The Wall

I normally stay away from trite platitudes and I hate poetry. I can’t stand the bulk of crap that is forwarded on email, and I am generally quite cynical. But this is a simple way of describing how I am feeling to people who can’t imagine. It is like a wall hit me in the face, that I hurt all over, and I can’t go back to the way things were – while the rest of the world walks in the sun…

You are walking along fine with everyone else and the sun is shining and all is well, then you walk SLAM into a brick wall. And it hurts – it really hurts. It hurts your head and your chest where your heart is and your stomach. And it shocks you as only slamming into a brick wall can. It stops you dead in your tracts. And you stand there thinking, “How did I not see that coming? What the hell happened? How could someone just do that to me?” And you look around and everyone else seems to be walking round the wall. They are carrying on like nothing happened and the sun is still shining for them. They don’t even see the wall. They don’t even know it’s there. And you realise you didn’t even know it was there till you hit it – you didn’t even know there was a brick wall you could hit – not now, not at this stage. And slowly you pull yourself back together. The pain in your stomach has turned to a sick feeling and your heart still hurts, your mind racing with questions about this brick wall – How, What, Where, Why??? Mostly WHY??? Why on earth would someone make you walk into this wall – why did they have to put it in front of you and no-one else?

And you can walk again now the pain in your stomach and maybe your legs has lessened. So you slowly make your way around the wall and to the other side. But it doesn’t look the same on the other side. It’s greyer and emptier. And you know you’ve left something behind – something very precious and you want it back. So you turn round and there is the brick wall behind you and it seems to hit you with the same force again when you realise you can’t go back. It’s blocking your path and it will always be there. You pummel your fists on it and cry and shout at it but it’s unbreakable and absolute. It won’t let you get your precious bundle back – that has to stay on the other side and you must carry on without it. You can’t go back to the path you were on before you hit the brick wall – it’s impossible. So all you can do is go forward and walk on from it. But it’s hard going and your legs don’t seem to want to walk away from it. You know when you look over your shoulder it will always be there. It may fade a bit from view but if you look closely you will always be able to see it – even in the distance. And you look around you again and see all the people who never hit the brick wall carrying on too. You tell some of them about the brick wall and they sympathise – it must’ve hurt they say. You are looking very well despite this brick wall – you have no cuts or bruises on the outside because those heal. So you must be doing ok then now they say. But my wounds are on the inside you feel like screaming. How can you not know about this brick wall – why couldn’t you walk into instead of me? And then you feel bad – you know you wouldn’t really want anyone else to walk into that wall.

Some people are ok – maybe they have seen the wall themselves in the past or came close to it – maybe they are really good friends/family who close their eyes and do try to imagine walking into the wall. They are the ones who help you keep walking away from it. People tell you that you’ll never hit this brick wall again – it only appears once in your life. And you want to believe them even though you can’t ever be sure. Up ahead it looks like maybe your path does cross back into the sunshine again – the same sunshine that everyone else is basking in. And you can maybe just make out another bundle waiting for you to pick up and carry with you for the rest of your life. And maybe if you are strong and keep moving forward then you’ll reach it one day. But it’s not the same bundle as before – it can’t be. That one is behind the wall. The wall that’s always there if you look over your shoulder. And written on it forever more is the message in letters a mile high, that only you can see “My darling baby. RIP”.

Rachel Butterworth (written for her daughter Rhianna, born sleeping 16/10/05.)
Taken from SANDS newsletter “Footprints” 2006 issue 2.


Today was the babies due date. Most twins are born early, so the date has very little meaning, but still, I have been dreading this day, the last “anniversary” that connected me to this pregnancy, to the hope I had for my babies and the future of my family.

Today, we picked up their ashes. They sit behind the picture of Archie that graces the bookshelves in the living room. Just behind the front door when it opens.


So after we picked up the ashes, a dragonfly flew into my head. At the funeral, Steph brought stickers, some of which featured dragonflies, and since then I have seen dragonflies often when I have thought about the boys.

We found the grave that contains Nanna and Michael, and the ashes of George. Still unmarked, I was planning to add the boys ashes and add a headstone down the track.

Then we went up the hill to the Presbyterian section of the cemetery, and had a picnic in the rotunda.

Inigo went home with Nanna and Gonad for tonight (so Mark and I can go to the Opera in the Park), and I came home and put on the Joy Luck Club. The Joy Luck Club is my go to movie for when I am feeling sad and need a cry.



Flood Relief

I volunteered to spend a shift at the Get Up! organised flood relief call centre, trying to match up families needing accommodation with families offering shelter. And it was honestly a relief to spend some time talking to people who had bigger problems than me. Bigger? Well, maybe that is a judgement call, but some of those conversations will stay with me for a long time.

And as well as the woman who wanted to know what religion a single mum with health issues was before she committed to offering to put a roof over her head. Really??? Really? FFS woman, is it Christian to only offer succour to people that agree with you? I think NOT.

And then there was a woman I will call Lovely. She had two bedrooms spare in Ipswich, a place where so many houses were devastated that accommodation offers there are few and far between. She had been in touch with a single mum with three kids, and expected her to spend last night at her house. Only to get a text message at 10:30pm, saying “found a place for tonight, call you tomorrow”. What followed was a number of phone calls where Lovely got progressively more worried about what sort of person she was opening her home to. We assured her that she was under no obligation to offer her home to a stranger that she didn’t trust, and she relied, “there is so much need in the world, how can you close your heart to anyone when you know you could be missing an opportunity to help someone who really needs it”.


