You take the high road and I’ll take the low road…..

Scene One











That’s it…..All over Red Rover!!!!!!!  Done!!!! Finito!!!!

That was my Facebook page on Friday.  I was sitting in the room beside the examination room (No I’m not a stalker mother.  The subject teacher who was also in there is a good friend of mine) counting down the minutes till the examination’s end time.  And when we hit Zero?????

Zero = Freedom!!!!!!

That’s it!  My daughter’s school life over.  No more driving her down to the school and staying there late nights because she can study better there, no more meltdowns over ‘I’m gonna fail’, no more ‘I need it to be silence!!!  You don’t realise that just walking around the house is distracting!  I don’t fell like ANYONE IS TAKING ME SERIOUSLY!’ outbursts.  No more, no more, no more.  No more of a lot of things!  She was elated!  I felt like the air had just cleared………………………


Scene Two

Marking exams.

She did it!!!!  She did it!!!!  She passed.  That one wild girl who gives her mother hell, who breaks all the rules, whose missed soooooo much school.  That one wild girl that I have a very big soft spot for cos she’s not so scary, she’s not so different from my daughter a couple of years ago.  That one wild girl that I have had a vested interest in.  That one wild girl, passed her semester exam!!!!!!!  My heart soared!!!!  I texted the well-being worker so that we could jump up and down in excitement together!!!!

Marking exams continued……


Fail…. (Did he study?  This is one of the smart kids)

Fail…. (Questioning myself)

Fail…. (Well, I’ve only seen you for 5 days in the term.  No surprises there.)

Fail…  (Geez man!  What the heck am I doing wrong!  What’s it gonna take?)

Fail…  (Deep depression)

Fail…  (Someone else needs to teach Year 9 Maths next year)

Fail…  (Despair.  I am clearly not a good teacher.  I need to sack myself!)

What the??? PASS!!!!!  The kid with a disability passed.  The kid whose parent I had spoken to days before passed.  Mum held little hope he would pass.  He generally doesn’t pass anything.  HE PASSED!!!!!


Scene Three

Hmmmmmm…….. My son’s home.  He must have come during the night.  I didn’t know he was home.  He is 16 and recently moved in with his dad.  I get a phone call.  He’s supposed to be at work.  He had checked the roster but read it wrong.  There’s no food that doesn’t require prep time so I take him to the milk bar for a salad sandwich.  It’s closer to lunchtime anyway.  He’s not in good shape.

“Were you out drinking last night?  Answer me honestly.”


“Are you hung over?”


“Shit!  Get two Gatorades as well.  Sip at them.  Don’t skull.  If you’re gonna throw up you’d better do it before you walk into work, not during!”

Back to failure mode!!!!  All these people with their perfect kids who go to church and don’t deal with any of this stuff.  I suck as a mother!  All the couldda, shouldda, wouldda’s of my parenting history start to flash through my mind.


Scene Four

Out for a walk on the beach to let the failure complex of the day blow away.  I take a detour and head towards the back of an island, climb down to the reef and as the tide is out, explore the rock pools.  This place is just glorious and I have it all to myself.  I’m at peace with the world again and completely basking in the beauty around me….fascinated.

What struck me about today was the incredible highs and lows.  One minute high, next minute low, then high again, then low….all in one day.  I guess what it brought home was the consistency of life.  If there is a high, there will always be a low coming, but where there is a low, there is always a high waiting…. guaranteed.   It’s a case of, as surely as the sun goes down, it will rise again and visa versa.  There is encouragement and comfort in the consistency of that.

“And it came to pass…..”  A pretty common phrase in the Bible…..repeated over and over.  It’s a phrase that I have learnt to take comfort in.  As surely as something comes, it also passes.  I tell myself often, “And it came to pass”.  Some things come for the express purpose of passing again.  In the black times of my life, I have learnt to tell myself….. “And it came to pass”.  This too shall pass, like every other thing.  So for the dark times, endure it while you must and for the good times, enjoy it while you can.


Get Out of the Back Seat and Behind the Wheel!!!

“Jodie you have a go!”

“No I can’t.  I’ll be the one who slides the car into a tree.”

“Go on!”

“Dory you have a go”

“No it’s not my car.”

“Katie?”   (Names changed)

Well that sweet, timid, little 19yr old angel leapt out of the back seat and plonked herself down in the drivers seat, took the wheel,  revved the engine and said, “Ok.  Tell me what to do.”  And then she showed us how it’s done.   She had that truck sliding round the paddock and spinning on it’s axis….. like a pro!

Dory:  (Holding on for dear life)  Go KATIE!!!!!!!!  THAT’S MA GIRL!!!!!!!

