Hundreds and Thousands

1521719_10153162285630815_8428987546632118258_nHello.  I’ve been having the sort of family weekend I have been dreaming of for a long time.

A normal kind of weekend.

Let’s see… a bit of shed building, a trip to the airport to pick up Ceci, supermarket shopping, baking, a few loads of washing, movie night, a short family bike ride. A bit of blogging.

Did I mention baking?!  I just banged out a double batch of our family’s favourite chocolate cake!  Then I wrapped the individual portions and popped them in the freezer for lunchbox treats! And yes!  That is worth all those exclamation marks! It feels… so good.  I’ve had this enormous well of frustration over the all the mummy tasks I haven’t been able to do; it’s been getting deeper and deeper over the years.  Sometimes I have let myself wallow in it and feel very, very miserable about it. But today I was able to drop the bucket in and start ladelling out some of the overflow, because today, I did a whole mummy task!  It feels like a real achievement, kind of a yardstick of how much better I am feeling.

And as an added bonus, I have a blogging friend who runs a regular instagram baking event.  She calls it #sundaybakingsunday.  I’ve wanted to join the sunday bakers since I first found out about it, but by the time Sundays rolled around, I was always too unwell.  So this Sunday, I baked, and I instagrammed it! I’m not much of an instagrammer, so that felt like a double win. Thanks to having the ‘roids on my side!  Rach on ‘roids is such a different creature to get used to.

She contains all of the latent wishes of the Chronic-ills Rach.  She carries all the internal lists and hopes and pressures. She is determined to use all this Steroidal benefit to good use.  She’s on a mission! But if she is honest, she’s overdoing it a bit.  Probably a lot. She’s been racing around like a crazy thing, trying to ‘catch up’. And so she crashes.  And it’s true, she recovers much faster than she ever did before.  But she’s feeling a bit stressy.  A little overwhelmed.  Probably a lot like the average Mum.

Before Kellie passed away, she and I were talking about how it was going to be when she got better. She said she was afraid she would take wellness for granted. She didn’t want forget the lessons she had learned while she was sick and go back to the busy-ness of life pre-sick.  She wanted to remember what was important. We promised each other that we would keep each other on track.  And I have been thinking about that conversation.

I seriously doubted I would ever feel like this again, you know? Able!  So I wasn’t prepared when it happened. But I am feeling more able, and it is a carnival of possibilities!  I don’t know how long these good effects will last, or if this treatment regime will eventually lose against the ‘thing’ that is attacking my autonomic nervous system. So I am conscious that this time I have on the other side; this feeling-good-ability, is so very, very precious. I don’t want to waste it. So why do I find myself heaping on the pressure? Diving into stressville? Why must I cram so much into each day?  I’m like a starving creature in the face of a feast.  I’m so afraid someone is going to take it all away.

The hubster and I had a chat about that today.  About taking it easy, slowing down.  That maybe I need to “Settle, petal”.  So I am here, on my bed, in my ‘corner office’  …taking some time out to write this little update.  I hope you are having a good weekend too.  I hope there is enough of the relaxation to balance out the tasks.  I hope there’s a little bit of mooching in there somewhere. I hope you are getting the balance right.  I hope we are all remembering what is important.

Regular life has become pretty busy since I was last here!  Slow down you lot!  And you, too, Rach on ‘roids.   🙂  You don’t actually have to do hundreds of thousands of things just because you CAN.

Do you feel overwhelmed by the pace of normal life too?
Are we all just a little bit crazy with all the things we try to get done?
Why do we do that?

Oh. Forty.

I have been blithely approaching forty with a bit of a mental swagger.
Can’t scare me, forty.  Puh!
I’ve always been mildly exasperated with women who lose the plot over a number.  It’s just a number!  Every birthday you are always turning an age that is younger than what you will be.  Photos of you at this age will always look young when looked back on by your older self.  No worries.  It’s no big deal.

And then yesterday I looked in the mirror and got face slapped with a realisation.  Oh.  Forty.  Maybe you just don’t get it until you are there.
A sneaky snake of an idea began sliding in under the welcome mat of my mind.
Old.  That’s what forty is, it whispered.
No it’s not!  Perhaps it doesn’t help me fight that sneaky snake, that I already have a pacemaker, use a cane and have enjoyed my first outing on a mobility scooter. I already feel like my body is geriatric.  I don’t feel young and looking in that mirror I see the effect of all those years, all the struggle.  I’m not wrinkly, but I look defeated, tired, a bit sad really. And suddenly all my bravado about meeting forty head on is dissolving.

I’m going to be forty for crying out loud.

How did this happen so fast? My insides are still twelve!  I’ve been playing an elaborate game of dress ups and pretending to be grown up.  How can my outside be turning forty!  Far out.
It’s fair to say there is a little bit of panic going on here.
I’ve never liked snakes.

I am eschewing a party.

Not for me the whooping-it-up-gathering.

I’m not alone. My beautiful cousin Erica is turning forty, too. I’ve known her since the day I was born and I feel so lucky to have been given the gift of her friendship through my family ties.  Our mums were sisters.  We have a lot in common and it’s a comfort to laugh at our genetic quirks together! She fell in love with an Australian, and as it often goes, she followed him across the continent of Australia to live in Perth.  I miss her every day.

So!  Why not go and turn forty with Erica? There is no one I would rather turn forty with, and I am meeting her half way between our homes.  Isn’t that a cool plan? We’re going to rendezvous in Adelaide.  So excited!

I’ve been there before.  I completely fell in love with that town.  I love the order and neatness, the creative quirkiness, the variety and beauty.  It’s a stunning place.  And they have this amazing market place there, right in the centre of town.  I have never forgotten the food!  So Erica and I are going to hang out together there for a few days.  We’re going to toast our first forty years together with a nice cuppa tea and ring in the next lot. We’re going to catch up on hours of chats and laughter.  We’re going to sleep in every day and revel in the break from all mothering and wifely tasks.  We’re going to indulge ourselves and revel in the freedom of us-ness.  It’s going to be EPIC.  In a sedate kind of fortyish way.

I’m dreading the flights, but I have planned for lots of rest when I get there. I am researching scooter hire after my recent successful experience.  That will help a lot.  We might even get to those markets, all going well!

When you are sick, having something to look forward to is so important.  Planning can make you anxious; the fear of cancellations and postponements can make you not want to even try. Flexibility in your planning matters. But having something wonderful to look forward to also makes you excited, hopeful   …happy!  It’s a great distraction from the daily thought wheel.  I might be all of those things that I saw in the mirror.  But I am still me.  And that is beautiful in it’s own kind of Rachie way.  I might be limited, but I am able. I might be sick, but I am not giving up. I might be turning forty, but I am much more than the age on my passport or the face in the mirror. I reckon with a little bit of solidarity and sisterhood from my little big cuz, I can make it over the hill with a smile on my dial.

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Are you sick?  What happy plans are you hatching?
Have you hit forty yet?  How did you celebrate?
Have you been to Adelaide?  Any recommended restaurants or must-visit spots? Not the crazy hot nightspots, more the sedate kind of activities suited to the gerries.  (Ahem. Keeping it real!)

This song.  Another thing you don’t get until you are actually there.
“Now the winter at our window feels so cold”

Time for a break…

Hello!  It’s time for me to interrupt transmission while we go away for a while.
We’re all packed and ready to make the big break.  Just a couple of appointments between me and the big blue sea.
Thank you for reading my blog.  I’ll be back to my keyboard and look forward to seeing you again when we are home.

Five go on an Adventure(1)