Can We have a Quiet Baby This Time?

“Can we have a quiet baby this time? You know, one that doesn’t make a lot of noise or be real naughty like Zach?” Questions your children ask when you tell them you’re going to have another baby and they already know that pregnancy could kill you. I stumbled across this long-ago entry from 2007. It made me realize how valuable our journals and blogs are, for capturing memories and giving one the opportunity to relive precious experiences. If you don’t have a journal or anything similar, then I encourage you to start one. Quick.

Birthing Bella Beast

This entry is dedicated to my four amazing children – who have been amazing me even more than usual in the past two weeks. All four of them have appointed themselves ‘guardian of the sickly pregnant mother’. Initially, the older two responded to the news of the impending new lifeform with frankness and honesty – “But mum you cant have another baby because you’ll die. The doctor said no more.”

Ummm yeees…but life kind of had other plans for us…Heavenly Father sent us another one!

Big Daughter was rather befuddled – “but then maybe you should send it back then?!”

 After the initial parent- child talks the topic then turned to okay, so we’re stuck with a baby on the way mum, so what should we do about it? Big Son wistfully asked – “Can we have a quiet baby this time? You know, one that doesnt make a lot of noise or be real naughty like Zach?” (Oh Big Son – there can only be ONE Zach….he is one unique and special darling which we can never replicate….thank goodness.) 
Big Daughter was troubled – “but if we have a baby, then that means we cant go to the beach anymore…” (my poor deprived children – we only take them to the beach once a year and now even that is under threat of extinction…sigh)

But they have rallied to the cause. Now, I have four willing errand runners, drink-of-water-fetchers, hair-brushers, comfort-givers, and hugs and kisses galore. All iIhave to do is cough really loud and Little Son comes running yelling at the top of his lungs “Mama’s throwing up! Help her, quick, mums throwing up!” Then if it’s a false alarm he wants to give me some love – grubby, sweaty, goober filled kisses….Okay thank you son – no go away and play far away please! Yesterday he wanted to be helpful, so he dished a big plate of spaghetti bolognaise and then dumped it on the floor of my living room and let the puppy in to eat it -“But Darth Vader’s hungry!”

Big Son is improving his culinary skills day by day. He cooks all the meals. He knows how to make steak and rice, spaghetti bolognaise, pancakes, french toast, sausages and rice, toasted sadnwiches, tuna and rice – oh and did I mention steak and rice? Not only does he cook the food, but he then supervises feeding all the others so iIdont have to smell it. This afternoon I asked the chef – so what shall you cook for us tonight son? He said,”How about pizza from Giordannos?” Every chef needs a night off!

Little Daughter is Florence Nightingale – the flowing, ethereal, lovely versions of her. (as opposed to the ones where she actually sweats and cleans up blood and grime in the Crimea war fields…) She loves to come and pat my head  and speak softly to me…”oh poor mummy is so sick…dont worry your darling Zion is here to make you happy…” She brings lots of flowers from the garden for my room and insists on telling me every rotten thing her little brother has done that day to get on her nerves because she knows I was sick and missed it. She whispers in my ear – “Mummy, zachie was a naughty boy and he ate three marshmallows but you never said he could…but dont worry i will send him to time out,okay” She asks me everyday – “so what does ‘our’ baby look like today mum? Does she have long hair like me?” She has even tried to commandeer the marital bed and kick her dad out of the room to forage for sleeping space elsewhere “Dad – I have to sleep with mummy so i can hug her when she feels sad or sick okay!” So her father has been sleeping in the glorious pink glitter princess bed. (Lucky him)

Big Daughter is my right hand woman. She baths little ones, sorts laundry, takes little ones outside to play, and then when she has a spare moment – comes to sit with me in the air condition and talk about deep and meaningful things that I never even considered when i was that age. Today she asked, “why is it that we have to be us forever? Like why do we have to be only the same person for the rest of our lives, even when we die and go to the spirit world? Wouldn’t’ it be nice to be someone different in the future?” Maybe I should tell her about reincarnation? 
All in all, the past few weeks have given me the opportunity to get to know my children a little better in new and interesting ways. There’s been a lot less mother-yellng and nagging going on and the home is way more peaceful. Best of all, my children are becoming more self-sufficient, selfless and responsible. Well at least the older two are!  The two younger Z’s are battling it out on the trampoline right now as I write. Shes got him in a Rock-lockdown and is pummeling the heck out of his stomach and I think hes laughing…or is that a scream for help?



