The Gift: happy seven hundred and thirty days in our lives…

Six years. That’s how long I waited for you. But not just me, Popsy girl, every single one of us. Your daddy, your brother. All your nanas and poppas. All your aunties and uncles. All your cuzzies. And all of mama and daddy’s most beautiful friends. We waited so long. We wished so hard. So many times we thought today would never come. But we waited and waited some more. We never gave up. We never let our heads overtake our hearts even though so many times we almost lost.

And it took so so very much to find you…

Today is so many things greater than the celebration of your birth my beautiful girl, though that in itself is one of the greatest things to ever happen in our world. But among the many things April 12 means – it’s coincidentally your mama and daddy’s wedding anniversary – and the day Jesus rose from something a rather (I think, though my religious studies are a little rusty).

But more than that, today is the day I breathed again. For so long I couldn’t. I felt this tightening in my chest. The weight of disappointment, of grief, of fear and self-loathing making it hard to do such a simple thing. While it now seems so far away, so long ago and so well behind me, today the biggest thing inside your mama’s heart is the ‘how’ you got here.

Two things bought you into this world, baby girl. Strength and Courage.

Well them, together with kindness (the greatest kindness you could ever know), tenacity, generosity, smart brains (oh such clever minds) a fair ol’ chunk of dosh, some ancient Chinese medicine and mostly love, love like you’d never think possible. And shit yes there was tears, tears that were often silent because I was too scared that everyone else might not think I was strong if I let them see, so I mostly kept to myself. Tears I worried that if I let too many out maybe some of that courage would go with them.

I wanted to meet you so much that no matter how many needles…there 1537 of them stabbed into my body at some stage or another. That no matter how many times I had to go to the hospital and get something or other ‘cleared out’ inside my body…around nine or ten. That so many many attempts at growing one of you in my belly had failed before…about thirteen. That even though they kept telling me I was too old (like way too old), my body too broken…I kept going because of you. I had to meet you, I had to think one day if I kept on trying your little heart would find its way to us.

I never gave up.

Strength and courage.

Then one day it did.

We met you…a baby girl whose iron will is as strong as her heart. Who will never let a single sod step in her way. Not a one will be able to fuck with you and for that I’m proud, and grateful. A little ladybug with the cheeks of a cherub angel who laughs and sings and sees amazement in every living thing. Who charms the heart of every soul you meet, with a giggle and a rigorous flapping arm wave taking a teeny bit of their heart in your pocket so they’ll always know just how precious of a poppet you are. And the reward for all those years of fight is all won over the second I hear your teeny voice say ‘loveu mummy’, when you take my face inside your hands and look deep through my eyes, into my soul, the perfect reminder you were worth every battle wound and every shed tear.

I never minded one single bit that I let you fall sleep in my arms for the first three months of your life (even though the bitch ass health nurses told me not to) because that was the fuel that fed my soul. And it so needed to be nourished back to health. I don’t mind that you need me, that I must hold you and snuggle you ten thousand times a day, that you hang off me like a baby koala – not just because I know there’ll come a day some years from now when you may not want me to – but because I’m reminded how lucky we are to we have you, how hard I fought to find your shining star. Your cuddles are soul food.

All those many many tears cried in silence, of all the nights spent awake wanting to swap my body with one that worked, all the pain that led almost to the breaking of your daddy’s heart, the tears your big bruv shed when he discovered for the first time that we’d made you…each and every one of those tears now rest inside your heart so you will always know not just how much it took to bring you into this world but how so many raised their arms around us to help you find your way here.

I know you too will have courage in your soul and strength in your mind with each year you grow…and I just can’t wait for every day of them.

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Happy seven hundred and thirty days in our lives Popsy girl. We love your teeny self with every once of our souls, Lady Mama G, your dadda and your Nini and Marlmarl xxox

My letter to you…

There’s some things I wanna tell you both as your Mum and as the one who picks up your dirty washing off the bathroom floor every shitting morning even though I swore I never would (see slave). This day, this one, where you turn from my baby boy to not anymore… is just a little bittersweet for me.

