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The Fantastic T Family Is On The Move

I’ve been quiet on here these past few weeks, because changes are a-foot in the Fantastic T household.

Mr T, dear husband, has received a promotion at work that will see us up-and-off, moving from windy, cold Wellington to just-absolutely-cold Queenstown! For those of you unfamiliar with New Zealand’s geography, Wellington is at the bottom of the North Island, Queenstown is near the bottom of the South Island. 943.9km away.

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Moving a family that far is a long, drawn out process. So it’s great that husband’s work gave us six weeks notice. Six weeks to uproot and change our entire lives. Not stressful at all, no siree.

Seriously though, this is an amazing opportunity for us all – the kids are at the age where they are so adaptable to change. BoyChild is 6 months from starting school and BabyGirl has yet to start any form of preschool, so the disruption for them is minimal. And husband gets the job he has been working hard towards for nearly ten years.

Princess is nervous and a little bit anxious about the move, but we spend a lot of time talking about all the many fun things we are going to be able to do when we get there. The snow! The skiing! The adventures! She already has a little book for addresses and she is excitedly getting everyone’s details so she can write letters to all her friends.

How about me, then? Well, I won’t lie – I’m scared. I’m excited, and nervous and anxious. I’m happy and I’m so sad I get a pit in my stomach whenever I think about the reality of up and leaving the community that I have spent the last five years building around myself.

People are telling me that I will meet new people, make new friends – and gosh, that is exactly what I am telling Princess! But here’s the thing – I don’t actually feel like I’m ready to say goodbye to the friends I have.

I have written about my friends before, I absolutely freakin love them. When husband and I moved here and had kids, I didn’t know anyone. I met one amazing lady when Princess started kindergarten (her son started the same day) and it was with her that we then met another, and another, and another like minded person, until we had formed a tight knit group. We are all mothers, we all work part time, and we spend a lot of time together. Our kids are best friends. Our husbands are great friends. And I am going to have to say goodbye to them in two weeks. I’m not ready.

I know I will see them again, and with the wonders of social media I will talk to them most days online. But it will be four months before I see them again. Kids grow a lot, will BabyGirl even remember that she has an inseparable friendship with her little friend?

Friends are hard to make when you are an adult. I learned a long time ago to treasure those that come along, because amazing friends are rare. I know that my friends here know that I treasure them. I spend my days trying to be strong for the kids, for the husband, excited for this wonderful new chapter in our lives. But I am scared of saying “see you sometime soon” to these ladies who share my life with me.

I will miss the night time trips to the supermarket together, “just to get out of the house”, I will miss the random drop ins because they were passing and saw my car in the drive, I will miss the pot luck dinners, the coffee trips. I will miss the laughs-until-our-tummies-hurt-and-we-pee-a-little-and-laugh-some-more.

I’m sure in six months, a year, I will look back and laugh at how concerned I was about the move. I will visit here and things will be just like they always were. But still. I’m scared. And sad.

We leave in 17 days. I am cramming as much into these days as I can. Day or night, I’m opening myself up to see as many people as I can. And relishing days like today, where I got to spend the day with three friends and their kids. And got to cuddle my amazing friend’s 4 week old baby, sad that she will grow so much in between visits.

That’s the thing with being an adult – sometimes you have to make decisions that are best for those around you, and take steps that scare you. It’s all what makes us who we are.

Doesn’t mean I have to do it with dry eyes.

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A Shout Out To My Person

I came to the realisation the other day that it has been TWENTY YEARS since I first started High School. Now, this brought forward to revelations –

1. I am FAR too young to have been doing anthing for 20 years. Ludicrous.

2. I’ve been friends with my bestie, my person, my bff, my buddy-o-pal, for 20 years.

And, because she is my person, when I informed her of my revelations, her reply was simply, “No. We are too young for that carry on”.

It was third form. The very first day at high school. I was a nerdy and awkwardly tall girl. She was a nerdy, rather short girl. Both of our middle names started with L, so, really, it was meant to be. We became fast friends, we had a shared love of drama (which, naturally, caused issues later on in our teen years!) and we just fitted. We fought, oh lordy did we fight. As only teenage girls do, really.

Such was our closeness that one day we arrived at school dressed completely identically. People scoffed and laughed and teased us for “planning it together”. The ironic thing was that we had zero discussion – it really was entirely coincidental! Needless to say, we started to plan our outfits to avoid that happening again!

After high school, I moved to another city to pursue my short lived career as an actress (learning very early in the year that it was not the life for me!). Friend visited me frequently, eventually also moving to the same city.

