Saturday morning and still no phone. AND I am loving it. I had to be a little more organised this morning than I usually am, but that’s not a bad thing. T had football at 12.20pm but Scott left the house with the boys at 9.30am, they wanted to go to Bunnings and then watch a couple of football games before T had has game. I was not leaving home at 9.30am, so had to make sure that T had text all the grandmothers to make sure they knew what time and where to meet us at the football and make sure he had all of his gear and had to make sure I knew where to meet them at the grounds where there are 4 football fields. This no phone experiment is also saving us money, I went to text Scott when he was at Bunnings to grab a couple of things – but no phone. I thought about it and I really didn’t need the things that I was going to ask him to buy. And he apparently forgot I had no phone and sent me a text while grocery shopping asking for 8 pork chops. What the hell do we need 8 pork chops for!!! Glad I didn’t get that time wasting text message.
When we had all met up at the football to watch T, I was fascinated and a bit disturbed as I sat in the sun and people watched. EVERYONE was on their phones, I was also embarrassed to realise that I am also one of those mums. While waiting for a game I usually do pull out my phone and check social media or call or text someone. I was watching the kids as they were warming up and observed the amount of times they look at their parents – and the parents are watching their smart phone. No photos of T at the game, no phone and I forgot my camera. His team lost but he had good fun, got a fat lip, strapped fingers and tag marks all the way from the top of his thigh to his knee.
The boys had to stay at mums over night as Scott and I both work tomorrow morning. We dropped them off after dinner and about 30004238053023 kisses from me and goodnight and have a good day tomorrow. See I always text them goodnight and good morning, but no phone. Off to bed.
Julie – owner of JPS Hair and Beauty, and I sat down in her pedicure lounge with a coffee and cheesecake and had a chat. This lady boss who is celebrating 19 years in her salon was modest in telling “her” story.
“I mean, it’s not just me this is my sister tribe. Lots of people make this salon.”
Start at the beginning, tell the story of your salon.
The salon started when I began my apprenticeship. The salon was the Cutting Crew, at Banyo. The owner had salons at Banyo and Wynnum. Within a few months I was winding perms and giving $5.00 haircuts. My boss recognized that I could work by myself and she would drive me out to her Wynnum salon. I was a few months off qualifying when she dropped the bomb, she was moving overseas for an extended period of time. I had mixed feelings about it, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. So I went home and I begged, I begged if I could buy the salon. I went from bank to bank to bank and I finally purchased the salon. I was nineteen. She fast tracked the last few months of my apprenticeship so I could own the salon. It was my baby. My boyfriend at the time had a Harvey Norman franchise and he worked up to 7 days a week, so we worked and worked and worked. We were young, it was all we had so we just put everything in to the businesses.
Julie saw growth in the suburb of her home, grabbed it with both hands and started another successful salon that she built from scratch.
I was driving between the two salons at this point, we were married, no kids.
The second salon was so successful that in less than 12 months, she employed a management team and an offer came through for Julie to sell.
I was solely at Wynnum when I had my first bubby- Roamie. We then purchased Morayfield – yeah Wynnum and Morayfield are a long way apart. I was working 9am til 9pm, starving hungry, nowhere to stop and eat, and crying baby in the back of the car. When we took over at Morayfield, it had been established for a decade and came with a great reputation. I will never forget the day I took over, I parked out the back and the girls came running at me for big hugs, I had never met these girls before.
Within that first week, I was violently ill and pregnant, with Luca. So I was building two salons with a one year old and pregnant again.
We love the chaos and craziness.
When Luca came, we had the front room of the salon as a childcare room, rather than putting him in child care we employed a child care worker. There was swing, cot, change table, it was all glassed in and had air-conditioning, she would look after not only my baby but anyone else who bought babies into the salon. I was still breastfeeding. I always found it important to show my girls that you can work and have a family and I felt strongly about breastfeeding. I still wanted to be able to give that to the boys. There was always a breast pump out the back if the boys weren’t here or if they were I was always feeding and I wanted that to be part of everyday life. When Luca was two and a half I approached the man next door to the Wynnum salon and said this is all too much now I can’t keep driving from Burpengary to Wynnum. He had always said if I wanted to sell to approach him first because we watched for 10 years how I built up the business. And so within a few weeks he took over.
Julie’s savvy business skills were on full alert again when a couple of years later the madness and hunger to conquer the world took over again and she saw a prime opportunity to open a salon at Murrumba Downs.
There was only one salon in the suburb and they were building a new Coles complex. We went and bought off the plan. There was countless problems, plumbing problems, building problems, budget problems. But we built a stunning salon, a year later we built another salon in another complex at Woodford. So now we had three salons.
I do all of this buy putting on a few different hats, making lists, I suppose when you are used to a lifestyle it is just that. At times it can get really overwhelming definitely.
Julie distributed her time between each salon, she spent other days doing stock, payroll, and all of the behind the scenes responsibilities of running three salons and being a mum and wife. We were approached by a broker who wanted to purchase all of our salons. But you know, while the kids are in school it is so flexible with our lifestyle and being around for the kids. We decided to stay in business and so they purchased just Murrumba downs. Shortly after that, the Woodford shopping centre owners pursued us, wanting the Woodford salon. So for two years we have just the one salon. I am here for my kids and seeing my boys succeed is everything. In sport or just at home, seeing my kids at home scootering around the driveway, free as birds. That makes me feel very, very special. Also seeing them accomplish things, you know cooking for themselves, them cleaning up makes me very happy. It’s the little things. I think with kids you want them to experience things, you know not just one off, if they experience something over and over and over they will get really good at it, I mean that is with the bad things too. If they come into a situation where something bad could happen or they have had set backs in their training, they sometimes get hurt, you know this builds resilience. They have experienced this, they are prepared for it mentally and physically.
Julie’s passion for teaching and encouraging not only includes her children but “her girls” too.
We have 15 girls here in the salon. Beauty therapists and hairdressers. It is perfect. I love coming to work, I do school hours. I drop the boys off and then am there to do school pick up. I am so content at the moment.
So my girls. Rachel has been here since the day we took over. So 11 years. Majority of the girls have been here for five years. Jasmine is our manager at the front desk, having her as host gives me the opportunity to look after my clients and mentor the other girls. Help them, support them, counsel them. Because you know, sometimes we are not having the best day and other times we are absolute rock stars. We often have binge food days but you know we all do it together. We have good days and bad days, that goes with being a woman, we have a lot of Panadol in the back room, we are here for each other, this is my sister tribe. Lots of people make this salon, it is not just me. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for every single person. All of this still happens even when I am not here, which is what I love.
