I know, I know, I have been so slack. I am disappointed in myself for not writing more. I have had many of you ask when I will be doing a new post or where have I been. I am sorry. But I have been busy. A good kind of busy.
Where do I start. So we had the movie night which as you all know from my last post was a massive hit. The week after Mason’s movie night Saunders and I went with another couple to Bali for 6 days. I had been to Thailand before with Saunders. Thailand actually was our first holiday before we got married. It was our favourite holiday. We both had never been before and Saunders had never been overseas. We were young, happy, excited, care free. I remember having a holiday countdown app on my phone. I was soo fricken excited. We laughed so much on that holiday. It brought us closer than ever and we fell more in love with each other. We moved into our first home a few weeks after Thailand. That moment in time was huge for us. Everything was moving forward. Everything was so exciting and new. Ever since then Thailand always was a special place for us.
We had never been to Bali before, we had heard mixed reviews. You either love it or you hate it and I was Thailand’s number one fan so I was skeptical but we decided to give it go with another couple, our dear friends, who also hadn’t been before. Like Port Douglas when we went after Mason left us, I wasn’t really excited for this trip. I felt nothing. I didn’t care. I didn’t have my countdown app on my phone turned on for this one. I have found now that holidays to me aren’t the same as how they used to be. I associate every trip now with the thought “I am only going here because of what happened to Mason”. Like I wouldn’t be taking holidays with a baby. I’d be at home with him. Cuddling him, kissing him, being with him, loving him, being a mother.
But off we went. On my 31st birthday.
This wasn’t the birthday I envisioned in my head when I was pregnant. I imagined Saunders getting out of bed early, shuffling around the house while I pretended to still be asleep. I imagined a knock on the bedroom door, with Saunders holding Mason in one arm, with his other arm behind him, hiding a gift. I imagined Saunders dressing Mason to what he thought was “cute” but really a mismatched outfit. I imagined I would laugh admiringly at the effort. I imagined Saunders passing Mason to me, me with open arms stretched out wide to get my first birthday cuddles and kisses. I would set aside the gift from them both and read the card first. The most valuable present of all. My birthday card, my first birthday card from Mason. My first card from my son. The first time I would see mummy written in a card. I’d imagined it would be homemade, with all his little fingers and toe prints stamped all over it. Then I would be taken to breakfast, my little family of 3, beaming with pride. It was my day. It was my birthday with my husband and baby boy. My family. This time last year I went into early labor at my 30th birthday party and spent the night, well a few days in hospital while my friends and family were at my house partying. Read all about it here.
I didn’t get anything for my birthday this year.
Instead I was leaving the country.
We stayed in Seminyak. Apparently the “nicer” part of Bali. We had our own villa which was amazing. Upon arrival to our villa, we received cocktails and foot massages as a welcome from the staff. The concierge asked what the occasion was. Saunders told them it was for my birthday and our friends who came with us, their first wedding anniversary. While we were sitting, waiting to be shown to our villa, all of front desk came out singing with a birthday cake. I was so embarrassed, I hate sitting there on birthdays with everyone singing to you. It’s so awkward, you awkwardly smile, you don’t know where to look, you don’t know where to put your hands, do you join in the singing? I’d rather sing happy birthday to others. But it was so lovely. The Balinese are wonderful, wonderful, thoughtful people. They are so caring and welcoming and loving. I loved them.
I even made friends with a stray cat and called him Balinese Manu. Well actually it was a forced friendship as the first morning in Bali I noticed this skinny cat crying all the time and my heart broke, so at the buffet breakfast I smuggled some chicken sausages without anyone knowing and fed this poor cat. I did this every morning, hiding the sausage in my serviette. Then every night or should I say around 3am every morning, this cat would come to our villa and cry at my door. Saunders and my friends had no idea why this cat kept coming to our villa until I told them I had been secretly feeding him. That’s just me. I love animals and I love to nurture. It was the mother in me.
We had great company. We enjoyed holidaying with our friends. I thought of Mason all the time. How he would be here with us. How he should have been here with us. How this could have been our first family holiday. To this day I still can’t think of a time where I hadn’t had Mason in the back of my mind. I bought Mason a little memento for his table back home from Bali. I could not come home without a gift for my baby boy!
I saw a lot of pregnant woman in Bali. All on their babymoons. Their last little holiday before bubs comes. All glowing and happy and carefree. I too once was like that. There were also kids everywhere. Bali is a great holiday destination for kids and I did imagine our first holiday to be in Bali or Fiji. That could have, should have been me.
I can understand why so many Australians love and go to Bali. It’s cheap, it’s a short flight, there is a lot to do and see. The people are amazing and friendly. I would definitely go back again some day and stay longer next time, maybe even relax instead of rushing around to see and do everything. Holidays just aren’t the same anymore.
