The Future

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Yesterday, I chatted to a friend’s ten-year old son, and was left feeling inspired. We were chatting about books when he informed me that he loves taking photos. “I would love to see some of your pictures,” I smiled and he shyly brought them up on his IPad. They were some of the most beautiful images I have ever seen. He managed to capture the minutiae of a rock pool, as well as a close-up of a bottle brush. I had seen these things scores of times, but never in the manner in which he presented them. My heart ached at the images he showed me. He then talked of his passion for film-making and on my urging, showed me some short films he had made with his little sister. They made me laugh with delight. He was spot-on with his storylines, background scenes and sound effects. What a thrill it is when you are allowed a sneak-peak of a young person’s talent, and where their future may lead! He kindly gave me details of apps he utilizes so I can try my hand at film-making with my daughter.

I emerged from my cave this week the cracks reinforced with gold-and went to a local dam (which supplies Sydney’s water), for a picnic. The children played as I was sequestered away by a gentle breeze, tempering the heat. I observed the water gushing down into the dam, and thought about how we are all ultimately a mere drop. That being said, we are all vitally important to the whole. The world would be forever changed if you hadn’t taken your place within it. That thought blows my mind. On days we feel impotent, it is worth remembering. As I watched the mighty flow of water, I thought of the intricate processes needed to fill a reservoir.

We have school holidays here in Australia, until the end of January, and we are spending the final weeks seeing friends and hopefully getting out on the water. We have had torrential rains and storms, and ferocious heatwaves. Australia is a land of extremes. The time for contemplation has passed and I welcome another season. Time seemed to stand still yesterday, as I talked to this young man. Within him are mighty talents and lofty dreams. I look forward to cheering him on throughout the years ahead.

Light it Red for Dyslexia in Australia

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Dyslexia Support Australia are a wonderful group of supportive people who have been through it all. I know from personal experience the immense frustration and heartache in sourcing adequate help for a dyslexic child, and it was behind my decision to home school. Many parents would dearly like the following to be a priority within the education system.

  1. Diagnosis at the earliest age possible.
  2. Science/evidence-based interventions and school’s guiding parents rather than the reverse.
  3. In order to support the above priorities, make available further training so that teachers can identify dyslexic students and provide effective reading instruction.

Light it Red is a wonderful initiative where landmarks and monuments around Australia shall be lit red. The dreaded red pen used to mark work at school is well-known to dyslexic students. It has been a symbol of corrections and crosses through their work. It is being reclaimed as an empowering colour, a colour of hope and support. Wear red, and get along to one of the events taking place on October 15th! Upload your pics to https://www.facebook.com/DyslexiaAwarenessAustralia

Behind the Smile  has written an exquisite piece on what it is like to be dyslexic here.

Camping, Frogs and Friendship

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Camp was amazing! I feel that I am not the same person who left home a week ago. Staying places by myself (albeit with child), is not something I have done much of, and certainly not so far away. It was mainly to do with safety, and gradually it was born of terror. Fear isn’t a strong enough word. What if something happened? What if I fell sick? I would be all alone. Can I rely on myself? The answer was that I could. We left early afternoon, and by the time we were an hour away, dusk was folding in. I had visions of driving around in the dark, unable to find the place! “Breathe though it,” I told myself. I tremulously opened the door to our cabin and was astounded at how lovely it was. I got a great deal as it was off-season. In my adult life, I have only had a few short breaks away, all available funds going into IVF and surgeries. The kitchen was bigger than mine back home! My daughter had a great deal of fun exploring! That night, I had the best sleep I have had in years, and actually slept in! We then met our fellow campers. My daughter was asked to play spotlight by an older girl and delivered back to the cabin afterward. It meant a lot as a mum.

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She organized her social life with a little friend for the next day, and met up at 9am for putt putt golf. When we went to get supplies from the local supermarket, she found a little tree frog at the doors. She brought it back to the cabin, and lovingly placed it in a box filled with grass. She found the perfect spot to relocate him, brimming with frogs, and went by herself to release her tiny friend.

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It is officially Spring here in Australia, and whilst the sun beamed down, the swimming pool was still freezing. Things like that don’t matter to kids and she took the plunge. The women gathered as the kids played, and I found their intuitive, compassionate take on child-rearing and schooling awe-inspiring. They were my tribe, filled with artists, students, dancers and writers. We went on a koala walk, where the kids found buried treasure. The day ended at the fire pit, telling each other stories.

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The next day, we tried hula hooping. To my amazement, I could sustain a weighted hoop, once I had been taught to take a step, rather than try to swivel it (impossible with a fused back). One of the new friends I made was a single mum, with a remarkable child and 5 week old puppy. The puppy considered my cane more of a prize than the stick he was offered, and ran off with it! It took some coaxing to get it back. This mum was an astoundingly gifted artist. Mainstream school wasn’t working for her child, so she packed up their life. bought a camper van and car, and hit the road. As her child played with the kids and his puppy, I was privileged to witness a young life restored with the joy it deserved. The cruel taunts of classmates was being replaced with the reinforcement of other’s encouragement. How brave and inspiring was my new friend, to leave her old life and plunge into the unknown? I hope their lives are filled with the peace they deserve.

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We played board games in my cabin that evening, the kids overtaking us at Beat the Parents. There was much laughter and irreverence and happiness. I had nowhere to go and had abandoned my to-do list. I had stopped and was living in the moment.  I hadn’t realized how stressed I had been. I slept brilliantly when removed from it all. On the way home, we stopped at a wildlife sanctuary. My daughter loved the piglets and gravitated to them at feeding time. She also fed wallabies.

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She went on rides and we were hugged by an enormous Drop Bear! To the uninitiated, visitors to Oz are sometimes warned that koala bears drop out of trees and get quite cranky. Of course, it isn’t true!

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We could have gone out on the water and seen whales and pods of dolphins, but the days were filled with connecting, walking and resting. We came home ready to continue on, bolstered by the friendships we had made.

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