punishment.

I believe in honesty and integrity.

I believe in forgiveness.

I believe in following your dreams, wherever they may lead.

I believe in passion.

I believe in happiness.

I believe in the inherent innocence of children and the inherent goodness of adults.

I believe in trust.

I believe in community.

I believe in you.

What do you believe?

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The Joy of Giving

A friend of mine gave me a bag full of toys last month. It was just a few action figures her son had grown out of — a knight on horseback, a dragon, a couple of archers… In short, exactly the type of toys five-year-old Big Brother loves.

I thanked her, put them in the cupboard for the right time to pass them on to my son, and promptly forgot about them.

A couple of days ago I was searching for Christmas wrapping paper and came across them. It seemed like the right time.

“Do you know my friend Claire?” I asked Big Brother.

“Yes.”

“She asked me to give these toys to you as a present. Her son doesn’t play with them anymore, and so he’d like you to have them.”

“Wow,” he said. “Claire’s son is very nice.”

Then he set to playing with them. He gave them all new names, introduced them to his own King, Queen, Knights and Fairies, and I went back about my day.

A little while later, Big Brother came out to see me. He was carrying one of his favourite jigsaw puzzles — a 100 piece puzzle of classic automobiles.

“I haven’t played with this in a long time, have I Mummy?” he asked.

“You can play with it if you want to,” I said. I was cooking dinner, and trying to contain a force of nature cleverly disguised as a 22-month-old boy.

“No,” said Big Brother patiently. “I mean, I haven’t played with it for weeks and years.” (He’s still struggling to understand all these time measurements.)

“I suppose not.”

“Well I could give this to Claire’s son,” he said. “Because I don’t play with it any more.”

I looked down at his earnest expression as he gripped the puzzle box firmly in his little fingers, halfway between clutching it to his heart and offering it to me. And all I could do was give him a hug.

*****

At this time of gift-shopping, feast-prepping, paper-ripping, wine-drinking, tree-trimming, and family-gathering, take just a moment to remember the simple joys of Christmas.

The magic of Christmas isn’t in the money you’ve spent. The magic of Christmas is the joy of giving.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours.

Merry Christmas

 

Like many bloggers, I will be taking a break between Christmas and New Year’s. Thanks so much for giving me the gift of your time this year, by coming to read what I’ve written. I hope you enjoy a safe, happy holiday season and look forward to catching up with you in 2013. 

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Girls’ Germs and Crushes

It’s been a big year for Big Brother. He started part-time kindergarten in February, turned five in May, and has been having a blast spending time with all his Best Friends at school.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve reached another milestone. Although he hasn’t yet used the phrase “girls’ germs”, I can tell it’s not far off. All of a sudden, he doesn’t want to play “girls’ games”. In fact, girls games are “dumb”.

This newfound reluctance to spend time with the girls is something he’s picked up from his male friends at school. But never fear, Big Brother is joining in with the reckless abandon of a small boy in a crowd of cohorts.

I’d anticipated this stage. I’d mentally prepared to it. I’d done the groundwork. We’ve had plenty of conversations about boys and girls being different but equal. I’m ready to accept that this is a normal stage for a boy, and to let it run its course.

What I wasn’t anticipating was watching him go through his first crush.

About a month ago, I started hearing about a girl in his class that he’d never mentioned before. We’ll call her M.

“I need to drink lots of water,” Big Brother said one morning. “I have to be very fit and healthy so I can catch M at playtime. She’s such a fast runner.”

“Is salad healthy?” he asked the next day. “Because healthy food will make me strong. Then I can climb trees like M.”

Soon, talking about M became a regular part of every day.

“I chased M today, but I couldn’t catch her.”

“M wouldn’t let me play with her today. But I just followed her until she let me.”

(Shhh! It’s not stalking when you’re five!)

“Today I asked M if I could play with her and she said yes straight away!”

And then, last week, I realised what was really going on here.

Big Brother came home from school on Thursday with a bundle of spindly grass. “Look what I’ve got!” he said with much more excitement than I thought dead vegetation deserved.

“What is it?” I asked.

“Grass spiders! Today at outdoor play, M said she’d play with me and we looked and looked and we found all these grass spiders and we were going to use them to weave a nest and then we could have eggs!” His eyes were the size of saucers, and his voice pitched high enough to scare the neighbourhood dogs.

“Wow,” I said. I mean, come on, what else could I say?

His face fell. “But then the bell rang and we didn’t have time to build a nest. So M said I could take the grass spiders.” He hugged them to his chest, and gave me a big smile. “And tomorrow, I’m going to take them back to school, and we can build our nest!”

Cute, huh?

So the next morning, he diligently carried the nest-building materials into the car with him. The whole way to school, he did nothing bit talk about M. He talked about building a nest. He reminded me that she’s the fastest runner in the whole universe, and she can climb trees all the way up high and she doesn’t even get scared or stuck. He talked about the games she likes to play, and the people she likes to play with. And then he started to worry. What if she was sick? What if she didn’t turn up to school?

