Thursday, May 24, 2012

Child care

I have 2 littlest boys, 1 who loves day care, and 1 who hates it with a passion.

He only went a couple of times, the last time (2 weeks ago) was so traumatic that every time I pull up to drop Ashton off, Elijah cries that he doesn't want to get out or he'll cling to me the whole time. His new thing is, when I pull up he declares "Lijah stay, mummy be minute" ...

Tomorrow, I've booked him in. I've booked them both in.

I need a break. I need some me time. It's been so so so long since I've had the day to myself.

The couple of times when Elijah was in on a Friday, Ashton and I did playgroup.

Tomorrow it's all about me, and instead of feeling happy I feel sick with worry.

I know it will get easier. I wish I could flick the switch off that makes me feel like this. I'm dreading it.

I know he will scream, kick, cry hysterically, and be totally and utterly devastated.
I know he'll feel betrayed and angry.
I know I'll pay for it with a clingy child for the few days following.
I know he'll get really upset again when we drop Ashton off for those 3 days a week.

But I hope that one day, sooner rather than later, he'll understand why mummy just needs 1 day to hang up the mummy hat and unwind.

Sometimes you have to be selfish.
Sometimes it just has to be all about you.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Life after the fire.

It's been a roller coaster of ups and downs.

I've shed more tears these past 2 weeks than I have in the past 12 months.

I've cried over what we've lost.
I've cried because the kids are sad.
I've cried because I feel lost.
I've cried because I can't sleep.

I've cried a lot over the bad things. Then I've shed a lot of tears for the happy things.

The Mother's Day art brought home by my kids from school and day care.
The gift cards given by friends and strangers.
The meals cooked for us, and the offers to come back for more any time.
The amazing work done by old friends and new friends to raise some money to help us out.
The overwhelming amount of 'stuff' that people have donated. Clothes, toys, food, books...

People. Are. Amazing.

There is no time in your life that you are truly alone. You might feel alone, but there are 100 people waiting in the shadows to put a hand on your shoulder and guide you when you feel you can't go on. Every single day since it happened, every single day, there has been at least one gesture of kindness. It's not always 'stuff', sometimes it's words. Sometimes it's the invite to lunch, when you really need company. It's the unspoken words when you get a hug that lasts just the right amount of time for me to tear up but not overflow.

I will forever be grateful for all the kindness I've been graced with the last 2 weeks.

And I will absolutely continue to pay it forward throughout my life.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Today has been hard.

I dropped the big boys off at school, and the 2 little ones at daycare because I was supposed to start going through the house with the cleaning people. They have to write a list of every single thing they chuck out so we can price it and get the insurance claim put through.

It was so horrible leaving Elijah today. He was so upset when we pulled up. I'm always honest with him. I told him when we were driving there that today he was going to child care with Ashton and he'd have a play and I'd come back and get him. He kept telling me no and starting to sook. So I already knew it would be hard to leave him but I had no idea how upset he'd get today.

When we got there I had to drag him in screaming. Any other time I would have just taken him home instead of leaving him so upset, but I had to go to the house and he couldn't be there with glass everywhere, not to mention the smell and the air can't be good for his lungs. So he followed me around crying to go back to the car. When I left him, he clung to my hands screaming and kicking, so I ran out pretty quickly as I couldn't hold the tears back.

When I got to the house, I just couldn't handle it. I stayed for a little while and then I cried. I asked them if I could leave and they said I didn't have to be there. So I left and went back and picked up Elijah. When I got back to the centre, he was sitting at the table eating fruit but had big fat tears rolling down his cheeks. When he saw me he just clung to my neck and sobbed his little heart out. I'm tearing up just writing this. He was just so upset and it absolutely broke my heart. The poor little guy has been through so much this last week. I'm glad I picked him up.

He's fallen asleep on the couch so I snuck off to write this. Writing has become my outlet. I haven't been able to sleep but find I sleep better when I've got out what's on my mind. I'm hoping this whole insurance thing is quickly over, so we can talk about where to from now. I'm still undecided about what I'm doing. It seems silly to start here again only to move in 6 months. It seems mean though to move the kids with 1 term left of school. Luckily I have 5 more weeks to think about it.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Where to from here?

You don't realise just how much you've lost until the next day. Waking up and having nothing. From here is where my story gets amazing. The communities generosity has been overwhelming.

So I'm going to tell the rest by mentioning the people who have held me together and been supportive in so many ways.

My real estate agent Maureen. Not only had she organised a home for us to stay in before I'd even had to worry about it, she also went and bought us groceries for the next 2 days, got some of her sons toys for my boys, and some clothes for my littlest boy. Since then she's called to see how I am, organised us to stay here for 6 weeks, dropped off a pram for my little one. Harcourts have to be the best real estate. The support I've gotten from them has been amazing, but Maureen in particular has been amazing.