I am getting enjoyment out of seeing the girls grow up, one of our babies just became qualified. Apprentices make the salon run, they are the salon, they keep us young, they keep everyone in coffee and their hair washing skills and the scalp massages are amazing. We get so much out of having them as a part of the salon. I will always have apprentices. The girls love to mentor, they love having an assistant, someone to help them. Our latest newly qualified hairdresser, she started when she was 15, as a school based apprentice. We got her through high school together, she graduated, had her formal, became full-time and now she is a qualified hairdresser, she has moved out of home, has a lovely boyfriend, she is woman. I am so amazed, I love seeing the full circle.
My joy – oh seeing what those girls can create – when I see the girls photos of their work, if I haven’t been there for the day or I have been stuck in the office and I see the styles they have created, it is everything, amazing, my girls are so talented.
I feel like they stay because of appreciation, everyone wants to be appreciated, I give them flexibility in their roles, I provide the tools and they can be free to create. We have a great team, a great connection. I don’t stand over them, I just let them go for it – most people flourish with that, sometimes it doesn’t suit them. I am about encouragement and motivation, leading by example, by showing them what I love about the industry. You know I try and keep it fun, most of the time I’m the jokester. Hairdressers are creators so they just flourish with all that encouragement. You know after we consult a client it’s always like, “I am about to do this colour what do you think?” and we bounce off each other. I am passionate about hair, they see that. I am always doing crazy stuff with my hair and they see that confidence, just to try and pull of anything. I want to show that to my customers also! That they can be confident in me. I always love to try what’s new. I mean we started using Olaplex 9 months before it was in Australia. We were importing it. The industry changes, trends change. We want to keep updated and offer that to our clients. We love to do a bit of advanced beauty.
Julie encourages her team to be open and creative, she embraces new ideas and trends.
The feather brows – oh god they are just stunning, the girls are so talented with feather brows. Some of our team came to us and said “oh look at this!” – I was like “yeah this is awesome how can we be the best at this”. That was a couple of years ago and it has boomed. We also offer laser tattoo removal, we have a class 4 laser remover, which is a medical grade laser to remove tattoos. We love to push the envelope and get great results with hair and beauty. Another one of my passions is hair extensions. I have flown around the world by myself investigating and from that I have created my own hair extension range. Whenever I have used hair extensions there is always something wrong with them, be it a shedding problem, or hair matting, or the tape wasn’t sticky enough, or the hair wasn’t the best quality, or wasn’t long enough. In the end I made my own. I don’t have any of those problems. We use absolutely stunning Russian hair, beautiful quality hair extensions that I have designed from the very beginning and are exactly what I have always wanted. We were provided with samples and often the samples weren’t right either, so I would send them back, outlining exactly what I wanted fixed. Everything from the hair, the tape, the length, weight, everything – I was fussy with. I wanted these to be just right. I have done this for so many years – these needed to be perfect. I have designed everything the packaging the name – Lucia. This is what I wanted my daughter’s name to be if I had one. So this is my baby. The whole process has been two years. Not being happy with the quality or the price lead me to investigating, trialling, having multiple salons and wanting the best. I love investigating and trying things and I want the quality.
I feel everyone has a certain amount of energy and if you channel it into the right things then you are going to go so far.
And if it’s not channelled it can be really destructive and you can get quiet depressed because you have you have no channel, no direction. I channel that energy, keep focused. When it all feels too much and I am overwhelmed I will go up to the beach – the Sunshine Coast. It completely clears my mind, it files everything where it needs to go, it cleans out all the clutter and I get completely refocused and hungry for more. Every couple of weeks I have to go to the beach. It is my thing – it is my drug. My husband also helps keep me focused, he is a business man, he is so smart, and I have always wanted to be like him ever since I met him. He has always been really focused, he then keeps me focused and holds really high standards. He helps me late at night, he is the handyman. He is here fixing washing machines and dryers and painting and renovating and making my visions come to fruition. When I have a vision of something I want to create, he’ll tell me it can’t work, but oh yes it does.
Like my green wall, I wanted a green wall – I got my green wall, or I am going to take my team to Vegas and we did.
Last year we created our own bi-annual education event called JPS retreat, rather than go to Vegas. We hired two beautiful mansions at Stradbroke Island, we flew in prominent educators and had three days in a nice relaxed environment and learnt new techniques and styles. We bought in Penny Antuar a make-up artist. The beauty therapists perfected all new techniques with make-up over two days. The hair side of things we had – Belinda Keeley from Melbourne, motivational speaking and colour placement with the girls was her specialty. My idol Lorna Evans – the up style queen, she showed us amazing braids and up styles, how to sew hair, sew an up style with cotton wool.
Julie wears so many hats, wife, mum, business owner, mentor, creator. What is next for this lady?
You never know with me, there is always so magic in the air.
Why back me financially, by having to pay to read the interviews? Because I am creating a platform for me to showcase my best work, build a community and get paid to keep on creating. The more patrons in our community means more interviews, and more stories. A portion of this money will be used to pay it forward, sharing the love with other women and girls and raising their voice.
Worked all day today, like alllllllll day. I got here at 6.15am for a 7.00am start, the traffic was supposed to be dreadful because of railway closures, so I left home early and had a cuppa before work.
I have ended up with a 16 hour shift because of the amount of people on annual leave for the school holidays and we have no one to call in. So I will take the overtime hours and the money.
Even though I have been stuck inside a building where I can’t see outside, I have experienced some beautiful things today. I packed an apple for my morning tea this morning (I don’t usually eat fruit, my husband usually force feeds it to me after he has cut it up.) Anyway, the crunchy, juicy, sweet pink lady apple was a delicious morning tea.
This afternoon, in the middle of a crazy, busy time with a line up of people in front of me, I glanced down at my phone to see that my husband had sent me a pretty picture of one of the roses from our garden. With a beatiful message with it.
The third beautiful thing that I experienced today was the sunset. My lovely friend and colleague came back from her tea break, the place was crazy busy still but she kicked me out of my desk and told me to go outside and look at the sunset. I know the look on my face, told her I thought she had gone crazy because of how busy we were. She demanded I get outside go for a walk and look at the sunset. So glad I did because the red, pink, apricot, orange, yellow, and blue was worthy of beautiful and elegant poetry.
End of day 30
Not the end yet, but need to get back to work .
And just realised that I have stuck at this challenge for one month.
I had a private message from boy 2’s best friend’s mum, letting me know that he was an awesome friend to her daughter today and it was very much appreciated. I thought that she must be having a tough as he gave her his last avocado, he does not share avocado with anyone. But he made her guacamole at school for morning tea to cheer her up. I mean really that is his definition of being a good friend.
So this afternoon at 4.20pm I get a call from my husband to say that my firstborns, first day of work was supposed to be today and the manager had just called to find out where our kid was.
