Friday, February 15, 2019

with arms full of flowers

Last Friday at around 5 in the afternoon my dad came home from a trip to Melbourne with my fixed up and updated computer. 'Are you going to write your blog today?' he asked me as he handed it over. My computer had been sitting in a shop in Melbourne all week and I'd barely thought about it at all. I knew it was coming home late Friday and assumed I wouldn't have time to create a blog post so I planned my whole day without it, and when he asked I replied 'nope, I'll be back to blogging next week.' 

It's interesting how powerful our mindset is. Only after I'd thought about his question later did I realise that in retrospect I probably could have knocked something together. If I'd known it would be back in the afternoon I could have done everything early and then sat down to write it late. And more than that I would have been thinking about it and collecting stories and thoughts all week in preparation. But my mind wasn't in that state, and I had nothing, so I didn't.

But now that it's a week later, and I do, I am.

Last Saturday after an argument with someone in my family, I was presented with an apology and a big bunch of flowers picked from my own garden. One of each variety of flower and seed pod that we grow. I've made and received plenty of apologies in my lifetime, but I don't think any has ever felt so meaningful and looked so beautiful. 

Last Sunday, actually every single day, I have this routine where first thing in the morning and last thing at night before it gets dark, I walk up and down every row of the garden. I admire the new, I deadhead the old, I tie up anything loose, I harvest the ripe, I watch for any pests, I squish caterpillars and slugs, I sing, or chat or just listen, I try to take it all in and notice everything, I breathe, I fill my cup.

Last Monday I was walking back to the car-park after the school drop off with a mum I'd just met. Her oldest just started his first year of primary school this year, while my youngest just started her last. As we walked we swapped little details of our lives; how long we've lived here, our other children's names, what else we juggle along with mothering.

As we arrived at her car she slid open the door to reveal a row of child seats and it surprised me. Then it occurred to me that it's been ages since I've buckled one of mine in. It's funny how something that's part of your life for so many years can look so strange and alien when you've gone past it and left it behind.

And then I went one step further and thought that not only has my back-seat booster-seat period disappeared, but now I have a child that could legally drive that car. Wow!

I'm not sure this story feels so profound a few days later now that I'm writing it down, but last Monday after we'd said our goodbyes and she'd driven off, I sat in my car for a few minutes and contemplated the stage of mothering that I'm in. It all feels very grown up and big.

Last Tuesday, and every other day, Indi has been texting us stories and sending us photos of her wonderful worldy adventures. It's a crazy feeling to live with someone under the same roof for 18 years and then watch as they travel off to make an independent life on the other side of the globe. It's wonderful to watch the world through her eyes, it's interesting to see her style evolve as she captures her surroundings, it's heartwarming to see her beautiful smile, it's fascinating to hear her stories, and as with all her firsts - it's taking me back to the people and the places and the adventures I had when I was her age doing a similar thing. Of course I miss her like crazy but much stronger than that is my sense of joy and delight for her, and pride and awe of her.

Last Tuesday one of us decided that the new dynamic of four in the family was too difficult to navigate so she went down the hill to stay with my parents for a few days.

It's funny, while the bare bones of our family life are still the same - schooling, farming, eating, home-working, preserving, growing, music-ing, driving...the details are all different. There's one less plate on the table, there's one less pile of washing, there's one less story, there's less drawing, there's one less guitar being played, there's one less person in the shower queue, there's no-one to tell you which shoes to wear, no one talks about Shawn, sometimes there's just no-one else who understands.

It's early days still and I'm sure we'll all get used to our new normal I just hope our little wanderer knows how much we adore her and miss her. And I'm also ridiculously grateful to have my parents at the bottom of our hill to pick up the pieces and to spoil the runaways when a little bit of extra love and care is needed.

Last Wednesday I sat together my farmer boy in the sun-room and had a discussion about all the things we're struggling with. Nothing major, just the day to day stuff like water, and farming, and aging, and sickness, and time, and moods, and housework, and caterpillars, and wanting to be 18 again with nothing but a backpack traveling the world.

Last Thursday morning we dropped Jazzy at school and caught a train into the city. We ate breakfast for lunch, we visited the Escher x Nendo exhibition at The NGV, we strolled around holding hands and people watching, and then we headed back home feeling lighter and brighter and more capable of dealing with things.

It's amazing what a difference a day made.

