60 years of loving

How has life, and the way we date, changed since Rhonda and Arthur met and married?  This couple, my inspiring parents-in-law, Stevens loving Mum and Dad, and wonderful grandparents to my children married on 1 October 1955, 60 years ago.

P1080380 (2)They met on a blind date.  For those of you that don’t know what that is, it’s where friends set up a date for you with someone you don’t know.  Kind of similar to Tinder except you didn’t get to stalk their Facebook page to see what they looked like.

Rhonda and Arthur courted.  The definition of courting for their time would have been “be involved with (someone) romantically, with the intention of marrying”.  The urban dictionary today gives the definition as “traditionally courting would include no sexual activity but today that is not usually followed”. I didn’t ask them which definition they followed, and I don’t ask my kids which kind of courting they do either.

Sixty years ago Continue reading

The unconventional baby shower

P1140475 (2)For most of my life I would probably have described myself as a non-traditionalist. While I’ve always enjoyed celebrating Christmas and birthdays I’ve never felt the need to eat the same food with the same people at the same time each year. To celebrate Christmas I’d be happy if it was a great curry and a bunch of friends and family on Boxing Day. Nevertheless, I have always enjoyed and relished the times when people come together to celebrate momentous life events and holidays. I love these rituals of connection and Sam and Erin’s unconventional baby shower delighted my heart.

The grandparents to be cant wait
The grandparents to be cant wait

We had been expecting an invite to an October wedding but that had been cancelled with the impending arrival of a baby girl. Instead the baby shower invite arrived and offered “Beer, Bubbles and Barbeque” at their place in Sydney. At first we weren’t going to go. We thought it was a bit over the top to get on a plane and fly to Sydney for a baby shower. As the date of the celebration came closer we felt more and Continue reading

Celebrating Contraception on Mother’s Day

It’s Mother’s Day in Australia today and I have just finished reading The Birth of the Pill by Jonathan Eig. It made me realise how this contraceptive profoundly changed the experience of motherhood for me and for many women across the world. The book is truly fascinating and reads like a thriller.  Here’s the blurb from the cover:

the-birth-of-the-pill-1In the winter of 1950 Margaret Sanger, then seventy-one, and who had campaigned for women’s rights to control their own fertility for five decades, arrived at a Park Avenue apartment building. She had come to meet a visionary scientist with a dubious reputation, more than twenty years her junior. His name was Gregory Pincus. Continue reading

Inside the 中国小花 China Little Flower Orphanage, Beijing

IMG_3439
One of the bedrooms

In Beijing we are staying with Wei and Karin.  Wei, a pediatric surgeon, planned to visit an orphanage and I was keen to accompany him.  The book I am writing, currently called Not Forgotten, is the life story of a woman who was in an orphanage in Australia from 2-10 years old, so I have developed an interest in orphanages and how they operate.

Even though Wei told me that the children we would meet were the most severely handicapped, I still had a naive view that we would be seeing some cute, chubby faced adorable Chinese babies who would be smiling and gurgling at me, but that was not to be.

When we arrived at China Little Flower Orphanage we were greeted by Lily, the administrator, and asked to Continue reading

Breast really was the best

My favourite breastfeeding photo.
My favourite breastfeeding photo, graduating university and feeding my daughter

About 28 years ago I was privileged to become friends with a fantastic group of women.  We were all new mums, learning the tiring, challenging and beautiful art of mothering together.  We were passionate about our role as mothers and were all members of the Nursing Mothers Association, now the Australian Breast Feeding Association. I can’t remember what I learnt at our regular meetings but I well remember the support, understanding and bond I shared with these women.  On the days that I doubted my ability and when I felt as if I was going crazy from lack of sleep they were the ones that made the tea and passed the tissues.

We all breastfed our babies.  The five of us suckled 14 babies.  We weathered Continue reading

Floating down the river at Coolendel

The 29th of March 1986 (Easter Saturday) was memorable for two reasons in our family.

  1. Steve and Anne got married
  2. Steve’s Mum and Dad purchased Coolendel

P1080402I could choose to write a story about our wedding, but I’m going to share my Coolendel tales instead.

Coolendel is a unique, and naturally picturesque 52 hectare bush camping ground, bordered by the Shoalhaven River and the Morton State Conservation Area. It’s 30km west of Nowra on the New South Wales South Coast, and only a 3 hour drive south from Sydney.

Over the 29 years that Mum and Dad have Continue reading

In my daughter’s home

P1080269One of my greatest pleasures is staying in my daughter’s home.  I love that when we arrive she has cleaned and tidied the place, bought the food we like to eat and made arrangements to explore Melbourne. Best of all is that, at 26 years old, she clearly enjoys spending time with us. None of these actions are in themselves profound, they are the sorts of things that we all do when having guests to stay, however I notice and cherish them all.

P1080267If you ask parents of young children what future hopes they hold they will inevitably answer Continue reading