I can still see it, in the dawning hours of a warmish December Monday morning some sixteen years ago, a little niggle in my belly woke me. Your daddy sat up so bloody fast I think he nearly broke his neck. You know that feeling when you shoot those half court threes, the one where you tipped the score on the buzzer and took out the game…yeah well that was him, us, but like times a billion. We were so damn excited.

A few hours later and you were here. I held your teeny milky blonde self so tight in my arms I never wanted to let go. Our smiles so big our faces hurt. I leant down and whispered in your itty bitty ear from that day forward, I’d walk to the ends of the earth for you. I’d wrap you under my wings forevermore and make sure you never met any harm.

From then on it was my job to keep you safe. I’d rather my heart shatter into a thousand tiny pieces than yours be broken. And that was all kinda easy…up until now.

Now you’re the same age I was when I met him, he who created you and there’s never been a day over the past thirteen years I haven’t wanted to take away your pain. I know your heart hurts for the one you never got to know. So does mine. But he couldn’t have asked for a better man, a greater human to raise you. The things you’ve learnt from him, some you won’t even realise till you’re older…are more precious than gold.

You want to grow up so fast. You can’t wait to do all the shit we did, the crazy things your dad did…most of them I’ll never even tell you about. You want to be older already. Skip the in between. Hoon round in souped up cars. The rush of speed all too tempting. My head spins because the days of scooters and bikes with fat wheels are long gone. Now it’s a jet ski in your sights, a boat with a hefty engine behind it and a car that’s too fast for your young brain.

You hear me say no. You think I don’t want you to grow up. And you’re right, really I don’t. Maybe I want you to stay my baby boy forever. To keep you from harm. From having your heart broken. From the temptation to risk your life doing the things you say are just what kids your age do.

But I made a promise to your daddy when he lay there slipping from our lives, I said I’d protect you forever, I’d never let anything happen to you. Because I can’t ever get that call again. When everything stops. When your soul is torn open and left to bleed out. I can’t know such pain again. Never ever. So I’ll do whatever I can to stop you. To keep you safe. I’ll keep that promise until my last breath.

While it’s the best gift I could ever be given, being a mum is the most challenging too. At times I’ve felt all too much, the heavy burden of being two people to you, carrying your grief as my own. Lucky for us both, I’ve had the village to help me all these years. Some days it’s a shitfight I’m not gonna lie. You think you know everything already but boy, there is so much left to learn. So much living to do.

So please just slow down. Take it all in. Be the best you can be, the best we know you’re gonna be. Take life each day as it comes, don’t rush to the next because one day you’ll want to go back to exactly where you are right now. Always take the shots and back yourself. Take the hugs while they’re still there to be given. Listen to the stories of your past that will one day tie in your future. Soak up a life without burdens. Free from adultness. Let your mistakes be exactly that. Respect those who’ve been there before, they fought for the everyday things you might take for granted. Be kind and be thoughtful, it’s what people will remember you for long before how popular you were. Be loving and generous because your heart lets you be. But most of all, Please don’t be in such a hurry…just don’t.

I’ll try and slow you down, I can’t help it and my feeble attempts at keeping you from doing the very things that might take you from me will often fall short. For that there is my blood which runs through your veins, tethering you to me like a life raft forever.

One day you’ll be a dad yourself and know both the heartache and the absolute unconditional love that comes with it. The feeling of overwhelming responsibility to protect that tiny person with everything you have.

We’re so proud of you it actually makes my heart hurt that I could create such a beautiful, kind and loving, talented and clever, generous and sympathetic soul. But too quickly life slips from our grip and before you know it that teeny eight pound three cherub you let fall asleep on your chest just to watch his tiny face is all grown up…

Some days It might seem like I don’t have the time for you because we both know your stories at times stretch out longer than a Tarantino film. But just When you think I’m not listening, I am. When it feels like I’m not watching, I do. When you think I don’t care, I will. When it seems as though nobody else sees you, I can. You’re in my heart and in my mind every single minute.