“So are you gonna have a go now Dory?”

Well, without hesitation, she took the wheel and took us on one hell of wild ride….and managed to spare us from slamming into the fence…….just!!!

“Jodie!  Come on!  Have a go.”

You know, everything in me wanted to recoil into the safe zone.  Well almost everything in me.  Being comfortable, doing what I knew to do.  What if I sucked at it?  What if I was the only one who looked so lame, cos she couldn’t get that truck to do anything but drive in a straight line? What if I slammed it into a tree?  What if I made a fool of myself?

 Well  A) I had to do it now or I’d be the pussy who wouldn’t give things a shot….the only one who didn’t give it a go.

And B) I said nearly everything in me wanted to recoil to the safe zone, but there was the part of me that didn’t!  The part of me that wanted to be let out of the cage!

So it was seat belt off and out of the back seat for me.  Into the driver’s seat, taking the wheel!!!!

Well, I had the time of my life last night!!!!!!  This little chickie tore up the paddock and learnt how to drift and get that truck spinning like a child’s spinning top last night!  We laughed till our bellies ached over the silliest things!  It was an evening of bonfires, marshmallows, the men working on a project….. building a bench seat out of pallets and loving doing blokey things, puppies in laps, flamin’ country music playing and watching the boys get their wiggle on, farts, belches, and huddled up in blankets out in the night air with best friends!

Ahhhh golden friendships are a glorious thing!  I am so fortunate to be surrounded by creative, free spirited, happy friends who just revel in the joy of living!  Last night I was blessed with a new dawning moment of just how blessed I am.  I’m surrounded by people who, by their very nature, push me to live beyond my comfort zone.  They challenge and inspire me to live without fear, to use the gifts and talents inside of me, to explore, to notice, to do, to be.  Without them, there is a part of me that would live in a comfortable box all neatly packed up and stored on shelf.  There is a part of me I would never set free.  There is a part of me I would never know.  But because of them, that part of me is learning to come out to play!

I’m surprised by how much I’ve learnt to NOT HAVE A GO!  I miss out on so much of life because I don’t have a go, because I am afraid to be take a risk, because I don’t have faith enough to believe I could do something so well that I could really succeed at it.  I start projects and they look amazing and then I lay them aside with the anxiety of ‘what’s next’ and ‘what if I can’t’?

Well, it’s time to GET OUT OF THE BACK SEAT!  And now you can ‘watch this space’ yet again, because number one on the agenda of getting out of that back seat and taking the steering wheel firmly by the hands is…….


I’m having a go!

Somehow last night, amongst my amazing friends, a message was sinking in…..

“It’s not to late.  Don’t ever stop growing.  Don’t ever grow old.  Grow young.  Grow adventurous.  Grow into the real you….the you that can fly….the you you would be if you weren’t afraid.  The world is too beautiful to not get to enjoy it from the heights above!”

FArt Exhibition

Monday:  Art Exhibition

Tuesday: Art Exhibition

Wednesday: Art Exhibition

Thursday: Art Exhibition

Friday: Art Exhibition

Such was the noticeboard in the staffroom this week.  Upon reading it, I decided within about the first five seconds that it was begging for an ‘F’ and I was just the person to deliver it!

Now you’ve got to understand the place where I work.  There are rules!  There is appropriateness.  “No toilet humour” is actually one of the rules and books have been pulled out of the library for less than ‘art exhibitions’ with fs.  Parents complain when a teacher burps.  I should know.  My best friend has been hauled into the principal’s office numerous times over her indigestion issues!

I needed to break the rules!!!!!  I needed to show them how petty their lives were that they would have kittens over …….

Monday:  FArt Exhibition

Tuesday: FArt Exhibition

Wednesday: FArt Exhibition

Thursday: FArt Exhibition

Friday: FArt Exhibition

They did not fail to deliver.  Come staff briefing this morning……. pontificating announcement about the inappropriateness and unprofessionalism of a ‘FArt Exhibition’.  To be honest, I would pay money to go to a FArt Exhibition, so long as gas masks were provided!

And speaking of masks…well didn’t they come down as the chinks in the professional armour were revealed and secret high fives were offered when I’d quietly whisper ‘It was ME!!!’

At my place of work, I’m discovering more and more, there are kindred spirits, who don their mask each day to be what they perceive our place of employment wants them to be or what they need to be to gain the approval of the pontificating few.  They get around lonely and isolated because no one can see enough of who they are to even gravitate to them.

“To thine own self be true” wrote William Shakespeare.

