Monday, November 28, 2011


My eldest son, Tony, turned six today. He has been counting down to his birthday for a very long time now. I hope his special day is all be has hoped, because he deserves the best.

When I found out I was pregnant with Tony, I was thrilled! Anthony's excitement matched my own. I read " What To Expect When You're Expecting" religiously. Thankfully I was reading it whilst on the train to work when I collapsed at nine weeks along, and the stangers around me got me to hospital. I was advised by a doctor to give up work, I spent my time at uni and vomiting, until morning sickness settled down at around the six month mark.

Tony was born via planned c-section as my back wasn't stable enough to withstand labour. The metal inside my back also meant an epidural was not possible so I was completely knocked out. Tony's first hour of life was spent in a quiet room with Anthony. I initially felt like I was missing out, but I see that my son got to spend precious time with his Daddy.

Sometimes I feel that Tony has had to experience a bit more than other children his age. My health problems have meant he has spent large chunks of time away from me while I have been in hospital. He helps out with the little jobs around the house. He looks after his brother well. His kind, sweet nature has been a huge blessing to our family.

Tony worries about little things. He panics when under pressure. He is easily frustrated when he can't do something he is trying to do. This is because he tries so hard to do the right thing. He hates the idea of disappointing or being in trouble. As parents, this quality has meant we have never had to worry about whether or not Tony will behave out of our sight, it just isn't in his nature not to.

He loves sport and games and is quite the little organizer. He has a passion for learning and a killer memory. He loves school and is a social butterfly. He regularly asks us;

"So, are we having any guests over?"

He is in his element when surrounded by family and friends.

Tony has brought a light into out home that you can't help but miss when he is gone.
I know it is said often, but I feel truly privileged to be the mother of such a precious boy, to love him, teach him, and to raise what I know will be an outstanding man.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Carter vs Mum

Today Carter and I had it out!

It has rained for almost three days straight here. I hate the rain with a passion. It makes me feel miserable and less motivated than usual - but that's not hard anyway. Today I had a dentist appointment, so I dropped Anthony at work, Tony at school, and took Carter to a friends house as it is literally impossible for him to sit still let alone wait quietly while I had my appointment.

After my appointment, we went to the bank, bought some lettuce and toothpaste, and headed for home in the pouring rain.

Our ride consisted of me being told by Carter that I was not his buddy and that I am Pacey's mum (my niece) and not his mum anymore. I told him that if he kept being grumpy I would leave him in the car when we got home.

He called my bluff. He said;

"I don't want to come home. I'm staying in the car!"

When we pulled into the driveway, I got out the car and went to open Carter's door only to find it was locked. He was sitting with his arms folded, a look of stubborn determination on his face. I told him to unlock his door but he shook his head.

I used the key to unlock the driver's door, which would in turn unlock all the doors, but by the time I went to pull his door open, he had locked it again. I repeated this, but he kept his finger on the lock and switched it back the second I unlocked it. I stood at his door getting drenched while he purposely stared forward whilst strumming his fingers on his armrest.

If I were a cartoon, my face would have been bright red with veins popping out and steam blowing out of my ears. Instead, I tried my best not to lose it and yell, mainly because our neighbours are in very close proximity. I decided to pull out the big guns and said;

If you don't open this door NOW, I am leaving you in the car!"

Not surprisingly, I ended up walking up our stairs alone while a stubborn little three year old sat strapped in his car seat. Thankfully the weather was colder because I couldn't have gone through with my threat if it was more summer-y weather as it should be.

For twenty minutes I peered out our windows at my little boy sitting in the car. He would carefully look out his window every now and again, but most of the time he just sat staring ahead as if he couldn't care less. We had both drawn lines we weren't prepared to cross. I was watching, waiting for him to crack and cry to show some sign of remorse, so I could rush down in some grand teaching moment.

After more than twenty minutes, I thought I could see him rubbing his eyes. I grabbed my keys and headed downstairs to the car. As I walked to the car, I could indeed see signs of tears. I stood in front of Carters window and tapped on the glass to get his attention. He looked up at me and my heart broke at his sad little face. I smiled at him and put my arms out and was thrilled to see his chubby finger flick the lock. It was over.

I reached for the door handle and pulled.

It was LOCKED.

I looked down again to see two raised eyebrows and a look that said;

"I win."

Monday, November 21, 2011

Time passes slower when you are eleven

When Anthony and I got married, I was a uni student. This meant we planned our wedding during the uni holidays so we could have a good few weeks to take a decent honeymoon and spend some time setting up house.