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Are Samoan Men Ready for (More) Women in Parliament?

It’s rumoured that at an invigorating and exciting workshop aimed at increasing women’s participation in politics, the facilitator closed by saying, “It doesn’t matter how much we talk about it here, how many plans we make – we will go home and our husbands will tell us, ‘eh, you be quiet and go sit down’.” It was said jokingly and there was much laughter. But it was the kind of uncomfortable laughter that rang with bitter truth. As Samoa prepares for the 2016 elections there has been much valuable work done to help encourage women to run for parliament. To prepare them for all the challenges that go with mounting an election campaign. But the question remains – are Samoan men ready for (more) women in parliament? More specifically, are Samoan husbands ready for their wives to run for office?

A prominent MP was recently asked, “Would you let your wife run for parliament?” His reply was immediate. “Ha. Of course not,” he scoffed. As if to say, what a ridiculous idea! This same MP is an enthusiastic supporter of the legislation to get more women in government and his wife is a powerhouse woman in her own right with a successful career. Supporting women in parliament, in ‘theory’ – is something he can get behind. But not when it impacts on him personally. Not my wife! I wonder how many other men would have the same response to the very suggestion that their wives run for office?

This question is further underlined when we consider that of the three women MP’s in parliament – none are currently married to a Samoan. Is that significant? A requirement for a woman running a successful election campaign in Samoa? Or at least a way to better your chances of success? That you either be single, widowed, or married to a man who’s NOT Samoan? Obviously three women MP’s and their marital status is too small a pool to use for making any generalizations about Samoan husbands, and it will be interesting to see how that theory plays out in the elections next year.

Of course a married woman doesn’t need her husband’s permission to enter the political arena, or even his support. But anyone who’s run for parliament, or seen a family member run, knows how demanding and stressful it is, and how much pressure it places on families of the candidate. Many current male MP’s relied heavily on their wives to manage their campaigns when they were running for office and they continue to work as a partnership, with wives helping to run businesses and also maintain good relationships with their districts. When a woman runs for office, she no doubt will need that kind of support from her spouse (if she has one.) Are Samoan husbands ready to offer that? To be that driving force in the background, stepping up to fill in any shortfall in the home, helping to organize people and events, give advice and network on her behalf but still content to let their wives take the limelight and be a public figure? Can a Samoan husband handle the tough times? The criticism and attacks that his wife will invariably have to face as an MP?

What do I know about Samoan husbands? I only have one; actually, he’s the only husband I’ve ever had of any nationality. So I can only speak from my limited experience. His name is Darren Young. Some time ago, he was on a plane and sitting next to another Samoan man. They didn’t know each other but got into a conversation during the flight. Somehow, the topic turned to their respective partners and when the man heard my name, he did a #HoldUp face. “Wait, is your wife that author? The one on the TV? The radio, the newspaper? Who writes those articles on the internet?” When Darren said yes, the man shook his head with a pitying expression on his face. “I always wondered who is the man that could be married to a woman like that? What kind of Samoan man could be married to a woman like that? A woman who goes everywhere, who talks about so many…” (insert a #YuckFace here), “different topics. And now, I see it’s you. I don’t know how you do it. How do you cope with that?” To top it off, the man added, “Talofa’e ia oe.”

It was clear the man believed that a woman with a public profile of any kind, or a career that required her to ‘go many places’ and ‘say many things – would make a very bad wife. And any man married to such a woman, must be a saint. Or unhinged. Or perhaps even lacking somehow as a ‘real man’.

I am not running for office, but I’ve been mulling over this man’s question as I have seen the increased efforts to mobilize more Samoan women to consider parliament.  “What kind of Samoan man could be married to a woman like that?!” A woman who needs to go many places and say many things in public?

This is my answer to that stranger on a plane.