At some point in the years after school, we drifted apart. There were 8 or 9 long months where we had no contact. We just fell apart. We were growing up, we had differing outlooks on life, and we had our own lives.

And then we drifted back together again. This time our friendship was different – we were no longer friends because of having been friends for so long. We were friends because we were two adults who just kind of liked each other, liked hanging out.

In our mid-20s, Friend worked hard to save for her O.E. (Overseas Experience). And then, she went. All the way to the UK. We kept in touch through occasional emails – this was, of course, before Facebook was as common as it is now, so email was the “old fashioned way” we contacted each other.

Another good friend found out she was pregnant a few years later. I messaged Friend about it, and our conversation looked like this:

Me: Oh my gosh, funny story – I’m pregnant!

Friend: Oh my gosh shut up. ME TOO!

On opposite sides of the world, we were not only both pregnant, but due within days of each other.

Friend’s son Big is three days older than Princess. Again, people joked and scoffed about “planned pregnancy conspiracies” but, just like that matching outfit all those years earlier, we would have had more luck planning not to match.

I went on and had two more kids, Friend went on to have one more.

We are both married.

And here is the thing. Friend and I have known each other for twenty years, we live on opposite sides of the world. And we talk every day.

Thanks to the wonders of technology, we talk at least once a day. We compare parenting styles, we talk about the mundane (grocery shopping, eyebrow shaping, etc) and the very not-mundane (health problems, stresses and worries). When it is my morning, it is her nighttime, and vice versa.

After being friends for twenty years, we have drifted and fought, we’ve cried and laughed. We started being friends because we both had middle names starting with L. We remained friends through the wonder of having children and learning to survive in the world as a mother.

If I have a problem, an upset, a funny story or a dress I like the look of, I tell her. And I like to think she does the same thing. And, more than that, she is one of my most valuable assets when it comes to parenting advice, opinions and support. Because she is in the exact same position. Neither of us really know what we are doing!

She is my person, and I am hers.

And I only hope my kids are lucky enough to have a person in their lives too, when they look back and realise they have known someone for 20 years.

Which won’t happen for ages. I’m far too young for that carry on

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The Modern Coffee Group

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I am part of a wonderful coffee group. I feel so lucky to have stumbled upon this group of fantastic parents – because, for a long time, I wasn’t part of any coffee group or anything. Not for lack of trying – I even tried to set up my own “playgroup” at my house, inviting every stay-at-home parent I could find. It worked well for the first week or two but really, the random mish mash of people never really “gelled”.

Which is kind of funny, if you were to see our coffee group now. We really are, I believe, the epitome of the “modern” coffee group. The coffee group of the 2000’s. Sounds pretty neat, really! And it is. It’s awesome.

So, who would you find, at one of our random coffee “outings”?

The SAHM

There are a few of Stay At Home Mum’s in our group. Some of us work one day a week, some work two days a week, some (me!) work random, casual work. But essentially, we are stay at home, primary carers of our kids.

The Working Mum

We have one of these. She can’t come to a lot of the coffee outings, but she comes when she can, and she loves it. And we love her, of course!

The Young, First Time Mum

She has a little bubba and is new to this parenting gig. So, the poor thing has to endure endless tales of what she has to look forward to in years to come. Poor lass.

The Solo Dad

Yes, he is a dad. He is also the primary carer for his kids and he is wonderful at it. And, we welcomed him with open arms. Because, when we formed this coffee group, we vowed that we would not be exclusive – any one was welcome. Sure, we have to tone down the “lady” talk when he is around, but give it time. It’s hard work being a single parent, and I think it’s just that little bit harder being a single Dad. Everything is set up for women. And, we learned that he was too shy to approach women to ask for playdates for his daughter, for fear of being judged or treated like a predator.

The Nan

She is 64 and shares care of her grandson with her son, who works full time. She is lovely, even though she doesn’t have “the Facebook”. We won’t hold that against her, she makes a mean sponge cake. And she parties it up like the rest of us, given half the chance!

 

In our coffee group, there are as many as 10 parents and in excess of 20 children, ranging in age from 7 years to 5 months. And we love it. We meet for coffee at least once a week. We try to get together without kids every month or so, and do really crazy things like play board games (with wine/cider, naturally). And, just last week, (wait for it), we went to Kmart at 9pm. That’s right, you read correctly. We emptied the car of carseats, piled in, and went for a crazy, kid-free, late night shopping trip. Because that’s how we roll.

I consider myself SO lucky to be in a group with such awesome people. We all have different views, different opinions, different strategies, and yet this crazy mish-mash of people just “gel”.