Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Big Forty-Five

Did you know forty five is a significant birthday?   Me neither. Twenty five was random and my focus was on my baby who would arrive 6 months later.  Thirty five was nothing at all too busy with a 1 year old, 3 year old and hyper 9 year old.  April 9th and a decade later this birthday I celebrate soon soon seems to really count.  I am floating in that pondering reflective stock take vibe.

Maybe its because shortly after my 40th birthday life kicked me in the face pretty hard and as I got up to defend myself it punched me a couple more times too.  So what do we do when life picks a fight with us, we go into fight or flight mode.  I went into fight mode and with every jab I fought back. Five years later and I want out the ring.  I want some light time, some kind time.  I want age 45 to 50 to be a little gentle.  I want life to offer me her hand and pull me up and say its ok, you have learned some lessons and all the shit you thought you knew you now realize you do not.  I want soft people in my life, those who appreciate me and themselves.  Those with humility and gratitude who share in the bruises and the wisdom that only comes when life spits us out the  other side.  I want honest and fair and tolerant and balanced.

Long ago I was extreme in many of my views.  I knew everything.  I confused my unbalanced single perspective with conviction and passion.  I did not know I was an arsehole who thought they knew stuff.  

So what have I done in the past five years?   My midlife if I am fortunate enough to grow old.  I have started studying this degree which has been so all consuming.  Had I known it would take me 6 years I would never have started.  I would have done short courses but I have learned so much and gained a totally different perspective.  I have days when I want to quit.  While everyone else seems to be taking it easy and going on holiday with their family, I am working on assignments or reports whenever I can grab the chance.   My honors will take me 2 years.  I will only graduate at the end of next year.  But...when I go to work and I see the boys there I come alive into the best version of myself that exists.  Their case files are full of the worst stories and its insanely unfair but somehow I can put that aside when I am with them and love them.  It has not even been 2 months and already 4 have gone, 4 who I cared for.  Many more will come and many will go and the ones who turn 18 will need to leave but my heart will cope with that when it needs to.

Triathlete.  Me?  Seriously?  How the fork did that happen?   One seemingly random New Years Eve resolution after my brain op.  I needed a biggie to thank life for renewing my time down here after my brain op.  The goal was one.  And the timeline was before I hit 45.   So instead of one I did 15 triathlons, a few half marathons, a few open water swims and now the 109km CTCT cycle.  Its just weird being so non sporty to becoming an athlete.  A total reinvention of myself into athlete and student after 40.  The classic stereotype I guess.  After my race in June I will do new things.  I do not like being this thin, it makes me look old.

And my critters?   My boy who turns 20 this year and lives in his own place.  I miss him but I know he is living his life figuring it all out knowing everything and nothing at the same time.  His youth is so beautiful yet it will only be seen when it is no longer there.  My Rebeka in her 1st year of high school full of painful teenage angst working out who she is.  I wish she could see herself through my eyes, I wish I could smooth out her path for her.  My Sofielicious turning 12 this year full of her spunk and individuality.  A brave individual who feels no need to conform or follow rules that make no sense.  The next 5 years is the last I have with Rebeka before she too moves out.  What an awesome journey ahead with my 2 girls as I try and help them through the crazy teen time.

Dystonia.  It's why I swear so much now.  I never used to but I have this anger I don't know what to do with, a little bitterness so I swear and it helps. It's pretty awful lately which I think is because of too much stress and fatigue.   Sometimes it makes me want to die.  I know that sounds dramatic but want to die as in I don't know if I can handle the pain forever because that is a crazy long time and if I die then I won't be in pain anymore.  Make sense?  Don't worry though, I won't.  In the early days some of the other meds they gave me made me super suicidal but now I know I just can't take any meds.  It will be 4 years this August.  Why I count who knows but I think it is because it means I do cope, I have coped and I will continue to cope.  I have to.  I love life, my friends and family and training and work.

