Friday, 25 September 2015

The Most Stressful Things

Apparently the most stressful things to go through are a death in the family, moving house and changing your employment.   I feel like I've had my fair share of stress in the last four years, and just as things feel like they're starting to settle down, things have been turned on their head again and I'm feeling overwhelmed again.

A few weeks ago I was told that next term I am being transferred to a new school.  I am devastated as I love my EAL students, the school that I'm at, my colleagues/friends who I work with, and I know how lucky I am to have been able to teach where my boys go to school. Everyone says to me that it's a great opportunity and I know it is, but at the moment it's hard to see how things could be better than working at my boy's school, with kids and families that I love and already know well. I just feel really sad that I couldn't finish off the school year with them.

It's been really hard knowing for a little while and not being able to say anything to anyone. I just wished I could've come home to talk to Aaron about it at night. That's one of the things I miss the most - just having him here to talk to about the big and little things.  

I am still going to be teaching EAL and will be going from teaching 9 EAL students on my own, to teaching 40 students with another EAL teacher.  I'm am so happy that I will be still teaching EAL and the school I'm going to is a fantastic school, but it's still hard.

When I told the boys the news, Kobe's lip started quivering as he tried to hold it together. I asked him if he was okay and then he started crying, and said he didn't want me to leave school. I hardly ever see him at school, and sometimes I get home from work and ask him how his day was, as I hadn't see him all day, but he was just so happy knowing that I'm at school a few days a week.

Harri was very upset when I told him and has had a hard time sleeping since, but I know once I start and they get used to it, they will hopefully be okay.  The change has brought up a lot of grief and anxiety for all of us again, and it kind of feels like we have gone back another 12 months as we adjust to something new, but hopefully once I settle in, and the boys are used to our new routine, the change will be good for all of us.

It was hard to tell my students that I was leaving, and they all looked very sad. One of them said 'I'm not coming back after the holidays', and then another one said 'I don't want you to go, why do you have to teach other kids when we are still learning English?' .  I told them everything would be fine and that I would still come back and visit them and would see them a lot, but deep down I wanted to cry and just tell them that it sucks. 

It's hard to leave a job you love, and it's also hard to go into a new school when you are replacing another person who loves their job as much as I love mine right now.  Unfortunately it's how the system is, and you just have to go where you are placed.

I do feel very blessed to be going to an awesome school, with beautiful EAL students and great teachers.  I know how lucky I am, and despite being very sad about the change, I'm also very grateful that I've been able to teach continuously for over two years, as I now have permanent hours.  I spent some time at my new school this morning and the kids are absolutely beautiful, and I know I will grow to love them as much as I love my current students.  I also know a few of the teachers there already, which is great. 

Wednesday was my last day at my current school, and I was feeling very emotional, so it was lovely to find some flowers on my desk when I got to work. I'm not sure who they were from, but it was such a lovely surprise (thank you to whoever it was!).  While I was getting ready for the day a beautiful boy who is in grade 5 (not one of my EAL students) came into my office and said 'Mrs King! It's your last day!' and handed me a lovely bunch of flowers.  It touched me so much. 
One of my EAL students then gave me a lovely card that he had made.  He is one of my older boys, and it meant a lot because he's not one to talk about how he feels.  I'm loving my hair in this pic!  :)

On Wednesday I had a meeting with the parents and students (with an interpreter) to introduce them to their new teacher, and to tell them that I was being transferred. They were all so kind and lovely, and told me they wished I didn't have to go but told the new teacher that they were looking forward to her teaching their kids. They are just so grateful for the extra help that they get.

One family were so lovely and bought me a bunch of flowers, and asked if they could get a photo of me with their family. The Mum hugged me and said 'we love you' as we said goodbye. I told them I loved their family too and she asked me if I would come and visit them, and I promised that I would. As a teacher you always get close to your students, but I find I do even more so because my students are from a refugee background, and you just learn so much about their lives and what they've sacrificed to be here.
Last week it was put on the school newsletter that I was  being transferred, and I had a lot of students come up to me to tell me that they were sad I was leaving.  Today I went to pick up Kobe after school and a lovely grade 6 girl ran up to me and had made up a card herself and got everyone in her class to write in it for me. She told me she was going to miss me and gave me a hug.  I told her I would miss them all so much too, but promised she would see me around as I'll pop up on my days off. 

