Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Those sickly-sweet Christmas letters

Wasn't this year a blast?
The following is not an example... well, not much of it anyway.  I do boast about how wonderful the kids are but they really are :)  I think my favourite bit is where I say how "if we can show the kids that we can cooperate and always put their best interests first, I think we will make it through this very daunting new phase in our relationship".  God I laughed. So hard. There were tears.  I really did have no idea back then.

I know, I know.  I don't post for weeks then two in the space of a few hours - what the??  It was just serendipity that I came across this tonight, causing me to sit in dazed amazement at the naive ignorant me of 12 months ago, who blithely wrote a Christmas Email to my closest girlfriends about the year that was 2009.  The year before 2010, where I finally learnt what real pain is.  And no, childbirth has nothing on it.  Here it is - names changed to protect the innocent:

Helllllooooo peoples ...

Yes, it’s that time of year again, where I summarise the events of 12 months in a couple of paragraphs .... yeah, just kidding ... this will be WAY more than a few paragraphs!

Ok. Here we go. Where to start?

Ok, we moved from the desert to the coast. It was a crazy time – had major job problems. Not “Those bastards at work keep stealing my stapler” but rather “OMG, why does everyone with an axe to grind and/or a pool that requires billions of dollars of overhaul on a shoestring budget have to be MY responsibility?”. This, of course, came at the best time possible in my life(not) ... the time where you turn 40 and start to question everything ... so it wasn’t much chop on the relationship front either. So Sidekick took 6 months off, I quit my job, we moved into a brand new house with no lawn and worked on building stuff ... gardens, fences, lawns, decks and marriage.

Some was a great success. Some ... not so much. The fence, for instance. The dog should be renamed Houdini. It’s a far nicer name than the one we usually use (and doesn’t offend the neighbours quite so much). She may be old, deaf and going blind but the mutt is as sharp as a shithouse rat when it comes to escaping. Part of me wants to shrug shoulders and go “Hey pooch. It’s your life on the line” but the other half stops and things about having to scrap said dumb dog off the road and explain to the kiddies. So we persevered until we got a system that works. It aint pretty but it keeps her off the streets.

Our darling daughter The Princess also left home ... or rather we left home and she didn’t come with us! She has set herself up with a unit which she shares with Sidekick when he is working and she works full time at an accountancy firm and loves it (what’s with that?? She gets excited about audits. I don’t know where we went wrong) She goes to Uni two nights a week and detests it like the plague. But unfortunately she has to have that piece of paper, so she grits her teeth and keeps going. I admire her spirit. She has a little red Pulsar which she drives way too fast with the music far too loud – but then again she IS 18. She’s settled and she’s doing great. I love her to bits and miss her like crazy but I am so, so proud of her.

The boys have settled into school, after a little bit of a shaky start (on Serious Boy's behalf at least.) He came home from the first day and cried for almost 2 hours, telling me quite categorically between sobs that he was going back to the desert to live with The Princess. When I told him he couldn’t because she was not 18 yet and couldn’t be his legal guardian, he countered with “I’ll wait until October THEN I’m moving back with [The Princess]”. I knew he was desperate, because he and The Princess fought like cat and dog. But thankfully, with a few well-worded txts from his sister, he straightened his shoulders and headed back for another go the next day ... and made 3 friends, whom he still hangs with. They were all new and decided to start the ‘I hate moving, parents and the coast’ club but I think it has disbanded now. Serious Boy also had his first taste of ‘real work’ with a week’s work experience at a local engineering and drafting firm so he is happy with his decision made way back in primary school to be a draftsman. Yay.

The Little Fella was recently identified as ‘gifted and talented’ ... looking at the list, I thought it was ADHD but apparently not.  He has taken to high school like a duck to water and absolutely loves it. His grades show that, with all A’s and B’s and his teachers have mostly succumbed to the cherubic face and beaming smile, which he has been using shamelessly since he came out of the chute. The canteen ladies adore him. It’s quite pathetic really and yet I am privately chuffed that, no matter what, that kid will succeed at whatever he decides to do in life simply by using his powers of persuasion and razor sharp wit.