And Jesus.  Still a big fan of the ultimate person who ever lived.  The essence of love and goodness and what I want to live out every day.  I am finally comfortable with the loss of my church although I will still go occasionally for my kids and to see my friends.  I know it is hard for some people to understand and for so many others, something they fully relate to in their own walk with God.  I would have liked a why from church.  A little acknowledgement of the fact I was there for over a decade and now I am gone and am I ok?  If I ran a church and people left I would not chase them to come back but I would want to know why and if they were ok and if I ever did anything to chase them away?  But its all good.  I am no longer sad about it because I am almost 45 and my desire for light means letting the heavy go.   I open my hands and I let all that I clutch that pulls me down fall away.  Past hurt, disappointment, betrayal, expectations.  It's a new time for me and although hope is the most terrifying emotion, I do feel a sense of hope even in the midst of being far too busy and struggling with my speech and jaw.

So happy birthday to darling me for next month.  Wishing myself much kindness and love and lightness and gentleness and grabbing the hand that is offered to me pulling me up and imparting some strength.    

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Psychologist fodder on mad maternal me

My sister told me I have transferred much of my mothering related issues onto my brood of puppies.  She might be a teeny bit right.  They are 5 weeks old today and it has been so intense and scary and exhausting and wonderful and messy and full of the biggest love imaginable.  If my boobs look bigger its because my chest cavity feels full of breathless love.  It is a physical feeling.

Speaking of boobs, when Ella was pregnant my boobs were full and sore.  My mom told me it was because of my dog but I said surely not.  On Friday the 11th I cleaned every draw in my kitchen and sorted out my tupperware.  She was only due on the Monday but she went into labour that night.  I was nesting.  I wrote how maternal I felt when they were 11 days old and I am now at the 40 poops a day ankle biting stage but somehow it is not enough for me to wish them gone.  It is so full on and I have very little freedom and flexibility so I should be over it by now but I am not.  I am so screwed.  So full of love for them.  I sit on the floor and clap my hands and 9 balls of black fur hurtle themselves towards me all wanting to be smooched and snuggled.  They are my little family and I am so happy with the owners we have so far.

I know part of the puppy care on steroids thing is in response to the nastiness I had encountered by crazy bully dog lady.  I thought F*ck you, I will be the best damn carer of puppies you have ever seen and I will still donate to the welfare even though you alienate everyone and you lump responsible breeders with the stereo puppy farmer backyard breeder type.  The abuse one takes because of choosing to breed one's dog is crazy.  Animal activists need to recognize we are not the bad guys.  They need to start treating people with a little more compassion and respect.  Recognize we have the resources to help.  It is because of responsible breeders we have all the amazing different breeds with great temperaments.  People like myself want to produce excellent dogs and protect the integrity of the breed.  My vet bills must be close to R10 000 by now and I still need to the 6 week vacs and chipping.  Best food and best care and best pups.  So my dilemma...do I keep one?

I will tell you the reasons why NOT: I don't want 3 adult rotties.  I start work and studying from end of January and will be very busy.  I would love a break from puppy care. I am not sure I can handle a strong male dog.  Dogs are expensive.  My wise mother thinks I will regret it.  I am afraid she is right as she has known to be before.  Rationally these make sense.
And the reasons why:  I am way too in love with my lot.  To wake up one day and have them ALL gone is going to be very painful.   I only want Paulie so I have a specific bond with one pup.  Ella and Zara were bought without my permission and blessing.  I felt sabotaged.  Lucy was bought for my girls after my dear spouse told me: You can get any dog you want if we don't have another baby. (my sign that the adoption plan and alternate IVF plan was officially over.)   I just cannot imagine another family owning him and me not.  But I am too emotional.  Marina I need you!  (my fave psychologist)  

Please don't tell my girls I might keep Paulie.  They are obviously sad the pups are going.  Will I regret keeping him?  Will I regret selling him?   I still have some time to think.  I have asked advice on 2 of my rottie FB pages I belong to but they are all rottie crazy so say keep him.  What do you all think?  I am too emotionally invested to make any logical decision. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