On my last day after school the staff had a little farewell for me and gave me a lovely card and gift.  My friends Kate and Jacky were great at distracting me from feeling sad for a bit, as they put on some music and did a bit of dancing in the staffroom for me.  They obviously don't feel as sad as I do, that I'm leaving! ;)   I did have a few tears before I left, but know that I'll still be up at school a lot. 
I'm looking forward to having a couple of weeks of holidays before I start at my new school. I'm sure once I settle in I'll love my new school.  I'll just wish things didn't have to keep changing.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Learners License

This year has been a huge one for Jalen.  Grade 10 is so busy, especially because he is on the SLB and now we are having to think about which college (year 11 and 12) he will be going to next year.  I love the age that he is at, but sometimes I just want my little 12 year old boy back, as life was a lot simpler back then - except that it was just after Aaron passed really it wasn't simpler at all, but at least I didn't have to think about college, and part time jobs, and now driving!

When I met Aaron he didn't have his drivers license and he was 21! I couldn't believe that a 21 year old guy would not have a drivers license, and was actually cranky when we were engaged that I had to teach him how to drive. I guess life in town is a lot different, when you can get around on buses if you need to, but growing up in the country we didn't have any of that, and we couldn't wait until we were old enough to get our license, so we could be independent and drive to town.

A few months ago I bought Jay the road rules book and told him to start studying up, as you can get your learners license in Tasmania when you are 16.  He read it now and then, but I knew he wasn't ready to get his license a couple of weeks ago.  I didn't want him to end up like Aaron and not bother to do anything about it, so I challenged him to get his Ls before his birthday.

We knew you could sit the test before your birthday, and he started panicking saying that he wasn't ready.  I told him to just do a few practice tests online to see what he knew, and what he didn't know and after a few nights of practice tests he knew that he was ready.

We went in the day before his birthday so he could sit the test, and I knew he could pass it as it had passed a few practice tests, but was also prepared that he may not pass the first time.  It only took him about 15 minutes (rather than the half an hour the lady suggested) and he came back to us with a big grin and said 'passed!'.  I tried not to act too surprised, but was so happy for him, especially as he said he didn't think he would pass the first time.

Kobe yelled out 'I'm so proud of you Jay! And not just because we can get Cold Rock now!' (I told the boys that if he passed we would go and get ice cream).  We cracked up laughing and then Kobe said 'what Mum!? I'm being serious! I AM proud of him!'.  It was very cute.

The boys were very excited to get Cold Rock. It's the most expensive treat ever, but it's fun for a special occasion.

Because he passed the test the day before his birthday, he couldn't actually get it until his birthday which was on Saturday. That meant he had to wait until Monday when Service Tasmania was open again, to actually get his license.  We raced in after school and it was then official! 
We decided to go for a little drive straight away and went to our church car park to practice. Of course he had to Snapchat a photo to all his mates before he took off for the first time!
I knew it would be scary, and I told myself that I have to be calm and patient as I didn't want to put him off driving.  I'm determined that he won't be like Aaron and will have his license at a decent age.  But then once we started and he realised that it's a lot harder than it looks, and I realised how much I have to teach him and how patient and calm I need to be, I realised it's going to be a bit stressful over the next year or so! 

Harri has been so nervous about it and asked me if any learner drivers have ever died while learning to drive! I don't think he wants another death in the family! 

We went for our second 'drive' (in the car park) today and he did really well and was pretty pleased with himself. 
We went to a drivers training information night during the week at RACT and I have decided that we are going to take up a free lesson that the government funds, which is a lesson for both Jay and myself with a professional driving instructor.  The whole system about getting your license has changed so much since I got mine, and it's really good as it makes sure that they are good drivers and have had a lot of experience on the roads before they can get their license. 