My youngest sister, Rachael, was in grade 5 when we got engaged. Anthony's youngest brother, Shem, was in the same grade at the same school. When word got out that "Shem's big brother is marrying Rachael's older sister", it even made it to the staff room. Rachael told me her own teacher asked her how old I was and commented;

"Twenty is very young to be getting married."

We were married on January 22nd, 2005. The weather was very warm, but the day was wonderful and filled with family and friends.

Three months later we announced to our families the news that I was six weeks pregnant. We were thrilled and so were all the grandparents, aunties, and uncles to be.

The new school year had commenced by now and news made it back that Shem and Rachael had a niece or nephew on the way. When Rachael shared the news with her teacher from the previous year, the teacher asked in surprise;

"What? Already?"

To which an excited Rachael replied;

"Well it's already been nearly three months since the wedding!"

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A good idea at the time....

Most nights before I go to sleep, I set an alarm on my phone. I set it knowing it probably won't even be necessary as I have a seperate alarm clock named Carter. He is a very effective alarm, although he always wakes me before I actually need to be woken, sometimes several hours before I need to be worken.

But on those mornings when it's my alarm that rouses me from my sleep, I switch off the alarm and roll over for an extra few minutes.

Now I am not new to the alarm system, I know how it all works. You set the alarm at the time you actully need to get up, or if you are prone to wanting to have an extra snooze, set it a little earlier. I choose to set it when I actually need to get up as I don't want to be woken any earlier than necessary. When morning rolls around however, I always want the extra few minutes as well.

These few extra minutes almost always result in a mad rush to shove breakfast down the kids throats, pack lunches, dress the boys, throw a hoodie on over my pyjamas and run out the door...LATE.

I am a bit of a stickler for punctuality and I hate being late. So, I wonder, why is it that I knowingly set my alarm at a time when I know that unless my feet hit the floor ten seconds after it goes off, we will be rushing around like chickens with our heads chopped off? Why do I always seem to be leaving the pile of washing til it gets huge and I have a mountain of laundry when I had so many opportunities to fold the smaller piles of clothes when they were first dried? Why do I put off small jobs that need doing til they get worse and I have no choice but to tackle the job that has now tripled in size. Why do I stay up late when I know I will regret it the next morning? Or eat a second serving of dinner AND dessert even though I hate feeling sick?

Why do I make decisions that I know will make things more difficult for myself?

I know I am not alone in this, I'm pretty sure it's a comman trait many of us share as human beings. We make choices, even small trivial choices, that will have a bad outcome even though we know better.

I don't think it's necessarily a matter of not learning a lesson, because I completely understand that if you don't like the result, you need to change something, and more often than not I know EXACTLY what needs to be changed.

As a student, I consistantly procrastinated beginning assignments til the night before they were due. I was told regularly that one day it will backfire on me and I will learn my lesson. Well, one day it did backfire on me. I had problems with my computer and on the morning of the due date, I woke to find my assignment was gone! I had to try and remember the whole assignment and replicate it as best I could and had a horrific dash to uni drop it in.

Come the next assignment, did I ensure it was completed with plenty of time to spare? NOPE! I was up all the night before trying to start and finish it all in a few hours.

So why do we do it to ourselves? It's not knowledge or logic we are lacking. It is more a case of placing what we want now as a higher priority. A few minutes extra sleep is ranked higher in importance than being on time in that moment.

When you make a bad decision even though you know the outcome will be undesirable, it's not knowledge that is lacking. It's wisdom.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ever After....Happily or Not!!

I heard someone complaining on the radio about the recent breakdown of their marriage. They were clearly upset and expressed their devestation that their union was already coming to an end when they thought they would be "married forever".
A listener called up and with obvious annoyance in their tone said;

"How can people be so naive to think they will stay together forever and live happily ever after? Life isn't a fairytale!!"

This struck a bit of a nerve with me. I found myself thinking;

"What's wrong with thinking we can be together forever? What's so silly for seeing the fairytale as achievable?"

Now before you want to either smack me over the head, or vomit all over me, hear me out. I am far from a marriage expert, but I have been married long enough that, technically, the 'honeymoon phase' is long past. Perhaps the nerves and butterflies are gone, but the curling up on the couch together and handholding has not - now we just have two little men holding our other hands too.

Life is tough and far from perfect. If we are completely honest, life hardly ever goes to plan. But fairytales are full of heartache, disappointment, and pain. There are always villains ruining the perfect plans. But despite all this, there is still a happily ever after.

May I distinguish that it says 'happily ever after', not 'perfectly ever after'.