We tried, we tried our best to smile and have fun.
Someone will always be missing. I was excited to go back home though. My home is where Mason is.
Home is where my heart is.
After Bali came the next big kick in the chest.
I had already told Saunders for Mothers Day I didn’t want anything special. I didn’t want no gifts. I just wanted two things. To go away and for a Mothers Day card. Saunders would have gotten a card anyways but I just wanted to make sure I got one too. We organised a little weekend away down at Philipp Island near the beach. It was so hard to find any accommodation since a lot was booked out due to it being Mothers Day but we found a lovely hotel in San Remo, just a short drive away from the island.
The lead up to Mothers Day was ok. I kept busy at work and tried not to think about it. Saunders and I drove down to Philipp Island on a Saturday afternoon.
It was cold. May in Melbourne is still sunny, but its starts to get chilly before winter sets in. We arrived to our hotel and it was huge! We had a great room overlooking the water from our bedroom window. We unpacked, had a walk around the grounds of our hotel and then went for a drive to explore the main center and to look for somewhere to eat dinner. Philipp Island was dead. It was so quiet, it was like a ghost town. Everything pretty much shut at 3pm. As it wasn’t peak season (it’s the place to be during the Summer holidays). Exactly what I wanted and needed. An escape.
Since we couldn’t find anywhere to eat that was open, we went to the supermarket and got a shitload of cheeses and decided to have a cheese platter for lunch back at the hotel in bed. Don’t be jealous, it was amazing. I love cheese. I could eat cheese all day if I had a faster metabolism but ever since turning 30, I even look at cheese and I grow another leg.
After a little nap, a walk around the hotel grounds, it was time for dinner. Did we stay in and order room service or do we go out? I told Saunders I wanted to go out for dinner, that we shouldn’t just stay locked up inside all weekend. So I searched for best restaurants to eat on Tripadvisor and it was decided. Since we were near the beach, let’s get fish n chips. I found the restaurant that had the best fish n chip reviews and off we went.
The trip down to the fish n chip shop was only about a 10-15 min drive. When we arrived at the destination, we were stumped. We came to a dead-end, 4 shops facing the beach. We walked down the strip and saw the little, dark, dank, crusty fish n chip shop. Saunders turned to me, his face I will never forget, and said “No fucking way. I am not going in there Giselle, it looks creepy”. I told him lets walk past it and see if there is anyone in there first. Well there was one old guy with a huge hairy T-Rex of a dog, sitting in the corner. ” No Giselle”, Saunders firmly said, not making any eye contact, walking off pretending that we weren’t going in and were meant to be going to the restaurant next door. I just stood there, in front of the shop literally nearly pissing my pants. I walked over to Saunders at the next restaurant and read the menu board that was out the front. All fancy small plated shit. Expensive fancy small plated shit. I don’t do fancy. And I do big servings. I begged and pleaded with Saunders to give the danky fish n chip shop and after 10 minutes Saunders reluctantly agreed.
We were the only customers in that shop that night. We had even surprised the owners who were lovely. We ate with about 6 pairs of eyes watching us the whole time. And you know what, it was probably the best fish n chips I had ever eaten! Never judge a book by its cover hey!
The following morning was Mother’s Day.
I woke up to the sun blazing through my window, hitting me in the face. The water blinding me looking like a pool of silver glitter. Saunders was awake. Watching me intently. Saunders always worries about me. I know he was eagerly waiting for me to wake up, to see how I would be, the morning of. We hugged for a while. Then he got up and rushed out to the car. A few minutes later he had a present in his hands.
As always, I read the card first.
My first Mother’s Day card.
I never imagined my first Mother’s Day to be hidden away on a weekend escape from the world. I imagined being at home. Warm, happy, well rested in my own bed. I imagined my chubby little 10 month old giving me my first Mother’s Day kisses and cuddles. I imagined I would have stayed in bed forever with my little fam bam of three. Pjs all day. Pancakes for breaky. But the card. My first Mother’s Day card was meant to have my babies hand prints in it. It was meant to say “I love you Mummy” from Mason, with me. It hurts to think I will never ever receive a card, any card from Mason. I will never ever see his handwriting, if it was neat like mine, or word vomit like his daddy’s. I will never ever hear “I love you Mum”, or “You’re the best Mummy ever” or “Happy Mother’s Day Mum”. I will live my life never ever hearing those words.
I will never ever be called “Mum” by Mason.
