I used to be a good parent. I used to care about all those things that don’t really matter. I’d worry about what food they ate, sport they did, homework, friends, music, art, socialising, leadership, chores, downtime, and the list goes on….

I was never really a good parent though. People told me. I didn’t discipline enough… or I disciplined wrong. I gave them junk sometimes. They only had organised activities 6 days a week. I let them wear pink, red and green on the same day. I didn’t jump to intervene when they couldn’t get it to work. I’d walk away and ignore them when they’d throw a tantrum. I didn’t make them wear shoes everywhere. Or jackets. Sometimes there’d be a stain on their shirt.

I like at the eldest – almost 17. She’s amazing. Everyone loves her. She’ll go places. Success! But… she loves junk food… Where did that come from? I only let her have sultanas and yoghurt for a treat… She has no idea how to entertain herself except with TV. Again, wtf? She didn’t even watch The Wiggles until she was 3 and at daycare! She needs to have activities constantly – to be doing something or going somewhere… but her downtime is to watch TV… and she hates to work! Seriously hates it. Hmmmm….

The next child challenged me. He had the same rules. Initially. But they didn’t seem to work for him. We’d go out… he’d misbehave. A while ago, he admitted he’d do it so we’d go home… Most of the time now, he doesn’t talk to me. He has chosen a different path to the one I was guiding him towards. I struggle to accept it, and as he tells me… just because he tells me he loves me, doesn’t mean he actually does….

Then I look at the next two. They’re busy dragging themselves up. And I have to say, they’re doing a much better job at it than I was doing. So… I figure I’ll let them keep going. The youngest had cereal for dinner tonight… again… because as he tells me, he LIKES it. They bicker and gang up on me and drive me batty some days… They don’t do homework. They eat way too much junk. They only do activities that suit them and they’re happy to just sit at home and do nothing quite often. They think chores are optional, as are showers and cleaning your teeth… we do argue over those last two…. But… they seem to be getting it so much better than I ever did… So I think I’ll leave them to it, sit back, observe and learn…

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This one is rambling… My thoughts are still jumbled and far too caught up with my emotions…

Another reminder that this online dating game may not be for me…

It’s fun. I get that. I get to meet and chat to some nice people… And some not so nice ones. Some are just creepy. Some are quite nasty. Some are a little bit scary. 

Tonight, one I’d been chatting to for a while called me by my surname… I think the world stopped at that moment… 

Apparently, if you have my first name, my nickname (which I use on that site) and the part of the city in which I live… You can plug those three words into Instagram, and my entire world will be revealed. 

If you plug my first and last name into Insta or FB, you get nothing… I knew this. The key is in the nickname. 

If you do that… Sorry, if you DID that… You can then not only tell me my surname, you can tell me what a great mum I am, tell me about my kids and what sports they do, tell me my favourite haunts, family and friends, describe my pictures…

All of it. Insta. FB. LinkedIn. Flickr. Newspaper articles. School newsletters. Workplace. You name it… 

So I’ve spent 3 hours locking and blocking… The world simply stopped whilst I followed the trail… 

I told two friends just after who noticed I was online. Both male. Both thought – yeah, it’s creepy, but do what… 

Which has taken me down more thought paths… I was rattled. I am rattled. It’s windy outside and there are possums on the roof… And right this moment, I’m not sure whether to vomit or cry…

But maybe it’s because I had to track through 3 years of memories on Flickr. Three years I wasn’t ready to face tonight. Maybe that’s added to the rattled feelings… Because the friends couldn’t understand… But I’ve pretty much fallen apart tonight… Held together only because I had to protect my kids… 

Negotiations at bedtime 

Pleeeaaaasssseeee mumma!!! I’ll be your friend forever!!!

You’ll already be my friend forever…

But I’ll be your best friend.

I’m already your best friend…

You’ll be my favourite! 

I’m already your favourite…

But not when I’m dead. 

Still when you’re dead. You’ll be a ghost…

I will not! I’ll probably be a dog… But I hope I’m a cat!

  
These two are often mistaken for twins – similar height and build, and so insanely close… But there’s 20 months between them 🙂

It’s hard to explain the bond. I keep trying. People meet them and ‘get it’… As I said, they’re often mistaken for twins… 

The older two were typical siblings – sometimes they got along and sometimes they didn’t. 

These two…

In the car yesterday, young miss decided to tell him: your Instagram photos suck! They’re really bad. Boring. You need to… 

The oldest child freaked at this point telling we her how mean she was being. The not-twins looked at her like she’s grown two heads… Looked at each other… Burst out giggling and started to whisper about how stupid the oldest is… 

Just then, they were sitting the rabbits for a cuddle… Don’t forget your jacket! Can you get mine, too? 

I was thinking – they’re an old married couple… Getting jackets? It’s not that cold…. Ah! The claws need trimming so they’re looking out for each other. 

Even when they bicker, the bond is there. They yell at each other, name call, whatever… And if I intervene… I’m the one shot down! 