While I wish I could keep you under my wings forever I know it’s nearly time to spread your own.

You are my sunshine.

Happy manhood, butterfly kisses beautiful boy…

Love always, your mama xox

what’s the best thing about a 14 year gap…?

I’m still not even used to saying it. I have kids. Children. Two of ’em. Seems so strange to say it out loud, like a real pinch myself kinda thing.

At first I thought shit, it’s going to be fucking tough having a fourteen year age gap between my kids…which obviously wasn’t meant to happen that way and those reading along for the past while will know how and why it happened but it’s actually the best thing. Apart from the how of course, that can go fuck itself but the age gap of my two beautiful beings this past year has given me the greatest insight and made me one helluva proud.

He watches her with the same amazement and pride as we do. He tells me he misses her every day when he’s not around her. And when he comes in from school, her little face lights up and she scoots across the floor at a pace with her one handed-crawl like a little crab. He scoops her up and she cuddles into him, her head tucked tightly under his chin and she rests there with her little arms wrapped around him, not letting go. Secure and happy. That is it. That’s when I think the age gap doesn’t matter a bit. In fact it’s the best thing as a mother I could hope for because I get to have one at the cusp of manhood and one just starting life…each of them able to learn so much from the other. And both of them so adoring of one another.

‘I really want her to stay this age forever, like never ever grow up,’ he told me this week. Oh my heart. They are the natural words of love, of pride… from the heart of someone who will always look out for her.

Yes, I’ll say it out loud. I done good. I couldn’t really give a toss if he gets top marks in his schoolwork, if he makes the top team, if he gets invited to all the best parties, if he gets an after school job (unless you happen to be my 15 y o reading this then yes I really do care about your marks. Like, A. Lot). But what I really care about is if he leaves a mark on people’s hearts. If he is kind, compassionate and empathetic to all those he encounters in life. I care that he doesn’t bully or belittle others, that his friends and family matter to him. If he is thoughtful and engaging and mostly, I care about who he becomes. Not what. The rest will fall into place.

I used to think it mattered. When your baby sat up. When they took their first wobbly steps. When they uttered their first indecipherable words. But being that it is our Popsy has barely mastered any type of linguistics other than that of ‘dum dum or mum mum’  which one she’s actually referring to we’re not entirely sure but she has little interest in forming actual sentences (or audible words for that matter). Neither does she particularly care to crawl the ‘right’ way or walk unaided. She knows well enough she can do it but prefers to take things in her own time. She is her own person. Already, God help me. And she has three able-bodied perfectly good servants who are at her every beck and call…there is absolutely no need for her to do anything. She squeals. We all jump. That’s how it is in our house.

I’m only learning now you can NEEEEEEVER compare kids. Especially your own. I never liked dummies before. Never had much need for books or strict sleeping routines. I proclaimed our son had ‘come into our life, therefore must fit into it’ when he was born. And he did. Very well. Then the second one came along and shit got real. I started to like dummies, real quick. And I soon found the only solution for her was following a routine to within an inch of our lives which made things sooooo much easier I cannot even begin to tell you. God bless your soul Tizzy Hall, you are everything.

There’s so much to worry about raising a teen. Too much. You think bottles and flash cards matter when you have an infant. They don’t. Kids all catch up in the end. You get to this stage and it’s all based on fear. You’re navigating a path we never trod as kids growing up in the ’80s where the only bullying occurred via prank calls in the middle of the night or having your daks yanked up through your jeans. There wasn’t this incessant need to be accepted, liked or followed. You couldn’t send pictures of yourself unless you got them printed at the local chemist. Drugs were barely more than weed and if someone didn’t like you they’d say it to your face not share an intimate post you’d made the mistake of showing someone you trusted.