You know the awesome thing about that F?  The awesome thing about that F was that today masks came down.  That’s the beautiful thing about casting aside a mask.  It creates a chain reaction….a domino effect if you will.  When someone is willing to throw down a mask, others fine the courage to do so too.  When one person is brave enough to be their silly, juvenile, immature self with a whiteboard marker and an F, regardless of whether it is approved or disapproved, other people start to find the courage to crawl out from their caves and be loud and proud and say, “This is who I am!”  “High five for the whiteboard marker and the F!  A kindred spirit at last!”

“To think own self be true” creates friends, creates family, tears down barriers, ends isolation, inspires creativity…….. and creativity leads to…… well what can I say……..  to FArt Exhibitions!

Mire to Gold

Everything’s gonna be alright

Rockabye, rockbye.

 (Shaun Mullins, Rockabye)

I sat at the table last night at a restaurant in town.  There was my daughter, looking like a super model, surrounded by her amazing friends from school, a birthday cake in front of her with the number 19 on top. Around me were my closest friends and my two sons, aged 16 and 20.  I couldn’t help but bask in the moment.  My daughter is about to sit her final school exams and forge her own life.  My eldest son is already making his way in life and my youngest son is not far off and seems to have his head screwed on right.  They are good people!  They have turned out to be solid, caring, intelligent young people with a sense of purpose in life and goals for their future.  We have almost ‘arrived’.  We’ve done it.  We’ve made it.  I am almost across the finish line of THIS stage of my parenting.

It’s been a torrid ride getting to TODAY.  A psychopathic ex-husband more bent on corrupting his children for kicks than parenting and nurturing….more bent on using them to cause me angst than protecting their hearts from things they should never have to deal with as children.  He was the type of guy who would offer shots to primary school kids.  One has to question WHY!?!?  You can imagine the two extremes of upbringing that these kids have had!  And here we are.  They are good people!  They are amazing people!  And that’s not just me being biased.  Ask the people who know them.  Ask the teachers, ask the friends, ask the customers, ask the family.  They will tell you.

How did this happen?  If anyone should have been messed up, it should have been my kids.  Especially my daughter.  When she was in Grade 3 her father refused to have anything to do with her and quite literally replaced her for a while, with a smaller, younger, less feisty version, whom he intended on adopting.  This little girl called him Daddy at the time.  She would taunt my daughter.  “Daddy loves me more than he loves you.”  For that and plenty of other reasons, she should be completely messed up, and yet there she sat last night with a number 19 in front of her  surrounded by the solid, well-grounded, intelligent, quality young people that have she has chosen to call ‘friends’.  There she sat, ready to kick arse on her exams….ready to pursue her dream to enlist in the army and fulfill her passion to serve her country in the gutsiest way she can come up with, and who am I to stand in the way?

Here we are at TODAY.  Here I am, Mum of three amazing young adults and surrounded by the most amazing group of friends.  Not just friends….they have become family.  How did we get to today?  When did life become so beautiful?  When did mud, mire and blackness turn to gold?  When did horror turn to joy?

If I could have seen today, back ten years ago, I wouldn’t have worried so much, cried so much, feared so much……but then I wouldn’t have prayed so much either, and I’m glad I prayed.

Today is just my day to marvel and be grateful.  Today is my day to see that the light at the end of the tunnel is now shining brightly and there is such thing as a happy ending.  And for me, there is such thing as a more beautiful time in life and new beginnings.

Sometimes Tears Say it Best

This time last year we were grieving – my friends, my colleagues, my church.  My friend had fallen pregnant with a little girl.  There were problems from the start and my friend and her husband were warned their little girl probably wouldn’t survive outside the womb.  She didn’t.

What words can you find to comfort a friend in such times?  There aren’t any.  There are only tears – tears that say, “I ache with you my dear, dear friends.”

Today there are more tears.  Three days ago, that same friend has given birth to a beautiful, perfect little baby boy.  Today I went to visit at the hospital and had my first cuddles of what most of us are claiming to be OUR new baby!  Shared sorrow and joy has made family of colleagues and friends.  I cradled that perfect little life in my arms today and joy, gratitude, relief, pride and love swept over me, the tears came.  There were no words that could come close to expressing the magnitude of any of those things……only tears…..lots and lots of tears.

I don’t particularly like to cry.  I avoid it whenever possible.  I think many of us are often afraid to cry – to lose control of our emotions – to have the dam burst in front of people we might not know so well.  Today people I have only met once before, wanted photographs of the tears.  Today, tears spoke volumes and said what words could not.

I think today I learned something new.  I learned not to be afraid of the tears, because some times simple quiet tears just say it best.

“…weeping may endure for a night, bug joy cometh in the morning.”  (Psalm 30:5 KJV Bible)