Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A break

I am writing from Brisbane.

I lay in bed for hours last night, mulling and thinking and praying and yes, crying.

I am tired. More than that, I'm exhausted.

So this morning the three children and I packed up the car and drove the three hours to Brisbane. We are staying with my Mum for a little while. I'm not sure how long. Maybe 3 days, maybe a week. Maybe longer. It's incredibly hard to be away, yet necessary I think, at this time.

Of course, according to the children we're on a great spontaneous holiday! They were wonderful today. They are happy.

For the next few days, I will just be with them. I will chat with my Mum, rest, pray and listen hard. I will browse the grand pile of books Cathy has sent with me. :)

And while I do all this I will miss my husband. And pray for him, every moment I can.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday afternoon

It's a drizzly, windy Sunday afternoon.  We're still in March, yet it feels more like June.  It's chilly and a bit electric outside.  Great weather, especially when it's the weekend and you can take a little time out for some reading. :)

Brisbane author (I feel so proud, I too am a Brisbane girl!) and young Mum (huge respect, how does she find time to write such spectacular stories?!) Kate Morton has written a beautiful, mysterious, very very clever historical novel set partly in early 1900's London, cliffs at Cornwall, the wharf at Maryborough during early settlement (you know I now live in Maryborough so reading about the early history here was brilliant!), and Brisbane during the 1970's.......... all so interesting, and such a great novel!!  Full of mystery and romance and generational family saga.... but not overdone, just so gently, honestly written......... so clever the way the stories intertwine...... oh, that's it- I'm going to get off the computer now and keep reading!!  Just a hundred pages or so to go.  Track it down and read it, I highly recommend it!  Apparently her first novel The Shifting Fog is also excellent, and was an international bestseller.  This one is her second.


On a side note, thank you all so much for your thoughtful comments below, and your prayers and encouragement.  
We are doing better.  We are talking, which is such a good start.  I'm going to be patient because I know this will be a process of healing and negotiating and working out how we can both do better, how to move forward.  This is so not one-sided; I need to make some adjustments too and be really honest with myself.  Never easy, but so worth it.  It's interesting to discover that no matter how much a couple can love each other, it's still easy to hurt one another and grow more distant as the years pass.  Easy to get caught up in life's pursuits, in careers, in friends, in the care of children.  
So good to be focusing on our togetherness again.  So important.  I'm handing this one over to Jesus this week; I'll be trusting, praying, listening, learning.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Any ideas???

Okay, my loyal bloggy friends, I have some questions for you and am begging for any answers / ideas / inspiration to help me!!!

The last few weeks have been a real blur for me.  The whole madness of the Wizard of Oz season, and now post-season, coupled with William's sudden weaning, my hormonal changes, subsequent emotional state, etc. etc. have raised all sorts of interesting issues and questions.  Funny that.

My mind has been plagued with questions regarding things I even struggle to put into words.  But I am so interested in getting some feedback on this that I will try!

So, the question put simply is this.  How do two people, once married and down the track of life a bit, find the balance between their own lives and identities and the responsibilities/ group identity of family life?  Does that make any sense?  Let me back-track.

I was 19 years old.  Stuart was 20.  We had just become engaged to be married, and over the next 2 years would do a great deal of thinking and planning (often on giant spreadsheets of paper!)  for our future together.  We were SO close, inseparable in fact.  Enthusiastic, dreamers, idealists! Our whole lives ahead of us!  If you read this post from last November, you'll already know things haven't gone quite to plan. :)  Some of the little disappointments and major failings have also lessoned our enthusiasm in general I think.
It's true that I leaned fiercely on Stu from day one, and *needed* his affirmation, love and affections more than was healthy; I have since given my heart to Jesus and now try to look to Him for these things- but I do still struggle in this area.  

Our engagement was just 9 years ago, but it feels like a lifetime.

I cannot believe how much having children has changed me.  I mean, really really changed me.  When Stuart said the other night, "Don't you remember what we used to be like?" I had to honestly answer "no, I don't!!"  I simply cannot remember who I was before Saraya's birth.  Is this normal?  
Stuart absolutely remembers, in fact, he is still very much the person he was all those years ago.  Yes, he's a youthful kind of guy, and yes, he's a prep teacher and thus a big kid in many ways and may never grow up, and yes, he's a man and they seem  more like "islands" to me than women who need to be connected to people and things...........  BUT, shouldn't I remember??  Shouldn't I still have a separate identity, see myself as valuable and worthy outside of my motherhood, see myself as a woman with a life and a future, have personal interests and pursuits, take time to develop the relationships with the women precious to me, ....... remember who I am?????  What do you think??