In the weekend, we had a birthday party for our daughter and I was frustrated because the pirate ship cake I was (over-ambitiously) trying to make, was a huge mess. My husband got up at 4am to take over icing the cake and sticking all the broken pieces together. When the sun came up, he went to work at his busy construction site where he was putting up steel beams for a warehouse, with his eight employees. Then he came back in time for the party where he led several games for the children, including dancing the Limbo. I could not have survived hosting 25 children without his help.

This is not unusual husband-behaviour for him though. The only reason I have the time and space to write my little books, is because of my husband. When I launched my first book in NZ, he didn’t hear my speech because he was outside looking after our restless three year old. When I went to my first book convention in America to mingle with several thousand other authors and readers – it was because he paid for my trip as a birthday gift. When we decided I needed to write full-time for a year, he put his work on hold and took over the care of our children and the management of our home. He’s held my handbag while I signed books for readers in Sydney. He’s listened to me a hundred times over, practise my speeches for literature festivals and school visits, and reassured me that ‘you’ll be great.” He’s the main income earner for our family, building hotels, shopping centres and other towering steel structures so we can eat – but in between that – he drives me to author events, carries boxes and takes photos for the fans. When I am discouraged at dismal book sales, or hurt by a scathing review, when I’m tempted to quit writing, my husband encourages me and tells me not to give up. Much in the same way that I watergirl for his triathlon events and encourage him not to give up. In every way, Darren and I are equal partners. He has helped make me into the person I am today and his counsel and support is invaluable. He’s my best friend. I hope he can say the same of me. I am so grateful to his parents who helped teach him to be such a man and I especially pay tribute to his mother Karen who taught her son how to cook, clean, and care for children as well as provide for his family, and most important of all, she taught him how to honor his wife.

What kind of man could be married to a woman who ‘goes everywhere’ and ‘says many things’?

The answer is, the very best kind of Samoan man.

I know I’m not the only woman in Samoa with a husband like this. My hope is that those (married) women running for parliament, have husbands like this. Or similar. Because giving women the tools and opportunities they need to run for office is only part of the solution. We also need men to step up.

To those men of the nation who support the idea of more women in government, I challenge you to look within and ask yourself, do I support the reality of this too? Because the reality is, that as Samoa works towards a greater representation of women in our parliament – what we are doing is, encouraging people’s daughters, sisters, aunties, grandmothers and WIVES  to run. Men of Samoa, are you strong enough, confident enough, sure enough in yourself and your abilities – to encourage the woman you love in all her endeavours and not feel threatened, and to support her in pursuing her dreams? Even if that dream is to run for parliament?

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Samoa has Fences too.

I have a fence again. It’s made of chainlink and it has lines of barbed wire running along the top of it. It’s posts are firmly grounded in boxed concrete so that dogs and pigs and pesky chickens cant dig their way under it. There’s a gate with a padlock and every time I drive my car in or out, I have to stop and get out to unlock the gate and swing it wide open.  It’s annoying, especially when its pouring with rain, and I wish I were wildly rich and could afford an automatic gate with a remote control so I could zap my gate open and closed. But still, it’s a gate and it’s a fence and I like it.

Continue reading

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Why You Should Never Give Up. Even if you’re stuck in an abyss of Chocolate Sludge.

This is a story of endurance, perseverance, and the importance of NEVER GIVING UP. Even if it takes 22 years of trying. And failing.

A long time ago I ate a cookie and it was wonderful. A no-bake fudge oatmeal cookie. I wanted to eat that cookie again many times so I got the recipe which promised to be EASY and QUICK. Even total kitchen-derwits could make them. Supposedly. I tried it. Again. And again. I failed everytime. Instead of a wonderful fudge oatmeal cookie, I made chocolate oatmeal porridge instead. It was thick and sludgy and rather nasty.

I went away to university. I flatted with a fabulous girl called Anna. I tried making the Cookie again. And again. I failed everytime. More chocolate oatmeal porridge. It was getting expensive to pursue this Cookie dream. Especially since I was a poor struggling student trying to fund a Diet Coke habit. Poor Anna was tired of seeing pots sticky with crusted chocolate porridge. So I stopped trying.

