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Archive for the ‘step-parents’ Category

This morning, in the chaos that is this week, located in the chaos that is this month/year, I received a tearful, panicked call at work from my 8yr old informing me that he had been left at home alone. His father had collected his sister for an appointment but had somehow left him behind, assuming that my fiance would be there. It is the kind of misunderstanding that occurs easily with co-parenting, and particularly so with rather uncommunicative exes.

While my fiance was driving back to my son, something my fiance could do because he is off work recovering from surgery, I promised to stay on the line with my son until they were reunited. But because I was also chairing a meeting at work, I had to put my phone on ‘speaker’ and place it beside me on the boardroom table. My son, still gulping back worried little tears, listened to my voice in the interim for comfort and safety.

I moved the team through the agenda seamlessly, pausing briefly to whisper ‘I love you’ and sign off, when I heard my son being greeted and comforted by my fiance in the background. No-one noticed and I continued on with the current crises at work.

It struck me as this sad little absurd moment of multi-tasking, work-life balancing, women can have it all-ing – all the more poignant because no-one realised.

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In the subtropics, around the middle of summer things start to die in the heat so Christmas is a strange presence in the season, although I guess not unlike Christmas being situated in the dead of winter in the northern hemisphere. Because the season of summer is not associated with new life here, but rather with the onset of destructive storms, bush fires, drought, and burning sun. Kitchen gardens are largely left to rest. The weeds grow furiously but otherwise everything feels very slow in the humidity.

Storms signal Christmas is coming and the garden succumbs to the mix of overgrown and death.

For me, the foods of summer are all Mediterranean, Mexican and Asian and seem to come in the colours of Christmas. And we eat out in the garden unless the mosquitoes are terrible.

My favourite part of Christmas is all the spontaneous socialising. Friends who message you to tell you they have two Cabernets and are waiting out the rain in a quiet corner, so hurry up and join them in the bar… and other friends who invite you and your kids to swim in their pool and share pot luck dinners together, and friends who beg you to be invited over because their kid is going spare and they want to talk and laugh with you, and all the playfulness and, the exposed skin and lying under a fan even, the goddamn craft (which now includes sewing by my kids).

And this year it included for me a writing deadline for (hopefully) another book anthology next year.

Previous views of December here:

2015

Interestingly, I didn’t post photos in 2014.

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

I love to see what December looks like in your part of the world, so if you care to, leave a link to your own December photos in the comment section.

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The other day a reader/blogger who also follows me on Instagram noted that my photo feed has the intimacy of domestic life that used to be on my blog. It’s true. My Instagram account is locked and having that little bit more control over the audience has allowed me to feel more myself over there in recent times. If you’re a reader here and I sorta know you then you are welcome to follow me on Instagram.

 

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It grew very quiet for a time, high up there in the stillness of the bush with its greys and blues and greens and my daughter glowering at me. Her ‘this is too hard’ had morphed into ‘you are too hard’. I told her about how magical it would be at the summit, I told her we had come this far and we had to keep going, I told her that she could do it.

After a time, I urged my boyfriend to go on without us. My daughter was wailing and cursing by then, like someone strung out. She was digging in hard, all resistance and hopelessness, snot and tears. My boyfriend walked off up the trail and disappeared around the bend. I imagined all the second thoughts he must be having about us, about binding himself to this crazy, broken thing.

From “What you really see when you climb a mountain with your child” in Essential Kids. 

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