I think I will save up so he can have some lessons with a professional instructor to just get his skills up, as I want him to feel confident and not take forever to get to the next stage. I love that he is like Aaron in many ways, but taking years to get his drivers license is one thing I don't want him to follow in Aaron's footsteps in. My brother Eden and I both had a laugh the other night and said that if Aaron were still here, I probably wouldn't have trusted him to teach Jay to drive anyway, as I always drove when we were together.  I'm sure he is right! I like to be in control as much as possible when it comes to things like this, so it's very scary when you aren't the one in the drivers seat.

Wish me luck! And look out for a white Subaru with L plates on the back and avoid it if possible! ;)

Sunday, 13 September 2015


It doesn't seem like that long ago that our little family was just like this.  I had Jalen when I was 25 - four years after we were married.  We were so happy and also overwhelmed with having a newborn baby, and life was good. 
Yesterday Jay turned 16! It's really crazy to think that I have a 16 year old. I certainly don't feel old enough to have a 16 year old!  I love the age that Jay is now though.  He's been through so much in his 16 years - more than many adults would go through in their entire lifetime.

The night before his birthday Jay had his friends Rani and Henry over for a sleepover.    They were very nice in letting Harri and Kobe join in on their fun, and the night was very noisy and full of pizza, cake (thank you again to the Cupcake fairy for an amazing cake!), Nerf gun wars, playing the Wii, watching movies and wrestling all night (until 3:30am!). I was regretting the sleepover idea about 2:30 am! 
Kobe cracked us up as he gave Jalen some extra claps after we sang 'happy birthday' so he could get a girlfriend! 

After the boys left yesterday morning Jay opened up his presents from us.  Anyone who knows Jay, knows that he LOVES superheroes, so most of his presents had some sort of superhero theme.  
Other than Friends, Jay's second favourite series is Parks and Recreation so he was excited to get the last season on DVD. 
Jay has been wanting a bedroom makeover for a while, so I told him to choose some things to put on his wall for his birthday.   This is what his room looked like before.
And this is now. He loves it! 
Whenever it's your birthday you get to choose what you want for tea, so Jay chose KFC.  One of his mates works there and knew it was his birthday, so he wrote this message on the bucket for him :)
It was funny watching all the messages from Jay's friends go up on his Facebook wall.  He obviously grabs people's phones a lot to take silly selfies because almost every message included a selife! Teenagers! ;) :)
He had a lovely birthday and it was nice that it was on a Saturday so we could celebrate it with him the whole day. It's so nice to see how much he's changed over the last four years with all that he's been through.   I'm very proud of the young man he's become and know Aaron would be so proud of him too. 

Thursday, 10 September 2015

10 Years of the Possum Tree

When Noah and Aaron passed away a lot of our family traditions changed, as it was too hard to do things that we used to do without them.  But one thing that we have kept doing is taking an annual photo in front of the 'possum tree' that is in front of one of our old houses.

One year I remember looking out and seeing how beautiful the spring blossoms were, and wanted to capture the moment when the boys were little.  We took the first photos before Kobe was even born, and then kept doing it every year as we thought it would be fun to see how much they had grown since the year before.

When Harri was small we would say we were going to get a photo in front of the blossom tree, and he thought we were saying 'possum tree' and then every year since we have called it that for fun.

When we moved house I felt sad that we wouldn't have any more photos in front of the tree, but the next year I decided we should still do it since we still live close enough to it.  It's been fun to see how much the boys have grown over the years, but it was hard to take a photo in 2012, knowing that it was the first photo we would have without Noah.

This is the photo we took today.

2014 - we almost missed the blossoms! They had already gone from white to pink and we're just about gone!

2013 - not long after we got Milly.

2012 - the first photo after Noah passed away. 

This was just a month before Noah passed away.  He wasn't well for a few months leading up to it, but we had no idea he was about to leave us. 
I love this one - they all look so cute.
A terrible photo but I remember having to take it quickly - before Jay dropped Kobe and to stop Harri from complaining about the sun in his eyes! 
How cute was Harri sucking his thumb :) He was my best sleeper because he found his thumb so I didn't mind too much about it.

