Her parting words to me before she boarded the plane was: ‘Mum, you need to write a couple of blogs.’
As she sat there giving me instructions on what I should write about, my mind switched off from hearing her words and instead concentrated on her beautiful full lips that arched and bowed as I got glimpses of her nicely formed tongue swirling, stretching, pointing, playing hide and seek, inside her mouth as she spoke.
I was riveted to the spot, watching the playful interaction of that muscle within her mouth that has been used to utter such memorable words such as her first word ‘plane’ or the time she told me ‘I love you’ through to the time she hurled at me in anger ‘you are a bitch’ or when she told me ‘Thanks Mum for telling me about the wet spot!’
However, I was soon brought back to the moment when I realised she had stopped talking and was watching me with intrigue. I merely smiled at her and waited to be spoken to once again. I didn’t need to worry as she was back in action within a nanosecond, being issued orders on how the said blogs were to be presented.
So here I am, the end of 2016 is peaking around the corner and with it the closure of another year in the life of the O’Chunky family. I would just like to point out I was informed I was to speak about this and what it meant to me and I may have rolled my eyes at this until the eyebrow arched in my direction.
Grab a comfortable chair, take a sip of your favourite beverage and prepared to have your rocks shook up.
Christmas 2015, I sat on the couch and watched my adult children spread out around the lounge room and I inhaled as much of their facial features, voices, tender touches, words and actions as I could. My instincts told me that, this would be the last Christmas we would all effectively be together.
2016 was about to bring alot of new changes to our family structure and I could no longer hold time at bay. It was spent with the New Year being celebrated at home with a typical Aussie BBQ, a riotous game of cards and plenty of alcohol and we watched as Miss Scarlett zipped off in her little car while discovering the joy of driving herself everywhere!
Miss LBS gave her plenty of giggles with her dating antics and of course there was plenty of vodka and cake to devour along the way. We, as her parents breathed a sigh of relief as she began her final year of university life as a student. She could begin to secretly plan her glide across the stage at graduation, to briefly shake the Chancellor’s hand before she beamed her smile at her audience, waving her hand as her mother yelled out “That’s our girl!!’
Miss Kaffy began the year by chopping off her very long hair to chin length and then blading one side of it to a crew-cut, that left her mother in tears of desolation as she watched that long mass of curls, ringlets and waves fell to the floor. Only to look up and see her daughter grinning madly. She stepped onto campus in March to begin her third year of her degree with her normal quiet disposition and fierce determination to succeed.
We actively encouraged her to occasionally pop her head out of the bat cave to be nourished and nurtured. By the end of the year, Kaffy had several High Distinctions up her sleeve and a huge presentation of her work on display. She celebrated by driving to Sydney for 16 hours, for the first time. Her adventures were diverse from her first train ride, first view of city lights at night, standing in front of the Opera house, tasting new foods from other cultures and the exaltation of shopping at midnight. Her eyes were opened to so many possibilities outside the comfort of the bat cave.
Frodo came and went out the front door like it was a revolving door. As his parents, we knew our son was making serious decisions about his life and we would just have to be patient as to the outcome. There were weeks of silence sometimes and moments of sheer worry before he announced what we already knew in our hearts – he was leaving home for good. His move to Sydney was greeted with love, respect and acceptance.
Red and I, wiped away tears, as we watched family and friends cheer, our youngest son, Pablo who celebrated his 21st birthday with a masked ball in a huge marquee in our backyard. With the lovely Gothic Goddess holding his hand, telling him she loved him and life was sweet.
By June, I had made the decision of my life and it was a decision that I had been waiting 20+ years for.
I became a University student for 13 mind blowing weeks of challenges to my mind and knowledge. As each week went past of my Tertiary Preparation Program, I came home with a new confidence within myself, a thrill for the chase and lust for knowledge. My last day of university attendance, I knew I wanted more and it was just what I had been craving for. By December, I was waiting eagerly for my end of term results and silently praying for my letter of acceptance to University full time.
August, saw my husband depart to live in another state, for a work contract for several months. It was the first time in years we had been apart from each other. The loneliness was crushing and my heart ached so badly, I felt like I was suffocating. He arrived home in time for Christmas, to discover my instincts had been correct. We were alone.
So what does 2017 have in store for the O’Chunky’s?
A whole new game plan – that is what.
Personally for myself, I am going to be saying things that may not sit nicely with how the kids think life is going to be that is for sure. Starting with:
I issued the command that life stands still for no man and requested our youngest son to begin his life outside of the comforts of home. With a ring shining brightly in his pocket to seal the bond of love forever and new work on the horizon. I took the plunge and said ‘time to fly the nest, son!’
I also made the decision, no longer will Mummy be tied to the kitchen and EVERYONE residing in the house will be responsible for the cooking, cleaning, washing, buying of food and paying of the bills. Speaking of cooking and cleaning, I am having a bloody dishwasher and no, I don’t have one. It has been on my wish list for years.
While knowing now how to conquer the abject fear of being lonely without my man at my side, I have confidently began organising my husband to be away working for a minimum of 6 months around the country. With goals in mind to achieve, we have a purpose to work towards and therefore know the long periods without kisses is worth it in the long run. It helps that I will not be home that much because I am going to be extremely busy.
I am going to throw my backpack over my shoulders and step forth onto campus as a full time student at the University to begin my Bachelor of Creative Writing. Yes, I got accepted!!
Lastly, to celebrate 30 years of marriage, my husband is going to fulfill a promise made and ask me to marry him again before he whisks me off to New Zealand and Singapore for that nice honeymoon we never got.
And….. anything else I can think of over the year.
Like my kids keep on saying to me “You only live once, YOLO‘. So I am making sure the rest of my life is going to be amazingly interesting, fun filled and dosed with some amazing adventures! Life is about to change and we all need to brace ourselves for the roller coaster ride.
BEFORE you judge me as being harsh, I realised last year as I was surrounded by my children at Christmas that if I had to accept the future changes then it was time to make some changes of my own. I have spent the past 12 months silently grieving for the years when my children were little and needed me so much more. I have been assessing where my own personal life is heading and how I want to be in control of that destiny. No longer do I need to be a support system for my parents or sibling as I can walk away knowing I did my best.
Time has come for my husband and I to fulfill our own wishes and dreams, whatever path that may lead us.
I look forward to painting and decorating Pablo’s room and creating my long cherished and dreamt-about-study where I can put up my pictures, trinkets and begin studying and writing with abandon listening to my stereo in peace and quiet. I also look forward to the day when I walk in the door and my dinner is made by someone else’s hands and love.
I also have the not so secret of looking forward to being with my husband, who is standing at my side, as we escape together for a glorious memorable holiday we have spent many years talking about. The day when my kids stand in front of me and say “thank you for letting me go and live my life – you were right!’ Lastly, I look forward to the day I too get to glide across the stage, briefly touch the Chancellors hand before beaming a smile at my family as they yell out, ‘That’s OUR MUMMY!‘
All I know is at this moment….. I am looking forward to 2017 and all it offers.
Happy New Year and may your adventures be amazing!
Love Lois xxx
Thanks to Google for the imagery and Miss Scarlett for my photo.