Primrose Sands, August 2017

I don’t have much to say about 2017, other than ‘I’m glad it’s over!’

Well, that’s not true. I mean, I am glad that 2017 is over. However, it wasn’t all bad, so I do have some things to say about it!

Monte is still working from home in his computer programming role. No travelling for him with his job last year; he hung around to take me to hospital appointments. He is collecting whiskey and curing and smoking meats. He works hard. We are grateful that he works so hard.

Georgia is taller than me but she doesn’t want you to know that, and claims that it’s only a cm or so, so doesn’t really matter. She is playing guitar nicely and she has a beautiful singing voice. G, aka Jojo, still does Girl Guides and karate. She is in advanced English at school, which is just as well, in my (former English teacher) opinion.

Matthew has inherited a double dose of his dad’s computer programming gene. He loves running around outside, reading, writing his own stories and drawing, but his big love is the computer. He likes games, but he also likes creating his own stuff. He does karate too. 2018 will be his last year of primary school!

Elora is usually smiling and loving life. She feels things very strongly though, so sometimes she will yell at me, telling me I am a very very very mean mother for some reason or another. I just let her let off some steam before I grab her in a big hug. It’s not easy being the middle child. Elora loves girl guides and karate too, but her big love right now is cooking. She is amazing in the kitchen, making soups, cakes and curries from scratch. She is a great helper. She is very caring about others too.

Charlotte would be turning four this weekend. I don’t let myself wander into the what ifs and if onlys. It is what it is. So there are a couple of photos of Charlotte on the shelf (if you know my house well you will probably know we don’t have many photos around). We speak about her most days. Que sera.

Sarah is growing up – no longer a toddler, that’s for sure. No more nappies; sleeping in her own bed all night; making jokes (usually about bums) and saying phrases like ‘nah I’m ok Mum’ when I offer her a banana. Her favourite colour is blue. Her favourite thing is a cat, especially our lovely Jade. Next year she will start kindergarten. I feel like I must make the most of the next couple of years with her at home, before she’s donning a school uniform and running off into the sunset.

I’m tired. I constantly feel a deep fatigue that I can’t shake. My mind is foggy. I feel sad about what happened to me and my family with this breast cancer business. I feel like I’m not quite the same person I was before. My scars ache, where I had surgery. I get pins and needles in my arm pretty easily – apparently it’s nerves and things reconfiguring and healing. I’m sure the tamoxifen makes me feel groggy and sick. Sometimes I feel like a failure, causing my family so much trouble, and having to stop work, and not seeing my friends as much.

It is so easy to put yourself down. I let myself do it some days. I allow myself to wallow. But, only for a few minutes! When I was grieving for Charlotte, I learned to set a timer on my wallowing. (Later, I learned to set times of the day to worry etc) Those tips helped me through breast cancer. I might let myself feel sorry for myself for three minutes, but then I have to tell myself something positive. There is always a positive. There is always something to be glad about, even on your darkest days.

So 2017 was the year I learned (again) – the hard way (again) – that you never know when your life will be flipped upside down. You need to make the most of every day. You need to do what you love. You need to find joy in little things. You need to go gently, listening to your mind and body.

Our family coped through the year with lots of quiet, gentle together time. We had routines in place so the children felt safe and secure (morning routines, bedtime routines, mealtime routines). We also cherished quiet, alone time, and I think we all learned to value our own company more, as well as each other’s company. We are a close bunch. I am grateful for that.

I hope you find some joy today x