I read the beautiful card from Saunders and Mason. I know it would have been so so hard for Saunders to write but he knows how sentimental I am and how important cards are, the words written worth more than the gifts themselves, (I have kept every single card I have ever received, stored in a box at home). I love how it was signed from Mason also. We have always included Mason and written his name on cards from us and I will continue to do so for the rest of my life.
I opened the presents from Mason and Saunders. I received a beautiful locket, with 3 little charms inside, which Saunders picked himself. My heart beamed imagining Saunders going into Pandora alone, choosing the charms for me. Saunders also gave me a bracelet, my very own Pandora bracelet which I was actually meaning to get to create a Mason bracelet with all the charms relating to Mason. I had never even mentioned this to Saunders but he knew. That boy knows me too well.
Saunders asked me what I wanted to do today. There wasn’t much to do, but there was one thing I had always wanted to see, even since I was a little girl.
And that was to see the Penguin Parade.
I jumped online and bought tickets. The BEST tickets. I thought my chances would be pretty high and there would be heaps available since no one was actually at Philipp Island. I managed to get the tickets and also googled up reviews for the best place to sit in the stands to see the penguins come in. After that was all done, we headed to our hotel’s buffet breakfast.
Mums everywhere. Dads everywhere. Kids everywhere. Mums wearing their new hand-made necklaces from their kids. Mums holding their handmade Mother’s Day cards. Mums wearing their new Mother’s Day outfits that screamed “Its my Mother’s Day”. Mums smiling, mums telling their kids off, mums feeding there kids. Mums, mums, mums. Where did all these mums come from? I guess you really cannot escape Mother’s Day.
The breakfast buffet was delicious. We ate so much. Saunders asking me every 5 minutes “Are you ok?”, “What are you thinking?”, “What do you want to do today”. I could tell he was so worried about today and how I would be. If anyone was to worry about anyone it was me worrying about him. We both know I am the stronger one. Saunders is only ok when he knows I am ok. He really is amazing. I am very lucky and blessed to have such an amazing husband and father to my son.
My phone kept buzzing with messages from family and friends all wishing me a happy Mother’s Day. All saying how proud they are of me and how proud Mason would be of his mother. Hearing Mason would be so proud of me makes me smile, but it also hurts. It hurts because there is a “would” in that sentence. And I “would” rather have heard it from him.
That night we went to the Penguin Parade super early because I wanted to be right up close and personal with these adorable little balls of fluff. I read on the internet that there is no selected seating and that its first in best dressed. So off we went. When it was finally time for us to enter the seating area, there was a huge crowd waiting to run into the stands. I was up the front. Saunders begging me not to run too fast and embarrass him. I didn’t care. I didn’t know these people and when the gate went up I was faster than Usain Bolt. And did I get the best seats ever? BOY I SURE DID.
You know how I said it gets cuter? Well the Penguins get to one spot which is right in front of us. They all stop and a few Penguins quickly scatter the hill as look outs for the other Penguins to spot any prey. Then in groups, the Penguins all quickly run up the hill to their little nests and burrows. They all work together. They all stick together. They all care for each other. I mean my heart went to smoosh when I heard that.
It was such an amazing sight to witness. Also hilarious to see these little Penguins jump/tumble off the sand dunes when it was their turn in their group to make a run for it.
But then of course something bad happened.
Out of nowhere, a group of Penguins ducked in unison. It was as if they had seen something or something had swooped them. The Penguin spotters where also in a frenzy. And then up above I could see an Eagle circling the hill. Great. How fucking ironic for me to maybe witness a Penguin being taken away from their family. Their parents. It just brought me back to reality, that it was Mothers Day and that Mason was taken from me.
The group of Penguins stopped, huddled together and laid low. Until it was clear, the little Penguins ran so fast up that hill and into their nests. Safe to say no Penguins were hurt that night.
We continued to watch the groups of Penguins run up the hill, it was as if there was a never-ending amount of Penguins. When you thought it was finished, more Penguins came up over the sand dunes from the shore. People started to leave as it was getting so cold and dark but I didn’t want to leave until I saw the very last Penguin make it safely to their nest. Maybe it was the Mother in me.
You know how we were not allowed to take photos. Well there was no way in hell I wasn’t going to remember this night and have a memento. So here are my dodgy, trying to be sneaky photos.
But I have my husband, I have my family, I have my health and I celebrated Mothers Day in my own way, because I too am a Mother. I am a mummy to a beautiful angel baby up there in the stars. Maybe he was with me in that Penguin Parade. Smiling and waddling at me when he marched past. Maybe he pointed me out to all his friends.
Wherever he is, I hope he knew that his mummy missed him more than ever and that he can still feel my love pouring for him with every single breath I take.
If I thought Mother’s Day was hard, in a few months time its Mason’s first birthday.