A bit about this blog

Over 4 years ago my family and I left the sleepy apple isle to live in the big smoke of Melbourne This blog is my take on our continuing attempt to Love with His great love those who we come into contact with on a daily basis, especially those who are less fortunate than ourselves. It is also about my struggle with mental illness and how I am trying to live in recovery

Monday, June 21, 2010

Alone and without an advocate

I arrived home from work yesterday to find Tilly's first school report waiting for me. I have been dreading this moment.
Those that know Tilly know that she is a bright flamboyant child who has a mind of her own.
The thing is she is struggling at school, struggling with being a round peg shoved in a square hole and the report shows it.

In teacher speak each person who sees her talked of Tilly needing assistance to learn and concentrate and become a functioning member of the class. Nicely for sure never using the words naughty or having lack of concentration but there it was for all to see.
She already has a reputation as being the "naughty child" from teachers and kids alike.

The only person who advocates and believes in her at school is her teacher who despite knowing Tilly last year chose to have her in her class.
Now that teacher is leaving for very personal family reasons and although I completely understand I am freaking out. Why? Because it means my little girl will be alone and without anyone who will advocate for her.
I am frightened she will be labelled and that is it for the rest of her school life. Thing is I know that underneath is a clever little girl, I just dont know how to help her show it.

Being a mother is the most difficult thing I have ever had to do because there is no control and no rules and everyone has an opinion of what is the right thing to do. Today I just feel over whelmed by it all. By the mountains of washing that never get put away, by the house that never stays tidy for more than 2 mins no matter how hard I try, but most of all by the deep aching desire for my kids to win at life and not being able to do a darn thing about it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"Ogres are like onions...... they have layers"

I need to qualify the title of this post, I am not implying that the woman I work with are Ogres. It is, for those lucky people that don't have to sit through animated features, a quote from Shrek where Shrek tries to explain to Donkey that he , being an ogre, is not a simple creature but complex and like an onion has layers.

So to are the woman I work with, complex I mean. Years of marginalization and chaotic lifestyle has lead to layers upon layers of issues that need to be dealt with if they are to move forward and reintegrate into society. Each and every time I think I have helped to better someones life there it is another layer as big and as complex as the last waiting there. The task is enormous and will take years if it can ever happen at all. And I am looking from the outside- what must it feel like to be them? No wonder some choose to give up, remain where they are.

There are days where I feel overwhelmed, feel useless and wonder what the hell I am doing. Last week I had one of those nights where thoughts of "my girls" as I have started to see them kept me up. I felt grief for the woman who lost her fight for her children and was told not to cry by the judge who was taking them away, joy for the couple who's son was being returned but fear that they might slip backwards and loose everything, angst about the need to protect the innocent whilst supporting a womans right to be given an opportunity to get it right this time,the list goes on.....onions

We, and I include myself in this, want a quick fix, a magic wand to wave, a band aid. Through money at it and it will be ok type of thing.

The truth is that that is not the way through. These woman and 1000's like them need people who are willing to walk life with them; To love them, when they cant love themselves, to put up with their anger and hate which will often be metered out to you simply because you are there, to hold up there arms in battle as they try and fight through. They need a community.

This is not up to a government agency or support service it is up to each one of us as human beings. It is up to each and everyone of us whether we work for a not for profit or are the CEO of a bank.

It is the essence of Small things with Great love- I cannot feed all the homeless in Victoria but I can feed and build relationship with the one who lives just down the road; I can not bring home every person who needs a home, but I can write letters to our PM so the homeless have a voice; I can talk to the mother in the playground who non of the other mothers will talk to because she is a single mum who is obviously poor; I can have a cup of tea with the lonely old lady down the road............

Not world changing stuff? No, but if we all did it I wonder how different it would be? If we each helped deal with 1 layer could we together change lives? Hmm I wonder