Which brings us right back to Friday, today!

I'm reading and loving Preservation by Jock Serong, a few days after Indi left I cast on a pair of socks as knitting comfort and I'm slowly working away on them, I'm listening to It's Not A Race podcast, we finished the last episode of Russian Dolls last night and wish there was a second season, we're listening to a lot of very old James Taylor, and we're eating loads of tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, carrots, onions, lettuce, plums, apples, zucchini, silverbeet, berries and herbs.

It's pretty nice to be back here. Sitting up on the daybed looking out on the forest, typing away on my fixed up and quiet computer, thinking about my week that's just gone.

Thank you for your messages and your kindness and patience.

If all goes to plan I'll see you again next Friday.

Until then why don't you fill me in on what's been going on for you.
How are you feeling about things?
Have you settled into the new year's routine yet?
Do you sometimes get a glimpse of who you are and get a surprise?
Do you have something fun planned for this weekend?




  1. Your daughter and my nephew Brandon have gone off to Israel together! I saw photos from the airport farewells. gorgeous

    1. I love that they're sharing this time together. So special. xx

  2. Hola Kate, me alegro de que vuelvas a publicar, me gusta mucho ver las fotos de tu jardín, esa parte del mundo tan precioso que habitas. Esta semana hemos tenido cada día sol, los almendros y las mimosas están llenas de flores, cada tarde voy al campo a caminar con mi perro, amo el campo... Este domingo mi hijo cumple 26 años, es increíble como pasa el tiempo, él ya vive en otra ciudad con su pareja, y tengo la sensación de que el tiempo ha volado desde que nació. El sábado horneare pasteles y su comida preferida y el domingo lo celebraremos todos juntos. Que disfrutes de lo que te aporta cada día ,y gracias por publicar, hasta la próxima!

    Traducido por Google:
    Hi Kate, I'm glad you're publishing again, I really like to see the photos of your garden, that part of the world so beautiful that you live. This week we have had sun every day, almonds and mimosas are full of flowers, every afternoon I go to the field to walk with my dog, I love the countryside ... This Sunday my son turns 26, it's amazing how time goes by, He already lives in another city with his partner, and I have the feeling that time has flown since he was born. On Saturday I will bake cakes and their favorite food and on Sunday we will celebrate together. That you enjoy what it brings you every day, and thanks for posting, until next time!

    1. Happy birthday to your son and to your family. I hope you had a wonderful celebration. i love hearing about your world. Lots of love to you xx

  3. Glad you're back to your blog, love reading your updates and seeing your photographs every week. My daughter is expecting her first so I dug out photos of me expecting her. Wow so surreal, I was so young (although I really wasn't at 28!) and now, 34 years on, I'm about to become a grandma. Time can go slowly especially when negotiating the teenage years but then, suddenly, in a blink, you look back and your job is done and you've raised functioning, capable adults and they're off in the world doing their own thing, living their own lives. My daughter has also been a traveller in her time and I loved her adventures and seeing her photos but it can be hard at times when they're far away. Just one tip for your girl....don't tell Mum if you're doing things like bungee jumping/parachuting until they're done and survived! At least there's Facebook (other social media sites are also available, haha) and FaceTime now, we had to rely on Skype, emails and snailmail. I'm now the one doing the planning, the travelling, exploring the world and sending the postcards - although not on my own and most definitely not by backpacking!

    1. I'm so excited for you and your impending grandmother-hood. How exciting. Congratulations. And thank you for telling me a little bit of your story, I loved reading it. xx

  4. I am almost being defeated by trying to match diamond points in a quilt. Tomorrow i will take a big breath and try again. Love Jock Serongs books. The Rules of Backyard cricket raises some interesting points. On the Java Ridge was stunning. His writing went ahead in leaps and bounds. I would love to know your reaction if you read it. I have interviewed him twice and he is a great bloke.

