This year, 2022:
- After some beautiful weather in early January, it started raining. It rained so much that sewage and dirt ran off into the sea spreading brown patches of pollution along the shore. It was too dangerous to swim in the ocean or in the rock pool for months – and then the winter came. It rained so much that cars were trapped in flood water on major roads. It rained so much that Riley’s school was closed and we were asked to pick our kids up as soon as possible and as I was driving back in the rain the tires were sliding on the wet road, the car beeping in alarm. It rained so much that one day it took James two hours to get the twins home from daycare (as opposed to usual 20 minutes) because so many roads were closed due to flooding. We were lucky – we live on a hill so our place didn’t flood apart from a small leak from the roof on the day it was raining particularly hard. It’s impressive, considering there are little trees growing out of our gutters (we have been waiting for several months now for the real estate to organise them to be cleaned).
- Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 and I lived in a state of disbelief, anger and sorrow for months. The war in Ukraine is the main reason I haven’t been updating my blog(s) this year as nothing felt good enough. The general horror about this war was interspersed with personal worries: would I ever see my parents again (after two years of COVID when they couldn’t visit)? What do I say to my Ukrainian friends here in Sydney (one of which brought comforting homemade food to me when I was struggling with tiny twins)? What do I say to my friends in Russia? The anti-Russian sentiment online was overwhelming and I struggled to deal with it, too. This year made me feel more Russian that I have felt my entire life as I grieved for all the good things about the country, my childhood, my friends and relatives. It’s been immense relief that my parents got a visa and are coming for a visit just before Christmas (in two days!).
- Our family had a new virus seemingly every other week. We all had gastro (it’s real fun with 3 kids) and numerous unidentified viruses where kids (and James) vomited occasionally and had awfully upset stomachs. James ended up in emergency with dehydration once because he couldn’t hold any water. Willow spent a week in hospital again, this time not with pneumonia but with RSV. James was looking after her during the night in the hospital and I wrangled the other two kids, getting them to sleep then making sure that Riley goes to school before handing Ivy off to James and spending the day with Willow. Later in the year one of my teeth got infected under the crown and I had the worst toothache of my life. It eventually got extracted and local anaesthesia didn’t quite work so for the first time ever I had to run to GP in tears begging for strong painkillers. James was out of town at the time so after getting the painkillers, still uncontrollably crying at the pharmacy, I had to rearrange my face and go pick up Riley from her after school care. We also got COVID-19 for the first time, and I copped it the worst in our family even though it was fairly mild. We treated the entire family for nits – twice – and I am not keen to repeat that particular experience although at least we got rid of them. On the plus side, after much anxiety I got started on a tooth implant and had a consultation with a much better eye specialist than the one I saw previously. The eye doctor said I probably wouldn’t go blind in one eye, after all, and my future surgery might have much better recovery than previously expected.
- We bit the bullet and bought an investment property in Brisbane, a house much better than the one we are renting in Sydney. The interest rates immediately went up, property prices in theory went down but in reality there are now fewer houses for sale and fewer again for rent. We dream of owning a house and never having to rent again, not dealing with landlords and owners who can kick you out at any point but that dream won’t come true for at least a few more years while we have two kids in daycare.
- I changed jobs twice this year and each decision had merit at the time even though in hindsight I might have done some things differently. I learned a lot and not just in tech. By the end of the year I started feeling so burned out I promised myself I wouldn’t change jobs again for at least a couple of years.
- Riley started and finished kindy this year, her first year in “big school” with its own challenges. By the end of the year she started doing some team work with other girls but I was still unable to urge her to say “Hello” to the lovely lollipop lady. At times I felt like tracking sports uniform / library books / news day / reading folder days was a full-time job in itself, plus drop offs, pick ups, lunches and fruito-vego boxes, birthdays and trying not to feel like a total weirdo while talking to other parents. James and I were both too exhausted this year to organise a birthday party with friends for her this year and she didn’t seem to care much so instead we went to her grandparents’ house with its pool and the jumping castle hired by her Nana. She can read now but doesn’t particularly like it. We also established that while she’s physically active she hates organised sports so we gave up on nippers and she started swimming lessons again.
- The twins turned two and Ivy is speaking in sentences. Willow talks quite a bit too but she’s generally quieter (although she tends to complain more). All our kids are quite strong willed in their own ways but the twins are somewhat less intense than Riley used to be at that age as in they still destroy the house very quickly but are not as prone to extended meltdowns. Sometimes all three children even cuddle and comfort each other instead of fighting. All three probably use screens too much but we are still in survival mode and I am slowly trying to guide them towards books instead.
- I started drawing on my iPad and privately writing for myself a little, tried a dancing app and routinely dedicate time to walking in the wetlands nearby as much as I can. I managed to catch up with a friend for dinner for the first time since Riley was born. We also travelled to a wedding in New Zealand leaving kids at the grandparents for 3 days, something we had never done before. It was glorious. James managed to get one twilight sail in (I do still miss sailing…).
It’s been a difficult year with a lot of changes and challenges and I don’t expect 2023 to be much easier although I am hoping for less sickness next year and no more job changes. More laughter, more creativity, more time with the family and friends, less weather surprises and dare I dream of no more wars?..