I got married. I graduated. I moved back to Samoa. I had kids. Lots of them. I got brave enough to try again to make The Cookie. Failure. Again. Thankfully the children didnt mind eating chocolate porridge so it didnt go to waste. I made friends with super clever Mormon women from America who baked dinner rolls and made lasagna from scratch. They also made fudge oatmeal no-bake cookies – when they were in a rush and too tired to cook “properly”. Or they got their 9 year olds to make them because No Bake Fudge Oatmeal Cookies are SO easy that even a total kitchen-derwit can make them. I would eat their cookies and seethe with envy. These super clever women shared their Cookie recipes with me. Their tips on how to make it work. An awesome friend called Kristen even came over to my house so she could show me how to make them. Step by step.

I tried again. And again. Failure. Still. My children were growing up. They didnt like eating chocolate porridge anymore. Especially since they’d tried No-Bake Oatmeal Fudge Cookies at everybody else’s house – and they couldnt understand why I kept making them sludge. I was becoming the Oatmeal Sludge joke. Every time the subject came up, my children laughed uproariously as they reminisced about my many dismal attempts. Each laugh and taunt cut into my Oatmeal Fudge Cookie dreams.

So I quit trying. For a while.

But the dream never quite died. Of making that perfect No-Bake Fudge Oatmeal Cookie that would crumble and melt in your mouth.

Yesterday, while surfing Pinterest for recipes for Bellas birthday party – I saw a picture of The Cookie. Immediately I was caught in a web of delightful concoted imagining… Me. In my new kitchen. Making The Cookie. And it works. Because I am older and wiser and I’VE RAISED FIVE KIDS AND WRITTEN NINE BOOKS AND I SHOULD BE ABLE TO MAKE A FUDGE OATMEAL COOKIE DAMMIT TO HELL!!

The fire was re-lit and tonight, I once again, attempted the impossible. After years of trying and failing, after countless times wallowing in the chocolate sludge-filled abyss of defeat – I did it.

I made No-Bake Fudge Oatmeal Cookies – AND THEY WORKED!!!!


They feather-crumbled upon the first bite and melted in your mouth. They were just as wonderful as that very first Cookie I tasted 22 years ago. Sweet bliss.

Immediately I messaged my Big Kids in NZ so they could share in my triumph. (And yes, so I could show off and make them regret ever doubting me and ever mocking me. Ha.) “This is historic stuff,” I said. “Its right up there with climbing Mt Everest and inventing the Post-It. This is an example of how important it is to never give up on your dreams, see!? Even when others dont believe in you and when people mock you. You must fight on…blah blah.”

Big Son said “Thats awesome.”

Big Daughter said “Yay.”


But I guess, “Yay” was pretty good too.

Then they asked me the million dollar question. “What did you do different this time? How did you make it work?”

Ohmifreaking-heck. I have no clue. Same recipe as all the other kazillions of times. Same method. How did I make it work?

I dunno.

Im going to sit here and make myself sick eat Fudge Oatmeal Cookies while I try to figure it out.

Savoring every crumbly melty bite because it could take another 22 years before I get it right again.

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How Did I Get Here in this Hellish Nightmare??

For anyone who’s got little little children and maybe feeling a little stressed by all their needs. This blog is for you.

Hang in there. It gets better. You will get through this. I promise.  There is hope. Light at the end of the tunnel.

There was a time when I had three under five. Two of them were only 13 months apart. I remember one evening, after a really long awful day at home with them, I was sitting on the sofa, breastfeeding one of them and steadying the other one’s bottle – and I stepped outside myself for a moment…saw the state I was in…and asked, ‘HOW THE HECK DID I GET HERE??!!’ Cue a rush of self piteous reminiscing…”I was so clever, so beautiful, so talented. I was gonna be the Prime Minister of Samoa! Or a supermodel! Or a vet and save all the stray dogs on the island! Harrison Ford was going to meet me on a beach somewhere and fall madly in love with me! But instead, here I am – nothing but an overworked under appreciated milk machine. A loser!” THIS IS NEVER GOING TO END AND I CANT TAKE IT!!