47 random fun facts for my old fartbag sister turning 47

My sister has many talents and can help co-create human beings but she sucks at 3 things:  Cooking, gift purchasing and wrapping or any sentimental holiday related ritual, and remembering anything.  One of the best bits of having siblings is doing remember when.  Hey!  Remember that one time when we did X, Y, Z?  No.  How about A, B, C?? No. To make matters worse my husband shares this quality.
So Arsehole, in honour of your 47 years on this planet and the fact I am stuck in a room with 9 puppies with the shits, I will give you 47 fun, random, interesting and non interesting facts.
1. You are the very 1st person I remember and was the most important person in my life forever.
2. My 1st haircut was not a special moment at the hairdresser, it was you hacking off pieces of my hair with a sharp object.  (it was the seventies, sharp scissors and 2 year olds were not an issue)
3. When we rolled in that big barrel and it went over my finger causing me to lose a fingernail you tried to get me not to cry because you knew you would be in shit.
4. We used to sit in the big cardboard box Dad kept for us and eat dry jelly out the packet.
5. You peeled off the wallpaper on your side of the room at night.
6. You were only 5 when you saved my life by pulling me out the pool at a family braai.  My heart had already stopped beating which might be why I am a little special at times.
7. Only you were allowed to be really ugly to me, anyone else, not so much.  You even hit someone with a large garden spade on their back.  Fork!  You could have killed them!! 
8.  I was so jealous when you were in grade 1 and could read and I couldn't.  I used to beg you to read to me.
9.  You were never a girlie girl
10. When I was a little less than 2 and we stayed at Granny's house I climbed out the bath with my one leg spread over and you stuck your finger up my butt.  I screamed blue murder.
11.  You hated sleeping over and I loved it so Mom had to pretend you were not allowed to.
12.  When we had a big fight we were sent to our rooms.  We finger knitted a long rope and tied it to a cup to swing to the other one so we could write notes to each other about how much we hated the parents.  Our house was not that big so we could have probably just talked but it was more fun.
13. You never really cared what you wore so long as you were comfy. 
14. You had un-diagnosed ADHD.  You lost everything and Mom would go ape.
15.  This ADHD meant you were a nightmare at school.  Teachers cringed when they saw my Loebenberg name and asked me if I was your sister.
16.  You were always super bright and I had to work harder than you.  It sucked.
17.  We used to break into Auntie Ria's house and jump on their trampoline.  Afterwards we would squash berries into the cover.
18.  We always got caught because I sung like a canary and then we would get a hiding. (The nailpolish bust, Auntie Marilyn's pumpkins)
19.  We also used her phone to prank call everyone with the classic:  Is your refrigerator running...
20.  One Christmas I got a blue and yellow bike and you got a tent.  Dad pitched the tent in the lounge and it was so cool.
21. We stayed in the wendy house one night with the bunnies who chewed the electric cord.  When I touched it I got an electric shock.  I bet you wouldn't let me tell Mom.
22.  We used to wrap up dog poo and tell Beauty we had a gift for her and then give her the parcel.
23.  We left dog poo on peoples doorsteps and rang the doorbell and the ran like hell.
24.  We collected little snakes from the fields around our house and held them in our hands.
25.  When houses were built we would ignore all parental instruction and play in the big sand piles with the lime in that burned our legs.  We would also steal the brown window putty when they just put the windows in. 
26.  We teased Andrew Jansen so badly he punched his fist through the glass window in crazy frustration.
27.  You got to lick out the bowl 1st after Mom baked.  When it was my turn you grabbed it and rinsed it out in the sink.  And I still loved you?
28.  We were at the park once and someone had written FUCK on a tree and you told me what it meant.
29.  We used to skinny dip with Dad every night and he used to hope the pervy Afrikaans neighbors would see his butt.  
30.  Poor Dad was so young.  On his birthdays we would wait for him to come home and the shaggy rug on that ugly oval coffee table would be taken off and Mom would put bowls of smarties and chips out.
31.  The 1st boy you loved was Antonio de Brito
32.  You allowed me to stay at your ABBA dance party and we danced in the garage.  I was so careful not to do anything that would have me kicked out.
33. You told me I HAD to kiss a boy with tongue before I started high school.  I felt immense pressure and eventually kissed Cedric Bachelor at a barn dance after he had asked 3 girls who all said no.
34.  Mom made me wear your entire old school uniform when I started high school including your shoes??
35.  You used to steal tins of condensed milk out Mom's cupboard and call it Tertia's Speciality.  I was allowed a 10 second suck from the hole you made in it.
36.  You shaved your legs when you were in primary school but you were not allowed to.  You cut yourself like crazy and we had to go outside and bash your leg with a brick so Mom and Dad wouldn't know.  Seriously!
37. We teased both our siblings.  Nina had her wild hair so we told her elephants pooped in her hair.
38.  We told Paulie he was actually a girl and our sister and we called him Paula-Bernadette.  We even sprayed him with deo.
39.  One of us would hold him down and the other would fart on him.
40.  I felt so left out and jealous when you went to varsity.  I missed you so. You really were my best friend.
41.  Mom bought you those really naff clothes you probably never wore.
42.  When we went to double bill movies I had to sit on my own a few rows behind you while you smooched some chap.  You threatened to take my life if I told.
43. When you lived in your own place you changed from a messy pig to a total neat freak.
44.  The day you got your new car you were allowed to choose between the red Citi Golf or the Blue.  I was so jealous.
45.  When we had the big talk with Dad you would cry and I would look out the window stubborn as all hell.
46.  You never allowed me to hug you so I would make you sometimes.  Actually I think I might next time I see you so brace yourself.
47.  Mom eventuality threw out that red, blue and yellow floral skirt you always wore.  That and the Avis t-shirts.

