Showing posts with label Childhood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Childhood. Show all posts

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Waiting For Rain

There it was. That sound. I knew what it meant. That ominous wail slicing through the stillness. It always filled me with dread. It meant that bad things had happened and the villains responsible were out there lurking.

I would edge my way through the shadows and end up at the side of my mum's bed. She always let me snuggle in next to her. The siren in the distance was still a sinister reminder. It signified that the world wasn't safe outside my cocoon. My home. My dog. My parents. Books and Barbie dolls. 

Sirens were not the only thing I was scared of. There was a list, including elevators, escalators, talking in public, cockroaches and blood. I never liked watching horror movies. 

I sit by the window tapping and remembering. It's a grey, dreary day and I feel nostalgic. I wish it would rain. 

 





I remember scrunching my toes up in tan sandals. The teacher called me cutie pie Vanessa. She had gigantic glasses and her hair in a bun. I had a red suitcase. 

I remember being forced to play volley ball. I hated volley ball. And all sport. 

I remember being thrown in the pool when I was five. My screams were long and loud. I still can't swim.

In kindergarten another girl also named Vanessa was mean to me. A boy had his dangly bits out under the desk. I went and told the teacher. 

I remember skipping around the edges of the playground. I think I had an imaginary friend, but I don't remember her name. 

In year five I went away for a school camp. All the other girls hated me on sight, mistaking my shyness for being stuck-up. 

I remember going overseas in 1981. I was ten. I had long red hair. Weirdly I don't remember being scared when the plane took off. I was terrified of everything else. I remember the vivid colours of the tulips. Playing records and eating gigantic bowls of custard. It was awesome. I remember my brother and I staring at the punks with their jagged Mohawks on the train. We rode bikes everywhere. 

I remember our next door neighbour teaching me to ride a bike in our cul-de-sac. 

I remember games of 'redlight' and sausage dogs. 

I remember barbecues and cracker night. The elated feeling of leaving school on the last day of term when the long summer holidays stretched before you. Before long the elation evaporated into boredom.

"I'm borrrred," I would wail.

"Hello, bored. I'm Mum," my mother would reply. 

But I always had books and music. And sleepovers with friends and cousins.
 
I remember when my Dad used to wear bright orange flairs and it seemed completely acceptable. 

I remember when my brother had a birthday party and no one turned up. Mum had gone to so much effort making cakes and chocolate crackles and various treats. There were no more parties after that. I didn't care. My birthday was in January. Everybody went away to the beach in January.

"They can have that," my parents declared and put the air-conditioning on. Summer was something to be endured in our family. 

I remember sitting in the sun all day at a school sport carnival. I went home bright red with severe sunburn. My mother was furious. I had asked to be allowed to sit in the shade and the teachers said no. 

I remember my auntie Evelyne taking me and my cousin to Luna Park. It was 1983 or 84. Again I suffered atrocious sunburn. Back at my aunt's flat she rubbed tomatoes all over my singed and painful skin.

I remember being called a red-headed match, and - my personal favourite - a red headed rat rooter. Nice.

I remember other kids saying things to me like: "Gee, your hair's nice. Pity it's not blonde." 

I remember old dears stopping my brother and I on the street or at the shops to ooh and ah over our red tresses and slip us each a twenty cent coin. A veritable fortune back then. You could get a whole bag of mixed lollies from the milk bar! Yes, I am showing my age. Sigh. 

I remember catching the old red rattlers to Central station and attending Ultimo TAFE.

I remember  walking through the dusty dungeons in the bowels of the State Library when I worked there. I remember feeling like a fraud. I was supposed to be a grown-up now. But I still couldn't look anyone in the eye or speak above a whisper.

I remember humiliating job interviews when I burst into tears.

I remember beautiful dresses my mother made. I loved dressing up.

I remember getting married on a warm November day in 1995. I was completely calm and contented in my lovely lace gown with a long train. I carried roses and raised my voice for the vows. 

I remember being told I would never have babies without IVF. 

I remember having an ultra-sound and being told I was already 26 weeks pregnant! It felt like being told I could fly. I had magical powers. Maybe I could twitch my nose like Samantha and magic up anything. 

I remember giving birth to my sons. 

Son number one:  "Here's your baby!" Mick held him and he streeeetched his little arms.  

Son number two:  "He has such expressive eyes," the  midwife commented. Mick passed out! 

Son number three:  The 19 week scan. "There is no heartbeat." Goodbye, little man. 

Son number four:  I was sliced open. He was so TINY. Perfect and tiny. Our family was complete. 

I remember the day Mick had surgery for bowel cancer. I sat with him while he had chemo-therapy. 

I remember going to Sea World with my family. I accidentally dropped my mobile phone in the shark tank. 

I remember giggling about all the silly things with my boys. 