“I know,” he said. “If M isn’t there, I’ll write her a note.” (Let’s ignore the fact he doesn’t know how to write.) “Dear M. I’m sorry you’re not at school. I really miss you. Here are the grass spiders to build our nest. We can build it when you get back. Love, Big Brother.”

Having a plan seemed to ease his mind, and he went back to telling me about M’s amazingness and wonderfulicity.

We got to school, and I walked with him towards his classroom. We were almost there when M dashed over the hill next to us and came to a halt in front of Big Brother. “Hi, Big Brother,” she said brightly.

Big Brother froze. He stared at her. He licked his lips. He said nothing. I could see his little mouth opening and closing, but no sound came out. His eyes just kept getter wider and wider. After a really, really long (and uncomfortable) minute of silence, M half-turned to go. She called over her shoulder, “Nice grass spiders.”

Finally, Big Brother’s tongue started working again. He thrust his hands in her direction and blurted, “We can build a nest!”

As pick-up lines go, I’ve heard worse.

Do you remember your first crush?

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Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Commitment?

Today is October 31st. Lots of people believe today is the best day to dress up in funny clothes, confront their fears, and have a lot of fun doing it.

Here in Australia, it’s the middle of Spring. The days are long and lovely, the sun is shining, and it’s hard to imagine ghosts or goblins hiding behind the garden beds in flower. But that doesn’t mean we can’t share in the fun.

Eight years ago today, I dressed up in my own once-in-a-lifetime costume, and did the scariest thing I could think of.

I got married.

Today is our 8th Wedding Anniversary. It’s the 12th Anniversary of us making the choice to move from friends to lovers, and the 13th Anniversary (give or take a few weeks) of our meeting and falling into a deep and immediate friendship. It’s a special day. Not just because it’s another anniversary — more proof that we’re getting older and (hopefully) wiser — but because the last couple of years has been really hard work.

About eighteen months ago, not long after Little Brother was born and while I was struggling emotionally with the reality of having two children in the house, my husband was diagnosed with depression. In some ways, it made things easier. He began treatment and we could both finally understand why everything had been so difficult for what seemed like forever. But in other ways, it made things more difficult. It made things real.

Emotions flew back and forth like petals in a hurricane. Love. Anger. Frustration. Guilt. The occasional moment of intense dislike and regret.

There have been good times. There have been bad times. But, most of all, there have been times. Because no matter how hard it’s been on both of us, no matter how much we’ve struggled, we’ve always remembered the love that we felt on that day eight years ago, and we’ve fought and struggled to find those feelings within ourselves. No matter how many times we’ve each thought about walking out, calling it quits, or deciding that this marriage thing is all too freaking hard, we haven’t done it. We remembered the friendship that came before and after the love, and we remembered the many, many reasons we decided to tie our fates together for eternity.

Eight years ago, at 9:00am on the 31st of October 2004, our lives were entwined during a handfasting ceremony on the top of the mountain. Harp music played while the celebrant called to the earth, water, wind and fire to bless our union. Our hands were fastened with rope of braided white and gold to ensure our lasting love and friendship. Vows were said, rings were exchanged, and toasts were made.

And now, after all the trials and tribulations of the last two years, we’ve refound the solid love and friendship that was always lurking under the surface of our harried, hurried, stress-filled lives. For the first time in a long, long while I look at my husband and I breathe a sigh of happiness and thank the Gods we found each other.

And so, to my husband and the world, I repeat the vow I made all those years ago.

Destiny has made our paths to cross. Today, I make the choice to entwine my heart and spirit with yours for all eternity. In our life together, I pledge to respect and honour you. I will support you always, as friend, lover and confidante. I will share your hopes and help to make your dreams come true. I will stand by you in the good times and the bad. I will cherish and protect you always.

I love you.

Do you have any special anniversary traditions?

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Flash Fiction: Crime of Passion

The Flash Fiction Challenge over at TerribleMinds this week was to write a Five Ingredient Story. Mr Wendig provided a list of ten possible ingredients, and we had to choose five to include in our 1000 word story. The list of ingredients are below. I’ve highlighted the ones I chose in pink.

  • A mysterious rabbit
  • An unborn child
  • A missing corpse
  • A broken music box
  • An ancient curse
  • A half-burned notebook
  • A sudden storm
  • An indestructible tree
  • A venomous creature
  • An impossible doorway

This story started out going in one direction, and then veered sharply in another. I hope you enjoy it. As always, I’d love to know what you think.

A Crime of Passion

A man wearing a suit approached the desk where Selena was waiting impatiently. “Ms Scott?”

“Yeah?”

He slid into the seat opposite her. He was cute, in a Seth Green kind of way. Not at all her type. “I’m sorry to have kept you waiting,” he said.

“You’re sorry?”

“Yes, Ms Scott. I’m sorry. We just had to—“

“I don’t care what you had to do. You’re the cop here, not me.” She grabbed the backpack at her feet. “Can I go?”