Also, I have always seen Stuart and I as a package.  You know, as one.
When I made any decision it was always in light of "us".  I never went through a single day or moment thinking of  myself as separate from him.  Or our children for that matter.
I've realised in the last month that Stuart doesn't see things that way. (I think..... I'm pretty sure he doesn't read my blog anymore but if you do Stu, feel free to verify/disagree/leave me a comment on all this rambling!, shed some light....) 

Stuart is Stuart.  He is his own person.  Sure, he has a family and I know he loves us.  He is often a wonderfully supportive, kind and generous husband.  He is considerate and helpful, and we have a polite, friendly relationship.
And I know deep down he loves our children very much.
But when it comes to the crunch, he is just Stuart.  Independent Stuart.  Prep teacher.  Funny guy.  The pied piper to the many children around us.  Lover of history and geography.  And now, like me, a lover of musical theatre. (forgive me Lord, I'm working through my emotions on that front.....)  And friend of many through the popularity of facebook. ;)

I have felt so alone, so confused over all this.  My head is always filled with the most mundane of things..... cooking, cleaning, washing, folding, baking, sorting, shopping, etc............ and the most serious of things........ mainstream schooling vs. homeschooling, a little girl with complex emtions, chickens who look sick (am I just paranoid after losing our last lot?), renovating on a budget, diet and nutrition, personal growth, my faith, etc etc.  I am desperate to share this all with Stuart.  And he will listen if I talk to him about these things, he is always willing to sit with a cup of tea in the evenings and hear me talk. (got to use up those extra 3000 words before bed, you know?!)   But in the deepest parts of my heart, I want him to want to know.  To want to know I am going.  How the children are going.  To be intimately connected to me, to them.  To really, really care. To be here.  Is this right? Wrong?  Normal? Unrealistic??? 

I am absolutely NOT criticising or putting down my husband.  As I have said, he is a wonderful person.  
I just feel over the last 9 years we have drifted.  Fragmented.  Become separate people.  Or maybe we were always separate people and I just didn't realise it.  Maybe we should be.  
I just never thought this would be a reality for us.

I can feel myself drifting from him.  Seeking out myself after being "lost" to my children and the domestic world for so many years.  In many ways I feel our relationship would be better for me finding myself again, being more independent, less needy, less naggy, more self-sufficient.  I am deliberately going to God about many things rather than to Stu, leaning on God more, seeing him as a support and Father to my children when I know Stu is wanting to be busy doing other things.  I know He is the ultimate Father and giver of help and wisdom.

I'm just concerned that in all this drifting, this letting go, this seeking of my independent self, and encouraging of Stuart's, we will grow further apart.  That we will become two separate, happy adults, with our own friends and interests and pursuits.  That we will be merely friends and housemates who happen to have three children to our names.  That the intimacy and deep love and dreaming and longing will be lost.

Please, help me!  Women out there- how do you see your husbands?  How do they see themselves in terms of the family unit?  How do you keep the union alive yet allow room for individuality, freedom and time to oneself?  Does anyone else feel we need more hours in the day? I know I do!  Weekdays are so full, and by the time evening comes around we both are exhausted!  I am longing for connection withStuart, and yet we both also seek time on the computer.... facebooking and blogging etc.  We both tend to retreat.  And yet we used to want to do so much more together.  The couple of hours of evening just disappear.

Please forgive this ramble- you know I do this every so often!  But please please please leave a comment if you have made it through this post- I am so interested to know what you all think!  I just want to do this right.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Happy 10 months William!

Our beautiful bonny boy is 10 months old today!

William David, we love you SO much!!!  Thankyou for being the beautiful boy that you are! 

Thankyou Lord for blessing me so abundantly with the children I have always prayed for!  They just fill me with so much joy and purpose.  Thankyou for my number three baby, my 'determined guardian' (William), my 'beloved' (David).  

