Green fingers

I don’t have green fingers. I cannot grow anything in the garden. I have tried looking after plants that are already grown and flowering and have managed to kill them all with my love and attention. Even the four-foot tall lemon tree that was thriving when we moved to this house, now looks like it’s been in the wars.

So I was thrilled to see some new shoots in one of our many, non-happening flower beds. I called them my serendipity plants. I watered the green shoots with much care. I made sure that the soil around these tender shoots was moist and dark. I carefully mixed some fertiliser with soil and then added it, after watching the YouTube tutorial several times. I put slug and snail pellets around the area. I raced out to put an old umbrella over the plants so they wouldn’t get washed away in the winter downpour.

I went to check on the plants every morning with equal amounts of love and fear. I fully expected these green stems to have perished in the night but they were still there and a week later, a couple more were coming up. Soon, they had very tiny, tight pods that could only be buds. My excitement was palpable. I was like a child. I checked on my ‘serendipity plants’ 2-3 times a day. I expected them to disappear or wilt. Maybe they would be gone one morning and there would be a note that said ‘Gotcha!’

But none of these things happened and my plants began to gently open their plump green buds, there were tightly wound yellow petals inside. As they opened, it was amazing to see tiny white petals at the very centre of the flowers. I was so amazed at my accomplishment that I was lost for words. I couldn’t wait to show these flowers to my best friend who is an excellent gardener. She always says I could kill plants with just a kind look.

I invited her over and stood by my plants like a proud parent. The minute she got out of her car, she shouted excitedly, pointing at my serendipity plants, “Hah! You’ve got them too! These damned weeds that won’t be killed by anything! The gardeners’ forum discusses them all the time.”

-Bewildered-

Why I Decided To Quit My Job

  1. No one believed that I could have a busy weekday. People always asked, “Why? What are you doing?”
  1. No one believed that I didn’t like cooking and had to justify every takeaway meal
  1. They wondered why I did my grocery shopping at the weekend
  1. They were taken aback if I ever refused to babysit in the day
  1. I was expected to deliver forgotten lunches, homework and music instruments to school without fail
  1. They looked at me in complete astonishment when I opted to pay the $20 for school fundraising rather than bake cupcakes and help sell them
  1. They were shocked if I made intelligent conversation
  1. My home was expected to look immaculate at all times unless I was very ill or dead
  1. Everyone told me how lucky I was not to have a job, when I already worked for 3 people (1 frequently travelling husband + 2 offspring) who had a collective entourage of one – ME!
  1. I was always expected to be the last priority and the first volunteer for everything.

 

Living up to these expectations was just too hard. So I quit my job as housewife.

 

-Bewildered-

 

Stacking The Shelves

I’ve had a bad cold and ended up ordering my weekly groceries online. They were delivered to my kitchen counter, a couple of days ago and I had to rely on my ten-year-old son to put them all away.  I was ready to find a few things out of place but nothing had prepared me for the chaos in my house.

Today is the first day that I felt much better. This morning, I ventured into the kitchen but couldn’t even find bread or breakfast cereal in its usual spot! So I gave up and ate a muesli bar instead.

The vegetable drawer in the fridge had shampoo, face wash, body wash and a few fruits and vegetables. The flower vase had a slender bottle of concentrated fabric softener in it. Furniture polish and dishwashing liquid jostled together in the fruit bowl along with a bottle of raspberry cordial. The microwaveable wheat heat pack was in the kitchen cupboard next to a bag of flour. I found some fresh green and red capsicum and a little bundle of lemongrass in the medicine cabinet, nestled amongst the chili plasters next to the insect repellent spray. My expensive toothpaste was on the shelf with baking ingredients.

When I was looking for something else, I eventually found the errant breakfast cereal and loaves of bread alongside packets for the bird feeder. When I quizzed my son about these strange storage places he calmly said, “Mum! I asked ….  and you said ‘Just read the packaging and think where they should be stored. Common sense!’ So I did …

That breakfast cereal looked like birdseed, the bread loaf said nuts, seeds, grains on it.

The capsicums went in with the chili plasters in the medicine cabinet.

There is avocado in the facewash, cucumber in the body wash, green apples in the shampoo so they all went in the fridge.

The toothpaste said ‘Baking Soda’ in large letters.

The fabric softener said ‘Lily of the valley’ …..”

 

I panicked, “Where on earth, are the two whole chickens I ordered for Sunday’s family lunch?”