    1. Oh gosh, I think matching diamond points is precisely the reason I don't quilt. I hope you sorted it out tho. And I haven't read any of Jock's other books but I loved that one and would like to read more. x

  5. Hi Kate
    Its afternoon and i am sitting here with my cup of coffee and be happy you are
    back and you and your family are my dishes have to wait...i enjoy
    reading your post
    Thank you for the pictures and stories...i like it very much
    Yes i know... its not easy when kids grow up...they are our
    life for so a long time...and the house is full with
    her laughter...stuff...ideas and so on
    And from one moment of the other(not really)they go their own ways..
    that´s a god thing...but the parents heart must deal with it... to find
    a new perspective...its a bittersweet time
    Our Weekend plans: to go to a big town and buy a new machine.
    We live here in a little village and to drive in a big town is exciting
    We have still a lot of snow....but the sun is shining now
    and it is melting....the birds came back now from the warmer countries like africa ..that s a positive sign
    that spring is not far..time to find a nice project for spring knitting!!

    wish you and your family the best
    and indi a good time
    from Germany B.A.R.

    1. Yay! I'm happy the dishes had to wait. Blogs and coffee should always come first. I hope the sun is still shinning there. xx

  6. ...ahhhh sorry.. i found a mistake in my post:...not:its a god thing
    but:its a good thing

  7. Love your take on things. I remember when my mom came to visit me the first time after I was married and I told her what plans we had made for her visit and at some point she said something to this effect, "It seems strange not to be the doer, the planner for everything that is going to happen." I bet you understand.

  8. lovely to read about your week.
    cheers kate

  9. I know exactly what you mean... I recently met a woman whose oldest is about the same age as my youngest. She was discussing some of the things she's been doing with her kids and I can fully remember doing all those same kinds of things with mine, but also realizing that we have completely moved beyond all of the sensory boxes and craft prompts, etc... It would make me sad except that I'm loving so much the new stage that we're in now with tweens/teens! In fact, I've found that every new age/stage quickly becomes my new favorite age/stage so far!
    I love reading your post each week and looking at all of your beautiful photos. Thank you for not giving up on this space!

    1. I feel exactly the same. I look back fondly but I love the stage we're in. Almost always. xx

  10. Really glad you are back online!!!

  11. boo hoo hoo, yet again, my computer only allows up to
    And then there's friday and the bottom is cut off in the horizontal centre of the sentence with Friday in it. I just don't know why. I'm sure your computers sees it but I wonder if anyone else is missing the end bits?? :-( I've had to click on the link to the blog to read it.

    1. That's so strange, I haven't heard from anyone else that that's happening. Hope the next one sorts itself out. x

  12. I so enjoy your cozy blog! I am still trying to find that inner peace and being in harmony with those around me. It's a constant struggle but on the days everything clicks along smoothly I feel the good (contentment) out weighs the not so good days. We are woman, we carry on!

    1. Thank you Susan. I hope your good days start to completely outweigh your not so good. Love xx

  13. I feel peaceful just imagining you sitting amidst your beautiful greenery, knitting a sock with James Taylor softly in the background. My family is going through a similar stage with two of my older ones spreading their wings this year - one to another capital city to find their fortune and the other overseas for an extended holiday. On one hand I am so excited at their independence and on the other am not looking forward to all the missing of them which is bound to occur.
    It is so important to take 'time out' even if it is just a day or even half a day. It is important for our mental and emotional health. It always helps to put the demands of the days into perspective.

    1. Sending love to you honey, I am there with you xx

  14. Hi Kate, it’s taking a while to get back into the daily routine this year mainly because I’m playing the “parent” role to my Mum as she’s just moved into aged care. Such a weird feeling! There’s so much to do that it’s a little overwhelming - so grateful for support from my other half. I know we’ll get there but the tunnel’s still a little dark at the moment. Hugs x

    1. Oh love, I watched my mum care for her parents for many years and I've seen how dark and lonely it can look. I hope you find your balance soon and can enjoy your time with her. Love xx

  15. Hi Kate, your flowers are beautiful as always, they make me smile & feel good about the world! My youngest left home last week to live in the big city, very exciting for her & definitely a rite of passage I remember well. However gee I miss her & as well as her two older brothers who have been gone for a few years! Where did the 'children years' go, & why so fast?! Our dynamic has definitely changed but my husband & I are treating it as a new chapter in our lives which is to be grabbed with two hands & enjoyed even though we miss them all being around daily. And of course we are very excited for, & proud of, them as they go forward into the world! Have a lovely week! xsusan

    1. Oh gosh Susan your place must feel so quiet. I hope they call you often and come home to visit lots too. I hope you can enjoy the lack of laundry and dishes and mess and chaos. I wonder what exciting adventures await you now. Have fun. xx


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Kate XX

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