The pressure to be liked, accepted and fit in is so much greater now than it ever was. Our kids, like it or not, are measuring themselves by those they deem as popular and there is an innate sense of being totally lacking in most of them. But what is really scary as all fuck when you’re raising a teen is exactly that. Raising them. Making sure they grow, they feel loved and accepted. That they make it. And I’ve never been more scared in my life.

I’ve learnt with my kids, the age gap is so wide that it’s actually the best thing I could ever hope for them both. They are so damn lucky to have each other and watching your first born just beam with pride about his sister, dammit there really is no greater feeling.

This mother’s day I am so bloody thankful. I am grateful and proud of the Best Thing I Ever Did. And will forever be indebted for the Best Gift I’ve Ever Been Given. Two souls who fill my heart with pride every single day. Who make me realise what I was put on this earth to do…create better tiny humans that make a difference.

To all the mums who feel like it’s getting on top of them, that they’re not doing it right, you bloody well are because you care enough to even think it. To all the mums still trying to be one, don’t give up on your dreams when you hold that tiny person you’ll understand why the fight was so worth it. And to all those missing their mums who are no longer…take comfort in what is left behind. You. And all you can pass on to your own kids. Happy Mother’s Day to all the special women in my life. Lov n’ hugs, LadyMamaG – proud mother-of-two (or three, if you count the mutt) xoxo

 

…you, me, her…we all the same

So here’s what I thought about motherhood. It’s a right. Something that comes easily and freely to all us girls. When you want to, you can bring a tiny blessing into the world, just pop it on out like ordering from a vending machine.

Here’s what else I thought about motherhood. It’s easy. Piece of piss. You have a kid, and maybe it hurts a bit but you’ll get over it. It’s easy ain’t it? I mean they eat, sleep and shit…what could be so hard about that? Yeeesh girl, you got your head on back to front.

What a dickhead. Here’s what I’ve learnt over the past decade. What I thought to be true and what actually is are two such extreme polar opposites they are on the other side of the globe from each other.

I was a complacent bitch, I’ll give you that. Thinking it’s all a walk in the park, I’m slightly ashamed to admit I was one of those who rather nonchalantly, maybe even belligerently, quaffed about how easily I fell pregnant. And then I didn’t.

I would quite happily blab to anyone who listened about how perfect my baby boy was, he actually did just eat, sleep, shit and giggle. Not a peep, well hardly ever. He was like clockwork, textbook easy baby, smiling and laughing his way through his first five years of life. And then I had a difficult one.

Now I look back on my ignorance and should swiftly bitch slap myself while shaking my finger and telling me never again to be so damn cocky.

Kissing goodbye the last days of my forty-second year on this here earth place this week, I don’t think I’ve ever been more reflective.

Now I’m Mum to two beautiful babies. There once was a time I never thought that possible.

I’ve spent days and weeks this year perilously close to the edge, had every ounce of my human, female, mothering instinct tested to its abso-fucken-lute limit. I’ve drawn on every bit of my inner strength to pull myself through all the while doubting my every move, decision, thought…and often questioning if I’m even worthy of motherhood itself.

Sleep deprivation. It’s the biggest motherfucking syphon of sanity you could ever imagine.

The first time it was easy. It really was.

The second…not so much.

I’ve been scared as all fuck. Not knowing, and still not certain if I’m doing it right. Feeling a bit useless, a bit angry (okay a lot) that sleep or even time is no longer a luxury afforded to my daily life. Not wanting to be alone because I wasn’t sure if I could be, and at times being so scared of my baby, my second time motherhood, my inability to see rationally or let anyone else help, and most of all…scared of myself.

I’d been Locked inside a world of doubt and hopelessness where suddenly you find yourself Owner of no fewer than 14 baby help books you said you’d never buy. Subscriber to forty-six online baby sleep guides, thirty-two different baby sleep apps that are like a form of slow painful torture to your ears (who even knew what white noise was?) but mothers nod knowingly at you in the mall as you walk by, your iPod screaming out static from the pram. And buyer of a gazzillion and two different baby wraps, sleeping bags and talking owls (I know what the actual fuck, right?!)

Whatever gets you through, girl.

