As the clock ticks over into 2021 I sit and ponder what we have achieved and what has challenged us. I try to do this every years' end and this time it blows my mind just how long my list is!
Our Personal Losses & Personal Gains...
Both of my daughters have had huge losses at the very beginning of this year. One professionally and one personally but at the end of the day it is all personal isn't it? They have both dealt with these losses in their own way and it hasn't been an easy ride for any of us, as we are a close family, and those losses had a huge impact on all of us.
As their mum I had to step back and just let them "feel" what they had to feel because I could not protect them from the hurt that comes from such losses. And, really that is what we do as mum's isn't it? It's our natural instinct to step up to the plate and to 'fix' it. Fix them. Fix everything. Well, I couldn't, I just had to hope that us being there was going to be enough.
Now that we are closing in on the end of the year and its coming up to nearly 12 months later, I think even though it may still hurt like a bitch, their whole lives have "changed" direction. I can say with 100% certainty that now when they look at what was going to be they can see that life had different plans for them and they aren't all that bad.
At the time we whisper those tried and true things that we hope are making our loved ones feel better. It reminds me of Garth Brooks song "unanswered prayers".
Sometimes I thank God
For unanswered prayers
Remember when you're talkin'
To the man upstairs
That just because he doesn't answer doesn't mean he don't care
'Cause some of God's greatest gifts
Are unanswered prayers
I think the loss of my dad was gut wrenching and I really wasn't prepared for how it would make me feel. In truth, dad was a little high maintenance (insert eye roll here) 😂 😂.
He loved a drink my dad and still snuck some away even in the Nursing Home... 🤪 🤔 My husband and I lived in the same town as him for the last 12 years so tag, we were it. So, if I were honest I would say he did keep us on our toes but would I have had it any other way? Absolutely not. He was my dad and I loved him and I wanted only the best for him even when he wasn't interested in that for himself.
For the last year or so I hadn't been speaking to my sister due to family politics. All dad wanted was for us girls to reunite and be a part of each others lives again 👯♀️ It was something that he spoke about every single visit.
This became a possibility in the last few weeks of dads life and I am forever grateful that we took that chance with each others trust and I promised dad I would never throw away that connection again. If you have a sister you will know what I mean.
Nothing compares on this planet to someone you have a shared history with and someone who knows you better than sometimes you know yourself. So in February, I lost my dad but I got my sister back... unanswered prayers.
So that was January/February and then we hit March... which was at least 200 days long!! 🤔 😳. ...
As March unfolded it was feeling a little rocky and my home and personal life were unlike anything we had ever experienced. We were in unchartered waters and no-one knew what was happening.
We were trying to adjust to a major loss in our life, a hectic time for my husbands work with major overload and staffing issues which just increased our stress levels beyond anything I have ever experienced. I had change of season stock arriving and it was ordering time for us who buy indented stock. The road was rocky, the wheels were falling off and I was hanging on for dear life! 😂 😂.
In our personal life we were supposed to have been going overseas for our 25th wedding anniversary present to each other (which was last year but we couldn't go because we had lost my beautiful mother in law Rosie).
So as the date loomed closer to depart it was obvious that we would have to make the call! Then bam! A Global Pandemic was announced and we could not travel even if we wanted to. So another year goes by and we didn't make it overseas, I am doubtful at this point that I will ever get my husband on a plane to go OS again. 🤔 😳 😏
Straight away, I got on and booked us a two week vacation at the Sunny Coast for New Years as I felt that at least that would be achievable... surely. *We are on that little holiday now and I am really grateful now that everything happened as it did because I would have been like so many other people not being able to find accommodation beachside. See? Unanswered prayers xox
Then the dreaded Covid-19 reality began to really set in and we started to feel it even here in sleepy old Rockhampton. By the end of March -
"Shutdown of non-essential services, including pubs, clubs and restaurants, begins at midday with many people finding themselves out of work. The Premier confirms Queensland council elections will go ahead and state borders will be closed from midnight Wednesday." Excerpt from : https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-28/coronavirus-timeline-queensland-tracking-spread/12077602?nw=0
We had updates coming through on our phones and we were all glued to every available device and tv that we had access to. We weren't game to do anything or plan anything because it was "unprecedented". 😂 😂
And how many times did we hear that word? Can you remember? OMG!! Quickly let's play a game.