I remember watching diggers and excavators with my then obsessed toddler son.

I remember my second son's collection of soft toys. His favourite was a dog, imaginatively named "Doggy". If we went anywhere without Doggy, we were in serious trouble! 

Being told I that I'm autistic at age 40 is something I'll never forget. I finally understood a few things about myself. 

There was the glorious cake my mother made me for my 40th birthday. Who could forget that?! 




Memories of all the amazing meals around the kitchen table in my parents house. My mother's cooking is THE BEST. 

I remember Mick shaving my head when I had chemo for breast cancer. I remember the beautiful hats my aunt made for me. 

I remember that I need to stop remembering and live in the present. Mostly I do. Except when it rains. 

I remember the wistful, wonderful, comforting feel of a rainy day. I've always been a pluviophile. That's what I've discovered. 






Rainy days still evoke a sense of nostalgia. When a siren sounds in the rain I am reminded of all the feelings. Feeling unsettled, then safe. Uncertain, then comforted. 

Sirens signify danger. Rain is healing. Soothing. 

When the rains falls, the sirens fade. 

I remember it will rain again. Soon.  


Do you feel nostalgic when it rains?

What do you remember? 

Friday, 14 October 2016

Then And Now





Welcome to another fabulous Friday! My second favourite F word. You all know what the first one is!

FOOD! Duh.


Don't know what YOU were thinking.

Anyway, it's time to join in yet again for Friday Reflections!


I decided to merge two of the prompts because I thought they tied in neatly together. 

They are:

What did you want to be as a kid?

And...

Did you think you'd be doing what you're doing now? 

I was never really one of those kids who woke up one morning and thought: when I grow up I want to be a doctor/teacher/ballerina.

Just as well because; a) I can't stand the sight of blood, b) I struggle to even get through my kids homework, and c) I have the grace of an elephant on roller skates. 

If I thought about it all, I most likely assumed that I was going to be the next Enid Blyton. I adored her novels and read them obsessively. However, I never had a real plan.

I've always been a dreamer not a doer. Consequently I've kind of drifted through life. And here I am.

I always knew exactly what I DIDN'T want to do, but at the same time had no clear idea what I DID want to do.

As high school cruised towards it's inevitable finale, I had to make a decision. I enjoyed studying German. In fact, I was the genius who somehow failed English in my HSC and passed German. Go figure.

If I remember those heady mullet-permed days correctly, I decided to apply to university to study interpreting and translating. The only catch was, you had to be bilingual, fluent in two languages. It turns out that a couple of years of high school German wasn't enough to make me fluent. Who knew? So that idea was over with before it even started. 

To cut a long story short, I ended up studying at TAFE, something they used to call Library Practice (it's called something else now), and worked in libraries for a while. Until I didn't. Then I did again. Then I had babies and stayed home to look after them. Fast forward fifteen years. I'm still here, even though they're not babies anymore. Details...


Anyway, my point is, I now believe I was on the right track with the library thing. I always imagined that someday I'd go back to it, but now I have this cavernous fifteen year gap in my resume. Oops.

That's the thing about me. I'm not really one thing nor the other. I'm not a driven, career-oriented person, but I'm not really a house-wifey type either. It's another one of those curious dichotomies or contradictions about me: I'm a homebody and introvert, who definitely prefers being in my own space most of the time, but I'm not actually brilliant at being the person in charge of running the home. Weird. 


Hmmm, I guess I really should have been an eccentric stay-at-home millionaire or something... 




Or a professional daydreamer! Which is almost the same thing as being a writer. Well, except for the actual writing and getting paid part...

Unfortunately, the thought of being an author was always more of a fanciful daydream. A kind of 'yeah wouldn't that be nice' thing rather than having a concrete plan and goal. 

The only thing I really knew for sure as a child, was that one day I wanted to be a wife and mother. So in that sense, you could say I am doing what I thought I'd be doing. 

Admittedly, when I just thought and daydreamed about being a mother it was SO much easier! I was a perfect parent. Until I had kids! 




In my fantasies of being a grown up I was a tall, regal auburn haired 'Anne Shirley' type. I was married to my very own Gilbert Blythe. I had endless patience and wisdom to impart to my angelic fictional children.

Scenes played out in my head like something out of a movie or sit-com. I must have spent way more time watching television when I was growing up than I realised! 


To be honest, I never really thought specifically about what I'd be doing in my 40's. When you're a kid 20 seems ancient, let alone 40! 

I didn't have such a great grasp of reality.  Possibly due to all those Enid Blyton books and American sit coms I consumed. I'm sure I figured I'd be much better looking than I am and have a beautiful, immaculate home.

But you know what? Real life is way more interesting. 'Perfect' is overrated. 