Well panic followed this phone call. My boy is a stressor, he stresses for days and days about new things he has to do, or events that are coming up. So imagine the hysteria this afternoon. I found the number of his workplace and told him to ring and apologise and say that you are on your way. He was as white as a sheet, but called them and told them he was on his way. He literally threw on his uniform that his about 3 sizes too big (it was the smallest size I could order). I had 7 phone calls and 15 text messages (not joking just counted them) from my husband stressing about the whole situation, I had my highly strung kid who was completely frazzled and freaking out about being late for work and worse than that, not knowing he had a shift. This was all happening as I am trying to drive said kid to his new job, in peak hour traffic. He barely let me stop the car and he was running in the door.
Came back three and a half hours later to pick him up and he was completely high, did not stop talking the whole way home, he didn’t stop talking while eating dinner, and was yelling out to me while in the shower, when I tucked him into bed I actually had to tell him to draw breath and stop talking.
He learnt a lot, he likes the guy that is training him, he can’t wait to get paid, and he never wants to eat the food again where he works.
End of day 18.
It is 8.54pm I start work in less than 2hrs, no sleep for me.
Sad my firstborn is growing up so quickly, he looks older in the 3 and a half hours since I saw him last.
(feature photo, my first born devouring everything in the fridge after first day at work, which was actually three and a half hours)
Family day today. It was my niece’s 1st birthday party, she slept through the whole thing, but we celebrated for her. The party was backwards, as she needed sleep and we all wanted to see her cut the cake, so she cut up her pepper pig cake before she went for a nap. Then we feasted on chips and homemade thermomix garlic dip, salad and bbq meat for lunch, followed by birthday cake. I got to spend time with my Grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins, my mum and my kids. At one stage I was having a laugh at my boy who was making a comment, about how he hates to try new things, this was after my Grandma scrunched her nose up, and refused to try a warm spinach dip. My cousin then piped up, and said she also hates to try new things. I was having a good old laugh by this point and said that my Grandma has strong genes, to be passing these traits down to the grandkids. There is such a strong feeling of connection when you are surrounded by people, who share the same basic, familial traits as yourself. As I was eating my lunch, I was watching my grandparents who I adore, and thinking it must be such an amazing feeling to look around, at a party being held for your great-granddaughter, and see that most of the people there, are there because you feel in love with the person sitting next to you.
This afternoon, after a nanna nap, because I was exhausted from being at a 1 year olds party ( I don’t party like I used to). I sat on the phone with a glass of red, chatting, to my other sister, who lives hundreds of kilometres away. She was sipping a beer while we had a 45min conversation about anything and everything.
While cooking dinner and organising children, I then had a chat to my Dad on the phone, his phone call was interrupted by an incoming call from my husband.
End of the day and I have chatted, laughed and spent time with, the majority of the people in this world that share my blood line, and that I love.
It was a good day.
End of day 16.
I found out that my Grandma is a hoon, and loves to ride on the back of motorcycles.
And I want to thank every single person that reads my blog posts. I had a HUGE response to both of my posts from yesterday. Every single like and comment, really does mean the world to me and I am incredibly grateful that people spend their precious time showing me their love. xx
Vow | a solemn or earnest pledge or promise binding the person making it to perform a specified act or behave in a certain way (Collins dictionary).
A guy I work with recently got married, and of course posted the wedding YouTube video to Facebook. I cried into my porridge and wrecked my work makeup. It wasn’t the Bali garden setting, with the view of the ocean over a stone wall, or the flowers that adorned everything or the trendy macramé curtain that framed the couple beautifully under a wooden arbour, that had me weeping. It was their vows. Vows that were their own words written with thought, truth, humour and love.
When I was a bride to be, all I wanted was to marry Scott and have his babies. With everything in me down to my soul I wanted to be the wife to my first love. I wanted the traditional Catholic Church wedding, with the white dress, standing before God, family and friends being tied to Scott forever. The Catholics have their own script and order of service for the wedding ceremony and at the time I was okay with that. The only thought I put into my vows was that I would not vow to “obey”.
The day of our wedding, I couldn’t wait to get to the church, (I was 20min early). Walking with my Mum on my left and my Dad on my right, and my sisters walking in front of me. I smiled and waved and said hello to family and friends, as I walked towards my guy in the black suit looking like he wanted to vomit or curse me for taking so long to get to him. When I finally did reach him I couldn’t take my eyes off him, all we had to do was say “I do” after the Priest recited the words and vows that bound us.
Priest: Scott, do you take Melinda for your lawful wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?
Scott: I do.
Priest: Melinda do you take Scott for your lawful husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?
Melinda: I do.
After 15 years of marriage, the words that I vowed to live my married life by seem shallow, weak and immature. (That opinion is coming from a place of experience, time, hindsight, trials and love).
I wish I would have had a heart-to-heart to the women in my family, extended family and friends about being a wife and the relationship of marriage. I was so young the concept was of marriage was romantic and exciting. I wish I had my Grandmother, mother, and aunties share their wisdom and insights into being a wife. What is the joy in their marriage and the difficulties in their marriage? In hindsight I would of crafted deeper, authentic words and my own personal promises instead of; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.
Honestly look at this photo……..I love it. This photo could be the poster for one of those heart-warming, tear jerking, comedy chick flicks about girls from high school and where they ended up as women in their thirties.
I was nervous, insecure and had an emotional week. I didn’t have the strength to put on my everything is great / confident face. All day Saturday I completely melted my brain trying to think of an excuse to bail out of dinner.
I was having dinner with women that I have been friends with since year 8 of high school. So we were about 13 or 14 and are now 37. Some I have been closer with than others, (Renee and I watched 500000000 hours of Tom Cruise in Top Gun and we still joke about me cheating on our Japanese exam and me getting a better mark). But all of us are connected over those awkward and ugly years of teenage hood, (I was definitely the ugliest with silver braces, glasses and short hair and the nick name penguin- oh the horror). Obviously I didn’t chicken out of dinner with a pathetic excuse. No, I pulled up my big girl knickers, actually they were a lacy number that matched my bra – nice knickers are my thing. Threw over the top of them my favourite jeans, white button up top with my favourite flats, and dressed it up with some jewellery, total mum uniform and I wanted to wear something funkier but I felt like I needed a shield.
Before the woman on my Google maps took me the scenic way to dinner, I called in at the local bottlo and choose a bottle of red with the coolest label I could find (also one of my things- to find the coolest/ prettiest/ most appealing label on the bottle and that’s what I buy).
