“Your beautiful smile brightens our day”

Words on Fred’s certificate

What a difference a week makes. After all the angst of last week, things have been sorted out, have calmed down, and are back to normal again.

Thank goodness for friends helping you out of the doldrums. 

First mission after Bern left on Saturday was a big cry. And who better to call than Vicky. She may be a million miles away, but virtual cuddles are almost as good, and by the end of the call we were laughing again.

Then it was time to get pro-active.

Kerry came over. She workshopped the whole getting to Sydney next week thing with me. I’d dismissed flying without giving it any consideration, because I thought it would be too hard with two little kids. But she set me right. Flying in Australia, especially from a sleepy airport like Canberra, is akin to catching a bus. You just jump on and 35 minutes later you’re there, giving a saving of about four hours. And I had to remind myself, I’d just flown long-haul with three. So I booked our tickets. It expensive, but apparently I can claim it back.

Next up, sorting Benny’s medication. As it happens, the consultant contacted me before I got to her. She’d spent the weekend realising how flawed it was to get me cutting tablets and butting together doses. She streamlined the dosages by prescribing full tablets each day for six days, and just having one ridiculous day each week chopping tablets to make up the correct dose over the course of the week.

Then, on the suggestion of Sophie and Cecily, I contacted our Sydney consultant direct and asked to be put at the top of the operation list on Wednesday. That way, I could get home to Fred and Alex sooner rather than later and I wouldn’t be travelling home too late with two tired kids. I’m not accustomed to queue jumping, and I’ve never done it before, but these, I felt, were extenuating circumstances. It’s not as though I haven’t served my time. I’ve spent many an hour sat in hospitals waiting, waiting, waiting. And he said yes.

Next up, Peter and Sue. We’ve never had much contact with Bern’s Auntie and Uncle but reconnected soon after arriving in Canberra. They are lovely, as well as very helpful! They have offered to pick Fred and Alex up from school and take care of them until I get home next Wednesday. What a relief. I’m so grateful.

And they introduced me to their daughter Kirrily, who was completely off my radar. We met this week and it was an instant friendship. By complete coincidence, I could almost spit on her house from my place, and her kids go to the same school. Now I’ve met her children, we hang out with them in the playground at drop off. Her daughter Lara has taken a real shine to Elizabeth and they love being together. Kirrily has offered to take the boys to school on the day I go to Sydney. What a gift it is to have cousins we never realised we had, right on our doorstep!

I’ve also been building friendships at school. I volunteered to be the Class Parent, so made a point of meeting the other mums and dads this week at school, after swapping several emails. Everyone has been really kind, and even though I barely know them, have been really generous with their offers of help. Hopefully I won’t need to take them up on it, but it’s very comforting to know they are there if it comes to it. I love the spirit, warmth and generosity of people, even if they are almost strangers. If the last 10 months has taught me nothing else, it’s too accept help, and I will do if I need to.

We’re now half way through the first 10 week term and I’m loving Holy Spirit School. They live and breathe their Christian values, and the school oozes kindness and consideration for others. The children are beautiful and I’ve really been enjoying getting to know them each morning in the playground. It’s very sweet, as the children now rush up to me to say hello. They’re adorable. One morning, Benny was having a melt-down for not getting his own way, so I kept my eye on him from a distance and left him to it. A Year 2 boy went up to him and comforted him. It was beautiful. Another little girl who I almost mowed over with the pram when I was looking over my shoulder at the other kids, said, “that’s OK pretty lady” when I apologised. She made my day!

To top it off, Fred won a certificate in assembly so I had a proud mummy moment. Tears of joy are far more satisfying than tears of sadness. I’m so happy that Fred has settled in so well – another big relief.


Benny’s doing really, really well. He’s full of beans, eating well and happy. I’ve taken a giant sigh of relief, and feel like we might escape a hospital visit before Bern returns after all. And even if we don’t, I’ve made provision for it. I’ve got night watchmen lined up and have worked out a plan for how I can manage the whole escapade. Just knowing I have a plan in place makes me feel a whole lot better.

The pesky sunshine. I slather Benny in sun cream every time we set foot outside. It works. Whilst the other kids, and even pale old me, are looking quite golden, Benny remains as pasty as ever. Another relief. The early part of the week wasn’t as hot – still in the mid twenties, but it was a much-needed sea change. It rose back up to the thirties later in the week, but I found it much more manageable. I think I’ve acclimatised. The school runs are pleasurable once more and it’s back to being the favourite part of my day.

And to top off a wonderful week, we welcome Baby Ernie to the family. It’s a shame we left London just a few weeks before he was born, but we are so happy for Bern’s sister Ingrid and Pablo on the safe arrival of their beautiful baby boy. Huge congratulations!

So all in all, a great week. I’ve got the spring back in my step and a song in my heart.


Photo: Snow in Korea. A stark contrast to Oz.

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