Fast forward to now. It’s Saturday. I have four children home and one away at university.  Their father is in Savaii doing a 24hr cycle challenge around all of Samoa. We expect him back late tonight.

I sleep in till 9am. Because nobody needs their diaper changed, their milk warmed up, or help with their breakfast. Instead, my 12yro son gets up and makes French toast. My (spoilt) 7yro Bella rolls out of bed and languorously eats 4 pieces of French toast and then turns on the TV. My 17yro Big Daughter and 13yro Middle Daughter eat breakfast. Big Daughter ‘supervises’ the kitchen cleaning and dishes. (Which means, she tells her little brother what to do and then spot checks the dishes if he’s washed them properly.) Middle Daughter puts on a load of washing, then empties the dryer and folds clean laundry. Little Son checks the bathroom is clean and empties the rubbish bins. After that, all of them go outside and bath the dog because it’s Saturday and he’s not allowed inside to play with them unless he’s clean. When all the Saturday chores are done, they go do whatever they want. That involves – somebody reading a book on their Kindle, somebody playing Xbox, somebody making something with Lego, somebody going back to sleep.

What am I doing while the children do all those things?

Eating French toast with bananas and maple syrup. Checking Facebook. Reading a magazine. Thinking about how I might walk on the treadmill. (haha, of course that doesn’t happen. But i thought about it, so that counts for something!) Listening to my daughter tell me about the book she’s reading. Listening to Bella tell me about some amazing dragon egg she’s hatching on Dragonvale. Listening to my son tell us all about his adventures at boarding school. Later, we’re having friends over and their children will play with my children. I will buy readymade dough from the breadstore and the assorted children and their friends, will make pizzas for dinner. Then, Big Daughter will supervise all the younger ones to clean up the mess and do the dishes. Bliss.

To all you parents of little ones, especially parent with LOTS of little ones. It gets easier. They grow up and learn how to cook, clean, do dishes and laundry. They become engaging conversationalists who make you laugh. They bake amazing chocolate chip cookies and you get to eat them. They can be bribed and finagled into making your bed…brushing your hair…and even massaging your feet if you want them to. (Be warned they charge more as they get older. Twenty cents doesn’t buy as much as it used to when they were six years old. Little Son would massage my feet for aaaaaaaaaages for 20 sene when he was little. Now? I have to wave five dollars at him before he will even contemplate it.) They read the newspaper and watch the TV news – and ask you about current events (some of which you have no clue about). They can read bedtime stories to younger brothers and sisters. They can take the rubbish out and go lock the front gate at night. They can brush their own teeth, wash their own hair and even SCRUB A TOILET without any assistance.

I look back on dreaded Saturdays when I would be stuck at home alone with babies and toddlers while their Dad went to work overtime (so we could afford to feed those pesky babies and toddlers). I hated Saturdays. And when poor Darren came home, tired and hungry from work, I would take out my stay-at-home rage on him. Of course there would be no dinner made because HELLO, I’VE BEEN LOOKING AFTER THESE DAMN KIDS!!

Yes, I look back on those Saturdays, and I’m extra grateful for the blessing of a Saturday like today.

Hang in there. It gets better.

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No More.


Fatima Tupa'i, Samoa Observer.

This is Fatima Tupa’i. #SayHerName.

She was 25yrs old and she had two children – a 2yr old and a baby thats only a month old. Her husband bashed her to death with a rock while she lay sleeping with her babies beside her. They were at her family’s home because she had left him due to his violent abuse. Her cousin told the Samoa Observer “Fatima was a very good mother to her children…when things were bad, she promised that she will never return to her husband but said she will look after children and our grandmother.”

Too often when a woman  is abused, we ask “why doesnt she leave him?” We say, “If she were a strong Samoan woman blah blah then she wouldnt let him treat her that way. She wouldnt put up with it.”

Fatima Tupa’i tried to leave him. She tried asking the police for help. She was a strong woman who took her children away from her violent partner.

And she was savagely murdered for it.