By the time seven of us arrived, all the hugs, kisses and greetings were done and sitting at a perfectly set table, dining on amazing food, sipping French champagne. I couldn’t remember what I had been worried about. There is such comfort and ease in being with people that you have known for such a long period of time and have history with. We don’t see or talk to each other every day, week or month. But chatting, laughing and catching up was seamless and felt as though we do speak every day (well we kind of did on FB messenger trying to organize dinner and when everyone was available). Then, (I am not sure who, by then a couple of flutes had been sunk) someone said we should go around the table saying one nice thing that we think about ourselves. I will not reveal what was said at that sacred women’s table. But let’s just say there was uncertainty, uncomfortable truths, support for each other, calling bullshit, love, laughter, tears, snot, toilet paper (ran out of tissues), lots of hand holding and hugging, and a pact was made. Bottles of champagne and chocolate truffles smoothed over the emotions. We are all of the same age, but all at such different stages in our life. And all of the stunning women around that table had trouble sharing something awesome about themselves, despite the love that was flowing. I feel incredibly blessed to have had a cherished, cleansing and connected experience with some special women in my life.
Dressed in cut off shorts, t-shirt and jumper, big sunglasses and blonde pixie hair that I ran my fingers through before leaving home. I Embrace my inner lizard and climb the wooden rail and take up a spot on a sandstone rock to soak up and enjoy the little bit of warmth the winter sun provides, while my family surfsin the ocean below. All the surfers and body boarders look the same in with their black wetsuits and white boards. I am nervous with my boy’s out there in the expanse of ocean, but they love it. They don’t care about the size, temperature or being the small, amateurs amongst the adult locals.
A woman in her late teens dressed in cut off shorts exposing a leg tattoo that skims her knee, long hair piled on top of her head in a messy bun, a jumper with bikini straps hanging out the top, her little boy on her right hip and her left arm full of towels and bags followed her partner carrying a surf board down the wooden steps to the sand. She sets her load down on the sand, strips off her jumper, and starts unloading a bag with a hat and board shorts for her little one. Her little guy starts walking in the car tracks lining the beach.
Looking at the ocean I am silently cheering on one of my boys as he catches a beautiful wave all the way to the beach. (Lucky I didn’t loudly cheer like I wanted to. It was not one of my boys.)
A few minutes later in between a stream of surfers and body boarders, another family walked past me baking on my piece of sandstone rock.
A woman in her late twenties dressed in jeans, shoes and socks, jumper, scarf and a backpack. Her partner behind her with a little boy and surf board in one arm and towels and a bag in the other. The lady shakes out a towel and has a seat. The partner sets down the little boy, towels and bag. Arranges a towel for the little boy, grabs his surfboard and runs into the surf. The Mumma pulls out a phone and an Ipad, she hands the Ipad to the little boy and starts tapping on her phone.
As I watch the ocean and try to identify my family, little boy one runs to the edge of the water and plays tag with the waves, I can hear his belly laughs as the waves almost touch his bare feet. Next to him his Mum writes with a stick in the wet sand.
My husband catches a great little wave and flings himself into the water as the wave ends. I know that it’s him from the colour of his wetsuit and the way that his foot sticks up as he duck dives.
Little boy two runs to copy little boy one, his mum puts down her phone, picks up little boy two places him back on the towel with the Ipad and dusts off his shoes.
My littlest boy comes out of the ocean, with a slight purple hue about him. I peel myself off my rock and meet him at the stairs. He is frozen and can barely speak, but tells me he had heaps of fun and runs to the car to get changed.
As I try and find my other boy in the crowd of surfers, little boy one races away up the beach with his mumma pretending to chase him. Little boy two hasn’t lifted his head from the Ipad screen. My littlest one comes up behind me and puts his freezing cold hands over my face and laughs his little head off.
A couple of weeks ago I commented on a post I read on the Barefoot Five Facebook or Instagram account ( I can’t remember which one). The post was about women in the western world not allowing themselves to wail in the face of grief. My comment was something like: Wish I had the courage to wail, or maybe I need to wail or some such nonsense. You have to be careful what you wish for (or comment on), because the universe will deliver. You ask for it. You get it, good or bad.
I don’t remember much of my wailing, I remember stumbling to the sanctuary of my bed and wrapping myself up in thick woollen blankets, as I curled myself into the fetal position on my right side, the white pillow case instantly wet with the flow of tears, it was 2.09pm.
During meditation sessions that I have tried, the instructor, speaks of breathing in and drawing up all of the negative energy from the very tips of your toes and working your way up your body until you can blow out the damaging feelings. Curled in on myself I didn’t consciously have to do this, my body, mind, soul seemed to go into auto pilot and no that I had darkness and pain to purge, I felt energy/pain from the tips of my toes to the crown of my head. The ripping, followed by hollowness in my chest, seemed to be where the beastly sounding howling was coming from. I only heard it once and then my conscious mind, plunged me back into nothingness. How do I know this? When I felt a somewhat return to mindfulness I rolled on to my left side in a hot mess of snot, tears and saliva, the red digital numbers told me it was 4.00pm. Of course Mother guilt the evil bitch was the first one to slap me in the face. “Shit, what if my boys saw me like this”. I tried to launch myself off the bed and be done with the wailing. It didn’t feel good or cleansing. I couldn’t get up anyway my muscles felt like jelly, my throat was raw, my mouth was dry, my eyes were swollen shut, I was surprised to look at my chest and not see a great big hole, my head felt foggy and heavy. Much easier to curl up for another half an hour.
My wailing and purging of grief lead to a series of bodily changes over the next couple of days ranging from headaches, running to the toilet every single time I ate or drank. My chest hurt and my muscles felt weak. I did however feel slightly stronger in my mind, wailing seemed to open up my throat chakra/energy and I was able to put a voice to issues and feelings that I had not ever been able to.
So I got my wish, I had the courage to wail and I did need it. I do feel lighter for it, it did cleanse and maybe in time I will be grateful for the experience.
I was motivated last night to get back into writing while watching the state of origin (Queensland WON). I was on Instgram, I found a post from the mummysomniac. She had been featured by @aliceinhealthyland for a Q and A #showtherealyou. Long story short, I commented that I was motivated by her answers to get back into writing. Well shit I thought, when she commented back that if I write something so will she. SO here I am. I thought I would borrow the questions from the Q and A she did and answer them myself. Here we go. (I was going to change the questions slightly, because I wasn’t interviewed but decided to leave them).
I love your Instagram name!I think it is so clever! Can you tell me how you came up with it?
@medwardsblog, is an extension of my blog name. ME blog. ME blog came about in November 2015. I participated in 30 day blogging challenge, and LOVED it. I sat for ages trying to think of a cool, quirky, memorable name for the blog that I had no intention of telling anyone about. Every name I came up with sounded ridiculous and a bit tri-hardy. My initials are ME, I thought that ME would be a good name because; they are my initials, the blog is about me, and it’s simple.
Can you tell myself and my followers a little about why you created @medwardsblog?
