Tuesday, 22 January 2013


I don't know about other bloggers, (I suspect it is true of us all) but I write in my head throughout the day, in those random moments of quiet. There have been so many things that I have written so perfectly in my heads- thoughts, moments, ideas... but then I forget about it all when it is finally time to get out the laptop. I have so many notebooks around the house and work with little snippets in each- I really need to make better use of them and record brilliant moments as soon as I create them. Some of the things I thought up have since come back to me in those "Oh yeah..I meant to talk about that" moments or when I go back through photos I am reminded of things that happened. The other thing is that hindsight changes perspective and I often find that my feelings and thoughts that I recorded at the time have changed a bit. One of our favourite conversations when we are travelling is about our favourite things of the day and then our best memory so far. It is hardly ever the big, touristy stuff that makes the cut. It is usually stuff like a swim, a bike ride, catching a fish- that everyday type stuff that sticks and makes you smile. Some of the memories I have from last summer kind of blurred all together to create a feeling or a mood that became a whole memory. I remember preparing yummy fresh food on the side of the road, high tide at Whyalla, enjoying Adelaide together, walking the pier at Bussleton, watching Sam and his brothers make tomato sauce. It's snippets that pop up but create the feeling of that holiday. There was lots of hot, sunny days and swimming.
This holiday has such a different tone. Neither is better than the other- but they evoke different feelings. This Summer was much cooler and I am a bit sad to say that I didn't actually get to swim in the ocean once. It was either way too cold or we were ill prepared for getting down to the water with Campbell. The memories that linger this trip are more about my beautiful boys and how much they are growing and changing. Nearly all of the instant memories involve moments that made me swell with pride or laugh out loud. Our camping trips are the best way to really catch- up with my boys. Our school terms are so busy that we have so little time to just sit together and hang out- this is the best way to really get to know what goes on in those heads.
My favourite bits:

I am overwhelmed with pride for my biggest boy. He has been such a joy to travel with this year. This has not always been the case- at all!!! I used to often think that his physical disabilities were much easier to manage than the autistic tendencies that would so often cause a great deal of anxiety and stress. I have to say that things have really changed this year. He is finding it so much easier to cope with new places and situations. He is able to tolerate things that his brothers want to do (even though they are BORING!) and he understands that they don't like all of his interests either. We are able to reason with him and he can cope with having to wait for the things he wants until they are actually available. All of this means that we can now eat in restaurants and cafes, we can meander through museums, we can fish while he reads his book- although he protests about it loudly and refers to it as the 'F' word!!! F is for fishing, but not everyone realises that when he shouts it in public. So these autistic tendencies still create plenty of embarrassing moment but we are all learning to laugh out loud and ignore the puzzled stares. However, now that he is 14 and almost as tall as me, he is becoming quite heavy and awkward to lift. Showering and toileting are quite often a challenge at the best of times. Eric really has to carry the load now that Cams is too grown up to take into the womens bathrooms and even when there are separate disabled facilities, I find it really hard work to lift and transfer him. I am not sure how long we will be able to continue doing things this way, so we are making the most of every chance we have. Campbell never complains about the indignity of some of these experiences and he happily settles himself in the tent surrounded by his pile of books. He makes friends everywhere we go and is frequently the most charming young man I know. He is very flattering and thoughtful and is quite good at the art of making conversation. He makes people smile and laugh. My eyes have filled with tears just thinking about the powerful impact he can have with his funny questions and thoughtful relfections. He senses when people are lonely and he makes a heartfelt effort to give of himself. Of course he does sometimes make us cringe when he makes a joke based on a 1970's BBC comedy that is now considered a bit politically incorrect!!! He nearly always pulls it off though- especially since he usually follows it up with "Was that rude? I didn't insult you did I?"
The things that I will remember most about Cams this trip is the 'Dad's Army' theme tune- sang at the top of his voice, right behind my head in the car, with every ounce of enthusiasm he could muster. I have never even watched a complete episode of that show but I can sing the theme tune word for word!! I will recall his cuddles on the ferry trip across the Kangaroo Island. He was really tired, and I think very stressed this day, so he snuggled up close and snoozed until we arrived. It was precious. I will also smile about his request for 'fish and chips' every single day!! Every chance he got he ordered it. How I love him and how I wish that we will be able to find solutions that enable us to camp together and travel for many years to come.