2 words that come to mind when you think of 2020....... COVID-19 & UNPRECEDENTED -put your hands up if you agree! 😂 😂
Rockhampton had a large hail storm event in April and we were frantically busy with my husband being a builder and that is what we predominantly do - insurance works. So on one hand we were trying to get our head around the "make safes" and roof reports that needed to be done up front and also try to adjust to life as we had become to know it with 'social distancing' and hygiene practices that were put into place immediately according to Covid-19 safe protocol.
Whilst we sat, each and every night listening to who should close their doors in the interest of public safety we would hope and pray it wasn't going to be us. As builders we were deemed Essential Services (we had paperwork to prove this 🤪🤔) . Now, each and every night I would sit and listen to ScoMo tell us who should close and who should stay open. It became apparent that Retail workers are the least important in the great big scheme of things 🤔 as we were never relegated to the lofty heights of Essential Services and yet were never instructed to close.
Each day we would go to work through the empty streets and open as per usual. We would sit there and listen to the updates and look at each other wondering what on earth we should do. We would panic at the thought of not getting any customers that day and then when someone would pull up we would be like
"omg what are they doing? are they coming in here? why??????!!!!!!!! don't they know there is a pandemic on? I wonder where they have come from. I wonder if they have travelled recently..... blah blah blah......
Then our litany began of "Good morning! How are you? Can I please ask you to just use the sanitiser provided just by the door and also we are practicing social distancing in the store but I would love to help you with anything if you need assistance. 😊😊).
On and on it went until, I realised that we had been left out in the proverbial cold so to speak and that retailers are really not that important. Close. Don't close. It mattered not to them. So, of course like everyone else we closed because it simply became obvious that we were just sitting there looking at each other. We might as well do that at home. So we had a lovely couple of weeks at home. I stocked us up on food and boardgames and we travelled back in time and became what families used to look like..... you know before we became caught up in the modern world with all of our time saving devices and found ourselves with little to no time to spend "in the moment". So, in short that is what we did. We were in the moment . We spent quality time together, I cooked for my family and we were blessed to have all 5 of our children at home due to work commitments bringing our eldest back to the area as well. I secretly loved it and I may or may not have cried when it was time to go back to work. 😏.
During all of this we had to stay connected with our tribe and yet we had to make sure we stepped up and reached out to our customers to stay "connected" and to showcase our gorgeous new stock that would otherwise have sat there for the whole 6 weeks of closure. We were incredibly lucky to have already had a great website and fantastic followers so that we were able to reach out during that time. Although we found it extremely hard to step outside our comfort zone by putting more of ourselves out there and offering a side of ourselves that previously we have never had to do. I felt it was incredibly challenging and in truth I have probably never worked harder in my life.
Those of you that follow our social media pages will know a little bit about our boys. Our youngest child is one of the 2020 Year 12's, and well wasn't that a roller coaster ride for them and for us "the parentals"? OMG!! Those poor kids have been the most challenged all the way through their schooling life. They have certainly learnt the life values of Persistance & Resilience. Old Percy Persistence has been a key factor in my household this year and I am so very proud of our Harry for getting through the year as he really was challenged in so many ways. I was challenged in so many ways LOL. We now have to parent our 18 year olds and deal with all the new pressures that goes with being "legal" and in highschool. I am not sure how that will go being in a "normal" year but for us it was really interesting having to juggle that and the Covid-19 restrictions.