I could add hundreds more.  Because you are practically a hundred a years old.   I love you and I always feel lucky because while all these people admire you and follow you, no one gets a list like this.  No one else was loved, protected, teased or tortured as I was.  Happy Birthday Arsehole x


Monday, November 23, 2015

The return of Maternal Mel

I have been maternal ever since I can remember.  My first doll I fell in love with lived on the shelf at the Hypermarket Store until she became mine.  Her beautiful crib lived in the local tuisbedryf (local home craft store) and Father Christmas bought it for my baby Marie.  Marie had other dollie siblings and they took up most of my bed with me squeezing my body at the end.  She was my fave though and my most beautiful baby.  My sister Tertia flung hers across the room in careless abandon.  She pulled my dolls hair and told me they were not real but I knew otherwise.  (Big sister torture!)

Fast forward to me being 24 and pregnant with Daniel.  Absolutely thrilled and all consumed by this miracle growing in my belly.  I was fanatical about being healthy and beyond excited.  The birth was awful and traumatic at a state hospital but my face had changed. I had experienced love in its purest form and I was forever altered.  I insisted on breastfeeding despite being a single young mom working night shifts and racing from town to Durbanville at 6:00am so I could feed my boy and relieve my knockers.  Why was I so very hard on myself who knows?  I probably still do it!

Then we have Rebeka 6 years later and once again I love my even bigger belly with my squirmy baby that kicks and pushes.  She emerges after a better birth weighing 4.2kg.  She is hard work, a cross baby.  I am once again drowning in breastmilk and hormones and permanent exhaustion.  I am 100% raw and vulnerable and I try and hide in my cocoon with my baby not wanting to hear anything that makes me sad.

2004 and my last baby is born.  Zack Gary turns out to be Sofia Josephine and it is love at 1st site.  I am smitten with this baby.  I hold her in my arms for the entire 1st year and only put her down to sleep alongside me or when I nurse her in the quiet of my bedroom hiding from my other 2 kids.

Later I try and convince Gary to adopt and we almost land up adopting but it doesn't happen.  We even consider IVF as reversing the vasectomy would have taken too long.  In that time I felt that familiar feeling of expecting a baby.  I feel soft and beautiful and feminine.  I know its a cliche but that is how I feel.  Special.  And then it doesn't happen and I try and squash all the longing and maternal hormones back into a box that feels too small for such a big feeling.  I am cross and bitter but like with everything else, time passes and I get over it.