Spunky boys :) Poor Noah was waiting for a new wheelchair at the time and had outgrown his so much. 

This is definitely one tradition I want to continue, but am not sure how much longer my boys will humour me :)

Monday, 7 September 2015

Father's Day

Father's Day has been on my mind for a while, since it's another one without Aaron and our first one since my Dad passed away in January.   It's hard walking around town and seeing all the Father's Day gift ideas, and card stands and seeing all the ads for Father's Day presents, but this year it didn't hit me as much as it has other years.

It was strange as you would think it would be worse since Dad is no longer here, but I just feel so different about my Dad's death to Aaron's.  Even though I miss him I just feel happy for him that he didn't have to suffer with dementia anymore than he did.  It like Noah's passing - I wish he was here every day and miss him so much, but it would be selfish of me to really want him to be here the same way that he was.

This year Jalen found it hard earlier in the week, but yesterday he actually forgot it was Father's Day until I mentioned it.  At school Kobe's class were making Father's Day cards and his teacher told me she was worried about upsetting him, but said to him that maybe he could make Mum and Dad a card.  Apparently he said 'I don't want to make Mum a card!' and told her he would make Dad one and take it up to the cemetery.  He just says it as a matter of fact now, and didn't seem upset that it was how it would have to be.

When I talked to him about it he said that he wanted to draw a picture of Aaron on the front, but he had forgotten what he looks like. I told him he has photos that can remind him and then he said 'but I don't have photos at school Mum!'.    While I was shopping in town this week I found this t-shirt and knew I couldn't leave it behind. Kobe loves it.
Dad always loved Noah's memorial garden at school, and one of his wishes before he passed away was to go and visit it again. I took him up there and he loved picking some of the roses to take up to Aaron and Noah's graves.  It's been looking really pretty lately with all the spring flowers coming out, so I went and picked the daffodils and we took them to Dad's grave the day before Father's Day.
We still haven't organised Dad's plaque so we had to go through my old photos on Instagram to make sure we had the right grave! One day Mum told me that just after he passed away she went to sit at his grave and was having a bit of a cry, but we realised she was sitting at the wrong grave! It always makes us laugh, so we always make sure we are going to the right one.   
The day before Father's Day was my brother Daniel's birthday. He passed away when he was a baby.  I told Mum we would come out and cook her tea for Daniel's birthday and Father's Day since she's still struggling with a lot of pain with her broken arm.  She was very happy to have a roast and some company, and we made sure we had Pepsi for Aaron and Dad. Dad was never a Pepsi drinker until Aaron passed away, and then he decided he needed to have it for Aaron.

I woke up on Father's Day morning feeling okay.  My friend Simone was sitting at the hospital as her son Oliver had been admitted overnight, so it was nice to be able to go and sit with her for a couple of hours and to have a nice distraction (even though Oliver was sick).  
It's so strange to go back up to the kids ward at the hospital as we spent so much time in there with Noah over the years. It feels like home, but just seems like strangers have moved in, with so many different nurses working there now. It was lovely to see a doctor that I knew, as she treated Noah a lot, and she gave me a big hug.  

I also spotted one of our favourite nurses Bek, and ran out to give her a hug and say hi. She always made the days go fast when she was working as she would always make sure we were looked after, as well as Noah. She would always bring us in food and drinks and would come and stir up Aaron as he loved teasing her.  She was always good to have a laugh with, and is such a great nurse.  It was lovely to catch up with her. 
Simone is always so thoughtful and sent me home with a little pressie and some chocolates for the boys. 
Church is always hard when everyone is talking about Father's Day, but we got through it okay and went to the cemetery afterwards.  
Kath from LOVEnCherish  has been so kind to me over the last four years, and has sent me so many beautiful  necklaces.  I always wear one when I want to feel Aaron and Noah close by, and wore this one on Father's Day.
We had some special treats after tea in remembrance of Aaron - his favourites - Pepsi and cookies and cream ice creams.  
I'm glad that the day wasn't as hard as I expected it to be.  We miss Aaron every day, but it's nice that we smile more than cry now, when we talk about him.
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