The last two weeks have been beserk my friends, and the cracks are starting to show: the house is a mess, there is near constant friction between the Bear and I, I haven’t blogged or written (except in my journal) for a fortnight or done yoga for a week. I fall into bed at night like I’ve been kicked by a herd of camels, and wake up early, tired but wired, like I’ve been, er, kicked by a herd of camels the day before. Things are starting to wind down now, but that’s uncomfortable too, because now I have enough time to see the cracks, but not enough to do anything about them.
I don’t know about what it’s been like in your world, but every time I turn around there is another problem to solve. Nothing is straightforward and simple. On the other hand, everything has a solution, but it’s waaay out of the square and requires a lot of effort to enact. I think it probably started a couple of weeks ago when I discovered that an assignment that I thought was going to be simple wasn’t. I had to hand it in two days early so that I could go to the Byron Bay Writers Festival with my friends, which left seven days to do it in. Five of those days were filled up with other commitments, which left two full days and some very early starts to get it done. You know it’s close when with two hours before I had to leave, I was still editing to get it ready for submission, but it got done.
Getting to the festival was also a bit of a worry – a big storm system had passed through the day before, with flash flooding up and down the coast. We have to cross several low bridges to get to town, and the two that are prone to flooding were literally resting on top of the churning flood waters as we drove in to meet the friend that I was travelling with. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to us, at the festival the main tent had collapsed in a heap of twisted metal and canvas, the field was under water, and the organisers were seriously contemplating calling the whole thing off. In the back of my mind, I was also concerned about how I was going to get home: I was travelling up with my friends, but I had to go home a day early than the rest of them so that I could go to work on Monday. My son was playing cricket up the coast on Sunday, about an hour and a half from Byron Bay which seemed perfect, but halfway up the coast I received a text: Game washed out. Plan B?
So, how was I going to get home? I thought about it as we drove: this was the final festival of my fortieth birthday – the Bear had given me a weekend ticket to the Bellingen Writers Festival in May, my friend Lizzy had given me a weekend ticket to the Bello Winter Music Festival in July and Dad had given me money for my first ever Byron Bay Writers Festival experience. Are you getting any insights into how I like to have fun? I could see no reason why the Universe would get me this far and not get me home, even though the difficulties seemed insurmountable at the moment. I know many of my readers are urban people, where catching public transport is easy – it’s not easy in my part of the world, but it was an option, so I tucked it away, and sat with the problem for a few hours. Later, as we were settling into the house we had rented, I told my friends what had happened. There was some discussion of options, and then Lisa said, “I know. Why don’t you drive my car home on Sunday, and I’ll go home with Roby on Monday.” I could have fallen at her feet and kissed them. It was a cold and wet weekend, but the love and kindness shown to me by my friends kept me warm (along with a hot water bottle, thermals, a coat and a scarf 🙂 ).
So, on Sunday morning I hurtled down the coast in my friend’s car, dropped it off at her place, my parents met me and took me back to their house, and then the Bear picked me up and took me home. Phew! I made it :). Not so fast. In the middle of the night, I woke up feeling nauseous, which rapidly escalated into feeling much worse. By 7:30 am I had to face the fact that I was not going to be able to go into work, and indeed was not going to be getting out of bed. Yep, I had a tummy bug. WTF? I don’t know what was worse – being so sick, or the knowledge that I had let down the team and all that trouble getting me home had been for nothing. I was better the next day, and slightly reassured that what had afflicted me was also afflicting the other staff – the teacher who I assist had come down with it on Monday afternoon and couldn’t work on Tuesday, and throughout the week three other teachers aides had time off as well. Still, the timing seemed particularly off.
I had missed my beautiful kindergartners and their magnificent teacher, and they had missed me as well. It was pure joy hanging out with them again, although I was reminded how much love, patience and guts it takes to work with 5 and 6 year old children. Luckily, their radiant smiles, unexpected hugs, and their habit of slipping their little hand in mine and whispering I love you Sara! makes up for all the other things that kindergartners do. Like everything else this month, my main job was to show up, even if I thought it couldn’t be done, even if I had no idea what I was doing, even if it was scary or embarrassing. I have lived long enough to know that the way you get brave is to do the things that scare you while you’re afraid. Which is why I found myself dressed in a cow suit doing the funky cowboy with my kinders on Open Day :).
So, from 3am starts to finish an assignment, to hobnobbing with writers at Byron Bay, to dancing the Funky Cowboy in a cow suit with a bunch of 6 year olds – that’s how my life rolls. I like it 🙂