And now...now these maternal feelings come rushing back only this time its my dog and memories from places far far away come flooding out.   Her labour was hectic.  Her 1st baby girl stillborn.  I called her Anna which makes no sense as that was the name of my daughter I never got to adopt.  The puppy was the largest of all and perfection.  I think of all the mothers I know who have stillbirths or lost infants shortly after birth.  Mothers from the hospital when I ran Bosom Buddies, my friend who lost Ethan, another who lost her daughter Sofia Grace, my own nephew who I never got to see.  I will this puppy to breath, I won't dare compare my feelings to anyone who has had a baby born sleeping but I can only imagine the disbelief at looking at the perfect child you cannot believe is not alive.  During the labour we land up losing 5 little puppies. One had died in utero and was very small.  I felt no sadness with him and did not name him.  The others, 2 girls and 2 boys.  Anna, Rosie, Ollie and Boris.  Gary took them to the vet to be cremated.  The labour was hectic, one little one was gagging and I placed my mouth over his and sucked out any fluid and rubbed his little body and prayed like crazy till that tongue turned a beautiful pink.  And since then I have been on this frantic quest to keep all 9 alive and thriving.  My Josie-Bunny was only 200grams, half the size of her brother.  Nature vs nurture?  Well sorry for you cruel nature but I cannot lose another pup.  I feel irrationally responsible for the 4 we lost.
So I sit and listen like I am listening now to their mewling and breathing and occasional hungry cries when mom is not around.  She has become less interested in feeding them and of course that makes me crazy anxious.  Gary and I take turns to sit in the room at night in case she lies on one and crushes it.  I feel total new mom exhaustion, worry, pride, love, panic.  When I go to the shops I want to rush home to my babies.  All my cellular memories of loss, of love, of nurturing are right back out again.  Raw, real, crazy maternal me is back.   How will I deal with it when they go to their forever homes?  I hope by then I am so over it.  By then they will chew and nip and bark and destroy my house.  I will clean up wee and poop of 9 pups.  I will deal with it then and right now I will embrace this experience with exhausted mind, body and soul and love my little furbabies: Evie-Pops my feisty girl, Amy-Rose my gentle big girl who loves to nap, Josie-Bunny so small but strong and determined, miracle happy go lucky George, Big Jack Jackson who is the pick of the litter and easy going and affectionate, Lincoln my tough boy who feeds and then goes off to nap on his own, Maya Papaya who fights through her brothers to get her teat, Paulie my little boy who loves his siblings and his Mama and then Molly my second biggest girl who also loves to hang with the bunch and is so easy.   I am blessed, overwhelmed and a little bit cray-cray!   

Friday, October 30, 2015

RESPECT

How does that song go? R E S P E C T, find out what it means to me....tra lah lah.  (Cannot sing!)  So I want to chat about respecting each other.  I am about to complete my 4th year of my social work studies.  Next year I do my honours which will take place over 2 years.  A big part of our theory is working with people and trusting in their own self-determination and respecting their choices.  We understand we do not know them how they know themselves.  How could we?

We learn about constructivism and how we all construct our own truth based on our perceptions, values and experiences.  While we have universal laws to keep society functioning, even these differ from culture to culture.  Without one exact 100% truth for all, we cannot judge anothers.   We also allow others to own their own truth without being threatened or feel the need to convince them our truth is the ONLY truth.  Everyone else is not wrong, deceived or ignorant, they are DIFFERENT and that's OK.  That is in fact great because diversity teaches us so much.