We must STOP placing the responsibility for domestic violence on the shoulders of our women and instead, we must hold men accountable. We must ask, “WHY does he beat her? WHY does he think its ok to try and control the woman he ‘loves’ with fear, intimidation and brutality?” We must ask ourselves, as parents teachers caregivers and policymakers – WHAT ARE WE TEACHING OUR SONS?? How is it that we are raising so many men that are treating women with callous disrespect and even with murderous intent?

Instead of being dismissive of abused women and their suffering, we must ask our aiga, our Village Fono and our wider communities – WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO TO STOP MEN FROM HURTING WOMEN? From killing them?

Please, stop making excuses for violence against women. Stop saying –
“Its because he was drunk…”
“Its because she answered back and was disrespectful…”
“Its because she burnt his dinner…”
“Its because she’s a pa’umuku…”
“It’s because she’s weak and cant stand up to her husband…”

Our hearts ache for Fatima Tupa’i and so many others who have died at the hands of the men who were supposed to love them best. Our hearts ache for the children they left behind.

How many more women must die before we collectively, as aiga, as communities and as a nation – say NO MORE?

What can you do to help effect change?

1. Write a letter to the media. Dont let Fatima Tupai become another forgotten statistic.
2. Talk to your MP. Let them know how important this issue is. We are coming up on election year. They are in the mood to listen. Tell them your vote depends on it.
3. Talk to your Village Fono. Ask them to adopt a #NoMoreViolence policy and commit to prioritizing the safety of women. When a woman reports her partner’s abuse, the Village Fono can help uphold a police protection order by placing a temporary ban on the abuser so he is not allowed back in the village. Make her safety the responsibility of everyone in the village.
4. The Samoa Law Reform Commission together with the Ministry of Women, are holding public consultations throughout October about the status of women in Samoa and what legislative changes are needed to improve things. They are compiling feedback for use in Samoa’s CEDAW Report. Go to the consultations. Add your voice.
5. Contact Samoa Victim Support. Offer whatever assistance you can to support their invaluable work with women and children who are survivors of abuse.
6. Talk to your faifeau. Ask him to make DV a topic for Sunday sermons. Consider options for holding marriage and relationship workshops for your congregation.
7. Talk to your sons about what it means to respect women. Model good communication and respectful behaviour in your home.

Please add your suggestions. We need more dialogue on this issue. We all have a part to play in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the women of Samoa.

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Sprinting Seniors

Big Daughter is home from NZ for the school holidays. Today she went with her grandfather on his morning exercise route. My father is legend fit and consistent with his exercise. He does two loops of Tuanaimato Sports Complex 5 days a week. This was Big Daughter’s first time to train with him and she came back a little freaked out because she said:
a. Grampa’s super fit!
b. Do you know that Grampa has counted exactly how many steps it takes to walk Tuanaimato? And he always does the same number every time? And he wanted me to count them too?
c. Grampa told me he usually only does two laps but because Im here, we will do three. And then when we’re midway thru the third one, he says ‘oh sometimes when i go too far or too fast, then I get dizzy and nearly faint. And I need to have my medicine so my heart doesn’t stop.’ I was worried he would faint and it would be all my fault!
d. When we’re 100m from the car, Grampa SPRINTS. Like he wants to race. Even tho he just told me that he gets funny heart ‘tremors’ and feels faint sometimes. I had to chase after him and I don’t know why he wants to race. Isn’t he like, 87 or something?!

My life goal is obviously to be a fit n fast sprinting woman. When I’m 87. (We all know it will probably take me that long to ever get there…)

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My Mutant Uterus.

For several years now, I’ve been having some health problems which various doctors have tried to fix with various remedies. I finally got some clear answers on my recent trip to New Zealand. Yay! One of those answers being, that I have a mutant uterus. Otherwise known as adenomyosis.

When a doctor says that you have a mutant overgrown squishy exploding uterus and shows you pictures of mutant overgrown squishy exploding uteruses, she doesn’t expect you to leap for joy and fist bump in celebration. But that’s what I did, because:

1. Knowing what’s wrong is like a huge weight rolling off me. At last an explanation for some of the accumulated misery of countless months! I mean, who knew that getting old would be this stressful??