I said I’d never use a dummy, can’t stand the bloody things. And then I did.

Buuuuut like they say, the fog lifts and it does get easier. Motherhood is tough as all get out. But time does make it easier. Well that and solids. No two babies are the same as pathetically cliche as that is and as much as I once would’ve scoffed loudly while swallowing a laugh…it is true. You forget how much you’ll miss the simple things in life like reading the paper in your undies on a Sunday morning. Or being able to take a shit in peace. Or showering for longer than 13 and a half seconds. Oh how you miss those goddamn things.

And then your tiny miracle learns to dance to your funny singing…and her wee face lights up like a million stars when she sees you…and her giggle is the sound of your heart winning lotto and she snuggles into your chin and falls asleep on you clinging closely to your soul. And you find yourself breathing in her smell so deep you want it to last forever because you know soon enough she’ll be running and then she’ll be starting school and then in a hot bloody second, she’ll be a teenager wanting to borrow your shoes and you’ll miss these days like crazy.

And you hear yourself say, yes motherhood it’s the greatest gift a girl could ever get. Every last bit of it is worth it a million gazillion times over. Sometimes it’s just not quite as easy as you remembered it. But remember where you were a year ago, two or three even. Remember how empty you felt. How much you both yearned for her to be in this world. Remember How many people you know now in your well-trodden shoes still hoping and praying for their own miracle trying every trick they possibly can.

No matter what stage, it’s hard and it’s okay to say that. We are just human. We are just trying to do the best we can. We are sometimes clawing on to the edge of survival but the sun’ll come out tomorrow. Just remember that. And surround yourself with the most precious village who you don’t know what you’d do without.

Lov ‘n hugs from an almost birthday girl and finally, mum-of-two most precious humans, and lover of the most incredibly patient, kind and loving Vet, Lady Mama G xoxo

No choice like this…

Twelve years. So much can happen in a little over a decade. To some it seems so long, to others it’s gone by in a blink.

It’s long enough for the wound to heal over yet the scar is still remains deep enough to cut me to my core.

I remember people gathered around us, 20 maybe 25. Our people. Beautiful, kind, loving people. Hoping for a miracle.

I remember the sickly smell of that shit they pumped into you through a feeding tube. So sweet that it hurts the back of your throat.

I remember wishing and wanting to hold our little boy a thousand miles away, in another state.

I remember faces but not the names of those who came and went and the ward that became your prison for three days.

I remember the vision, the visit of you on your boat floating down the river as if to say it’s okay to let me go.

I remember the cold room where they told me I had to make a decision.

I remember wishing I didn’t.

I remember feeling the weight of every person gathered, of every one of our family, of our little boy, of all our hearts weighing down on my soul as I gathered the strength to do the only thing I didn’t want to do.

I remember losing control.

I remember the last goodbye.

Even though his memories are faint, I’m so glad they’re not filled with the ache this day brings to those of us who continue to relive it without choice.

Twelve years…but it could be yesterday for the pain it still brings. Soar high in them there heavens like I know you will be Didley, this day never gets any easier no matter how long ago it was. Bless you and may I never know such grief again. Love always Lady MamaG xox

The greatest lesson…

Today you should’ve turned 44. Except you won’t. In just a few months you would have seen our boy turn 15. Except you can’t. You would’ve lived to see another twelve years of an extraordinary life. Except you didn’t. It all stopped for you. No more birthdays. Never seeing him grow. A life mercilessly cut short.

Still there’s no reason, no answers no matter how hard we search. Our boy, who’s now just one year off how old we were when we met has never known what an incredible soul you were and it’s still my greatest grief. Haunts my heart that he hardly even got the chance to know the very one who created him.

Today might have ordinarily been like any other birthday. Except it isn’t and never will be again for the memories it holds. Forever frozen in time, you are now just a memory confined to the pictures and stories we keep close to our hearts. Watching from above, the family you left behind. Not by choice but by the cruelest hand of fate.