Well once I started writing in the 30 day blog challenge and was loving it so much, I wanted to share my writing. Instagram seemed a good place to promote my blog. After stalking around on there and finding thousands of people promoting everything from their boobs, to their business, their babies, I thought I could get some readers to my blog. I don’t only put up blog posts, I also post images or quotes that I find motivational, inspirational or funny. The quotes don’t always apply to how I am feeling at the time, but I figure that they may mean something to someone.
As a busy mumma what is your go to workout?
This is hilarious. I don’t have a go to workout. You can read all about my fitness struggles here and here and here and here.
HOWEVER, when I am motivated, feel unsettled or my body feels tight. I do love to press play on the ipod and lose myself in a yoga session, or go for a walk.
How often do you find the time to move your body?
Lately not much at all. Cooler weather, makes me want to hibernate like a mumma bear, mix that with night duty and moving is the last thing I want to do. I do know that I need to kick my own butt and get moving, because moving is good for my mental health, and my body does cope with stress much better after a good power yoga session, or a brisk, sweaty walk.
Mmmmm, I have been known to have a burnt toosh, from doing downward dog on the beach in bikini bottoms. I do have a pair of Lorna Jane shorts that are extremely comfortable. Otherwise it is shorts, tights, bikinis, yoga pants, for yoga and walking. But I mean always up for an active wear company to throw me some products to try out.
When you are having a rough day, what do you believe helps you to pull through?
Wine… No if I am having a rough day at home, I just need to be left alone. I need to be able to be sad, or cranky or depressed all on my own. I don’t want someone to fix me, don’t want to talk about whatever is bothering me until I am ready. If it’s a work, same, just let me work I don’t need to chat about my rough day.
For me early dinner, long, steaming hot shower where my skin just about peels off, and an early night is what helps to pull me through.
Favourite quote or mantra?
This one keeps popping up for me;
“What if I fall? Oh but my darling what if you fly?” I keep seeing this everywhere over the last few months.
And absolutely without a doubt one of my faves is: Your vibe attracts your tribe”
Proud mumma moment?
The tears and sobs were flowing last year at Jazz night at the high school my boy goes to. He decided he wanted to learn the clarinet. Now this boy is a sports kid head to toe. But he wanted to have a go and I encouraged him to go for lessons at the school. Jazz night is a showcase of all the children at the school who have been learning an instrument, and by learning I mean some of these kids play for the QLD youth orchestra. BUT my boy wanted to have a go. He was so nervous, I was so nervous, he got up on stage in front of the musical elite at the school and played his clarinet. He stopped a couple of times, he made that clarinet squeak like a parrot and he got a standing ovation. He put his head down and almost ran off the stage, he hid out in the back room until the night was over, snuck out a back door and tried to get to the car before anyone could see him. My heart was so full for that brave boy, who got up and had the guts to have a go. That experience for my boy is one of the proudest moments I have experienced as a mumma.
Something you do for yourself?
My house is all boys, husband, kids, and dog. I mean we do have 5 chickens that I have an absolute love/hate relationship with. (I love their eggs, but hate the freaky bitches that peck my feet when I try and feed them). So sometimes I really need to get away from the testosterone, the endless competitiveness, the constant sport talk and do something girly just for me. Sometimes that is getting my hair done, or my nails, often it is a coffee with my mum or a friend.
Who inspires you?
I feel as though I should say my husband is the pinnacle of my inspiration or rant on about my awesome tribe, or how my kids are my inspiration, or how my mum or dad have inspired me to great heights. But in reality it is the people that have broken my heart just a little. I don’t mean the people that have hurt my feelings and I think “oh you bitch”. No, you know when someone says or does something that hurts your heart, even just for a second and leaves a blemish right there on your heart, and then the people that have hurt you so bad they don’t leave a blemish, they leave a scar. They are the ones that inspire me to be a good person, to be the best Mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunty, friend that I can be. To stick with my morals and beliefs, to not be a bitch. To not repeat the hurt that has been done to me.
To be paid to write. Like my blog description says: to write beautiful conversations, about stories, people and places I want to share.
There is so much beauty, pain, love, so many experiences and millions of stories in this world. I would love to be able to write just some of them and be able to earn my living from doing something that I am passionate about.
Best advice you have been given?
Just keep finding you, keep doing things that help you find you. Love this I was told this in a tarot card reading. It is another form of motivation for me. It makes me always want to find out what I may like, or be good at or find what I don’t like. Kinda like a treasure hunt.
Favourite beauty product?
Well at the moment it is the De Lorenzo Novo Silver shampoo. I decided a couple of weeks ago that blondes have more fun, went to the hairdresser and went a silvery, pearly, platinum blonde. I am usually dark, dark brown. The silver shampoo is my absolute favorite and necessary beauty product at the moment, so that I don’t look like a yellow headed, $2 hooker that needs her re-growth done.
A homeless guy was brought into work today, he didn’t want to be there, he wanted to be discharged, go find his friends and drink some metho. He was brought in because he was found unconscious on the floor of a toilet in a local shopping centre. He said he was fine, he has no intention of detoxing and pretty much wants to be left alone. He couldn’t remember the last time he had a shower, he thought maybe 12 months, he wasn’t bothered. The smell coming off this man combined with the lice, open sores, grime and dirt was literally making the rest of us want to be sick. He told the lady looking after him, that he couldn’t understand why his daughter wouldn’t let him see her newborn baby.
Person two from today.
I worked today, my youngest boy played cricket, and while he was there meet a young intellectually impaired boy. My youngest thought he was about 14 or 15, he had been in a major car accident, acquired brain damage and lost his mum. He was hanging out with my boys, throwing and hitting the cricket ball for a while and having a chat. He told my boys that he used to be a great cricketer, until his mum died. My youngest boy showed me a waving motion that this boy makes in front of his closed eyes, he said it makes his mum appear in his mind. My boy said to me “I hate that this boys Mum died, he misses her so much, and he talked about his mum the whole time he was playing with us. I don’t think he will get over that mum.” (no I don’t think he will).
Yesterday morning, I was on Facebook and found this great article that I blogged about later in the day. This morning I was on Instagram scrolling through stunning images of people on holiday, baby photos, breakfast photos, selfies, memes the list goes on. A little orange heart pops up to tell me that Luca Spaghetti like my photo. Seriously Luca Spaghetti, liked a photo I uploaded to Instagram I kid you not.
Luca the Italian tax accountant, the man that will never live anywhere but Rome so he can be near his Mumma (what a good Italian man), Luca the man that is still in love with his childhood sweetheart, the man that took Liz out for a cream puff after his soccer team was defeated one Sunday afternoon, the man that got Liz gilbert to eat newborn lamb intestines, the man that encouraged Liz to become a master of bel far niente, (the beauty of doing nothing). Luca the man that declared his favourite English word is Surrender.