My spiritual life is a journey that never stops.  Along the way I learn what I believe to be true only to go through experiences where I learn a new true or adjust to a new self.   I have more questions than answers and I know that is OK too.  I am a critical thinker, because 'I say so' never cut it with me. I need to think, taste this truth on my tongue and soul and feel how it resonates with who I am.  Does it fit with how I think, believe and love?  If it doesn't, if it hurts anyone or makes them feel less than then it doesn't fit.  I have screwed up along the way, especially in my early days as a Christian when I did not trust my own discernment.  I probably acted like an arsehole sometimes and I apologize for the arrogance, it came from a good place.  For all those who judge me, question my integrity, my truth, my discernment, my intelligence, my ability to know what is best for me and my kids, I recognize that you too are trying to do this from a good place and don't mean to be a bully.  Do you understand you alienate people?  You disrespect them and hurt them and you do not show the love of Christ.  I swear, I have some serious issues with the contradictions and stories in the bible, I question, I take my kids trick or treating, I support gay rights, I passionately believe we need to accept and respect all people just as they are and I also don't decide who is going to hell or not.  At the moment I am not going to church which I am sure suits many people as what do you do with someone like me?   Actually based on the fact no one has called Gary or myself after going there for 11 years and now not means their is a good chance they probably haven't noticed.   I love most of them and know some really do care about us. 

A good friend told me to look for the light and not the darkness in life.  We can find both if we look hard enough.  So I am not blind or rebellious or trying to please people or 'the world' or a point.  I am simply staying true to myself and to who I believe Jesus to be.  The plus side is I have found many people scattered across the globe who also share this philosophy, to just love as He does.  Who know they are pretty f*cked up too, as much as anyone else but who want to do love well.  I have even found a pastor who attempts to love like this so I have virtual fellowship which helps a little with the hurt I feel at the loss of my church.  He wrote this piece on love which I so relate to.  Actually I relate to all his posts and he makes me feel less alone along with the many people who read his work and are trying to figure it all out.  He wrote that really cool piece on what he would say to his kids if they were gay.   I hope to meet him and his lovely wife and critters in real life one day otherwise I will see him in heaven.  We will hang with Jesus and talk about stuff.  All the other misfits will be there too.

So I do need to study and stop blogging but I wanted to explain myself even though my mom tells me a thousand times I don't.  I know I don't owe anyone an explanation.  The loss of my church this year has been painful for me so I have wanted to.  For non churchy folk, I hope I haven't put you off God.  Oh its an awesome love.  So frikkin big and bright and kind and healing.  A splendid God so fascinating and brilliant.  The love of Christ that sees no flaws but right to the depths of my soul where he loves me as I deserve to be.  In a life that is so damn hard with so much sorrow and misunderstanding it is my lifeline, my floaty device I hang onto when I feel too tired to tread water and I am afraid I might drown.  

PS:  If you feel the need to send me any scripture or articles so I can see the light please go and re read my post and sing the respect song.  #justlove     

Friday, October 9, 2015

Confident: tick. Kind: tick.

Being a very sentimental person, I take note of special occasions and keep all sorts of little reminders of times in my life that have been happy or challenging or simply noteworthy.  In the past few years I have collected a pebble or little rock from happy places and I write the date and place in pencil on each one.

When I was pregnant with all 3 of my kids I wrote a diary with letters to them and just a general how I felt diary.  I even started writing letters when I was going to adopt so she could know she was wanted and prayed for and dreamed about before she arrived.   On the 28th of November 1995 I wrote down my promises to my unborn baby of how I wanted to mother him/her:
I will try and be patient and always LISTEN to what you have to say (didn't quite do so well on this one) 
I will tell you how much I love you and when I feel proud of you.  I want you to KNOW you are loved (Got this one right!) I hope to enable you to have access to any information or things you need that interest you or you want to learn about. (Tick)I will never force you to do anything you really don't want to do but I will encourage you to try all sorts of sports, interests, hobbies etc. (Got this one too)
I really just want to do my best to make you a good, honest, fair person who always does their best and is good to other people and animals. (Tick, Tick)