That happily ever after doesn't mean there wasn't times when the prince came home to a tired, cranky wife and a house that looked like it
had been hit by a tornado. It doesn't mean that Cinderella didn't slam a few doors or give her Prince Charming the silent treatment now and
again. Or that Belle and her Beast didn't need some serious couples counselling. It doesn't mean Snow White didn't get sick of cleaning up
after her Prince as well as seven other men, as well as the fact she would have DEFINITELY lost the toilet seat battle before it even began.

I have my Prince and I have my fairytale. Like the best stories, mine has obstacles, but that's what makes the story interesting isn't it? If everything was perfect for Cinderella from the get-go, wouldn't she have just been like the horrible step-sisters? It's the difficulties she endured that made her who she was. The fairytales we know only tell a small part of the 'happily ever after', but what we don't hear is probably just like real life, both the bitter and sweet life has to offer. The great days....and the not so great.

Somedays we kiss frogs and they turn into princes. Other days we are just kissing frogs. It's the combination that makes our story worth telling.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

All You Can Drink

Last week I was tucking my son Tony into bed when he asked for a drink. Knowing he had recently had a big drink and not wanting to chance waking up to a wet bed, I told him it wasn't such a good idea. Realising he was suddenly DYING of thirst, Tony flopped onto his bed and said;

"But I NEED one Mum! I am fifty-seven thousand thirsty!"

I don't know what the thirsty scale goes up to, but I assume this ranked pretty high, so I caved and said he could have a sip from my water bottle.

Upon returning to his bed, Tony told me;

"Mum, I can't wait til I'm all grown up and can eat what I like, buy anything I want, and can have as many drinks as I want after dinner."

I didn't have the heart to tell him that if you eat whatever you like you are going to be in for a whole host of problems, that if he looked hard enough he would see that even though his parents are grown up, we can buy very little of what we want, and that if you drink too much after dinner you are going to be up and down to the toilet all night!

Looking back to my childhood, I too looked forward to the days when I was old enough to "do whatever I wanted". The thing is you have more freedom in HOW you go about getting things done, but you are bound tighter in the demands that are placed upon you. There are errands that need running, meals that need making, appointments that need attending, bills that need paying, children that need entertaining (and cleaning, and teaching, and get the message), spouses that need nagging, clothes and dishes that need washing, bathrooms that need scrubbing, and the list goes on and on.

I get to decide exactly when I wash the dishes, but it doesn't take away from the fact that they need washing and if I take too long, we run out of dishes. I choose when I leave to take Tony to school, but my decision only changes whether or not he is there on time or late. Adulthood has greater freedom, but greater consequences.

Sure it's great being an adult, but I don't think it's worth swapping all the resonsibilties for a glass of water before bedtime.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hearing Voices

In 2009 I had my second spinal surgery. It was twelve hours long, very complicated, and absolutely excruciating. I was in a great deal of pain prior to the surgery and heavily reliant upon strong pain killers to manage everyday life. But this was nothing in comparison to the post-op pain.

I don't remember this myself, but the first words I said whilst still sedated were;

" I want to die."

I was given a cocktail of medications, but the one that I am most thankful for is the high dose of Fentanyl I had hooked up to an electric pump. Every five minutes I would get a dose until I was alert enough to manage my own control button. The dose I was given was eighty times stronger than morphine and induces a form of amnesia.

I don't remember much at all of the first week after my surgery. I think that's for the best. I do remember feeling as though I was at the bottom of a deep swimming pool and even though in the distance I could hear muffled sound and voices, they felt so far away and I couldn't make out anything they were saying.

There was one voice I could pick out though. It managed to pierce it's way through the haze of pain and drugs. It was my Anthony.

Months down the track, I had an appointment with my surgeon. Whilst waiting to see him, a nurse who looked after me regularly told me they would ask me to squeeze their hand or wiggle my toes but I was unresponsive. They found that by asking Anthony to speak to me, I would respond. She said he would lean close to me and whisper into my ear what they needed me to do and after a short delay, my toes would wiggle slightly.

Sometimes we grate against each other. Sometimes we even butt heads. But no matter what, his is the voice I cling to. The opinion that matters most to me. The smile I look forward to after a day apart.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Whole Truth and Nothing But

My husband Anthony loves rugby, specifically the All Blacks. If you didn't know this, you either don't know us or you have been living under a rock.

Before a big game, he paces around the room boxing invisible opponents. When he watches the All Blacks, he stands up and yells instructions to his team. I'm sure they have won many a game by listening to his expertise. He leans forward and claps his hands ridiculously fast, these short little claps. When they are doing well, he yells out;


Whey they are losing, he yells at them, telling them the right way to do it. I really wonder how after all his years of expertise coaching from the couch, why don't they listen to his suggestions?

Every four years, an event rolls around that overshadows everything else in the Bush household: The Rugby World Cup.

