I am Julia Roberts…

In that movie Stepmom – except for the whole Susan Sarandon dying thing.

Ive been in a bit of a funk this week, all these thoughts swirling around my head about turning half way to 70. Yes, I have the tendency to catastrophize. Doesnt everyone?

I get stressed each May. Its a month of memories – some not so nice. I outrun them most of the time but then some days they catch up with me. I decided I was just going to treat today as a great day – I was going be grateful for my little family who made me brekkie, wrote me cards and let me sleep in…til 9!!!

I dont talk here much about my life as a step mum – its a private world full of contradictions, of highs and lows and its probably the hardest job Ive ever taken on – without even having a clue about how hard it was going to be. Its hard to split yourself between 4 people – 2 who dont understand my little quirks all of the time, 1 who is just a replica of me (and strangely has the same quirks) and a little man who donks everyone in the head with Thomas trains. He has quirks – we just haven’t claimed ownership of them yet.

This morning as I was swanning around in a haze of presents, FB messages and drop ins my phone rang and I missed the call.

When I looked back I realised it was my step daughter.

It was her call I had missed.

I rang her back and heard her little 12 year old voice on the end of the line, she cleared her throat and sang me happy birthday.

I think we’ll be alright – the 6 of us.

Im Linking up with Maxabella Loves 52 Weeks of Grateful this week…pop over here and read some of the other posts x



Harnessing the memory machine.

Every year my husband and I and the kids head here. Its an annual thing and its something that he has done every year since he was a kid too. I always remember Mia Freedman when she said that holidays with kids was really just moving the kids to another location without the usual props to entertain them. This year was no different, we almost had to leave a child behind with the amount of stuff we had crammed into the car.

Going to a place you went to as a child inevitably increases the stress to recreate the memories you had for your own offspring (or step-offspring). To visit the same holiday spots, the same twee amusement parks all with that rose-coloured glass nostalgia that makes you forget about vomiting after your first ride on the pirate ship or the sunburn that was so bad you had to shove cotton wool under the straps of your swimmers to relieve the pressure. I think its safe to say there is a space between the truth and what you really want the truth to look like.

On our way up the coast we stopped for the night at a place we’d been to for the last few years. The kids had scattered memories of it and most remembering revolved around the breakfast buffet and a dodgy pancake machine. I actually wrote this post in my head during that overnight stay – it was 313am and I was lying awake with a sniffing child to the right of me, a snoring husband to the left, an even smaller child in a port-a-cot directly next to the bed who was doing seal impersonations in his sleeping bag all night and two stepdaughters sleeping on the foldout lounge whispering louder than their actual voices are….its at this point that I wanted to yell ‘ARE WE HAVING FUN YET?’. But what stopped me from losing it was the need to harness the memory machine, to not sweat the small stuff so that in two decades time my son can turn to me, grateful for the memories we created, and say ‘remember that place we went to where we all slept together, ate pancakes and had a great time’.

And I’ll smile serenely and say ‘of course I do, that was the best holiday ever’.

How are your holidays going? Are we having fun yet?

The suit and other stuff..

My husband and I spent a fair few hours this week in various health-related waiting rooms…it made me grateful for all the usual stuff (health, wealth, happiness and all that jazz) but it also made me grateful for the art of stickybeaking….there is nothing better than a stickybeak with a fellow stickybeaker (aka my husband). Let me clarify here there is a space between sticky-beaking and busy-bodying…we never cross that line.

We were seperated from three other families by a thin curtain…it was still pretty early on a weekday morning but the hospital was humming with all those yucky disastrous things that happen behind closed doors. Across from us was a woman with a writhing toddler stuck to her chest, she was glued to her iphone, furiously texting, furiously scrolling – I did want to lean over and ask what she was reading but my son had fallen asleep on my arm (the arm is yet to wake up…should I seek medical attention??). The middle aged man to the diagonal was also reading his iphone (what did we all do without them??) and his tween-age daughter was trying to persuade him that her legs felt funny despite her 15 trips to the loo in a half hour period…he was very econominal with his answers…you could probably call them grunts. The couple next to us were fussing over a little boy who coughed like a seal and shuffled around like a little old man – his dad, lets call him the suit, spent the day ringing the office, reading out powerpoint slides to his assistant and then telling his son that his illness was in gods hands…I could have given his presentation by the end of our stay.

My partner in crime and I kept each other updated on the happenings of our roomies  – we shared how the furious scroller was going, what request the tween had come up with that hour and how the suit’s powerpoint presentation was going. We wondered where they had come from, we were happy for them when their kids were given the all clear and we were a bit bummed to not see out how it all unfolded when we got to go home.

Im grateful for a husband who secretly loves a good sticky-beak as much as I do.

Whats the most important skill for a good sticky-beak? Can women do it better than men?

p.s My husband was at the train station the next day, his text to me read…the suit is on my train.