I also mentioned elsewhere in my diary I hoped for confident and kind and in the last few weeks I have sat back and witnessed the awesome people my children have become and I have taken a brief little high five grateful happy moment.
Daniel.  His 1st year at varsity.  ADHD and all over the place with his reading level very poor to start off.  The 1st semester was a little crazy but I have him some grace and allowed him to find his feet.  After a close call he caught a huge wake-up and literally and figuratively paid for his mistakes and is so committed and back on track.  He owns his own life and his studies and took reading courses to get him up to speed.  He is passionate about his university and his degree.  He is a sponge soaking up all this knowledge and excited about his future career.  He has been approved as a mentor for next year for the 1st years' for 2016. 
Rebeka.  She who used to be so incredibly shy gets a cum laude for her poetry.  She then gets the same for her keyboard eisteddfod and later in the year gets a Gold for her performance in the school drama.  The big Revue which they stage every 3 years casts for the lead role and my once super shy Becks gets the part.  She cannot sing and doesn't speak Afrikaans very well but the drama teacher insists she is the perfect Molly and adjusts the script for her.  Sofie gets lucky with her sister as the lead role and gets to play the young Molly.  The opening scene is Rebeka sitting watching her younger self, her sister, stand on the stage and sing like an angel.  How did shy Gary and I raise these confident young ladies?   They speak so well and command that stage.  Wow.
Sofie.  Sofia.  Fifi. Sofielicious. This little girl struggled so with anxiety and was excessively fearful.  She had terrible stomach aches and we spent thousands investigating possible causes.  Grade 1 was really tough for her.  She has ADD, Rebeka is my only one who has escaped the Loebenberg ADHD gene.  She too doesn't read but she is funny and bright.  She has managed to control and manage her anxiety and fears and has grown so in her confidence and social skills.  She sings and dances and is our diva.  What really inspired this post though, was how the 2 of them responded to 2 different situations when we were in Clanwilliam over the weekend.
The house next door had 2 security guard working shifts.  On race day we had been up forever and the sun was killer that day.  That night we went out for pizza and waited 2 starving hours for our food.  When I got home I just wanted to go to bed but Rebeka insisted we make him coffee and she took her leftover pizza over to him.  The next guy had to get coffee too.  She is my extra kind one and hugely compassionate.
Then across the road were 2 dogs that got no attention.  They were fed but not loved much.  Sofie doesn't do people but animals...they catch her heart.  She would sit at the fence and love them by sticking her hand in as far as she could to touch them and talk to them.  On the day we left she insisted on using some of her prize money to buy them a toy they would most likely not play with.
Confident and kind children.  Children who have been taught to question and seek truth and fight for those who need a voice.  Not perfect children, sometimes selfish, rude, bratty but good people.  People who will add to this world and who will practice love and tolerance and respect for others.  I am so grateful to partner with Gary and God and mother these individuals.                     

Thursday, August 20, 2015

If at first you don't succeed...



I can’t believe it has been less than 3 weeks since my race.  Really?  Life has been a huge rollercoaster ride with so many ups and downs since.  But this post is not about the post race ride, it is about the race ride.

As you know when I went to do my Ironman 70.3 in East London and I didn’t make it and I was SO gutted.  I just couldn’t believe that after 6 months of training and so much sacrifice, so much faith, I was a DNF.  Did.NOT.Finish.  WTF?   DNF?   At the time I compared it to being a jilted bride.  Another athlete also blogged about her traumatic experience and used the same analogy.  When I look back at my race, I am now able to give myself kudos.  At the time I was awful to myself, full of criticism and doubt. Me=LOSER!  Later I took a step back and I saw someone who got severe hypothermia, who spent 30 vital minutes in medical with a thermometer up her butt and who got on the bike last of 3000 athletes at just 35 degrees which is still not optimum.  I saw that person cycle her heart out past all those who had already quit knowing they would not make the cut off.  90km in the wind up and down the hills never quitting and completing the cycle on her own terms.  Me?  I did that?  So God didn’t desert me after all.