As you may know, my Dad has been rather ill over the past few years, and we really hit a low point a few weeks ago, in that we nearly lost him. He has prostate cancer and secondary bone cancer which he has been able to keep at bay for some time with natural remedies. However, it would seem time is not on our side and it’s starting to catch up to him. They came up for The Princess's 18th and he was hunched over with what he thought was a muscle strain in the back but turns out to be a spur growing on his spine and pushing on the nerves that control his digestive system. This would probably account for his feeling ‘seasick’ for the past few months and having trouble with all things in that area. Now, I will spare you the gory details (which my parents refuse to and like to share CONSTANTLY) but let’s just say ‘system shutdown’ and leave it at that ...honestly, I was happy to leave behind that part of my life (ie child rearing) that consisted of concern over bowel movements but my parents just DELIGHT in it!! Holy jebus!

When he hopped ... or rather slowly and gingerly stepped out of the car to greet me, I was so glad I had had a ‘by-chance’ conversation with him a couple of weeks previously where he had told me he’d lost ‘a bit of weight’. You know all those war photos of once-strapping young lads in POW camps? He looked like that. KA-POW. Reality check. He was not the same guy who’d been up here at Christmas.

Anyway, they made it home and he just went downhill so rapidly it wasn’t funny. Couldn’t keep anything down. Nothing coming out. Fading very quickly. Scary. Very scary. But thankfully, they managed to stop the slide in time (or, as the Dr put it, ‘halt his progress down a path that was unsustainable to life’ ... how poetic is that??). Sidekick's mum came up for 3 weeks to look after the boys so I could get down there and spend some time with him and mum. And you know what? It was the greatest 3 weeks I have ever had with them EVER. Family came and went but most of the time it was just the 3 of us and it was so very peaceful and ... just nice. Special. A memory I am so grateful to have and will treasure forever.

He’s doing ok now but is still very frail and very thin. And the bone scans are not good. There’s more hotspots showing up on his skull and hips and it looks to be throughout his torso too. Not good at all. So, we are heading down there in a few days’ time to spend Christmas with them. And we will just love him while we can.

Sadly, there is more not-so-great news. Sidekick and I are separating. Emailing doesn’t seem an appropriate way to announce this (actually, no way seems appropriate to announce this) but it’s the way most people communicate nowadays. It’s been coming for a while and whilst we tried everything, it would seem that this is the way it will play out. Thankfully, whilst it is rocky and by no means easy, we are talking to each other better than we ever have and working through the details together to find the best way possible to handle it for the kids’ sake. I am looking at renting/purchasing a house here early next year and he will continue to come over on his days off to spend time with the boys so they will go between the two houses ... not sure if it will work but if we can show the kids that we can cooperate and always put their best interests first, I think we will make it through this very daunting new phase in our relationship.

Soooo .... 2009 in a few words?? Difficult, challenging, testing, hard work ... but no doubt the most personal growth I have been through since the first time I heard those dreaded phrases “You’re only 3 centimetres dilated” and “Don’t push!” .

Actually, although this year has been quite a trial, I find myself finishing it feeling better, stronger and happier than I have been for some time ... strange but true.

I hope your year has been full and just as personally rewarding (although maybe not with so much trauma!)  All my love to you all.  I consider myself so blessed to know such great women!

Have a very Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year!
xxLibrary Girl

Far out. I have no idea what I could write for this years'.  Maybe just keep it short and sweet, along the lines of:
Dad died. Very very sad.
Sidekick is a douche. Surprising yet not totally unexpected.
Dog still living. Who'd a thunk it?
Boys growing and thriving and getting taller than me. Boo.
Girl moved back in. Yay!
Went to NZ. Freezing but fun!
Got my dream job back. There is a God and he took pity on me.
Have 'gentleman caller' who was 11 when I was having my first child. Woooooohooooo!
Life is a rollercoaster and at the moment, it seems to be heading up out of the long dip.
Things are good. Merry Christmas. 


  1. You know, I don't think I've ever done a year summary letter before. It seems as if it would be quite theraputic. Might give it a shot.

    I'm glad 2010 was a better year for you (younger man...hells yeah!)and I hope 2011 far exceeds your expectations.


  3. OWO - I guess in a way it is good to reflect and summarise. Puts things in perspective :) I am actually looking forward to next year and that hasnt happened for a long, long time!

  4. BB - Thank you. As always, such the poet xxx mwah

  5. I have to say LB, I shed a little tear reading your summary - way harsh reality check! It's a good thing you came out of it all with such a nice young man - heh heh - way to reward yourself girl!!!

  6. Helen - I certainly learnt a lot about myself and life in general. The biggest lesson was the real meaning of the phrase "This too shall pass" and the realisation that whilst things happen that are out of our control, we can control how we react to them. I'm now a half-full glass girl :)



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