Archive for the ‘motherhood bliss’ Category

Follow kindness.

In the first year of being together Seth cleaned up my son’s vomit, bought my daughter a book series he enjoyed, disposed of a dead thing the cat brought in before I’d be faced with it, grew a beard for me, learned to bake creme caramel for me (made it salted, just for me), picked up a million new vegetarian recipes, drew pictures for my children that he framed and hung on their walls, chased snakes from my garden, posed naked for me while I drew, weeded gardens, took my kids out drawing with him after school, took my kids out skating with him after school, put up shelves in my kitchen, took shelves down and moved them slightly over that way when I changed my mind, watched the films I like to watch, loved my borscht, brought his heater over when I was cold, cooked dinner parties for my friends and me, carried boxes for me, bought me a necklace, a book and lots of lingerie, left me love notes with foxes he drew on them, calmed me, was patient with me, trusted me, opened himself to me, gave me space and dived in head first.

It was kindness I was looking for by the time I met Seth, and it was kindness that first drew me to him when he introduced himself.

Kindness, which is really a kind of wisdom and awe.






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One day you’re cleaning up your kids’ rooms while they’re away at their father’s and among their piles of mess you come across a list the two of them made and.. oof.. if you don’t just ache with longing for them then.


Writing lists about one’s family members is hereditary, apparently.

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From the Danish.

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1. Went to the art gallery the other day with my kids and I kicked it off with a joyful little sermon before leaving about how I would not be buying any food at exorbitant gallery prices and that we would be there for the long haul, touring two galleries and to take some responsibility for themselves because enough already. And you know what? They then cooked and prepared their own picnic of healthy snacks to take with them and were the talk of effing Gallery of Modern Art with their little check-in bento stack. And if I then did not bask in parental pride like I was the goddamn business.

2. Cormac, aged 6yrs: Mum are you broke at the moment?
Me: A bit, yes.
Cormac: That’s a bit suspicious, isn’t it?
Me: Why?
Cormac (smirking): I think you bought the Santa presents.

3. Oh the serenity in the evening of kids restrained from computers, suddenly let loose on screens.

4. Beautiful observation from Lauca, my 10 yr old daughter who lives half time at her dad’s house which is multi-generational and includes her 98 yr old grandmother – “She doesn’t really keep time with time anymore”.

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My son Zain was born with the kind of reflux and colic that no doctor seemed able to cure. He screamed for up to eight or nine hours a day for the first twelve months of his life. There was nothing I could do but push him up and down the streets of my neighbourhood at all hours of the night and day. So much of those long hours of walking are in my next book, which doesn’t really focus on motherhood at all but rather, on a close and intimate portrayal of all those people and places I observed while walking. It wasn’t just that it was the first time in my life in which I had given myself permission to sit on a bench on the river or to hang out in a park all day and really look at those everyday things I had never taken the time to notice before, it was also that everything had so much more emotional intensity and significance than it had previously had. It doesn’t last forever but there is this crazed state you exist in, in those early months, that is something right out The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. I remember, distinctly, standing on the Parramatta River, looking at Jamie Eastwood’s mural on the footpath which depicts the local Indigenous population trying to fight off the boats in that same place where the ferries were now coming in to dock at Parramatta Pier. The whole place seemed so heart-breakingly gorgeous and tragic in a way that I think I could never understand if I wasn’t in such a heightened emotional state. That space is now the central image that my next book revolves around. It was feeling that space in such a different way that made me realise I needed to write a book about it.  I wrote a lot during that first year of being a mother. It wasn’t the kind of long concentrated writing I had done before but I came out of it with a lot of lines scrawled on bits of paper that turned into great things some time later.

From “Who gives a shit? On motherhood and the arts” by Felicity Castagna in the Southerly Journal. 

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Cormac’s (age 6) inner demons bookmark for me.

The sketch I found in Lauca’s (age 10) bed.


The boyfriend leaves love notes for me.



Lauca’s quick sketches.




His first drawing for me.


When he drew for Cormac.



When he drew for Lauca.


When he quickly sketched me.





Cormac draws mythical creatures.


And foxes with anxiety.11939660_511054785735007_766073223_n



He said this is a Japanese female warrior.



Lauca’s drawings.




My old life drawings get frames.


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I do not say to my daughter that I think there is chicken stock in the vegetable soup and chicken salt on the chips we ordered. She is eating them gratefully, but this is a small town. Too small for vegetarians.

I do not say to him how much are you reminded of your honeymoon with your ex on this trip.

I do not say please take the children for a walk, please make them shower and organise their meals and break up their fights. Because these are my children, not his. And he is already doing so much.  I do not say, please, I just need some quiet time alone.

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