Firstly, merry Christmas to all my blog-reading friends. I hope yours was better than mine!
Secondly, thanks to all who left a comment on the last post and to those who read it and sent good wishes my way - I really appreciate your support, concern and prayers.
warning: the rest of this post is self-indulgent “getting it off my chest”. You may not want to read on!
As you can imagine, with the urgent phone call from my mother last week, my plans were put on hold. And what were those plans? Well, among them were to finish the baby blanket which is currently on the needles (it was supposed to be a Christmas present) then cast on and finish another baby blanket! I also had to write about sixty Christmas cards and do my Christmas shopping. None of which happened although I have made some progress on the first blanket since arriving in Tamworth.
While in Tamworth, I tried several times to get my Christmas shopping done. Not knowing the local shopping centre (there is no big shopping mall) made it quite difficult but the biggest interruptions were related to cars and/or hospitals. The first time I got a phone call from my sister to say that the mechanic wanted mum's car (which I was driving) straight away - DD and I were looking for maternity clothes that time! The second time I had to get the car to the tyre service place for a wheel balance and alignment and ran out of time. No problems, I thought; I would go shopping after visiting hours - the major chain stores were open until midnight on 23rd December. Another phone call - Dad was being transferred to his local hospital and mum was leaving Tamworth in one hour and I was going with her!! No more shopping for me - my parents live in a small town (population 1300 people) and everything is closed by 6.30pm except the two clubs. Fortunately, I had managed a present for everyone except WM and he is very understanding of the whole situation.
So, mum, DD and I drove the 145 kilometres (90 miles) back "home" on Wednesday afternoon, stopping for a late lunch along the way. Then, the following day - Christmas Eve - we drove back to Tamworth to have Christmas morning at my sister's place (dad's orders!!). WM and SIL left Sydney after work at 2:30pm and arrived in Tawmorth at 7:30pm. DD, SIL, WM and I stayed in a motel - I just couldn't face staying in a stressed over-crowded house again! On Christmas morning we all went to Mass (DD, SIL, WM and I are no longer Catholics but it was what mum wanted). then we went to my sister’s house for the exchange of presents and Christmas lunch. It was dad's wish that we all spend Christmas together "as usual". There was nothing usual about it - 16y.o. Niece went to her boyfriend's house because she couldn't go in the afternoon as had originally been planned. The gift-giving was rushed because 19y.o. Niece had to catch the only flight to Sydney at 2:40pm and had to be at the airport at 1pm. The plane was late so lunch was delayed. We finally got away from Tamworth at about 4pm for the trip back to my parents’ home town.
By the time we arrived, dad was stressed because he had expected us much sooner. I’ll just leave it by saying that the time we spent with him was stressful and angst-ridden.
Today my father is at home. He left the hospital at 10.30am and has to be back at 4:30pm. He is annoyed because he thought he was coming home permanently. Tomorrow they will reassess the situation and we will have to take each day as it comes. My parents don’t like this - they like everything planned well in advance. As an example, on Christmas Eve mum wanted to know who was going to drive her car home on Christmas Day! We hadn't even got to Tamworth yet! It’s that kind of worrying about little details that is wearing me down; not to mention the constant sniping from overstressed people.
Right now Dad is ensconced in front of the Cricket (boring!) so I have taken a break from being always surrounded by people and retired to a steamy, but quiet, computer room.
DD and SIL are on their way back to Sydney via the CountryLink bus and train service. She has been with me for the eleven days since we left home and I’m going to miss her cuddles and quiet support. It has been the most time we have spent together since she was married last January and will probably be the last time as her baby is due in nine weeks. I miss her terribly and even writing this has made me tearful.
WM is with me now. I am hoping to get way from here in the next few days. My emotions are raw and I am living on the edge. I return to work in early February and want to have a real rest before facing a classroom full of beginner-English learners again. But I can’t help wondering how mum (who has had three minor strokes in the past) will cope, physically and emotionally, when none of us are here.
If you have read this far, God bless you for your patience. I wasn’t going to publish this post but I need a release and I can’t get it in my physical environment! Even though I have met very few of you in person, thanks for being a real sense of support in a time in which I feel like I’m living my life with moving goal-posts!