A nice morning

One of the things I love most about staying home fulltime to care for my children is the flexibility and spontaneity it allows.
Usually on Tuesday mornings we go to a toddler music program and morning tea which I really enjoy (and Elijah tolerates :)).  But this morning I was feeling pretty slow and weary and was beginning to think we may just stay home until grocery shopping time which we usually do after music.  This would allow William to have his first nap of the day at home, giving me a chance to rest before the shopping trip (always tiring with 2  helpers!).  Just as I was thinking along these lines Elijah came out of his bedroom wearing his backpack, packed for "a picnic at the park", "Come on Mamma, we're going!" as he headed toward the back door. :)  William was just getting tired so I said we couldn't go right away.  But suddenly the morning put itself together in my mind- rests for Will and I (us early risers...) while Elijah watched Playschool, then we would all head in to town to do the groceries, pick up a few extra bits for a picnic lunch in the park across the road from the shops.  Yay!  We did this and all feel we got what we needed/wanted this morning.  I still need to unpack but you know, the boys are happy so I'm sitting here for a bit first. :)  Catching up on the wonderful world of the internet.
I love being able to say "yes" to my kids; and to my own needs, and to Stuart's.  It's not always easy to do but seems to be helpful in building up a more contented home and family.  It's actually going to be a goal of mine this week.

Monday, March 23, 2009

What do you do.................

............... if there is a sudden Sunday-afternoon downpour?

You strip down to your undies, grab some toys, run outside and have the time of your life in the water, of course!!!
Oh to have the same joy, creativity, spontaneity and zest for life as these two!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A sweet start to Saturday

An spontaneous breakfast tea with an early riser. :)

A Beatrix Potter reading fest, inspired by our tea mugs.

A very happy baby.

Cool, fresh breezes, dappled sunlight shining on the ground and trees still wet from the overnight rain.

Two children who jumped into the "big bed" to have a little reading time, independently.

An hour-long chat on the couch with my husband, about musical theatre, career, family, friends, children and life in general (no pictures of this ;)).  Ah, a sweet start to the weekend.  Now the washing is done, the rest of the family is out, and I am going to go curl up with my book for awhile.  Yippee!! :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

I'm praising God because......

 * This week has been SO much better than last week
*  I feel like something has changed inside me, something profound and wonderful and I'm praising God for it and asking him to please let it stay!!
*  Cathy had the boys yesterday morning for a few hours and it was bliss- I didn't realise how desperate I was for a bit of help!  Thankyou dear one :)
*  I can see more clearly (mentally and philosophically speaking) than I have for a long long time
*  I also may be able to see clear without glasses by this time next week; yes, I have decided to give contact lenses a go full time!  Oh, the freedom I will feel!!
*  Stuart and I are back on track and I just feel so grateful for that... time for some serious changes for both of us and some wonderful times to look forward to! More on that to come...
*  I got the house completely cleaned today, and it has that fresh sweet smell- I love Fridays :)
*  I am going out tonight, yes OUT! Helen and are seeing a movie and then having coffee, just us two - it will be precious time.
*  TOmorrow is the weekend and we will have some much-needed family time, hooray!  No rehearsals, no performances....... (sorry Stu, I know you're still in mourning.....;) ; Stuart is also taking the children to a birthday party and I'm staying home to....... well, I'm not sure, but probably read as I just started a really good book. :)  Hooray for the first real weekend in months.
*  We also have a bbq party tomorrow night for the cast / crew of Wizard of Oz- the "after after" party they're calling it- really just an excuse to get together and see everyone :)  Bonfire, good food, good company........  maybe some singing on the side...........
*  I have a beautiful home, a husband who loves me, and 3 gorgeous healthy children - really, what more could I ask for?  

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mother Culture

A long passage, but truly worth reading (especially for mothers) and very much what is on my mind and heart at present.

