I had an entirely different post planned and almost ready to go this week. I lost momentum, and its tone remained whiny, even with repeated editing. So instead, here are some snapshots of my last couple of weeks:
Brisbane takes it’s sweet time moving into autumn and winter. The hot days and humid nights seem to loiter for longer every year. Then one day you realise that air conditioning is unecessary and sweat is no longer a constant companion to skin. The introduced species of trees begin to glow sunset colours before they shed their summer coats, and brittle leaves scuttle along the footpaths.
This week our autumn/winter hybrid arrived on sharp gusts of wind and visible breath for the early morning walks to school. My youngest child (8) staunchly refuses to wear a jacket. For several years we engaged in a bitter war over this. I’d physically force him into it, only to have him merrily slip it off in full view of me as soon as he was through the school gates. These days we’ve called a cease fire. It makes winter mornings easier, and I’ve learnt to live with walking a purple-skinned child to school, and the potential judgement this incurs from passers by.
Tiredness has crept into the last few weeks, a need to hibernate. Of course this need invariably coincides with the busiest of months.
My father survived a heart attack and triple bypass surgery a couple of weeks ago. The complications that go with these things continue to trickle in. So he was back in hospital last week. I wrestle with my medically trained brain hungry for details in order to be comfortable, and the insightful slice of that brain telling me to step back or I will burn out and a Bipolar episode will become inevitable.
Work is a good distraction. Never am I able to be more in the moment than when I am at work. It’s the reason I love it. It’s also the reason I limit it. My whole world merges with someone else’s for each new consultation. Sometimes it’s a gentle dip into their day. At other times the pressure is so intense their world becomes mine.
When there are tears and words like: ‘There is no one else. He is all I’ve got.’, and I can tell within seconds of laying my hands on this precious, sole, family member, that it is so very much worse than the shred of hope their person is clinging to. I am more practised now, yes, at translating what I can feel into what it means for the one in tears, but it never gets easier. The diagnostics, the surgery and medicine are so simple compared to this gentle gauging who I am in a room with. I may be medically treating my patient, but the manner in which I move and speak makes me responsible for the welfare of both beings in the room. And I am a sponge, a shock absorber for the bricks of anxiety flying around that space.
At home I fluctuate between being a mouse running on the wheel of housework and leaving the mess to expand into every corner. The futility of house-working all day only to have the results of that work wiped out in a fraction of the time, exasperates and frustrates me. If I based any of my self worth on it (or did it often enough) it would depress me. I’d rather a happy, messy house.
In some parenting circles admitting to the following information might be considered heresy. But they aren’t my circles, so here goes: I’m suffering school music burnout. For the last five weeks one or both of my children have had school choir or band performances at least one weeknight a week. I enjoy watching and listening to them perform – on occasion. Five weeks in a row and it drains my bucket of parental enthusiasm. I am dangerously close to the thin ice of mothering martyrdom, which is territory I can’t stand to be a citizen of. So I will make a decision to either go to tonight’s event joy filled, or not at all…
Exciting new challenges are on the horizon of this week. After making it through an online application process and a lengthy phone interview a few weeks ago, I was accepted into the training program to become a SANE peer ambassador. For more info on what this entails you can go to:
That will fill Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Going to a veterinary conference on Sunday, and then I think I’ll hibernate for a bit…