Surprise! I'm a single parent

October 23, 2010, 2:25 pm
Filed under: environment

Years ago I spent a day with my youngest digging over a new patch of ground. We added compost and manure and then we planted a combination of herbs and veges and flowers. She was keen on the flowers. From then on we always referred to it as her garden.  If I was going out to get lettuce or chives I’d announce I was getting it from her garden.

I bet you think I’m going to say she became a keen gardener? Unfortunately no. But she can find her way through teh whole vege garden and gather the things I want. The surprising result however is that i have become a gardener – not a hugely successful one but I can always get greens out of the back yard for dinner: broccoli, silverbeet (so easy), several varieties of lettuce,  potatoes (super easy!), peas, beans, broad beans, rhubarb, apples (takes years!).

I’ve discovered small patches are the way to go for me.

There is a simple and enduring pleasure I get from seeing things grow and mature – a concentrated form of the pleasure of seeing my children grow. Unlike children its pretty easy to control the conditions and get optimal results!  Having a garden is about being in touch with the earth, its a tangible and positive product. It is me who sneaks out to the back yard and eats peas straight from the pod. I guess my kids will remember that we grew things and it will be an option for them when they grow up. That’s what it’s about isn’t it? Making sure they have a wide range of options…

the odds were in my favour from the start
October 15, 2010, 4:01 pm
Filed under: community

Not long after I split with my hubby I got asked to do some volunteer work working alongside prisoners. I thought I just wouldn’t have the time but the organiser kept bugging me and I thought it might be good to put soemting in to an area that doesn’t get a lot of attention. Besides I have been volunteering all my life and I’d dropped off since my youngest had gone to school and I was no longer on any creche committees.

I don’t know if I’ve had any long term effect on any prisoners lives but I sure have had the opportunity to contrast my life with theirs. Let me tell you – the odds were really in my favour right from the word go. Over and over again I have heard people in prisons talk about negligent and downright disfunctional parenting. If I had thought all that advertising about domestic violence was a bit overblown, when I started listening to women in prisons I wondered what had taken us so long to get awareness campaigns going.

One day a woman was talking. She said: You know what it’s like when you are driving and getting the bash? EVERYONE (except me) nodded!!!!!

Nobody else appeared to be marveling at it. Well, yeah I know its probably a cohort where you’d expect a lot of victims of abuse – but still – everyone! I think my Dad maybe smacked me three or four times growing up. I always felt safe. About a year into volunteering a woman got parole and she said she was a bit sorry to be leaving because it was the safest she had ever felt. Imagine that.

I keep going to prison and I keep parenting as consciously positively as I can. I feel really privileged to have such a window on the world.