Waking up today we remember a bloke who lived his life as he wanted, on the edge, risking, laughing and never stopping to think what if. I can only hope your boy has inherited just a little bit of your incredulous outlook on life so he can be as strong and courageous and carefree as you once were.

God knows we can’t change the past. There are no what if’s or if only’s. There is just now. I’ve learnt it’s not always our own hands at the wheel. Sometimes it veers out of control leaving us no choice but to hold on like fuck, to grasp with hope onto the cliff of fear and climb back up over the edge.

And because of that I’ve never learnt a greater lesson in life than to cherish what I have. And what I’ve had. To know how blessed I truly am.

To never again get caught up in what might be, what could be or even what should be. Stupid trivial shit that we sometimes allow to clog up our minds means nothing, really. We still get to wake up every day spend it with the people we love. Shit I wish that lesson didn’t come in such a way it broke me into a zillion tiny pieces but ever since the day we lost you from our lives I vowed to never again take one single thing for granted. Not one.

Simply to breathe is a gift and forevermore I’ll be grateful because I still get to see our son grow, to get my second chance to love again and now, to watch my new baby bring sunshine into my soul every single day.

Even though we had to first be broken to heal and then to recover. Even though this lesson tore my heart from my soul. Even though there’s no more sound of your laughter except in our hearts. Even though an almost adult now himself, your boy never got to know your kind heart. Even though the sound of your voice is becoming more faint as the years slip by…happy would-have-been-44th birthday Didley and thank you for what you left behind. Lady mamaG xox

Closest thing to God…

He might not be the big man upstairs but maybe to me, he’s a pretty close shot. This bloke, holding my teeny miracle in his arms as I well with tears of emotion, is entirely the reason we are blessed to have our baby girl today. And my words won’t ever be enough to thank him not just for what he did for us, but what he does. Every day.  Devoting his life to helping broken people like me be blessed with the incredible gift of a child we otherwise would never be able to hold. 

Who is he? He is Dr Babies. My Dr Babies. Who believed in me, who offered a gentle reassuring hand on my arm each time I woke up in recovery, all thirsteen of them. Who wrote my numbers on my hand each time and smiled with tears in his own eyes when the outcome wasn’t what we’d all hoped and prayed for. Who assured me each time they took more blood from my unwilling veins that it’d one day work for us too. Who persevered with me, supported us and when the time came for it, told us what I might not have wanted to hear but in my heart knew was always true. Who time and again assured us that one day it would work if we only just stuck at it. All while opening his heart and mind to all and any possible chance of hope. 

He’s not just a doctor he’s a man who wants to help heal couples’ broken dreams. And for that I will always be grateful. 

When we started this journey seven years ago I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get over the rainbow. Fertility is one of the hardest mountains I’ve had to climb. It’s utterly fucken shitful. I was robbed of six years of normality. It destroyed my hopes, my dreams and my belief in myself. It kept me from living my life as I would have liked. Changed me into a nutty and at times fucking psychotic bitch swinging from a hope pendulum month to month as though I was caught in a noose. 

Had I not found this man to give us the medical help we were always going to need our precious Lil E wouldn’t be here. Had he not told me straight out I would need to find another woman’s eggs I might still be on this road. Had he not encouraged me to seek out the kindest most generous and beautiful woman on the planet, My Angel, who gifted me a piece of herself so we might realise our dreams, my heart would still be wounded from disappointment. 

Fourteen weeks in and while I’ve battled my own emotions cloaked in doubt and trust of my ability to be the perfect mama and if I’m ever doing it right…I honestly wouldn’t change it for the world. Her smile – and as of yesterday – her precious teeny wee giggle is like a million rainbows come bursting from my soul every time I hear it. 

Dr Babies, The Vet and I and the 14 y o are truly blessed. We are happy. We are complete. That teeny piece of miracle in your arms is the most longed for, loved and blessed gift we could ever wish for. She has brought sunshine and light into our hearts. Seems so little a word but Thank You. Forever and always, Lady Mama G xox