"Somewhere it is written that "A mother is only a woman, but she needs the love of Jacob, the patience of Job, the wisdom of Moses, the foresight of Joseph and the firmness of Daniel".  But a mother not only has to have all these things, she must have them all at once, often when she is quite young, and too often when she has had no previous training of any kind for the marvelously varied duties she has to perform.  Before she marries, a young lady does not imagine herself facing the difficulties of managing the complicated workings of a household. Untried responsibilities come upon her as soon as she does marry.  And perhaps, just as she is grasping the situation, her first child is born and fills her whole heart.  Then, not only her own health but that of another's depends on how she manages her life. The question of child training and how to "bring up" children becomes a new study and practical concern.
Another child is born, who eventually becomes a sunny companion for the first. But it seems that with each passing year, a mother's job description is revised. The desire for her husband's love and friendship is still strong, but a careful division of her attention is given up to the various aspects of maintaining a happy, well-managed home.  Time alone with her husband now seems to have to be either previously planned moments or stolen ones. There are holiday celebrations to arrange, extended family parties and visits, church functions, occasions for neighbourly hospitality, etc. In the center of it all is one little woman- wife, mother, mistress all in one! 
Is is a wonder she feels overspent? She wears herself out. In her efforts to be dietitian, laundress, nurse, hostess, teacher, taxi driver, wife, mother and mistress, she forgets that she needs a little time for herself.  And it is then that she stops growing spiritually and mentally. Physically she feels ragged and drags through the day until, without being able to mark the hour it began, she lives with depression. Her mind is in a drifting fog when she wants it to think clearly and efficiently. With the distractions of her multi-faceted duties she is unable to follow a train of thought."  (here, here!! thank heavens I'm not the only one!...)  "She considers herself hopelessly behind in everything. Her feet are in the quagmire. It takes an incredible amount of effort to keep up appearances, to wear a winsome countenance. The last straw is the guilt she feels that she is "lukewarm" in the Lord. If I hadn't experienced these symptoms myself I wouldn't be writing this chapter.  Therefore I can validate the need for Mother Culture.
A fresh wind of change will revive you when you participate in Mother Culture. some may say, "I simply have no time for myself". Others, "I don't think it is right to think of myself". Such mothers are stuck in a rut of self-sacrifice to the extent that they are starving themselves spiritually, mentally, and consequently, emotionally. Their children will grow up with that "Oh it's only mother", tone in their voice. Some children will eventually carry the attitude that they know more than mother on all points.
But all this can be altered. Each mother must settle this for herself. The only way to do it is to be so deeply impressed herself with the necessity of growing that she makes it an aim in life.

I think it is a definite gain to the whole family when mother is able to take a little time to pursue her own interests, whether they be crafts, painting, sewing, gourmet cooking, a literature group, gardening, goings to plays or ballets with her husband, or bicycling. "I have no time for these simple pleasures," is the mournful cry. Yes, there isn't time for ALL of them. Think seasonally. One interest per season, coupled with thirty minutes of reading a day, may be all that is needed to keep up the mother culture and regain any lost enthusiasm for living.  Billy Graham said "Mothers should cultivate their souls, that in turn they may cultivate the souls of their children". If we would do our best for our children, grow we must. On our growth depends, not only our future happiness, but our future usefulness".

- Karen Andreola, The Charlotte Mason Companion, chapter 46 -

I love this. :)  What do you all think??

Monday, March 16, 2009

Our afternoon

This afternoon we pottered in the garden.  We made a quick teepee from bamboo stakes and planted seeds for climbing beans, bush beans and sunflowers.

This pumpkin vine is growing very well, it's quite wild!  
It had been awhile since we had done any planting in the garden.  The children were willing helpers and we enjoyed the cool afternoon, the sunshine and the togetherness.

William enjoyed crawling about with the chickens, digging and eating soil. :)

Tonight Saraya opted to read her school readers to Elijah before bed, a privilege for him as he loves the stories in her readers!

Things are looking up.  Yes, definitely they are.   Thankyou Helen and Cathy for some beautiful conversation today.  And my bloggy friends for some encouraging comments too! :)  "This too shall pass"....... and I can feel this is an opportunity for a turning-point in my marriage and family life.  And for my personal life.  I'm quietly excited!  And gardening always brings me peace. :)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

It's Over!!!!!!!!

Yesterday afternoon I went to see my very talented husband and adorable daughter in the Wizard of Oz.  Yes, it was my turn to see it, finally!  I went with my brother Michael while my Mum (who was here again for the weekend, hooray!) looked after the boys.  It was SUCH a treat to be there, just Michael and I, and oh so strange to be in the audience and not on the stage with them!  But wonderful.  Stuart was a delight- so clever and funny and loveable, and I'm very proud of him.  And Saraya was positively gorgeous as a munchkin- even when she kept nervously chewing her nails between dance bits. :)  I'm a very proud Mamma.