My dear friend Trudi. Even in pain after her operation, hobbling around, she's helped with clothes, toys, meetings, the school, passing on well wishes, seeing how we are, bringing around a blow up bed so we weren't all crammed into a double and single bed and collecting things that people have donated to the boys and myself. Having a dozen less things to worry about has been amazing. Even just having someone to talk to. It's all so overwhelming and exhausting. By lunch time I am mentally exhausted, so having that support has helped me get through each day.

My dear friend Lauretta. She popped in last night with a laundry basket full of food. One thing you don't realise is that when you have staples in the cupboards, making breakfast, lunch and dinner is slighly less expensive. Having nothing, I've spent a lot of the little money I had left on food. She's also took the boys that night. Took them to her home, and when I collected them they had been fed, bathed and were in PJ's. It's the small things, like how they were ready for bed, that make the difference.

Trish, the owner of the house. She let us move in, and has allowed us to rent it for 6 weeks at a very reduced rate. Having somewhere to come to at the end of the day, that is 'ours', where the kids can run around and laugh and be kids, somewhere we can curl up on the couch and talk, and somewhere sleep, has been a relief. She also dropped around some food that night and came to say hi. She is the principle of the local private school, where the boys went for a while, so we knew her but she didn't know it was us until she came around.

Shell servo... the next day I had so much to do, running around to ring people and see people, and I had no petrol. So I went in and asked if I could put $20 in and pay next week and they filled up my tank and said it was on them. Again, one less thing to worry about, and I didn't have to drive around worrying about how much petrol I was using. I could have walked, but when you have so much going on you don't want to be out in the public. So for this I am forever grateful. I always joke about being their best customer though because I never buy petrol anywhere else.

The Neighbourhood House staff. By the next day they'd put out tins at a few places getting donations. Simone and Kristy have been amazing in their support. Directing me to the right places for help, as well as doing all they can themselves.

The School Shop, who supplied us with dinner last night (and since I drafted this, the next night). The kids were very excited to have fish and chips, and even more when they saw the fizzy drink and the bags of lollies that they'd popped in for them. Not having to worry about dinner is a relief when you're completely drained and just want to curl up in a ball. They also have a collection going for us which is amazing.

Pecky Chicken, who are doing something amazing for me tomorrow. They are cooking us a roast dinner for Mother's Day and I just have to go in and pick it up tomorrow night. They also offered something so incredibly generous last night. That until I'm on my feet, I am welcome to go in and get dinner to feed us every night of the week if we need. How amazing is that?! I cried a lot when I got home last night at the generosity of people.

Kayleen from the chemist who showed up last night with panadol for all the boys in case I needed it, and she also paid for my account there. When I realised I had no cream, no puffers, nothing, I went in and put all the boys medications on tab and she paid for it.

South George Town Primary school, and the SGT school association. They have organised some amazing fundraising ideas to help cover the cost of the excess! How awesome is that. They also supplied the boys with new uniforms, and have been so gentle with them through this tough and traumatic time.

Carl and the forum members of who have been collecting donations and also are selling a couple of trailors of wood and donating the profit. Wow.

Eyelines, who gave me Jaidan's new glasses without having to pay the rest of the money I owed, which was about $50. I'd gone in yesterday to pick them up and they wouldn't take my money. Jaidan hasn't been able to see since the fire because his glasses were in the house. He loves his new glasses and looks great in them.

Then there is all the hundreds of people who have brought garbage bags of clothes and toys, offered support financially, emotionally and just sent us prayers and thoughts and well wishes. Not just locally either, there have been people in other states who have heard what's happened and offered book drives, money, to post over clothes and books and presents for the boys. It has honestly been completely overwhelming. The local community has been amazing in their support, and it's made me so glad to live in a place like George Town. Small towns have their downsides, but it's not until something tragic happens that you see just how much they pull together to help. And for that, I am forever grateful. It's the little things that have helped me get through each hour of each day. When I'm feeling at my lowest, it's been things that the locals have done that's made me realise it's not the end of the world.

Today my boys are excited. I went into centrelink yesterday and got a crisis payment and got myself some clothes and underwear. I still have money left and I've told them we are going to the toy shop and they can pick any toy. This is possible in part by the amazing support of people who don't live close and still wanted to help so have made a donation, small and big, and now I have enough money for the weekend. AAMI processed an emergency relief payment so it should be in my bank by Monday or Tuesday which will help immensly. They have also been great. I'm very glad that I have insurance through them. They've been kind, and gentle when I needed it the most.

A big thank you to every single person who has helped, prayed, send text messages, facebook messages, called me... I might not have answered you all but to have the support of so many people has helped me make it through each day. I woke up this morning and I didn't cry. I'm holding it together better now. Yes we lost everything, but we're all safe, and we will be okay.

I'm sure I've forgotten people. It's been a blur the last couple of days. Today is Mother's Day. I wrote most of this blog yesterday at 4am, and I'm finishing it now at almost 1.30pm today. I woke up to the most amazing gifts from the boys, all made me bawl my eyes out like a little baby. When you've lost all those special things from previous years, it's nice to start again.

For now, I'm going to enjoy the small things. Like going for a walk on the beach... which is where I'm headed right now. Happy Mother's Day to all my friends, near and far.

