I spent Sunday night alone in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.
I did tell myself before I began this post “Do NOT try to explain yourself or justify your little break to anyone. You deserved it!”
Well so much for that. I felt guilty before I went, and also after but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it! So I’ll allow myself a little justifying and explaining, if not for anyone but myself.
I think I’ve mentioned this before so forgive me if I bore you, but I was told many times as a child and as a young parent by my grandmother that once you have a child, your child must come first and yourself second. If you have 2 children you then become third and so on.
So now with five lovely children AND a husband…Little old mama comes in at the bottom of the food chain in 7th place and to be honest it shows.
I get the ‘ugly’ plate at dinner, I make sure my children and Glen have attractive looking meals on pretty plates, and then by the time I get to mine it’s more of a heap of edible food stuffs…yes on the ugly plate. I’m kind of over caring about presentation with the 7th serving of the 3rd meal of the day.
I also get to sit last.
I get to sleep last, I get to do everything last.
OH…well I do get to wake first however.
The school holidays have been long and I really wanted a touch of time out. I wanted to be first for something, I wanted to just put on my shoes and go for a walk….not spend an hour searching for 6 pairs of shoes another half applying sunscreen, making sure I had water bottles….etc.
I just wanted to pop on the kettle and pick up a spoon, make myself a simple coffee…WITHOUT having to make 6 additional mugs of milo to everyone’s particular specifications.
I wanted just one night in bed ALONE, without bodies crushed against me. And on me….and trying to weasel under me…or simply pushing me out of my own bed.
I wanted to read like a WHOLE page of one book without having to get someone a drink or break up a punch up.
I wanted to go for a little relaxing swim without freaking out that someone was going to drown on my watch.
So I did.
While I love everything that comes with parenting and motherhood, I’ve never said it was easy. (And anyone who does is one of those weirdos who thinks their small fluffy dog is the equivalent of a child!)
It’s hard. And while I know when I look back on life I will be very pleased with the way I’ve chosen to spend it, I also would like to look back and remember that I too was important. I too was valuable.
So I left Glen and the kids to fend for themselves….when I do so, my ONLY wish is that upon my return they all have a heart beat. And really that’s all that matters. (That is what I tell myself when I see the mess I’m left to deal with anyway!)
Okay back to my story!
I left and went into town first, thinking I’d get myself a big floppy had. You know those adorable glamorous ones??
I had some lunch alone and wandered the shops browsing, quietly just looking around probably like a dazed creep.
I then headed off out into the bush.
Glen had asked me to asked the owners of the place I was staying if the road was suitable for his little Suzuki and he said that it was fine.
Oh my god!
Once out-of-town I had to drive on an almost 30 kilometre road of just dirt and rocks. Now his car is not designed for roads as such. It was bumpy and terrible and I think I had my teeth grit the entire time. I didn’t get out of second gear…couldn’t…..and I never went any faster than 30kms.
In any especially bumpy area all I could picture was stuff falling off the car and thinking over and over “glen is going to kill me. Glen is really going to kill me.”
But I’d come so far! I couldn’t go back now.
I’m glad I didn’t.
Finally I arrived at the gorge.
I was shown to ‘the shack’ where I’d spend the night and left to my own devices. I made a coffee and sat in the silence in the cool breeze over looking the most spectacular view.
The green grassy slope dropped away before me quite a way and then flattened out onto a wide pebbly beach. Sparkling clear waters danced as lightly as I felt on the inside. On the far side the earth swooped back up reaching to the sky in a massive mountain. Huge trees stepped up all the way to the thickest at the top.
Beautiful big cows wandered by just centimetres from where I sat trying to soak it all in. And we all know just how much I LOVE cattle!
It was still very hot so I decided to paint before I went for a walk.
I had this idea I’d wanted to paint for ages, a set of the five elements earth, air, fire, water and spirit but in the form of women. I hadn’t bothered trying at home, being holidays and kids needing my almost undivided attention. I knew I’d get frustrated and quit entirely.
But I completed them and they turned out far more beautiful than I’d hoped.
Perhaps it was the surroundings, or the silence, or the fact that I could just complete them without interruption…I don’t know, but they’re done and I feel as though I accomplished something I’d wanted to for a long time.
I then went for my walk. I packed some water bottles, and also my plants…I forgot to mention those. I decided that I may get bored and so I wanted to do something to kind of symbolize my time away with something soothing I could bring home so I’d bought with my two little potted flowers and a pretty blue pot to transplant them into.
So I took my plants for a walk.
My glamorous hat? IT TOTALLY SUCKED! It flopped in my eyes and I couldn’t see, the sides rustled by my ears and I couldn’t hear. I had to remove it and deal with the hot sun on my head. I was missing everything!