It's been a massive journey, a very successful production, and I think we're all in the post-euphoric state that comes at the end of a show.  I wonder what the theatre will do next year???

I've had an extremely emotional few weeks, with lots of deep thoughts running through my head about all sorts of things.  I'm sure I'll be sharing some of them in the coming days..........  
Happy Sunday everyone!

Friday, March 13, 2009

A few notes...

Well, this week is plodding along.  It's raining constantly, very very wet, cool and windy with Cyclone Hamish hovering off the coastline.  Seems to be heading north again now though, and I think the forecast is for more hot sunny days next week.

Opening night was a roaring (pardon the pun) success.  No major difficulties other than the main stage curtain getting caught on a light and tearing up the top.  About $3000 worth of damagae apparently, but nothing noticable to the audience.  Woops!  Stu received loads of compliments and is feeling suitably pleased with himself :).  Saraya has had a couple of days home after getting in at just before midnight with Stu on Wednesday night!  A very big week for her.  We've had lots of family visiting too, with cousins to play with so all very social on the home front.  Lots of fun for the children, they have enjoyed our visitors.

I'm hanging in there, feeling quite blue still this week, but okay.  It's not just Stu's physical absence that's hurting lately, it's that his headspace isn't really "here" with us.  Not sure when it will come back either.  This whole theatre experience has been amazingly wonderful for him, and on top of work, there's not much room left in there for me and the kids.  This may sound harsh, but I think he'd agree that it's true.  So yeah, I'm lonely and a bit sad in general :(.  I know men and women are wired differently and I'm trying to remember that. :)  There are so many things going on with the children at the moment, and with me, so many thoughts, emotions, difficulties, joys, growth, etc. and I so desperately want to share them with Stuart.   I'm hanging in there with the hope of that happening one day soon.

A few highlights of my week have come from beautiful friends!!  Yesterday I received a belated Christmas parcel from my high-school friend in Brisbane, Jen.  What brilliant timing, and such special gifts and a wonderful letter!

An organic gardening resource guide, some organic broccoli, bean and capsicum seeds for the garden (yay!), a long letter which I loved, and this hat.

It's warm and Autumnal and perfect.  Since playing Eponine in Les Mis years ago, and wearing a hat this style, I have always wanted one of my own. Thanks SO much Jen!!

My beautiful friend Cathy delivered a basket of baking the other day which we (and our visitors) have all enjoyed very much!  She even made little homemade tags.  Thankyou Cathy!

Aside from a few niggly moments with Saraya today, it's been a delight having her home this week. :)  With the cool rainy weather the children enjoyed warm milos this morning.  And a big long drawing session.

Inspired by watching the film yesterday. :)  

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Opening Night......

It is SO strange being here at home, "hanging out" with William while Elijah sleeps and Stuart and Saraya are down at the theatre performing away!  The show opened 35 minutes ago, and I so desperately want to be there!!  All I can do is sit and pray and wonder how it's going, which bit they are up to, if all the special effects work, if "Toto" is behaving himself, etc.! I'm going to go to bed as soon as WIlliam does so I can wake up and hear all about how it went when they get home later. :) 
Being Saraya's first show (of many, I can only imagine!) we wanted to give her a special keepsake. Stuart searched around online and found these gorgeous handmade in Russia 'Wizard of Oz' Babushka dolls.....

How cute are they?  They only arrived this morning, just in time for opening night!

Go lion!!!  You are going to be so great!!  Hope the florist delivered your orange gerbera backstage for you...... and Saraya's rose too........ ;)

It's been a very challenging few months for me, holding down the fort here and just doing all the mundane stuff on my own while my husband is away working or at the theatre having a blast.  BUT as I keep perspective I know it's only for a short season, and I'm blessed that he'll be back so soon now!  And he's had such a great time.  And grown as a performer.  And it's my turn next year. ;)
Thankyou Cathy for the beautiful basket of baked goodies to help feed all the visiting family this week (and the cherry ripes for me, yummy!)........... you are such a special friend; I can never tell you how much you mean to me!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Our weekend in pictures

Thanks SO much Mum and Ray for coming and giving me a much-needed "lift" in spirits, not to mention enormously wonderful practical help!!

Now, only 1 more sleep 'till opening night........ 


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