Then I decided to enter again.  I took the risk of being that crushed with the added pressure of so many willing me to finish.  Training in the winter was damn hard.  6 weeks before my race I changed coaches and I worked my arse off.  And then we were off, so excited and expectant.  Durban was divine, great weather and great vibe.  Last time I bought nothing at the expo.  This time I was so positive so I did.  I prayed a lot less desperately, I did not presume I would definitely finish but I did know God and I would do this race together.  Race day, 4.30am wake up.  5.00am trying to eat but so nervous I could barely swallow.   Last minute check of bike and time to get in my wetsuit.  On the beach with Gary waiting our turn.  And then it’s us and we run into big surf and try and get out to the backline.  I have no idea where he is and we each race our own race.  When I faced the beach to come back in I got so badly dumped I thought that wave would never spit me back out again.  Cap off, clutching my R400 goggles I make it.  I am not freezing!  I see my friend grinning on the side-lines, as excited as I am that I can get on my bike.  I stand in my trisuit in transition and wee like a pro before getting ready for the bike.  And I cycle and I love it and I smile for over 3 hours.  I keep looking at my speedometer thingy.  26.9 average?  Me, that fast?  No forking way!  Its undulating hills but nothing hectic.  I hold nothing back and I just pedal my butt off using everything I have.  I see Gary on the course on the other side of the road and we are both thrilled we made the swim.  I finish the bike in 3:23 and I am so damn stoked I sit in the transition area just grinning as I psyche myself up to run 21km.   And then I run out knowing I have got this.  I have more than 4 hours to complete a 21km run.  My goal time is 2 hours but my legs are not thanking me for that bike.   My watch beeps at every K and it takes forever.  Eventually I get to 4km and I feel wasted.  I have 17km to go!  Do NOT walk, do NOT walk I tell you.  You keep on running!   I have the hugest blister on the ball of my foot from the bike.   The pain becomes hectic.   You have Dystonia 24-7, it is unlikely to ever end.  This is 2 hours, suck it up you big baby and RUN.  So I do, I run but I get slower and slower and I know I will not make the 2 hour goal time.  I see Gary, he is faltering.  If I had anything left I would try and beat him but I have nothing.  At 18km I want to collapse but I don’t and I keep on getting slower and slower.  At 20km I only have 1 to go but I start to think I might be that desperate undignified crawling finisher.  I run that last km in so much pain and then I do it, I cross that damn finish line with a 2:11 run.  Melanie Novitzkas 6:34.  Bam!   My legs give way and the medics and Gary pick me up till I can stumble off to get my medal.  It is done.  I have done an Ironman 70.3. He holds me when I cry like he held me the last race when I did not finish.  I am over whelmed.  I have swum 1.9km, I have biked 90km and I have run 21km.  Me?   I am so very happy and so grateful and so tired.  

The cool bit is now I enjoy that post race oh my word I really did that feeling.  I know very well I only get this once as next time it will be about trying to better my time or evaluate the race and my performance.  My very 1st triathlon was 2 years ago and I had the same feeling.  The swim was only 800m, the bike 20 and the run 5km but I lay in bed high fiving myself that someone non athletic like me could do a TRIATHLON.  Every race post that has been about times and performances and how I did compared to others until this race.  Except for now!  Now when people say that’s frikkin awesome I am like….I know!  How awesome was I?   I am so darn chuffed with myself I am allowing myself to feel it and be it and not worry if I sound braggy or arrogant or not humble.   Me, Miss C team hockey not very sporty did sweet f-all for decades did an ironman 70.3 in a very respectable time of 6:34.  AND, I am now an average biker and not a totally shite biker.  Average never sounded so sweet.   

But let me do a quick acceptance speech before I walk off the stage:
God 1st of course…for strengthening me and for giving me a healthy body and extra thanks for the no puncture on the bike!
My Gary who was initially so  reluctant about me entering but who came around and supported me
My girls who sacrificed endless hours while Mom trained
My friends and family who rooted for me and willed me on.  I felt the pressure but with that came the support.  When I hit the run my friend Jacob jumped straight into the start area and gave me the happiest hug to know I was on the run and going to finish.  My fellow athletes so stoked for me.
And my coach of course.  Mr Glen Gore from Trilab who is a phenomenal athlete himself and so patient with my endless questions and doubts and insecurities.
Thank you, thank you.  Bows, queue music, walks off stage.