“No, Ms Scott. I’m Detective Craig McCutchins. I need to ask you a few questions.”

“I’ve already answered a few questions,” Selena snapped. “I answered a few questions when your boys picked me up on the street and I answered a few more questions when I got here.”

“Yes,” Detective McCutchins said. “I know. But I’m sure you understand how serious this is. You were found in an alley with a dead body.”

“No I wasn’t.”

“It says here…”

“Show me the body,” Selena interrupted.

“Pardon?”

“If I was found with a dead body, where is it?”

“Well, there appears to be some confusion—“

“Really?”

“Ms Scott—“

“Selena.”

“Selena, then.  I’d just like to clarify some of the information I’ve got in this report. It says here that you were found in the alley with…” he paused to look through his notes. “The body of a deceased woman, a notebook, a music box, and a scorpion.”

Selena didn’t respond.

“Two officers heard raised voices and approached. They saw what looked like a murder scene. You threatened them and then set everything on fire. Is that correct?”

Selena snorted.

“Selena, this is serious. Surely you want to tell your side of the story. As it stands, we can charge you with arson, assault, trespassing, and murder.”

“No you can’t.”

“Excuse me?”

“You can’t charge me with anything. If you could, you would have already done it. You’re just hoping I’ll confess to something if you keep me here long enough. Well, fuck you.”

“Selena—“

“For a start, you can’t charge me with arson because nothing’s burnt. Right?”

“There is some confusion regarding—“

“And you can’t charge me with assault, because no one’s hurt.”

“Actually, you threatened the police officers. That’s a felony.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“Prove it.”

“Pardon?”

Selena leaned back in her chair, a smug smile on her face. “Prove it. Prove I threatened them.”

The Detective peered at his papers again. “It says—“

“—What? That I threatened to put a curse on them?”

“—that you threatened to…” He stopped. “Oh.”

“Yeah.” Selena grinned. “Let’s see you talk about that in a court of law.”

“Regardless, you set the area on fire. That put them at serious risk of injury.”

“Nothing’s burned.”

McCutchins reached across the desk and opened the archive box he’d brought with him. He plucked out a plastic baggy and tossed it on the desk. “There’s this,” he said.

Selena peered down at a half-burned notebook inside a plastic bag. “What about it?”

The Detective’s brow furrowed. “It’s burned.”

Selena shrugged and leaned back. “So? I burn a lot of candles at home. The book caught fire a few days ago.”

“And you just carried it around with you?”

“Yeah.  Is that a problem?”

McCutchins licked his lips. “And this?” He pulled out another plastic bag, this one containing a broken music box.

Selena peered at it. “What about it?”

“How did it get broken?”

Selena shrugged again. “I don’t know. It belonged to my grandmother. She didn’t tell me before she died.”

The Detective sighed and pulled out the third and last bag from the case box. “Then perhaps you could explain why this scorpion is burnt to a crisp?”

“No.”

“Excuse me?”

“No, I can’t explain why that scorpion is burnt to a crisp. Why would I know anything about burned scorpion?” She rolled her eyes. “Fuck.”

“So you’re saying this isn’t yours?”

“No, it’s not mine. It’s an insect.”

“Nevertheless—“ Detective McCutchins began.

“Look, you can’t charge me for arson, because there’s no proof of a fire. You can’t charge me with assault unless you want to tell a judge that your cop friend was scared of me saying I’d put a curse on him. You can’t charge me with trespassing, because I was on a public street. And you can’t charge me with murder,” She paused to give him a triumphant smile, “because there’s no body.”

“No. Er… yes. Ms Scott, you’re not doing much to help your situation. If you’d just cooperate—“

“Cooperate? With what? A witch-hunt? You’ve got nothing. I don’t even know why I’m still here. Are you going to charge me with something?”

McCutchins looked at his notes again, at the account of a fire that burned blue, a vanishing corpse, and a woman screaming that she’d curse any man who stepped through her circle. He sighed. “No.”

Selena smirked and picked up her backpack. “Goodnight, Detective.” And with that, she walked out into the night.

Outside the station, the street looked empty.  And then  a tall, blonde woman stepped out of the darkness.

“Diana,” Selena said, embracing the other woman. “Did you have any trouble getting rid of the body?”

Diana rested a hand on Selena’s belly. “None. How are you feeling? Are you okay?”

Selena smiled and put her own hand on top of Diana’s. “I’m fine.”

“Did it work?”

Selena nodded. “I think so, but I guess we’ll know for sure in a few weeks. The ritual was pretty simple. A body for the flesh and blood, music for the soul, writings for knowledge, venom for strength.”

The two of them finished together, “And fire to create a life.”

Diana wrapped an arm around Selena’s waist and drew her close as the two women started down the street. “Pity about the cops getting involved.”

“Yeah,” Selena says. “But it still beats getting pregnant the old-fashioned way.”

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