The Day

Wednesday started like every other. I'd been struggling to wake up early, it's getting towards the end of the school term and the tiredness of early mornings, uni work, kids, housework, it gets to you! So we woke up a little late, and I rushed out the door to drop Jaidan and Chase off at school, and Ashton off at prekinda. I came home and grabbed a couple of things then spent the next hour shopping. I enjoyed Wednesday mornings because it was just Elijah and I and we could walk around the supermarket slowly and grab our groceries. He was always so cute on Wednesdays. People would giggle at him as we passed them because he'd be laughing or jabbering away, or playing peek a boo with people as we passed.

Once I'd done the shopping, I walked inside and dumped it all on the table. I popped the cold stuff away and decided that I'd put the rest away later. I rushed off and paid some of my accounts with the local businesses. Account from new tyres, account from fixing the doors... when you live locally and you're someone who struggles, people are always willing to let you pay off your expenses. Once I'd done those things, I picked up Ash up from pre kinda and then we came home to grab the tubs of clothes and books and stuff we had ready for our nicknack table. Today we were going up to the local 'hood'. They had a birthday celebration on and we'd organised to have a table selling second hand bits and pieces from home. I'd planned to try and get rid of some things to save for our big move to WA in January.
The celebration was amazing! There were rides for the kids, horses and ducks, lots of play equipment, facepainting, BBQ. It went off without a hitch and before long there was a lot of people there. I'd done well on my table within the first couple of hours of sitting there so I was happy. The 2 little ones were having a ball! I'd ducked home a couple of times to grab things I'd forgotten, so had to leave my table unattended which I didn't like. When it was getting close to school knock off time, it was getting pretty busy to I rushed to the school to get the boys 20 minutes early and beat the rush. The kids had the best time there. I'm so glad we went as it's something nice for them to remember from that day.

A while later, my neighbour came up and said there was a fire in our street, and that his partner had gone to make sure it wasn't either of our places. I laughed and joked "better not be my house!" ... you never think it will be you. Someone else said it was on the other side of the road so I didn't worry about it, and had completely forgotten about it in the excitement of everything that was happening.

A little while later, I was having a chat to a lady when 2 police came over and said they'd like to speak to me in private. The whole world spun because I knew something bad had happened. The words "there has been a fire" are burnt into my mind. They informed me that there was probably nothing salvagable.

Once they'd told me the news, I am came out of the room and there were people there. I am so grateful for a certain someone at this point, Retts, who was the first person I saw when I came out and she just comforted me while I cried. Then she took my biggest boys to her house. At a time like that, it's the little things that mean the most. I will never forget the feeling of walking out of the gates with everyone staring at you. I feel sick just thinking about it.

Pulling up and seeing the house standing I thought maybe it wasn't as bad as the police had said. If the house wasn't a pile of smouldering embers, surely it can't be that bad inside. The fire brigade didn't want to take me in. They said they would prefer if I didn't but if I really wanted to they would. I chose at that time not to. It was hard enough without seeing immediately how bad it was. Looking back, I'm glad I didn't. I was barely holding together, and seeing what I saw the next day would have ruined me.

By the time I had talked to the fire brigade, and the police, it was late. My 2 littlest boys were asleep in the car. The worst feeling in the world is not knowing what to do. I'm not one who usually feels hopeless. There is always something that can be done about most situations. But at that moment I felt sick to the stomach. I am so lucky to have such an amazing real estate because by the time we'd finished my RE agent had organised us a house for emergency accommodation, and it was fully furnished, and she'd also gotten a bag of clothes for my littlest boy and some toys.

Having somewhere to go for the night was invaluable. Though I didn't sleep much that night, it meant the world that the boys had somewhere safe and warm to be and it was one less worry off my mind.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Saving saving saving

7 months, $5000. 2 weeks to cross the Nullarbor to our new home in Mandurah. Going to be a huge effort, but we can do it. Maybe. Donations accepted :P

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

D Day

D for day care that is.

This week is the week that my little Elijah goes into day care for the first time.

I feel sick at the thought of it, but I spent a long time in tears last night because I was so stressed over leaving him for my upcoming exam which is in a month. Lucky for me, I have a wonderful friend watching him in town for the exam, but he's not been left with her before, or anyone really. My sister for a short time. My aunty while I had wedding photos taken, the neighbour while I had an hour break. So I thought it was about time we had a little separation to get him used to trusting other people. Until now it's not been needed. I've always been there and been able to take him places with me. But you can't take a 22 month old to a uni exam.

I mean, I look at him now, walking around with a bucket on his head, and I think he'd be good entertainment at an exam. But no... not possible to take him along.

So Friday I'll leave him at day care.

D day.

Here come the tears again. I know he will be hysterical. I know he will be angry, sad, scared, confused. But I also know it's for the greater good.

If I can get him used to just a couple of hours of being away from me, exams will be easier. Other times when I am forced to leave him, they will be easier also.

Such a hard thing to do, but it's time for us.

Excuse me while I go cry some more.