Silently, he lifted his eyebrows and rolled his eyes in the direction of the backyard.

 

-Bewildered-

THE BIG EVENT

 

We were so excited when we were told! We had waited and always hoped for this. Our closest encounter so far had been with my nephew and we had loved every moment of it. We had watched other proud parents and now it was our turn. Everyone said to us that it was wonderful but to have no illusions, it was expensive. And what a great opportunity and how it would be an education in itself for us.

We went to a lecture about essential nutrition and enough sleep. They talked of endless re-heating of meals, the importance of water and nutritious foods that should be eaten. Our role as parents, and how we could best support the growth and development. They talked of time commitment, endless late nights, early mornings and non-existent weekends. There was also a short section about what to do if things went wrong and how to deal with disappointment.

We were shown a video about how to wash the clothes with care to keep them clean, soft and comfortable. We looked at the pictures we were shown, pristine whites and multicoloured apparel- delicate and fine, woven in special material for comfort, absorbency and stretch.

The event was several months away but we began to shop straightaway for all the right things; clothes on the list, ankle socks, soft shoes, bottles, grips, supports and all the accessories, a backpack to hold everything. Warm pants and zipper jackets for cooler weather, we even found a matching beanie. I couldn’t wait for D-day!

All because our six-year-old had just been selected to compete in Level 1 gymnastics.

 

 

-Bewildered-

Dedicated to all the parents who do countless drop-offs and pickups, wash leotards, maintain pristine long whites, hunt down errant white socks and keep the tracksuits and backpacks safe and clean until the next competition.

Parents of girl gymnasts need an even greater salute for the additional burden of hair, makeup and keeping those diamantes and sequins sewn and sparkling.

A Parent’s Nightmare

I got the text message. One dreaded by every parent of school-going children, the one message that strikes fear into the heart of every teacher, that this is happening in their classrooms.

It was a long weekend. We were in the midst of discussions about weather and ideal spots for a picnic etc. All shattered by the content of that one short text message.

I was shocked! My child involved in this type of thing was unthinkable. But we cannot dictate who their friends are …. And friendship is a dangerous and beautiful thing. They say, it’s always the company they keep, in these cases. I began to think of all the playdates we had last week, and wracked my brains for signs of any tell-tale behaviour. I could remember nothing.

Then my mind began to spin, what about my older daughter? Surely, not her too. This was so awkward and embarrassing especially when they are older. And what about her friends and their parents? Had they found out?  What could I possibly do? And how do I keep this news from family and friends…. Or should I actually be telling them rather than hiding it, so that they are alert too?

There are traditional, gentle ways to resolve these issues but they take time or stronger, more immediate treatments – chemical, synthetic and harsh. Even so, could the problem really be solved? I sat inside mulling this over, wondering how to break it to my husband.

Outside, it was a warm summer evening. Everyone in our street had their windows open, children played in the street; skateboards, bikes and footballs lay strewn in the front yards with abandoned dolls, dinosaurs and toy trucks. Teenagers dawdled on their way home, neighbours chatted over fences, and usually I would have been out there too.

Then, I heard a car pull up in our drive and my youngest scream excitedly, “Daddy! Daddy! Mummy says most of my friends and I have LICE ….. and NITS- that’s the lousy eggs! Can I keep them in Snowball’s cage?”

 

-Bewildered-

 

HAPPY 2017…

 

We had a great New Year’s Eve party. Lots of friends, champagne, music and to finish- we watched fireworks on the beach. Happy New Year! Happy New Year! … we all said to each other. I could feel it in my bones, 2017- a great year.

Because in 2017….

  • I don’t have to work twice as hard as the men and in half the time to be considered on par with them in the office
  • I don’t have to compromise on my career if I take a break to start a family
  • No longer need to dress carefully because the way you dress will say a 100 things about you
  • House husbands are no longer in single digit percentages worldwide
  • Car mechanics no longer try to inflate the bill unless a man questions it
  • If the children misbehave, my parenting skills alone are not questioned, they are his children too
  • The media no longer discuss women’s clothes, shoes and accessories on the red carpet of every award function
  • I can miss a family gathering because of work and not be given a full court martial
  • I am not the sole coordinator of the children’s birthday parties, presents, relatives’ birthdays, friends’ anniversaries, dentist’s appointments, pet medication schedules and soccer game car pools
  • And my wages are equal – no pay gap by gender
  • ……

 

I got so excited by it all, I woke up. Sorry, girls……

-Bewildered-