As it turns out, even my childhood idol, Enid Blyton, was far from perfect. Well, according to her wikipedia page, anyway. If it's on the internet it must be true, right? Snorts.

Her novels have also been criticised as being all sorts of  dodgy things, including racist, in today's world. But they did provide me with some flights of fancy and a love of reading, so no harm done.

And while I may not have followed in her footsteps, I can still tap away here and indulge my love of words. Yeah, you're totally welcome!

Sure, there are moments when I wish I was more ambitious and goal-oriented, but for some one who has drifted and daydreamed through life, I don't have too much to complain about. 

Smashing! 

Linking up for Friday Reflections. 




What did you want to be as a kid?

Did you think you'd be doing what you are now? 

Monday, 12 September 2016

Where do I begin?


Beginnings are HARD.


Image credit: https://www.loishermann.com/year-new-beginnings/


Writing one for this post is proving to be problematic. It's Monday (a bit of the old Captain Obvious there) and the beginning of another week full of exciting things. Using exciting in the sense of rather ordinary. Additionally, another week ended in which I did not suddenly become a millionaire. RUDE. Because I was all set to begin my new life of luxury. 

And while we're on the subject of beginnings, which we are. 
Just an FYI there. Because I do tend to waffle and have a short attention span.  I can't promise I won't meander onto another subject mid paragraph...

What were we talking about again? Oh, yeah. Beginnings. 

Life began for me one balmy day on January 15th 1971. Well, I assume it was balmy. I don't actually remember. That would be pretty impressive if I could, but I can't even remember five minutes ago let alone the day I was born. However, it's a fair guess, 
considering that January is summer time in the good old land of Oz. Also known as Australia. Which is where I was born. Each birthday I do remember has always been hideously hot. 

In a surprising coincidence I was born in a hospital in the same suburb where I currently live 45 years later. Yes, I've gone far in life. Winning! 

According to my Mum I was rather reluctant to leave the cosy cocoon of her womb. She spent hours and HOURS in labour. I finally arrived at around 6 pm. Just in time for dinner. Typical. 

Throughout my life I've shown a distinct lack of interest in beginning each day. Read that as I hated getting out of bed. Mum would be calling me and trying to wake me. When I finally surfaced I was grumpy and surly. Beware anyone who committed the heinous act of glancing sideways at me. Especially my brother. 

"Muuuuuum!" I would wail "Mark's 
LOOKING at me!"

As an adult I'm still not a morning person. I never spring out of bed eager to begin my day. 

In 1976 I began kindergarten. I remember clutching a red suitcase, unimpressed by the proceedings. 

Many years later I was terrified of the new beginning called high school. Even more scared when it ended. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up. Still don't. 

But I trudged off to TAFE and a couple of years later I finally began working. It was a shaky start and I never really found my footing career wise. Enter Mickey Blue Eyes and the beginning of being a wife and then a mother. 


Without a doubt the scariest beginning was my breast cancer diagnonsense. I began the most challenging ride of my life. And now it's all over and yet only just begun.The start of a 'new kind of normal'. Adjusting to life as a breast cancer survivor. Have I mentioned that that I don't really like pink?  Yes, I WILL survive. Now let's all break into a rousing chorus of the old Gloria Gaynor hit.






Hang on, I prefer The Carpenters. And this song fits in with the theme of the post. Sorry, I couldn't help myself. 







I even tried to write an eloquent and deep poem about beginnings full of  my thoughts and feelings and shit. Totally nailed the shit part.

Check it out:


This poem needs to have a snappy beginning
To hook you and have you instantly grinning
Something unique, using words to entice
To make you read on, and then read it twice

So why do I sit and just stare at the screen?
How do I begin? And what do I mean?
There must be interesting words I can write
To make you a fan of this glorious site

All I have to do is simply commence
Just tap away, I don't have to make sense
Think about all the beginnings in my life
As a daughter, a sister, a friend and a wife

Even then my life had only just begun
When I was expecting son number one
The start of this thing called being a mother
Then soon I welcomed his cute baby brother

A family of two had now become four
But wait, said fate, there has to be more
Alas. our dear baby boy number three
Didn't survive, it just wasn't to be

Dismal days with housework a bore
The joyful birth of boy number four
Along the way, many shaky starts
Fears and struggles with heavy hearts

But for every beginning, there is an end
To make way for change and start again
Seasons change, days come and go
Learning to live with this constant flow

Decisions to make, life is curious
Emotions change, joyful then furious
Bored, elated, forlorn or excited
Impatient, determined, defeated, delighted
Battles fought and ultimately won
Playing The Carpenters We've Only Just Begun

Beginnings are hard, but so is the end
I fear you may never read here again
Through all our beginnings we're never alone
And that is the end of this woeful poem.



You're welcome. 


Linking up for Life This Week.




How do you feel about beginnings? 

Which song do you think of?