Ok, ok, I may be going over the top a bit here with Luca liking one image on my Instagram account. I mean I didn’t get this excited when I had a photo of Brett Lee at the cricket.
But seriously, in 2010 when Eat, Pray, Love was released, I read it 3 times in 3 days. I was like all of the other 10 million women that bought the book and made it an instant New York Times bestseller that stayed on the charts for over 200 weeks. I wanted to escape to Italy, practice yoga and meditating in an Ashram, Bali didn’t really appeal to me – but I would have made it work. At the time I was stuck in a big black hole, and the escape that Eat, Pray, Love provided me was priceless. I pre-ordered movie tickets and was in the opening session of the Julie Roberts movie (I love Julia Roberts but the book is always better). I attended a lecture by Elizabeth at the Brisbane Powerhouse, where she cursed like a sailor, inspired motivation comparable to her friend Oprah, was so incredibly authentic and fabulously funny and all the name of provoking people into embracing their own creativity. This woman is one funny, creative and down to earth chick, who is obviously a wonderful person, just going off her book and the people that welcomed her into their lives and loved her on her journey . Luca, Sofie, Giovanni, Richard from Texas, Ketut Liyer and Wayan all my absolute favourite people from the book. And I am still stoked that LUCA liked my post.
Today was fly out day for us, the end of 7 days of R and R for my husband and back to work for 21 days. We have lived this routine for 2.5 years now. Some fly out days are tough, like crying and lots of emotion tough. Other fly out days aren’t as bad, still hard but, ahh you know its fly out day and we will get through. Today for me was an odd one, I was sad like emotional sad, but also ahh you know its fly out day. It was one of those r and r’s where we were disconnected and living in our own worlds and our own priorities of work, kids, sport, my husband wanting to do his thing on his days off and me just wanting to get through the week and everything that entails. Its ok to have R and R’s like this, it doesn’t happen all the time. But ahhhh you know when it does, I get to fly out day, and look back with some regret, that I didn’t try harder and some indifference, because well it is what it is. Not every time he is home is going to be a fairy tale of fabulous conversation, date days and undying love.
Over the last couple of years, I have seen our relationship morph into different forms continuously. I am not sure if that is an acute observation, because emotions run so high when we are separated for 21 days a month and then try and cram all of that pent up emotion into 7 days or if I am just more observant of our relationship. Either way having a marriage while living the fifo lifestyle can be a roller coaster. I think for me the trick is to acceptance, this is the lifestyle we have for now and to accept the time we have together for what it is. Some days will be off the charts fabulous and other days not so much.
This study period via Open Learning University, I am study engaging media through Curtin Uni. The main theme of this unit is participatory culture. I am fascinated to learning about this concept that we are currently living. We are a generation that has the most amazing advantage of having the ability to connect, communicate, contribute and participate in real time with people that are either our family, friends, the media, celebrities or complete strangers.
I love the fact that I can logon to my Facebook, Instagram or blog accounts and see what my friends and family are up to, and be able to comment or like their posts. On the other hand, I am also able to share my life with those that I want to connect with. This positive interaction on social media makes people feel good about themselves and encourages participation.
But, what happens when participants of social media take this connection too far, and feel the need to express unwanted opinions onto others that are sharing their lives and are then targeted with negative, hateful opinions or comments. I recently attended a lecture at the Brisbane Writers Festival by John Ronson where he spoke about his new book so you’ve been publicly shamed. He was fabulously entertaining and spoke about an incredible instance, when a woman wrote a thoughtless post on her own social media account and in turn, because of peoples aggressive comments, ruined her own life, via this participatory culture that we all live in.
Another example of these negative, hurtful, unwanted opinions is a lady that I heard about on the local radio station. This lady gave birth to a baby girl, and a few days later she is “mummy shamed”, on her social media. This shaming happened after a post showing her attending the grand final of rugby league football, supporting her husband who plays for a club in Brisbane, and leaving her baby girl at home with the baby’s grandmother.
Isn’t it interesting that simple manners, courtesy and respect for other humans seems to be forgotten or deemed irrelevant, when people are able to sit at a computer screen and spew their opinions and not to have to face the person that they are attacking.
As I was taught growing up “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”.
I totally judged today, because I don’t understand.
(DISCLAIMER) I am going to sound like a judgemental, snobby cow in this post, sorry if I offend anyone.
Today we had to go to our local police station to renew a licence and to the local court house to have some forms witnessed by a JP. What an eye opener, we walked into the Police station and up to the front desk, where there was a harassed looking mid-aged woman, who looked like she wanted to murder the person she was on the phone to, as she said through gritted teeth “it’s still not working” as she was slamming the mouse in her right hand on the desk. I didn’t realise how loud I had spoken when I said to my husband “I have never been in a Police station before”, he coughed out a half-hearted laugh and the murderous woman looked up at me with raised eye brows and bewildered look on her face. I promptly retrieved my phone from my hand bag and proceeded to be completely anti-social. The front doors opened and in walks a man with the skin like leather, ratty dirty hair, smokers cough and hard look on his face. “You been fuckin’ looked after yet?” he says from behind us, as he looks at the lady on the phone. My husband replied in an equally hard voice and pointed to the lady, “she’s busy”, I stood with my head further in my phone. The unfortunate lady behind the counter processed our forms after slamming the phone and asked if we wanted to pay for one or five years of the licence. My husband and I replied at the same time, I said five (because I do not want to have to come back here in one year) and my husband said one year, because it was cheaper. Old leather face behind us pipes up, and starts ranting how ridiculous the price of a licence is and that we are mad if we pay the five years, he was absolutely pushing the buttons of the reception lady. I was on repeat to the poor woman, five years we want to pay five years, just take the amount for the five years off the savings account.
I pretty much ran out of the Police station, away from leather face and another two men that had walked in while I am chanting five years to the receptionist, that looked like they had just got out of prison. Next we had to make our way to the court house to see the JP, where there was a line up out the door of people, waiting in line to be processed through security to get in to the building. I will not go into what this lot looked like cause I really will sound like a judgemental, snobby cow. Let’s just say that our local justice precinct is in a particularly low socio-economic area with a lot of crime, unemployment and violence.
As we were signing papers with the JP, a woman strides through the doors like she owns the building, in shoes that are flip-flopping off her feet, her top is falling off one shoulder (I’m pretty sure that particular top isn’t designed to do that) and a skirt that is dragging on the ground. She is communicating to the government employee behind the counter that; no she didn’t get to her court hearing yesterday, because she has shit to do on a Monday, and that today is a better day for her to go to court over her few outstanding warrants, and she is not sure why everyone has their knickers in a knot over her not being in court yesterday. My face obviously portrayed a WTF look because the JP, smashed his lips together in an effort not to burst out laughing at me.