There is one particular memory that I haven't written about before but really does sum up our Drew. On our very first stop after leaving home Campbell was really anxious about finding a book shop (that Christmas money was burning a hole in his pocket) and we managed to find an op shop open  in the morning before we left Albury. Campbell found some books and was easily settled for the day of travel. Andrew also pottered around and found a little 'Mario' bag that he thought would be good for putting his bits and pieces in while we travelled. It was brand new and looked like an unwanted present. When we got out to the car Andrew opened it up and found a $2 coin inside. My guess is that a lovely Grandma had popped it in the gift to follow the tradition of a coin in a new bag. Drew immediately insisted on taking it back to the shop. He went back in alone and told the lady that he didn't want to steal it and could she give it to the person it belongs to. Of course that was never going to happen, but he was all smiles and feeling so much better. This is Andrew. Many 10 year kids would have delighted in realising that not only did they get the bag for free but they actually made a profit on it! I hope karma ensures that he is rewarded for his honesty and sense of right and wrong.
I have realised this trip that he has become his own person. He has very clear ideas about what he likes and what he wants for himself. He has discussed his friends a lot and has really clarified the sort of friend he is and what he wants from his friendships. It has been quite confronting watching his growing confidence and self- esteem because with that comes a desire for greater independence. I struggle with letting go- is it just me?? Having spent too long in the Children's Hospital with Campbell, with most of that time spent on wards with children who has sustained head injuries, I am quite the panic merchant!!! I actually do have faith in Andrew's ability to make sensible choices and to take safe risks. He is a very sensible and careful kid, who not only looks after himself but also both of his brothers. He is in a tough spot poor Drew. He is testing the waters like the eldest child usually does, but at the same time he has an older brother that he worries about and cares for. I trust him and I am immensely proud of him- giving him a bit more independence is helping him grow into a very capable young man. He gives us every reason to smile and feel pride- he was and always will be an absolute treasure.

Well the adult front teeth are growing- he has that gorgeous gappy smile that is the all important right of passage for a kid in year 1. He looks adorable. His hair has bleached in the sun, his skin is tanned and he has that gorgeous gappy grin to complete the look. He hasn't hit year 1 yet but he is completely ready. Having taught year one for the past 3 years I notice a big shift in that transition from kindy. There is a change in attitude, a change in the tone of their voice and a new sense of self. I think it is the start of moving away from the family circle and starting to realise that there are so many other relationships to build in life. This is why teaching year 1 is such a joy- kids realise that their teachers are people with lives of their own and they are always so curious about that. Joe is already talking like a year 1 kid. I wish I could articulate what that looks and sounds like but it's really just about them not being the baby anymore. Did I mention that I struggle with letting go??? Ahhhh my baby is not a baby anymore. It is so bitter sweet. He is such a gorgeous big boy...but my BABY! I wish everyone could see the happy-go-lucky, confident boy he is. I hope that he lets his shyness relax its grip on him this year. I feel like there has been a shift in his behaviour this holiday- he was willing to play with other kids and wander around the camp grounds collecting bugs without someone holding his hand. Everything about this trip delighted him. He is our most curious child and he loves exploring and finding new things- especially if there are animals involved. He loved the penguins, the seals, the crabs, the fish, the bugs, the lizards....every single creature he could find. Jonas would have been happy exploring with his bug catcher for hours (and some days this is just what he did). He is finally letting go of Andrew to allow himself to try stuff on his own. I love that our camping trips give them a bit more freedom to test boundaries (while we can watch on from the corner of our eye at a safe distance). He is developing his own funny gestures and expressions now that are just completely him- he doesn't look like or act like anybody else- he is just Joe. I love that Joe.

My boys are my pride and joy and I love having our precious Summers to be selfish and just be us! We don't do work, we don't get jobs done around the house, we don't worry about bills- we just be!
It is good for the soul.


  1. Beautiful Melissa, you are so lucky to have three amazing boys and they are extremely lucky to have a Mum who adores them so positively through her writing xx hope the week is calm before school starts for everyone too xx

    1. Thank you Bron xx I am indeed a very lucky Mummy. Trying to make the most of the last little bit of our holidays. You have inspired me to try to be a much healthier Mummy this year- thank you xx

  2. My best posts are usually composed in the shower - and then when I try to write them down they have gone!!

    I hope your baby is in my baby's class again this year :)

  3. I hope our babies are together again too. We shall both endeavour to use the notebooks this year ;)


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