Guarding the octopus
I’ve been a crotchety mole this afternoon. Screechy in fact. The school holidays are in full swing and we arrived home from our weekend beach-break holiday and all I wanted was time to myself.
Stupid idea really, and not a reality in my world right now, and I’m so pissed off about that. I don’t like that I’m pissed off about it. I’m not proud of being pissed off about it. I’m downright dark and dirty at myself for sounding like a screechy, crotchety mum. I lost my shit about 4pm after getting home and having to de-nit 2 really, super tired kids (who didn’t use the 1.5 hour drive as an opportunity to get some shut-eye while someone else (me) drove). It worked (the shit-losing thing). The next moment all 3 are behaving like sweet sisters should and helping each other and sharing food and all that sisterly stuff I’d been trying to get them to do all day, but I hate that me losing my shit appeared to be the only thing that was going to make that possible. I don’t want to have the whole single mother whinge, but of course I am (because I said single mother, and I can taste the way I said it in my mouth). I thought it was supposed to be more fun than this. And I know that it’s no fun because I’m not fun right now, but I can’t find how to find my fun as a mum in those moments of whinging kids and nits and unpacking and washing and not one quiet moment to have a tea and sit in the sunshine and contemplate. And I’m pissed off about that too.
We went to the beach town I thought I could never go to again. I thought there were too many things I had to get over to face it. Crazy really because (as one of my wise friends mentioned on the weekend) it was always my place before. I’m just pissed off that I even have to consider that there was before. And there are so many other memories that that town holds, so why am I stuck on the ones from the last 4 years? Yep, I’m pissed of about that too.
That town is beautiful, and holds my childhood beaches, and swimming lessons and chocolate coated ice creams. It holds collecting abalone with my Dad and the time he left me to guard the bucket with the live octopus in while he just went out a bit further and I was terrified the octopus was going to get out and get me. Suck me up with its suckers. It’s where I first got my period properly and couldn’t go to the beach because I was mortified. It’s my wild youth, and all the tequila we drank and the nasty scar on my knee from stacking it on the rocks after tequila. It’s New Year’s Eve after New Year’s Eve with my siblings and friends and sunburn, and river swims, and fish and chips, and the old curly couch. I got married in that town, walked in thongs down the beach by my Dad and while he sang me a song to distract me. It’s our funny little beach house, with bricks made from river sand and cement from our farm and the old outside toilet and the time Nanna got the trim painted like the colours of Emu Export beer.
I did it. I went there on the weekend and took my four daughters and ‘made up’ with my beach town. We did everything. Stayed at the caravan park, rode bikes, fed the pelicans, went in the tinny to “the other side”, had a BBQ party with our friends, drank Sambuca (only me & my friends, not my children in case this needed clarifying!), slept in, had bacon and eggs for breakfast, went to Blue Holes, got hot chips for lunch, went on the river tracks, went to the fair, had dinner at the pub. My biggest girl even found an octopus in the rocks at Blue Holes and told her little sisters to be careful it didn’t “suck them up”.
There are no new places to go, and each place and everything is just a new experience of the familiar. I do not want to be sad anymore about that place, but as we drove home the familiar melancholy hit me, and by the time we were home I was pissed off. I needed some time, to process all of that, to be OK with everything changing and everything staying the same. The beach is the same beautiful beach, and the bike rides, and the places we stay and the pub meal and the park and the drive up the river. I do not want to be sad anymore, and I am pissed off that I cannot make the sadness go away.
And that is all. I do not want to write another thing about being sad, but if I continue to pretend I am not sad I will not get better. I am not sad every day, and sometimes for only small pockets of some days. But today was one of those days, and I was so pissed off at being sad that it caught me. Sucked me up in its suckers. So I am writing my way out.