Lovely, I hope everything works out, that your guests don’t steal your silverware, and that many, many blessing are heaped upon you and your big heart.

Happy Australia Day

I’ve scheduled this post, because we are up the coast celebrating Dad’s birthday.


Squish in his new swimmers. I couldn’t resist the irony. Swimming lessons could be going better…

P.S. He does actually enjoy swimming. Today we spent over three hours in the water, and he had to be talked out of staying for another three hours by the promise of a trip to ikea and a big boy chair. No more high chair!

My Squishy boy

I took the boy to an eye test last week, though i am not worried about his vision now, I do expect that at some point he will need glasses. And I’d prefer that he was used to eye tests before he needs to get glasses. The conclusion was that his vision is slightly off 20/20, but since he can still identify the difference between a helicopter speck in the sky, and an aeroplane speck in the sky, I am not yet worried.

He’s been coming along well with his swimming lessons, and is gaining confidence in the water. I am so proud of his bravery and willingness to try new things, and his ability to bounce back when things get a bit scary.

On Tuesday the family is gathering to celebrate dad’s birthday up at Pearl Beach. And on Saturday the 29th we’ll be collecting the boys ashes, and having a picnic at the grave site. The 29th of January was their due date. I should be hugely pregnant and waiting to meet my precious babies. I should be worrying about the birth, and how I am going to cope without sleep. Wondering what they would be like, their little faces, their personalities, the feel of their breath on my cheek.

The date is just a number on a page, it has no power. And for the rest of my life, I’ll be reminding myself of that.

Chinese parenting for success?

Squish is now three years old, way older than I thought he would ever be, and way more curious, and perceptive, and witty, and switched on than I ever anticipated. He knows all his numbers and letters, can do simple addition and subtraction, understands the concept of zero, can do a 30 piece puzzle without assistance, can read a little bit (names mostly), and his language skills leave a lot of five year olds in the dust. So my thoughts have been turning to school, and what will be the best options for him.

I believe in the public school system, except when the school is a poor fit for the child, and I am trying to learn as much as possible about the local schools while I am learning about him, and what sort of learning environment would suit him.

We have two locals schools nearby. The one that is closest is a little bigger, and apparently has a relatively new principal with good ideas. The smaller school is a little further away, but it has a garden, and no tuckshop, and we are already familiar with it because we go to playgroup there – so we have a good case for an out of area application.

We could also diddle our address and try to get him into a school near either lot of grandparents. Both Marsfield and Pennant Hills have high “ranking” public schools, and an expectation of academic excellence that is not reflected in the local schools. They also both have a lot of kids who are in coaching college in primary school, in the hopes of getting into a selective high school, and I am profoundly uncomfortable with sticking an eight year old in coaching in preference to outdoor play or swimming, or music, or just hanging out in a tree reading a novel.

Or we could try Steiner, if we can handle the fees, and the driving to get him there and home every day. Or homeschooling, or unschooling.

But it all comes down to what we want for Inigo. Do we want achievement at all cost? Do we want his happiness to be the primary goal? Or do we want him to be a useful and contributing member of society as the highest aim of his life?

I have the feeling that his natural instinct might be towards academia, but with a strong interest in one or two areas of study, and not much interest in other areas. Much like both of his parents, who could barely stay awake during classes that we weren’t interested in, coasted through most of our subjects, and did really well in a few areas. When we could be bothered to do the work.

Which brings me to my point. Recently the web has been in a flurry about an article written by a mother who claims that driving children to success is the best way to parent, and she advocates some pretty strict rules to control her children. It made me pretty uncomfortable, I’ve seen the “Joy Luck Club” to many times not to know that it won’t end well. So I stumbled across an article that discusses a different path to excellence – via authoritative parenting, not authoritarian parenting.

Like everything else, it’s a hard balance to get right, but the idea of forcing my kid to do something that he isn’t naturally inclined to want to do doesn’t seem right to me. Unless we’re talking about making sure he doesn’t pee on the toilet seat.

Curry for flood relief

As a community devastated by tsunami and civil conflicts, the Australian Tamil community can relate to the pain and suffering endured by our fellow Australians. It is our duty to help these people in whatever way we are able to.

Australian Tamil Congress (ATC) NSW Chapter is hosting a lunch to raise funds for the Queensland Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal.

We would like to invite you and your friends to come down and enjoy the spicy taste of our traditional Tamil rice and curries.

All proceeds will be donated to Premier’s Disaster Relief.

Date: Saturday, 22nd January 2011
Venue: Church Street Mall, Parramatta
Time : 11am onwards

ATC is an authorised promoter of Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal


All I know about the Tamil people is that the Tamil Tigers blew up busses when mum and dad were in Sri Lanka around 1994. I will endeavour to educate myself a bit more, but I am so moved by the efforts of recent migrants and minority communities who are making huge efforts to help fellow Aussies.


I posted a while ago about my marvellous bread discovery. But I keep forgetting the measurements, so I am posting the ratio detail so that I will always have the recipe on hand.

And for me, it’s more of a 6.5-2-4-13 rule. But your mileage may vary….

The “6-3-3-13” rule. To store enough for eight loaves, remember 6-3-3-13. It’s 6 cups water, 3 tablespoons salt, 3 tablespoons yeast, and then add 13 cups of flour. It’ll amaze your friends when you do this in their homes without a recipe!