The Voyage - Part I

Lately, the sea of wife-ing, mothering, homeschooling and Maya-ing has been tempestuous around me. Clinging in my little dinghy (or it seems like a dinghy, but with the amount of washing and toys in here, it's really probably a ship!), I've been battling a headwind of anxiety that's slowly increased from gentle breeze to gale.



The sun's shone in most parts and I've enjoyed the refreshing squall of finding out that we're expecting another baby to join us in December. It gave me the chance to stop in surprise and enjoy a sudden change! I've been battling massive waves as well - swamping, swallowing waves that have crashed into my vessel. Homeschooling keeps me on my toes, constantly adjusting to the rolling deck, but combined with the crashing waves, I've spent a lot of time clinging to the mast, wet through and simply unable to do anything more than mumble prayers!



Let me tell you about those waves that have crashed into me lately. First, my Dad passed away after a short battle with cancer. We were away from home for two weeks with my husband's work so were able to be close by in the aftermath of his passing, which was a God-send. The wave of Dad's passing is like a tsunami to me. My therapist says it'll be twelve to eighteen months before I've processed his death. And of course, with any significant event like this, it brings all the trauma to the surface again like abandoned cargo. I've been working hard to navigate around some pretty tricky stuff lately - some depression in the water along with a lot of anxiety.


Add pregnancy hormones, nausea and various reactions of strangers when they find out about latest (SEVENTH!!!) pregnancy. Splash!


We arrived home to four dead mice in our house. Yick. It'd been left untidy because we had to rush to Dad's bedside earlier than planned. Apparently the mice had a bit of a party and ate all the supplies and were unable to get outside. Crash went the wave -



Then, I received a (nother) speeding fine. On a totally isolated straight country road, of all places! The QPS officer barely looked old enough to start shaving, he had the same Christian name as my youngest son AND he parted with a very QPS shot: "Watch your speed.". All very embarrassing. Especially with my youngest daughter asking fifty times, "Mum, why did the police man stop you?". By the fortieth time, I was gritting my teeth and holding back tears - why do three-year-olds have to ask so many questions? Smash went the wave -


I was driving home one afternoon and a small outdoor table with a plastic top but metal legs flew off the tray of a truck travelling on the highway and it crashed into the side of my car - the car that we're trying to sell at the moment, mind you - slashing scrapes up the side of my door and taking a chunk out of the bumper bar. Whoosh went the wave -



Seriously, I felt like I was in the midst of the perfect storm - to get me utterly and completely drained and strung out!



THEN (oh yeah, it keeps going), I had to pack for a weekend away! I know, right? When you're tired and feel like life has bashed you over the head, even potential blessings can seem like another sea to cross!



My ship and my life were totally empty. I was nursing wounds - financial and emotional. I had no cargo left on my little vessel. I had children to educate. A home to manage. Washing to put in and get out! I was about to embark on another voyage that I simply had nothing left for. My vessel was barren.


My friend Helen, who was coming on the MumHeart Conference/Retreat, turned up on time - but before I'd finished my packing! I felt like a ship without an anchor in a strong current. Lost, helpless and just going through the motions. Craziness reigned in my home, with children flapping about, my in-laws cooking dinner for the crew (bless them!) and husband getting ready to head off for night shift.


We had some pretty wild weather up here in our part of Queensland (no really, it was actually wild weather - not a metaphor!), that spread down to the northern part of New South Wales, where we were headed. Helen and I were in for a three-hour drive with stormy cyclonic-type weather.


Perfect. A storm in my heart, my mind and now in my drive to my weekend away!


Helen and I stopped for dinner half way - a treat, being mothers of six-with-one-on-the-way. It broke up the journey nicely, which became more precarious as we approached the Mantra at Salt, south of Kingscliff. The rain swirled in the dark as we navigated the now-deserted trendy little streets.


By 9:30pm, we were checked in - after chatting up the young girl who did our check in: "Don't worry, you'll eventually have a mummy-van like us!". She may not, however, have seven children like us - her reaction to hearing we were both expecting our seventh baby was for her eyes to widen like saucers, her hand flying to her mouth and she earnestly pleaded, "If we can do anything for you while you're here, please just ask.".


I wish the QPS officer had been as accommodating!


By just after 10, lights were out in our room and two pregnant mummas were trying to get comfortable - nothing to do with the excellent Mantra beds, just our bellies. Our sweet room was quaint with a little balcony that we couldn't use, of course - but still sweet. The Mantra is well appointed. Every balcony gets a view of the ocean, which was wild and rough throughout our entire stay. But still - hey, it's the ocean. Us inlanders have to take what we can get, right?


The next morning, with a sleep uninterrupted by children (the wind, rain and strange beds stepped in to help, though - don't worry!). We enjoyed a gorgeous breakfast (pre-cut fruit! I know, right? How amazing is it to enjoy fruit you didn't have to wash, peel or chop? Or is that just me?) and registered for MumHeart Conference. My friend Helen is a long-time home schooler, but I'm a newbie, so I was a bit curious to see how a big crowd of home schooling mummies rocks on.


The first thing I noticed was how different we all were in appearance - not everyone had buttock-skimming hair and flowing floral skirts! Some had babies in slings, some in prams. Some were bottle-feeding, some were breast-feeding. After a few introductions, I discovered that some mums had two children, some had five or more. A very diverse crowd, we were, brought to the shores of MumHeart at Salt by the common thread of home schooling. I felt my anchor drop comfortably. The MumHeart conference was going to be great - I could tell! I took a big deep breath of sea air and got ready to plunge.


Part II continued soon.......

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