I know I can’t judge, I don’t know their stories, and I’ve not walked a day in their shoes and all that. But holy hell, you know what leather face, if the price for five years is $150 then that’s what you pay no big deal, if you don’t have the money, only pay for one year. But don’t take it out on the lady on the front lines of the Police station, having deal with people like you throwing ridiculous points of view at her all day. To the lady that has shit to do on a Monday, if Monday doesn’t suit you to go to court, don’t do the friggin crime and stop wasting tax payers dollars on having to now reschedule to have your court date changed.
My girlfriends are the most beautiful, supportive and fit women in my life. I am not one for the gym, but my exercise of choice is yoga. I am in a love/hate relationship with Bikram yoga.
Bikram yoga, the type of yoga where I sweat it out in a 38-degree room for 90 minutes in a series of 26 yoga poses, like ‘Awkward’ pose. I drag my ass into, two classes each week. If my gorgeous friend Helen, didn’t come with me and make me feel guilty, lazy, and unmotivated if I didn’t go, then nope, I wouldn’t put myself through the torture.
In the hot room there are a few things I struggle with and it doesn’t matter how much I try and surrender to the yoga instructor’s voice, I cannot shut-up my internal chatter. Other times, it is my body screaming at me. Almost always it is the sweat. I hate sweat, I hate it when it goes up my nose, I hate it when it drips in my mouth, I hate it when it trickles in between my boobs, I hate it when it runs down my legs. But the moment I conquer a class and hit the showers, none of those things matter and I have a sense of triumph, and feel like I can do anything.
I have also included a new form of torture. Again, I have the most beautiful and supportive, fit girlfriends I could ask for, and then I have the two ‘bitches’ (I called them that during this walk) that drag me to a local mountain to “go for a walk”. The mountain of choice at the moment is about 10 minutes from my house. It is the worst 700 meters that I have ever walked. From the very first step it is insanely steep, and I mean…straight-up steep. No meandering path, no gentle climb, nope, straight into the steepest freaking concrete path I have ever seen. The first time that I did it, I really did think that I was going to die. My heart was beating out of my chest, I couldn’t for the life of me catch my breath, my legs were burning, and my mind was in overdrive with the most dreadful names that I could think of to call my friend.
On the second go up this god-awful mountain, I changed my plan of attack. I decided I can only look at my feet. If I look up and see that steep, torturous concrete path I get overwhelmed, my breath shortens, my heart races and my mind turns negative. My mind tells me I will never get there; my mind tells me to stop. But if I just concentrate on my feet and take one step at a time, I don’t get overwhelmed, my breath slows and I can concentrate. It is only then that the tortuous path does not seem as bad. It is still tough, I defiantly get a work out, but I can manage it, and without too much name calling.
In the same spirit of the yoga and mountain experiences, I have been struggling with FIFO this swing. The 21 days have been like that god-awful, torturous concrete path, and I feel like I have defiantly been sweating it out with sweat going up nose in the Bikram yoga room. However, during my post-mountain walk emotional high, I saw the similarities of the extreme exercises of yoga and mountain walking, and the last two weeks of this swing. If I stop looking at the date that Mr S comes home and only look at today’s date and what I need to get done today and only concentrate on today, then like that concrete path and the sweat, I will get there. So, I can say this much…The time Mr S is away will be crap and I will have dreadful names running through my head about what I think of FIFO. But when I pick Mr S up from the airport at the end of the 21 days, I will have that same feeling of Bikram yoga and mountain climbing triumph, and I will feel like I can do anything.
Announcing my arrival I am asked to have a seat. Abbie my stunning beautician with model looks, perfectly styled hair and dressed in her pristine black uniform, greets me and directs me to the beauty room. She opens the door and I am engulfed with the most refreshing yet soothing fragrance. I have no idea what it is, I make a mental note to ask her, when I am not feeling so nervous. “Fabulous” she says, “ok strip down so everything is off your bottom half, there is a box of wipes for you to freshen up, lay down on the table, place the towel over you and I’ll be back”. With an elegant turn she is gone. I am left standing in the middle of this refreshingly, soothing fragranced room, stunned into silence. I knew that I would have to bare all, but hadn’t given it much thought until now and the wipes, oh dear lord how embarrassing. I do as I am instructed and lay on the beauty bed, contemplating how ridiculous I would look if I left this minute. Abbie glides back into the room in all of her stunning beauty. Checks a pot sitting on bench which I assume is the wax, comes over and whips the towel off, claps her hands and says “great let’s start, spread your legs and we will get rid of all this hair”. Oh. I. want. to. die. Me the woman who can count on one hand, how many people have been between my thighs! One husband, one obstetrician that I had for both boys, and one gp, who has done all my pap smears and know Abbie the beautiful beautician. “So have you had a Brazilian before?” “Yes, but never waxed”. “Oh” she says as she scrunches up her face “it always hurts the first time but after that you’ll be fine”. Fantastic. Abbie walks over twirling what looks like a large paddle pop stick with pink wax on it. She applies the molten wax and it actually feels quiet pleasant and warm. I try to concentrate on the very white ceiling, while forcing myself to keep my legs open. Abbie is professional in her job, she lulls me into a false sense of security with her happy chatting. She rips the now hardened wax with hundreds of hairs attached, from the follicle on my vagina, I feel myself launch off the bed and I think that I may have also screeched “fuck”. She smiles and walks back over to the wax pot. I have decided Abbie the beautiful beautician, is fucking evil. Abbie continues her chatter, I continue to have to talk myself out of punching her in the vagina. This is after she informs me, that she has only ever had one Brazilian in Beauty College because they hurt too much.
At one point near the end of this ridiculousness, she swipes one very large patch of molten hell from top to bottom of my poor red, but now hairless lady parts. I actually start giggling uncontrollably with the thought that she has to rip that fucker off. She must be able to tell that by now I am in shock, because mid-giggle. Rip. Yep the beautiful evil beautician rips the wax off. I think my skin is on fucking fire. Then to my absolute horror, she pulls out a pair of tweezers. She assures me that we are nearly done and that she wants to make sure that I am completely hair free. I am now grunting in response. As my eyes burn holes in the ceiling, my cheeks also flame red at the mortification of this experience, my lady parts are sensitive and throbbing.
Abbie comes over places a large, heated towel over me tells me that we are done and she will meet me out at the counter to pay. While I stand, at the counter paying an obscene amount of money to have my vajajay put through hell. I am cursing myself for wearing my pretty lace knickers that are now scratching my poor abused vagina, I have an overwhelming wish to go commando. I don’t register until I am in the car that Abbie the beautiful beautician, has booked me for a follow up Brazilian in one month. I will be cancelling and I do not care what the fragrance in the room was. I will associate that smell with beautiful evil beauticians and molten hell.