The sounds, the sights…
I found a huge old fig tree and sat in the shade beneath it. I potted my plants and sat for a while, watching the brumbies walk on by toward the water. Cows in the distance bellowed to their babies.
Okay now this is when I describe to you my completely appropriate attire…..
I wore an ankle length red dress, I had a leopard print singlet tied into a knot at my waist with my gold sequined flats.
Add…my lime green floppy hat, which I now had to wear because my hands were full carrying a brilliant blue pot of pretty little flowers.
I kind of hoped I wasn’t spotted.
I am aware of my occasionally eccentric fashion sense, but taking a plant for a walk?…I’d reached that point of complete weird.
Any who….I soon tired of trying to navigate the rocky beach without being able to see with the hat dangling about in my eyesight, carrying a plant and returned back to the shack.
I lay in bed and read….I actually read.
I think I read for an hour, maybe more and it was great!
I waited until it was almost 7pm and much cooler, the light was so nice, like it was bouncing around between the walls of the massive gorge trying to stay just a bit longer.
This time I ditched the leopard prints and the sequins. Just me in my red dress and went down to the water, I walked the edge of the water picking up shells and pretty rocks trying to find somewhere as secluded as possibly. I’d convinced myself that I ‘hadn’t lived’ unless I’d skinny dipped that day. (I guess now I know why I was never tempted by peer pressure…I probably WAS the peer pressure!)
But when I finally found a good spot I chickened out!
Instead I dunked myself, dress and all, I consoled myself with the removal of underwear….too much info? Apologies.
I just wanted to feel free and relaxed and totally alone to do as I wanted.
I sat in the water watching the cows on the opposite shore moving on in a line to their night spot, and finally I decided to do the same.
I hoped into bed and read again until the lines blurred. I turned out the light and tried to sleep. BUT COULDN’T! I slept so restlessly and finally when light began to creep up I decided I’d go to the toilet, get some water and hop back into bed…it’s not like I had to ‘open kitchen’ this morning and take orders.
But when I took a quick glance outside I saw a beautiful skyline, the mountains ever so gently being kissed by a champagne sky and I decided to watch the sunrise instead.
I never get to do that ever either I decided.
So I made tea and talked to the cows who’d made camp outside my bedroom window waiting for the first warm rays too.
I am so thankful I did. It was magical. There were cattle in the gorge, their bellows echoed deeply. Mother’s calling to calves. The sound was so prehistoric and primitive it gave me goose bumps. I’ve decided it is my favourite sound.
Pre-dawn bellows echoing. It was the sound of an old Earth, an old place. A place where souls lived and died. I can’t even begin to describe the way the deep rumbling, but kind of screeching desperate tone just struck an instinctive cord inside. Like it made me remember the connection to our place on Earth and everything on it. A place no matter how hard we try to disconnect from with technology and belongings we will just never be separate.
It was a special place.
I sat with my tea and my camera and made friends with the most adorable Brahman. I could have scooped him up and taken him home…if he didn’t weigh so much. (And if stealing was allowed.)
I totally thought I’d go back to bed after I saw the sun peek over the mountain. Turns out the mountain was that huge it took longer than it normally would.
I slept restlessly, but I actually felt very rested within.
Not tired at all.
By 8am I was still outside sitting with the cows, watching calves play.
Giving calves lectures on how they’d ruin their teeth if the continued to chew the hard nuts that had fallen from a palm tree. Telling another how Glen would not be happy to know he’d been licking his headlights. sympathizing with a lovely golden cow being harassed by a magnificent pepper coloured bull trying to woo her…well it was something like that!
I saw a small frog escape a small snake, I found a little old tree spirit, I found feathers and shells.
I found me…out there too.
I’d been so determined to stay until at least mid day but I couldn’t. I missed my annoying family so terribly!
My family who never ever puts me first or thinks I am important besides when food is involved. My family who I know takes me for granted and never really appreciates the utter devotion I have given them and will always give them.
But they do love me.
In their own way.
And I know one day they’ll see me in new eyes, perhaps when they’re older and have their own families.
I know they’ll come to me and ask for a helping hand, or for a break.
They’ll complain about sleepless nights and fighting kids. They’ll feel unimportant and perhaps even a little taken for granted.
And when they call me to say such things, I shall tell them from the bottom of my heart “you are loved my dear and if you weren’t there for your family, trust me…they’d know they need you. You are so important, and valuable. Don’t worry, take a breath and it will be okay.”
I would then hang up the phone and to myself say.
“Ha! Pay backs a bitch. Suck it!”
I DO love my family.
And I promised them next time I go to ‘the shack’ they’re all coming with me! It may not be as peaceful but it will be just as magical.
Plus I promised I’d introduce this little guy!
Take a break mums. We deserve it!