Thursday, July 21, 2016

To the teacher of my small, anxious child...

Dear Teacher,

Hi. I am the Mother of one of your students. I know you have many. And they are all so important. But this is my child. And she matters to me. For her, school is hard. I understand, I do, that the demands placed on students and teachers to perform, are incredibly taxing, and so many children find starting school hard. But she is mine, and she matters to me.

And she is precious. You don't know, how could you? Who would expect you to? But she is. She is a darling little girl, she is kind, and she dances around the house. She cares about her brother, and she loves babies, and she tries so hard to be helpful. She loves to do jobs around the house, and be useful. She is loving, and she is loved. She has so many people who love her so much. And she is mine, and she matters to me.

I know that she is not perfect. I understand that she can be hard work. That her little introverted ways make her a little more work than your average bear, and I know she doesn't put herself out there. I know she is a huge drama queen, and I know that she gets tired, and lazy, and unmotivated and that she sometimes just doesn't want to, and I can see how that would make your job much harder. But if you can only look, see her, and try to unlock her, she would give you everything she had.

We are not perfect parents. We shout, and lose our temper, and our kids watch too many screens, and read too few books. Maybe we should have been more present, more focused, had her writing her name and knowing her alphabet, and reciting numbers, before she came to you. I can tell you of at least a thousand mistakes I made. But we loved her, love her. In our own imperfect way. And her Daddy read her 'The Chronicles Of Narnia' tonight before bed, just after he played a game with her on the iPad. She loves Enid Blyton, and knows Silky, and Moonface, and The Saucepan Man, as well as Nemo, and Elsa, and Cinderella. She helps cook in the kitchen, and loves to measure ingredients, as well as eat McDonald's. We do our best.

But, this morning she cried. Cried and cried. Because she didn't want to go to school. She thinks nobody likes her. She wakes up at night sometimes, anxious about school. She comes home, exhausted and worn out from working hard, and trying all day long. I know some mornings, you probably see an emotional, difficult little girl who requires more effort than you can give. But she is trying, so hard. Please see her. It doesn't have to take much. But please, please, see her. Because she is mine, and she matters to me.

You must understand, that for the first 5 years of her life. I was there. I was always there. Even on the bad days, even when I was the cause of the bad days. I was still there. To have to not be there for six hours a day, five days a week. Is hard. Because now, I don't know. I don't know how her days are going. How she is coping. I get told she is coping, but the child who comes home tells me she isn't, and behaves in a way that leads me to believe she isn't. There is much trust required here. And it's hard to trust, as a parent, when you don't really seem to see a teacher understanding your child. When you watch your loving child who is so responsive when she feels valued, just struggle. When school mornings at home are getting worse, rather than easier.

I know you can't make friends for her. I know that so much of that is just something she has to work out for herself. And we are trying to give her the tools to help her. I know you can't make her understand reading and writing all at once. That some children take time, and just are not ready.  But if you just look. See her. Pay attention. It will reinforce the belief that she matters. And it will help. Please see my child. Because she is mine, and she matters to me.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Tired

Hey there. It's been a while. And I have news. Hopefully, come October, our family will grow to five instead of four. And oh Lordy, I'm just so tired. I am excited, I was so excited. But in the last 6 weeks or so, ever since the morning sickness and tiredness hit, I've been too weary to feel much excitement.

I feel terrible, but to be honest it feels more like I've gotten on a roller coaster, and I'm mentally preparing for the ride because I know the earth is going to fall out from underneath us soon. It's difficult, when you know how much hard can be involved in a new baby, when you remember how much life gets disrupted, and when you are more aware than ever of just what can go wrong, and what you stand to lose if things do go wrong.

But I think I'm also forgetting the joy. The joy of the new little person, who is so fearfully and wonderfully made. My little people are growing up, and even though oftentimes I feel like I am mentally bashing my head against a brick wall, mothering them, I am realising I really like this age of independence, and quirky hilarity. Getting to know these tiny humans we've raised is so much greater than I imagined. But I also like the joy and wonder and sweetness of a newborn, and I am grateful to get the chance to do that again. Gotta make sure I don't let the fear cancel out the joy.

I am really hoping the second trimester energy will hit soon, and I will start to feel a little less knackered. Honestly, I've felt like a very crap mum these holidays. I've tried to do, but it is embarrassing how much Netflix my kids have watched in the last few days. I've been very much in bare minimum mode. My house is in a right state, and I am at the point where the folding isn't even on my radar. I hate it. But I am hoping that come next week with school and kindy starting back, I can play catch up a little. Because at least, for a few hours a day my poor kids will get stimulation that doesn't rely on me or television. 