2. It’s not cancer. Which was always at the back of my mind. (Me and Google doctor had many chats about it because Google Dr knows everything and wants to tell me everything awful that could possibly be wrong with me.)

3. It’s fixable. Sort of. I need to break up with my uterus and have a hysterectomy. If I wasn’t old and the mum of five demon children, the thought of breaking up with my uterus would make me very sad. But since it’s been giving me nuthin but trouble, I’m not sad. I just wish there was a magic pill you could take that would zap it away overnight.

As soon as I left the doctor’s office I messaged the Hot Man back in Samoa.

Me – I have a mutant uterus! It’s called blah blah blah. It’s why I’ve been suffering and in pain and so squishy too. I need to have a hysterectomy in a few months, but I’m glad it’s going to get fixed.

Him – I’m glad too. But worried about the operation.

Me – Look at these photos of mutant uteruses. It will explain everything.

No reply. No reply. No reply. No reply. No reply. No reply. No reply.

Me – Did you look at the pictures??

Him – No.

Me – Why not? Here’s a link where you can read all about mutant uteruses too. Go read it!

No reply. No reply. No reply. No reply. No reply.

Me – Hello? Did you read the link? Did you look at the pictures?

Him – Do I have to?

Me – Yes! Don’t you want to know what my uterus looks like?

Him – Not really.

Me – Don’t you care about my health?? My wellbeing? My pain? My suffering?

Him – Yes I care. But I still don’t want to look at uterus pictures.

Me – But then you’ll know why I’ve been miserable and tired and extra grumpy…

Im getting real excited now as I have a sudden brainwave.

Me – I bet you my mutant uterus is the reason why I’m fat! When they take it out, I bet you that funky thing weighs AT LEAST ten kilos!! Maybe fifteen!!

I have visions of my slinky sexy mutant-uterus-less self, all toned and trim because I won’t have periods that last for six weeks and I won’t be severely anaemic anymore and I won’t get tired walking up the driveway. Instead I’ll probably take up triathlons and climb mountains and do random fitness sh** like that. Then I’ll get to be the one who jets overseas to compete in Ironman and marathons in exciting locations. Yay me! Once I get rid of my mutant uterus I am going to be TRANSFORMED  I tell ya. You won’t recognise me. Goodbye lazy sluggish owner of the gigantic squishy uterus – hello lighter, freer, fabulous’er, fitter, faster, beautiful’er ME!

Him – I don’t think so.

Me – How do you know? You haven’t even looked at the mutant uterus pictures yet. Taking it out will be like liposuction! Think how much smaller my jelly belly will be once the operation is done!

Him – Your uterus isn’t in the same place as your stomach.

Honestly, sometimes I think this man’s goal in life is to forever be dashing my dreams and hopes. #DreamDasher

Him – It’s late. I had a long day at work. Can I look at uterus pictures tomorrow please?

Me – Fine.

I got lots of other important things to do anyway. Like planning a new wardrobe for the new improved minus-a-mutant-uterus me. And checking out what sporting events I’ll be entering next year.

Ha. #DreamsAreFree

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When Children Dont Love You Anymore. Dammit.

2015 technology is great. It means you can talk to your children any time you want to – even after they move away from home – and it doesnt cost you a cent. (Okay, not quite true because internet costs many cents but its still cheaper than the long distance phone calls we had to rely on when we were kids.) I have this marvellous thing on my phone called Whats App and with it I can message, call AND send hearts and smiley faces to Big Son and Big Daughter allllllllllll day, every day.

The problem is though, when your children dont message, call and send you hearts ALLLLLLLLLL day, every day. Instead, they call me never. They message me only sometimes. And when they do, its only smalltalk, superficial stuff. Like nothing soulful or super descriptive or anything that takes more than a minute to read.

Instead, I get random messages out of the blue – ‘Hi Mum. I got my ears pierced today.’ With a photo of aforementioned ears. From a girl who as recently as last year, couldnt even cross the road in downtown Apia without me to escort her. I want to yell, Whaddyamean you got your ears pierced??!! You didnt ask me? You didnt tell me beforehand? And inside, my #loserSadMother heart is really saying, You’re my baby. How could you get holes punched in your ears without me to hold your hand? Without me to cheer you on and take you for ice cream after?

