You’re welcome…

    You know that saying “compliment me twice and I’ll blog thrice”? No? 

    Well anyway the last few days I’ve had some kind feedback regarding this blog from a lovely friend of mine so now I’ll write some more. *Inserts evil laugh.*
    In Australia we have a couple of cool sayings. Some of the most popular these days are “stop the boats” and “if you don’t like it, leave”. 
    They’re kind of fun, friendly ways to make sure that refugees know they aren’t welcome here. 
    The best thing about these sayings is that they are mainly used by people who have never met a refugee. 
    I work in a low socio-economic area teaching preschool to children from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Sudan among other places.
    Only 2 kids and I have English as their first language.
    Most of the mums wear a hijab. 
    A couple of the dads also wear the traditional Muslim dress on the days they are going to the mosque.
    One of the biggest criticisms I hear about refugees is that they don’t try hard enough to assimilate into our society.
    But today I had the most beautiful example of a family new to Australia making the effort to accommodate me.
    The smallest boy in my class walked in this morning with a belated birthday present for me.
    It was wrapped in Christmas paper and imagine my surprise when I opened it and found a large Easter egg.
    Best. Present. Ever.
    If you’ve never received an Easter egg wrapped in Christmas paper from a Muslim child for your birthday then you haven’t experienced multiculturalism at its best.
    Most of the people in the community where I work are wonderful, have beautiful hearts and give generously when they have very little to give. 
    I think Australia could do with a few more of these people. 

    Birthday gratitude…

    I try to avoid swear words but I’ve had a few shitty days at work.

    And I mean that literally.

    Picture me screaming out to a child to stop and stand still as they’ve just stepped in their own poo and they’re now walking it across the bathroom.

    Or another child who came to me smelly and crying only for me to discover all the poo outside the toilet again on the ground.

    (I can only assume that they have soiled their pants and then it falls out when they pull their pants down to sit down. But you don’t need to think about these things too much.)

    Then there was the little girl who vomited on my shoe and only yesterday the boy who bit me on the hand and kept biting while I yelled at him to stop. All the while wondering at what stage I was allowed to physically stop him.

    But in the words of Annie “yesterday was damn awful but that was then not now”.

    Today is my birthday and I was expecting very little.

    I knew it would be a quiet, low key kind of day which in the past would have broken my birthday loving heart.

    My husband was away and my children needed to be at school at 7 so that I could get to work on time.

    But then my brother came to visit last night and brought me flowers and took the kids to school.

    When I got to work a possum had fallen through the ceiling and left small presents for me throughout the room to clean up.

    The possum man came half an hour after the class started and the kids and I hid in the kitchen while the man with stick thin legs carried the possum out by its tail.

    I laughed all day.

    I unexpectedly received funding for a beautiful child in my class with additional needs and I received 4 boxes of chocolates, 2 bunches of flowers and a large set of Jessica Simpson perfume.

    Such unexpected kindness puts the shitty days into perspective.

    I know that I am blessed to be loved by so many people.

    I though today wasn’t going to be anything special but it was because of a cheeky possum and people who took time out of their day to wish me well.

    Happy Birthday to me. xoxo

    P.O.G.P…

    Today is my Grandpas birthday.

    He passed away four and a half years ago.

    And I still miss him. A lot.

    He was the kind of man that they don’t seem to make anymore. Or maybe they do, but they still wouldn’t compare to him.

    He was an accountant but also built his family home.

    He went to Papua New Guinea in World War 2 and to the footy with me and my mum.

    He bought an Atari so that my brother and I could play Space Invaders whenever we went to visit him. We got a bite size Violet Crumble if we got to 200 points.

    He had the movie Annie on tape for me so that I could watch it EVERY SINGLE TIME we went there. (I can recite the whole movie from memory, including the ads.)

    He made my brother and I breakfast in bed whenever we stayed over. Weetbix on a tray with a jug of milk and as much sugar as we liked.

    His beloved wife passed away in 1988 and until the day he died (some 20+ years later) he had fresh flowers from her garden on the kitchen table next to photos of her.

    He looked after my Gran through her kidney disease and dialysis and brought her home to die in comfort.

    He was a strong man who walked straight and always wore a shirt and pressed pants.

    He had a wicked sense of humour and showed no mercy towards his grandchildren when playing cards.

    I have photos of him with my eldest son at the nursing home but for some stupid reason I decided he was too sick to be in photos with my youngest son.

    In the last 10 years of his life the Alzheimer’s sapped him of his spark and charm until there wasn’t much of him left inside.

    He would always sign birthday cards and Christmas cards “love P.O.G.P”.

    It stood for Poor Old GrandPa.

    But he was an amazing man and I miss him a lot.

    Love makes the world go round…

    Hello world!

    You may or may not have noticed that the sun rose today and the world has continued spinning on its axis.

    That’s right. My mum got married and the world didn’t end.

    The wedding was so lovely and relaxed and it was almost impossible to get a photo of my mum not laughing.

    She was joy personified.

    And I was so happy for her.

    She moves away on Wednesday and that will be okay too.

    Because it has to be.

    She’s making big brave choices like she always has. She’s so independent and vivacious.

    I’m having a little cry as I write this because I hate the idea of her being so far away.

    I hate that she doesn’t need me anymore but I’m also glad.

    My 5 year old son just asked me to give him a cuddle in bed. He asked if I could stay there all night. And he told me he loved me.

    And that’s how I know that things will be okay with me and my mum. xx

    Keeping Mum…

    Well last week I wrote a cryptic post about how I hate change and people moving away.

    And this Saturday my mum is getting married.

    It is her that I’m going to miss.

    I am so happy that my mum has found love again and someone to trust and a lovely man to keep her company and play cards with.

    I’m so happy for her.

    I’m so sad for me that her new marriage also means that she is moving to the other side of the country.

    My parents separated just before my first son was born, after 32 years of marriage.

    She used to come and visit us every day then. Sometimes twice a day. Just to see him and hold him and be happy.

    She would take me to the theatre and the movies and we would meet for coffee at least once a week.

    We having been going to the football together for as long as I can remember. Maybe even longer than that.

    We worked together sometimes in the same school and she would pop in and wave while I was teaching.

    My husband and 2 boys and I lived in her family home when father became too unwell to live there anymore because she couldn’t bare to sell her dad’s house while he was still alive.

    I behaved awfully towards my mum as a teenager.

    She didn’t like the boys I went out with. (Or probably the fact that it was more than one at a time.)

    I rolled my eyes at her so often that I ended up *needing glasses in my 20’s.

    *The glasses may have been more to do with vision issues unrelated to the eye rolling but who can tell for sure.

    But when I became a mum we became best friends. The timing was perfect. I needed her support, advice and company at a time when she needed a new focus in her life too.

    And on Saturday it’s my job to zip up her dress and walk with her to the wedding and sign the marriage certificate.

    I’ll also be the one crying behind the camera taking photos and desperately trying to stay busy.

    And then I’ll be the one coming home and having a medium to moderate breakdown at the thought of change and how I’m sooooo happy for my mum.

    And more than just a little bit sad for me.