I contemplate our lifestyle as a Fly in– Fly out family and it isn’t about the money. I’m increasingly worried about Scott’s mounting frustration and tension with being away for twenty one days.
Twenty-one nights in a single bed that feels like a piece of concrete. I know he craves, our queen- size bed, with his big strong body curled around mine, holding me tight, not having to wake at 4.30am. No line-up for breakfast, lunch and dinner, his stomach turning at the sight of what is on offer. I can’t wait to sit down and savour a home cooked meal with him.
Twenty-one days of running along the fence line, because the gym overflows with the same people that he lines up for meals with.
Twenty-one times of blowing in the breathalyser, despite having no access to alcohol.
Twenty-one days a month 600kms away, to support us. Transported by a car, plane and bus to get to the 400- man camp that he stays in. The compound could be mistaken for a jail. I know that after a long and detailed process, the gas that is being extracted is only used for domestic use. To top it off, working in 50 degree heat and minus zero temperatures.
In this next swing, I will not spend Easter with my husband, he will miss our oldest boy’s cricket grand final and our youngest boy’s school recital.
The screen is black, the ring tone bleeps as I anxiously wait for Scott to hit connect. I mean, how ridiculous that I am anxious, he is my husband.
As FaceTime connects I see the green eyes and scruff that details a strong jaw. His face beams at me and I know that my face has an equally blinding smile; my eyes sparkle with tears I will not shed. “Hey beautiful, no crying,” he says. Oh god, my heart melts seeing his face and hearing his voice at the same time.
“Hi babe, so I need to interview you on fifo!”
“Yes dear, what do you want to know?” Scott sighs, sounding exasperated. He loathes talking about work and being away. Preferring to spend our time together hearing about home.
“Babe, before we start on this interview let me have a quick chat to the boys.” As I listen to Scott laugh and talk to our boys about school and cricket. I am eternally grateful for modern technology. Jack sits at our much- loved kitchen table, with his dad on FaceTime working through Year 8 maths homework.
Toms laughs as he talks to Scott. “Yes, mum’s doing the dishes!”
“I wish I was doing the dishes with you babe,” Scott yells through the computer screen. The dishes have always been our time at the end of the day to chat and catch up. Now text messages, phone calls and FaceTime are our way of catching up.
I grab the laptop and make my way to our bedroom, so we can chat without interference from the boys.
“So what do you hate about fifo?”
“Seriously, that’s your question?” His unconscious movement of running his hand over his short back and side’s haircut signalling signals his pent- up frustration. “You know the answer to that. It’s fucking shit.” Beautiful green eyes hardening, jaw tense and eyebrows drawn in so far they nearly touch. “It pisses me off that I don’t get to come home to you and the boy’s every day. I want to be home for Easter.” Swipes his hair again. “I am here working my ass off, dealing with idiots that couldn’t organise a piss- –up in a brewery. Working on a public holiday with no penalty rates. After twenty one days I hate the ass holes I work and live with. I did five hundred squats today. Five hundred times I had to squat down and tie off cable. Because some idiot ordered the wrong equipment and refuses to send it back. It’s bullshit. They want us to work harder and faster, with no additional tools and resources.” I scan over his chest and face as he sits rigid and tense on the single bed, as he swipes his hair.
“We got told, that there has been 9 suicides since Christmas, that’s nine blokes that who killed themselves. Fifo and everything that goes with it did that.” (My stomach sinks and I consider the poor men that got to that point, and the families left behind to deal with that devastation.)
Abandoning the questions I had prepared, we chat and catch up about home. Scott now lounges casually on the single bed and his smile reaches his eyes. It makes me think of last month when I picked him up at the airport.
He crossed the zebra crossing dragging his bag behind him at a furious pace, the backpack used as a carry -on slapped against his back, black cap pulled low down over his green eyes. I could see he had no intention of making eye contact with anyone until he reached me. He made sure to wear the black t-shirt that I love. It shows off just a peek of his tattoos, on the arms I adore. Dressed He was dressed in his low slung jeans that hang off his gorgeous ass perfectly. Scott reached our four- wheel drive that took us camping for that break and wrenched the door open. I just about jumped the seat to get to him, I had missed him the past three weeks.
Bringing me back to our conversation he laughs. “Mel, you need to go babe, I can hear the boys arguing.”
My whole body slouches in sadness, tears slip down my face at having to say goodbye. Scott’s eyes are full of love and with a beaming smile across his face. “Love you, babe,” he declares as he hits end. His image is frozen for a second on the screen while the connection drops out. As I stare at the image, I am the one left feeling frustrated and tense with Fly in and Fly out.
It’s 5.00am on a Saturday morning, the heat and humidity are oppressive even at this hour. I shuffle into the kitchen an addict seeking a hit, hunting my drug of choice
The two things that contribute to my survival, especially on Saturday, are;
Coffee: I can’t form a sentence until the first sip of glorious liquid has been consumed.
Shower: I’m not leaving the house without soaping up my body first.
With the above, the check list every Saturday morning of the cricket season includes: whites soaked and ironed to perfection, lunch packed, two folding chairs, five litres of water, two bottles of Gatorade, one giant tube of sunscreen.
Why do I put myself through this at an obscene hour? Because from October to March, my blond- haired boy aspires to be the next Brett Lee with his bowling; he possess the ferocity and passion of Mitchell Johnson as he powers down the pitch to claim wickets. His under-14 cricket games are taken as seriously as Michael Clarke takes The Ashes.
My Saturday cricket buddies (aka other parents) are a good bunch.
The coach is a high-school deputy principal. He pushes the boys and has a quiet, tough-love influence that is astounding to watch. He’s led them to three premierships.
Jim, assistant coach, also our next door neighbour. The supportive and encouraging one.
The drop-and-run parents of triplets in the team; no idea who they are.
The older parents in their late 50s . He’s blind with a cane. She asks him every time their boy does something significant, if he saw it. Some days I want to yell “No, he didn’t. He’s blind.” Other days when I have had more caffeine, my eyes fill with tears at I tear up at her commitment to share the experience with him.
The single Dad of two: my kindred spirit in caffeine addiction. He always has my back when it comes to coffee.
The divorced couple who sit at opposite ends of the field and send messages to each other via the children.
The passive-aggressive competitive couple. Our kids went to kindy together and now the same high school. I avoid her by burrowing into my camp chair. When she does corner me, I feel my teeth grind.
Over the past three summers we have witnessed the benefits of participating in Australia’s iconic game. Mateship, working as a team, the art of graciousness in winning and losing, responsibility and leadership — and I’m not talking just about the kids.