I know, I'm growing a human, and am allowed to be tired. And I can probably count on two hands the number of nights in the last five years that I've had a full, uninterrupted night sleep. But I also know just how checked out I have been, mentally. I'm not present, I'm on my phone. And I hate that. And I only have myself to blame. I want so much to parent, and love the way God intended me to. I need to be so much more disciplined. We are always our own biggest problems aren't we?

Anyway, I should be sleeping now. But I just wanted to check in. Keep a record. Get the thoughts out. That's where it is at the moment!



Friday, March 4, 2016

To my sister....

My sister is having a baby! Soon. I am praying like mad for a great birth and a healthy baby and so many good things. I have a very strong belief that she will be an excellent mother. And I want to write her a little something...


Dear Liz, 

I love you. Very much. I just know you're going to be a great mum. And I just want to tell you. Even though this will be one of the hardest things you will ever do, it's also going to be one of the best.

Nothing teaches you about giving, like mothering. You constantly, constantly put another persons needs above your own. When you have a tiny human who will not stop crying and you don't know what to do, you will love them, and you will put their need to be rocked and cuddled over your own need for sleep. When you have a tiny human who makes you angrier and more frustrated and exhausted than you thought possible, you will somehow swallow your anger, and treat them with love and compassion because that is what your child needs. You will give, until you can't possibly give anymore, until all your give is used up. And then you will give some more.

It is the most tiring, exhausting, thankless, rewarding, beautiful job in the world.

Nothing in the world will make you feel more connected to, and grateful to your saviour. You will understand, and cherish Gods love for you more and more.

You are going to judge yourself so harshly. You will hear voices that tell you you are doing everything wrong, and that you're screwing this kid up for life. Don't believe them. You are exactly the person God created to be this child's mother, and there is nobody in the world who is capable of doing it better than you.

I love you, so much. I have such faith in you. God bless you.

Love, your sister

Friday, February 5, 2016

Minefield


Mostly, I go ok. Ish. But last night we didn't have a good nights sleep. So we are tired. And weary. It has been a week of firsts and new and change, and I just don't wanna anymore.

You think motherhood is babies, and reading stories, and talking to kids about flowers and animals, and yeah you know there will be rough stuff, like having to talk about sex, and hard friendship stuff, and toilet training, and sleepless nights. It's cuddles in bed, inhaling childish loveliness. But sometimes, you have tiny humans who are actively fighting against you. You have tiny humans who are irritating, and don't appreciate the fact that you've tried. You don't think about the day to day life hard, about having to put food on the table every night, or standing in a toilet cubicle in a restroom while a little person does number two and you nearly want to gag at the stench of it, you're just so desperate for it to be over, so you can get out of that tiny, smelly, prison. You don't think about how irritating it is to have to pull over and fix car seat belts, or retrieve lost water bottles, or do school drop offs in the pouring rain.

It's a series of curveballs. Some people, they thrive on spontaneity and the unknown. They relish change and rise to meet new challenges. I avoid them. And motherhood is so many curveballs. All the time. Baby. Teeth. Toilet training. Sleep. Food. Tantrums. Kindy. School. Friendships. Education. Am I making the right choice here? Have I prepared you well enough for this? They shouldn't be watching so much television. No TV in the mornings before school. Here is an iPad, just be quiet for 5 minutes. Don't scream at your brother. Stop hurting the dog. For the love of God, why did you throw dirt at your sister just after she got dressed into her school uniform?

It's just hard. 

And then. You hear the garbage truck trundle down the street, and there are no tiny people to tell "look it's the rubbish bin man!" and they don't rush to the window to watch the garbage truck empty the bin, because they aren't there. And pretty soon, even when it's school holidays, they won't rush to watch the bin being emptied, because they will have grown up. And, and, and.....

You want them to grow up, and it's so nice to have some space. But what if they aren't coping? What if you don't cope? How do you learn to be a person again, when all you've been is a mother? And a tiny human is sitting, scared, fighting back the tears at her desk in school, trying to be brave. And you walk away. You have to walk away. Even though every fibre of your being tells you not to. You know this is necessary. So you smile and wave and chirp "Have a great day!" while you drag another tiny human shouting "I don't want to leave the playground, I don't like you mum!"

Oh it's just so many contradictions, and ALL of the feelings. I think it's time for a coffee. And today, cake.


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Just something I want to remember...

My sister is pregnant, and having a baby soon. Today, we had a baby shower for her. This morning, when I was getting ready to go, Charlie asked Shane "will Aunty Lizzie keep her clothes on when she has a shower?" Shane, confused asked "what do you mean" and Charlie replied "when she has the baby shower with the ladies, will she keep her clothes on in the shower?"