Lately, they’re back to being sneaky… Midnight last night and I discovered them both in the top bunk with iPods and headphones playing some game… Usually, it’s the midnight snack I find the remains of when I move the bed to vacuum… 

They practise sneaking up on me… They’re getting quite good at it! Not every time… But some times… I can hear one trying now 😉

I’ve been so focused on letting go, I forgot that there’s always a flip side…

Cleansing my world… No longer chasing… No longer forcing… Letting those people slide from my world…

A huge thing for me… To let those ducks just… Simply… Go…

I have one more to go… Well, one main one. A toxic friendship, for want of a better word. I’ve been trying to fade the friendship, because I know she will be vindictive. She was vindictive when I thought we were close! So I’m taking the cowards way and just fading…

She’s being passive aggressive and I’m ignoring. Liking everything on my FB wall… Befriending my friends she has met and liking all their posts… Posting her own memes about friendship… About betrayal…

But I’ve been here. I’ve endured this before. From people who were far more important to me once upon a time. So, I know I can do this…

Until a thought… One of those random ones that flash through your mind when you’re tired and over it and just wish it would be over already…

I wish she would just let me go… I wish she was in that place and she could do that!

But she can’t. The memes remind me. Posted every hour reminding me she doesn’t let people go, even when they betray her…

But that wasn’t the real thought that stopped me… It was that moment, when your breath catches, as something in the world shifts… And you realise…

I’ve been so focused on letting people go, I hadn’t realised others were letting me go…

So the pieces have settled into place… and I’m not actually sure how I feel just yet… I didn’t stop and think about the flip side…

And perhaps, for every person I let go and hurt… Perhaps there is a karmic flip side… The more I hurt this one, the greater the loss for me with that one… 

Because, I’m not sure I can lose you… I’m not sure letting go of toxic people is worth it after all… Not if I’m your toxic person.. Because my life doesn’t actually work without you in it… 

The straw…

I was reading this blog post today:

She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes by the Sink

and it made me think… I remember feeling like this… saying these words…

“But it’s important to me…”

Which has taken me down memory lane, reflecting…

Our biggest fight was about drinking. I didn’t like him drinking every single night. Yes, it was only one or two most nights, but I hated it.

I explained it over and over… both of my parents are alcoholics… I’ve always sworn I will not raise my children in a house where either parent drinks every night. I don’t care what anyone else does – that’s their choice. I’m not judging them either. I just cannot raise my kids in that environment. It’s too many memories. The smell of the stale beer cans for a start… The words ‘Hey *child*, can you get me a beer from the fridge’… I can’t do it.

Over and over… and over…

Me: If you don’t have a drinking problem, then you shouldn’t need to drink every night….

Him: I don’t have a problem and I don’t need to drink, but I’ve worked hard every day and I deserve a drink…

And there it was… every single time… ‘I DESERVE a drink’…

Me: But it matters to me. I’ve explained it to you. Over and over… and over… I’m not asking you to never drink again (although, if I did, you should be willing to consider that)… I’m asking you to not drink every night. I’m asking you to go to the pub and have that drink with friends there even. If you need to have that drink, drink it where the kids can’t see…

Him: This is my house. I work hard… I DESERVE a drink…

The final argument was about this – the one that began the ultimate end… He was drinking when I wasn’t around or when I was locked in the Office working… telling the kids not to let me know… on the way home he’d grab a ‘roadie’… but, in one of those bizarre moments, I looked in the cupboard and realised the large vodka bottle that was full two weeks earlier, was empty…. and suddenly, the conversation spiralled…

Me: (finally) When was the last 24 hour period in which you haven’t had an alcoholic drink?!?

Him: I don’t know… a couple of months? Does it matter? I DESERVE a drink… I work hard…

Me: You’re getting the kids to lie to me for you?

And that was it.. The moment I just looked and thought – what am I doing?

It wasn’t about the alcohol – well, it kind of was… but it was about the fact that he wouldn’t ever put me first. Not once. It was always his needs, wants and desires before anyone else.

I didn’t want to be his mother. I didn’t want to always tell him what to do. I didn’t want to always be the ‘bad’ person making the hard decisions. And… I wanted someone who respected my hopes and dreams and wishes… my hurts as well as my joys… Someone who would have given up alcohol altogether if I asked, because it was important to ME. As simple as that.

One year on… There are so many thoughts spinning through my head… So many words trying to settle into some order… A description… A memory… Something…

I feel like I should be able to sit down and write a reflection. A cathartic outpouring of the last year without you. 

But instead, the words swirl…

And what I realise is they can’t settle… Because I still don’t believe you are gone.. Not really…

You see… I can’t delete your number because I know you will call one day soon… And I want to know it is you! And I can’t unfriended you on FB, even though you never used it, even though I set the account up and I’m the only person who should know the password… But I’ve forgotten it… And I can’t escape the thousands of memories as I go through life and I walk through my home… I still pick the phone up to call and ask for that recipe… I can’t finish that quilt because you were teaching me how… 

And I can’t seem to explain to people hoe it feels to lose your best friend… That it’s different for me… It’s not the same as you… Your best friend was different to mine… Because mine…

And I am angry still… Angry at you because you should be here… You could have prevented this… You could have fought harder… Angry that you took it so well… Because you weren’t the one left behind… And angry at the world because they just don’t understand how it feels to not have you here… They don’t have that hole… And angry that you were the one person always there when I needed you… The only person who just was…

But, of course… Mostly… I am hurt and I am lost… Because I can’t just pick up the phone and I can’t just knock on your door… And I can’t find the words to explain how much it hurts… And I am waiting… Waiting to wake up and find its not real… To somehow unravel this mess… Because there is just no way you are not part of my world anymore…