It means, I see random photos of my child on Instagram – going to fabulous fairs, parades, shows etc with his friends and yet when I messaged him hopefully, How was your day? All he said was, Fine. I want to yell, It’s not fine! Your day was shamahzing and you’re doing all these cool things without us and I order you to STOP HAVING FUN immediately! And inside my #LoserSadMother heart is really saying, I remember when you wanted to tell me every minute detail of your day at preschool and I had to listen and pretend to be super interested even when I wasnt…And now, you could be climbing Mt Everest and you probably wouldnt think to tell me.

It was all too much for me the other day and I had a mini-meltdown to the Hot Man. “Our children dont care about us anymore,” I wailed. “They dont miss us, they dont message us, they dont call, they dont even think about us anymore.”

The Hot Man was puzzled. “What do you mean?  We talked to them last week.”

I shook my head, “That was ages ago. That doesnt count this week. I want to know how theyre feeling now. What theyre thinking today.”

He still looked befuddled by my angst. “We do know. They message me all the time.”

My tears dried up real quick as I got angry about all the secret conversations he was having with MY children, who grew in MY uterus dammit, who kept ME up all night with their crying/growing/fevering/puking problems throughout my lifetime of servitude as their mother. “What??!! They’re messaging you? Why didnt you tell me? What did they say? What are they doing? What are they feeling? What are they worrying about this week? Let me see your phone.”

He handed over his phone (like he had a choice) and showed me his messages from Big Daughter.

Lots of smiley faces. Lots of flowers and hearts.

A single line – Miss u! Love u!

I scoffed. “Those?! I got those too. But those arent REAL messages. Theyre not REAL meaningful conversation. She’s not really telling us anything!”

He was still confused. “Yes she is. She’s telling us she loves us. And those smiley faces are her saying hello. I get those every day. And I send her a smiley face back and say I love u.”

I threw my hands up in disgust. “I love you?! A smiley face?! What the hell does that tell us???!!! Nothing. Who cares about hearts and I love you? Eh. I want to know about her friends and her schoolwork and her teachers and her cousins and how she’s coping with the new school and what essays she’s writing for history and if anybodys being mean to her and if there’s any boys that she likes. I want her to ask my advice and need my opinion. I want her to TALK TO ME and TELL ME EVERYTHING DAMMIT! Im not a part of her life any more and it’s breaking my heart!”

Tears. Sad, frustrated ones because he wasnt getting it. And because my children dont care about me #sniffSniff.

He left me crying in the room. Five minutes later I got a message from Big Daughter.

“What’s wrong? Dad said I have to talk to you?”

Because my daughter has no clue how to be subtle.

Then another PING as she messaged again.

“Are you mad at me? What did I do? Hello?? Are you there? Why did Dad tell me to message you IMMEDIATELY?”

Then another message. This one from Big Son.

“Hi Mum. Hope youre having a good day. Today I had a lecture in the morning and it was very interesting. We’re studying blah blah blah…Its cold here so Im wearing that jacket you bought me…Tonight Im going to the movies with blah blah blah…”

At least the boy was trying to pretend like giving me a recount of his every move was his idea.

I yelled out, “Dammit Darren!! Did you just tell my kids they had to message me?”

He re-appeared. He wasnt confused anymore. Now he was exasperated. “Yes I did. Isnt that what you wanted them to do?”

“Yes I want them to talk to me but I want them to talk to me because they WANT TO, not because you told them to! You’re not helping.”

It was his turn to throw his hands up in the air in disgust and walk out.

There was only one appropriate response to my dutiful messages from my dutiful children. I sent them both a smiley face and a heart.

“Love u. Miss u.”

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Brisbane Book Launch for the Scarlet Series.


See you this weekend Brisbane!

Im delighted to be hosted by the combined Pacific Island Students Associations of three different tertiary institutions  in Queensland Australia. Theres limited seating available so please email the contact provided in the poster to ensure your seat. There will be copies of the Telesa Series available for purchase as well as the new Scarlet Series books. But not a lot so get there early so you wont be disappointed.

Thank you!

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