That boy does make us laugh!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Beautiful brokenness


So, I have found much of 2016 hard. Christmas was looking to be so great, but it kinda went a little pear-shaped. On Christmas Eve, Shane was painting the outside of the house, standing up on a trestle, when he lost his balance and came off it backwards. That was one of the most terrifying moments of my life, racing outside to find him lying on the ground covered in paint while he screamed in pain. Fortunately, my sister Cathy was home with us helping Shane paint, so she quickly took charge of the kids and I called an ambulance. Those few hours when we didn't know what had happened, how bad the damage was, were pretty awful. 

But we were very blessed in how prompt his assistance was, how many people were around to help, and the fact that he was discharged and home again that night. It took us a little while to find out what exactly his damage was. He needed more scans a week or so later. But finally we were told he fractured a vertebrae in his back. However it was so much better than it could have been, and we are so very grateful for that.  Suffice to say though, that Christmas was rather stressful for us this year. I don't think I've ever been so glad to see the back of it. 

He was flat on his back for a couple of weeks afterwards, (which was really hard for him) but he was able to go back to work, and he is slowly healing. Much slower than he would like, but still, I can't be ungrateful for this, when at the time we had no idea how badly he might have damaged himself.

However, this last month has been a bit of a challenge. We did celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary, which was great! Especially because we weren't sure if he would be well enough for it. My mum looked after the kids for two whole nights while we went away for a trip to the Sunshine Coast hinterland, and it was beyond lovely. It was so nice to just be us, especially in such a beautiful location. 



I have a little boy who has just had his first day of kindy this week, and it went pretty well for him, no tears at drop off, and according to the staff he went really well, but there plenty of tears when I picked him up. I think he was just so relieved to see me, and so glad it was over. He doesn't want to go back, but he knows he has to. I'm really hoping he copes ok with three days next week! 



And my girl, my Georgie-girl who I started this blog for, is going to school tomorrow. I am so glad, but I really hope that this new world is good for her, and is a wonderful adventure.

So, yeah it's been all happening here. Honestly, it hasn't been that bad. Parts of it have been good. But I am a little bit stressed. We all know how well I cope with change. (Ha!) Mostly I am looking forward to settling into a new routine, and I know I will be much, much better when everything settles down into the new normal. 

You know how sometimes, you just stop and take a moment and you just try to just make sense of stuff? I had one of those just before while doing the dishes. I had a bit of reconnection with God, and there was a song playing on the radio talking about how he makes the broken things beautiful. And I think it just clicked. 

Sometimes it's really easy to just look at everything through my own eyes. To look at life and things that have happened the way the world does. It can be hard to make much sense of things when we examine them from our point of view. But there is so much more going on than I can comprehend. God is always, always sovereign. He is always underneath every surface, working at every situation. We are not lost, or alone, or ugly. Regardless of our struggles, our failures, and our flaws. Our hurt, and anger and pain. He works in all things, and he sees what we don't. He makes the broken beautiful.



'Cause I am a sinner
If it's not one thing it's another
Caught up in words
Tangled in lies
But you are a Saviour
And you take brokenness aside
And make it beautiful.
Beautiful.

(C) All Sons and Daughters, 2012.


Thursday, December 24, 2015

And so it is Christmas...

So tonight I went and did my pre-Christmas grocery shopping. I thought I would try and be clever and do it while the grocery store was 'quieter' (ha!). But I didn't have my kids with me, so it was a peaceful time for me. On my way home I was listening to the radio, and the presenter was describing the Christmas story, focusing on how horrible the experience must have been for Mary. I've heard people go along that vein before to be honest, so I wasn't really paying attention.

But while I was listening, I was suddenly struck with a realisation. I knew that God sent his son to be born in a stable to fullfill prophecy, and I understood that he did it without any human pomp and splendour to seperate himself from earthly glory. But I don't think I ever really grasped another important reason why Jesus was born in a stable with farm animals. 

The presenter was elaborating on how awful the stable would have been, with animal excrement everywhere, and he really hammered home just how much of an unpleasant, filthy, horrible place it was. I guess I have become desensitised to the whole thing, having heard it for years. Plus, It's also easy to develop a nicer idea of a manger in your head, especially when you imagine it like it's done in a nativity story, with tiny children dressed as sheep and other animals.

But, when I started to ask God 'why was it a stable, one of the most unpleasant places in the world (in a physical sense)?' all of a sudden I understood the symbolism behind it. He had to have Jesus, the most pure being ever on the earth, introduced to the world in a filth-encrusted place. Because that's how it is. This world is shockingly depraved and filled with the vilest evil. But Jesus, the purest saviour came to us in all our filth, to rescue us. 

I was struck anew with gratitude and love for my God and my saviour. And I really needed that. Christmas seems to get busier every year, but I must never, never get so busy that I don't pay attention to my God and saviour, and the reason I can celebrate and live.
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