He is not keen on school at the best of times but to have to apply himself to his studies "virtually" was a whole new ask for him. He was also doing his Electrical Apprenticeship school based for two days each week and therefore missing too much school so it was a balancing act which had to be sorted out. I am not sure how this panned out school wise as I am really too scared to look at his results (don't judge me LOL.... I don't care if you do😂😂😂🤪)...... The truth is this..... he is now a full time Electrical Apprentice and he is loving every minute of it. He also has a registered business that is a Lawn Mowing Service and he does that on a Saturday. He is busy and gainfully employed but all that aside I am proud of the way he has conducted himself this year. He was a House Captain and I think he showed great leadership skills by being a good example to his peers and younger levels. To be 18 and in your last year of schooling and adhering to the restrictions of Covid-19, that is something that we see grown adults not doing! I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the graduating class of 2020 and to send out Love & Respect to all of you and wish you nothing but the Best that life can offer you. xoxo
I was booked in March to have my weight loss surgery ( read prior blogs that go into this a little more than we will here) and it was cancelled due to Covid. I obviously eventually had it after a few false starts. My pre-op diet went on longer than I liked! 🤔🤔 However, it was a good thing as I had no problems in that area. You are supposed to pre-op diet to not lose weight but to reduce the fat around the liver. 2020 has been the year that I tackled and won a huge problem that has been "weighing" me down for a few years. I have lost 40 kgs this year and it has been a hard journey but I am forever grateful to be lucky enough to have been given the chance to undergo the surgery and to have the support of my family and friends.
Our town has certainly seen the closing of a lot of really wonderful businesses due to Covid-19. One of those that most of us know and truly loved was Coopers. It has been an iconic local business in Rockhampton for the last 60 years and we all have stories about shopping there. Everyone I know has shopped there and we will all surely miss their wonderful service and the amazing fashions that were made available to all of us Central Queensland girls of all ages. A heartfelt goodbye and good luck to you all, we will miss you.
In August / September Peter and I purchased a Caravan. This deserves a blog entry on its own I feel. It is the most singularly selfish thing we have done in our married life. We absolutely love it and its all part of our plan to achieve a better Work/Life Balance. If we only get away for short spurts like two or three nights then that is something better than nothing. So far, we have been away twice and we have loved it. For two people who are usually busy 7 days a week, we have taken to it like ducks to water! I will be sure to add more detail in a future blog as I am determined to convince the world that being a "Vanner" is one of the best life experiences you can do. Especially now, when overseas travel is not likely for a while. Gone are the days that you would only see Grey Nomads on the road. We are now seeing a younger generation take to the roads with their vans and its great to see. We love it and highly recommend it.
As I previously mentioned this year has been a year of major changes and it has made me grow in ways that I thought I wouldn't or didn't have to anymore. I am 50 and yet I am learning new things all the time. I am being pushed, shoved and dragged into a world of constant learning and redeveloping. It is no longer a world where we go to work, open our doors and wait for customers and show them good value and good service. We can not get away with doing just that anymore..... It requires more of us and it does take its toll. I will admit that there have been a few times that I have cried out of sheer frustration because there are so many new things I have had to learn this year ..... computer wise. Thank you to all those who helped me through those hardships which of course came from not being confident in my own ability. I am really grateful for the hand holding and the pep talks. 😘😘 I am a woman who is happiest at home but I do love owning my own business. I feel a sense of fulfilment and achievement when I open my doors each day and I pray that we can keep them open. I pray that we are offering something that people want and need. I don't know how long this will last but I do know that everyday in every way we are trying our best to offer you, our valued clients the best of the best.
So, as the sun goes down on 2020 and we sit at the Sunny Coast ... with no fire works and no crowd gathering.....but still we have friends and family which we are so very lucky to have, considering other states and countries do not even have the privillege of this..... I bid farewell to 2020 and I look forward to what 2021 will bring because whatever happens, I know we will meet the challenges head on and embrace life in all its messy glory. 🤍🌻🤍
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