Anthony eats, drinks, and sleeps rugby at this time. Often he will come up to me with exciting rugby information and I feel my eyes glazing over. This may make me sound like a 'bad wife' but you would too if you heard about it every 3-5 minutes of the day for about 8 weeks.

Back in 2003, Anthony was serving his mission for our church. He was one of those Mormon Missionaries in the white shirts and black badges. He served in Brisbane and The Rugby World Cup happened to take place during one of his two years out serving.

Being a missionary means giving up music, television, money, and a lot of other material things so these boys can truly focus on what they chose to do- serve and teach others about Christ.

For Anthony though, the sacrifice was great as it meant NO WORLD CUP! He would miss his beloved All Blacks fighting for the title of World Cup Champions. He would ask for updates along the way from people he interacted with, but that was about the extent of it.

The semi-finals rolled around and of course the All Blacks made it to this point in the competition. They were playing Australia so Anthony knew it was going to be a tough game from the start. At this point in his mission, he and his current companion were sharing a flat with two other companionships, so there were six of them living together in a flat in Brisbane. One of these other missionaries was from New Zealand also, so he too had a vested interest in this match.

After a long day out, Anthony and his companion arrived home, where he called up a friend who lived in the area in which he was serving. Knowing his friend would be watching the game, he asked where the scores were at with ten minutes remaining in the game.

The news was bleak. It was all over. Australia was clearly going to win, therefore knocking the All Blacks out of the competition.

Anthony and his fellow Kiwi missionary took the news hard. When an All Black fan finds out his team has lost, it isn't just anger or disappointment, it's devastation - trust me, I have seen it first hand. They pass through the stages of grief.

Stage One: Shock and Denial - Silence followed by "What! I can't believe it's happened again!"

Stage Two: Pain and Guilt - "Man, I feel physically sick to my stomach. My chest hurts".

Stage Three: Anger and Bargaining - "That flippin ref sucked! If it wasn't for those rubbish calls we would have made it!"

Stage Four: Depression - "Well, that's another one down the tube. What a waste of four years".

Stage Five: Acceptance - "It's over. It's really over. It's like someone has died. Seriously, like someone has actually died. I can't go to work tomorrow. Where's that ice-cream?"

For Anthony and his fellow Kiwi missionary, the news resulted in them BOTH getting into the shower TOGETHER whilst FULLY CLOTHED and whilst HUGGING, they sung away their sorrows to Dave Dobbyn's "Loyal".

Part of me wishes I had been there to witness this. The other part of me is glad it wasn't, as the idea of a future wedding would have probably been scrapped in that moment.

Years down the track, that die-hard All Black fan still exists in Anthony. He is still yelling at the players when they fumble the ball, still fast-clapping with excitement, and still giving advice to deaf ears, but amidst it all – I stand back and smile.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

We are sowing...ever sowing...

We have a three year old. He is rather......busy. Sitting still is NOT one of his strong suits. We are currently, like many parents, trying to teach him to sit quietly in church. I say ' trying' because we arn't having a whole lot of success!
Yes, there have been improvements, but overall we still have a long way to go. Tony seemed to manage this much better.

Last week, however, we had a doozy!

We were sitting in church and Carter was wriggling and trying to crawl under the seats to make a getaway. We tried books, colouring in, and even food. A sandwich gave us about 2 minutes and one of the books landed in the lap of the man behind us.

In desperation we did something we NEVER do-we gave him the iPhone. It was switched on silent and he loves to play Angry Birds so we figured this would buy us some time. did - until suddenly there was JayZ blasting from the phone! I'm not good under pressure and this time was no exception. I grabbed for the phone to turn the music off but he had locked it. I was fumbling trying to type in the code but couldn't seem to get it right. In my fluster, I thought to try and cover the speakers at the bottom of the phone and was stifling the volume whilst trying to get the phone unlocked. After what felt like an eternity, I got it!

My cheeks were burning and my heart was pou
nding and I couldn't make eye contact with anyone. After giving Carter a "that's the final straw" look-I settled back down.

Carter wasn't finished yet though. He wanted to get out and decided that purposely playing up would get him out. We, on the other hand,
want him to get used to sitting quietly and know that his poor behavior won't be rewarded by him getting his way so we try and keep him in
and keep him occupied. Nothing was of interest to him though and after spitting at Anthony, enough was enough so Anthony took him out.
As he walked out the doorway, Carter threw up his arms and exclaimed;

"I did it!"

He was right. He had got what he was after; he got out.
I know this is just the beginning of many battles with Carter-but if they all make me laugh like this one....well, they are almost worth it. ALMOST!