Sunday, 2 April 2017

Goodbye's are not always forever....

This decade seems to be the age of technology. Every year newer, better and more advanced capabilities are discovered within the realm of communication and contact. We have phones and computers that are capable of performing what were long considered 'human tasks'. We are spoilt for choice on what we can read and pay attention to, with online news sites a plenty and social media presenting us with information as events unfold.

Those of us who have seen both sides of the technology growth will often reminisce about the 'good old days' when if you wanted to see someone you turned up at their house or called them on the corded phone.  The days when you discovered the news only at 6 o'clock or in the morning newspaper. Sports results weren't put out there as a spoiler a minute after the game and conversations were had with friends and neighbour's,  not people you'd never met through a screen.

I often mention these things myself when I read about the next new phone or computer,  or see spoilers of my favourite show posted online where you can't avoid it.

But truthfully, being Me in today's world has been a huge benefit for me. Without the internet and the support of hundreds of people I don't know (and hundreds that I do!), the last five years would have been extremely different.

I'd not have had the information I needed to access and I'd not have 'met' (I use quotation marks because a lot of the nevus family I have not met in person) and my life would not be as enriched and enlightened in the way it has been.

We never would have made it to Australia, been in news and magazine articles.  We wouldn't have the platforms to help raise awareness of CMN and to cobtributrto research.

I'd not have had this blog as my outlet to process my emotions about Raising Different. There's a grief process involved when your child isn't as you expected, and for some people this can be incredibly difficult to overcome.  Not so many years ago, a child born looking different to the norm would have been hidden away so as not to cast shame on the family. This still happens in parts of the world today. I personally can't imagine being any prouder of my daughter, but I was fortunate to live in a society that is growing evermore accepting and open about these kinds of things. I am lucky that my 'village' backs me 100%. And I am lucky to live in the digital era where I've been able to bring my emotions to fruition by expressing them through this blog, and actually having people read it and give me their perspective. I can never thank you all enough for the gift you have given me in your support.

Five years on and I still gaze at my darling girl and marvel at the gift she is. Five years on and I can't believe we are here already. We're at the next phase, the different turn in the path,  where we have to let go of the reins a little and send Olive off into the brand new world of school.

For our family, the baby days are over.  Gone are the times of breastfeeding and night feeds; nappies and mashed veges; bouncinettes and pushchairs; first words and first steps; baby giggles and baby tantrums.  We have school aged children now - all of them! It is incredulous to me how time slips by in the blink of an eye. We made it through, relatively unscathed,  not a broken bone amongst them, and they are all damn good kids.

It is the eve of Olive's 5th  birthday and while she softly snores in her bed, dreaming of birthday gifts and wishes,  Jaxon and Meisha have baked special birthday cookies for her to have on her very first school lunch.
It is these moments that make me smile inside and know that Eddie and I have great kids. We were blessed with three wonderful little humans, who have taught me the biggest lessons in my life. I wouldn't change them for the world.

I said in my last post that Olive's birthday one would be my last one. So that milestone has arrived and it is time for me to end this here, and to send each and every one of you my most heartfelt thanks for the last five years.

Ending the blog doesn't mean our journey is finished.  Quite the opposite!  In a way it is now just starting, but now it's Olive in the driver's seat. We'll be here for her every step of the way, cheering her on, wiping her tears and encouraging her to be the best person she can be. The one she is.

But from here on in,  it's her tale to tell and I'd like to encourage you all to keep on reaching out to those who need their stories told. Keep on loving unconditionally. Keep on standing tall with your friends and your children. Keep on teaching your kids that kindness is the right way, that just because someone might look or behave different doesn't mean it's a negative thing.  Keep on doing the amazing job you are all doing in making the world a more positive place.

Love to you all,

From Kizzie xx





Friday, 17 February 2017

The End of An Era

My very first blog post was written when Olive was three months old. It is charged with the emotions that were so overwhelming and all too consuming of that major time in all of our lives. We had gotten our heads around the situation a bit, but we still had so many unknowns. In all honesty, the Kizzie who wrote that first post expected so much more difficulty than has actually ever risen.

I thought I'd have more to write about. I expected to find things with Olive harder than I'd ever imagined. I anticipated writing about a lot more medical aspects.

But truth be told, the last four and a bit years have been much easier than those expectations I had in my head. The largest reason for this is because of who Olive is. Nothing to do with her nevus, but her as a person. She showed us from day dot that she was a feisty little girl with a zest for life and a crazy sense of humour to boot. She made it easy for us to enjoy her as our last baby without her difference dominating her. She's never let it hold her back, and I don't imagine she ever will.

I don't like to blow my own trumpet, but I also believe that it has been easier because of our acceptance as well. We accepted very early on that Olive looked different to most people, and we decided to be open and honest. I remember when she was first born and Eddie didn't want me putting any photos up of her back. He did not want her exploited in any way, and I totally understood his stance. After many of our late night chats and crying sessions, we ended up agreeing to post a photo to remove the 'unknown'. To eliminate any assumptions perhaps made and to stop any shock reactions for Olive herself from people who knew her. It was the best decision we made.

Every one of my friends and family has been so supportive and encouraging - cheering Oli on from the sidelines and doing the same with us as her parents. You've all been so fantastic when I ask for advice, giving me constructive criticism in how to deal with some of the situations that have arisen and putting a different spin on things for me to think about if I am doubting myself/us. YOU have all made this easier for us as well. My 'village' has kept me going.

It's just under two months now until my baby turns five and heads out into a whole new world again. The idea of Olive starting school is just a bit scary, I'm not gonna lie! It's another world of people to get to know and accept her again, and another world for her to find her place in. She's already been edging her way in there, saying hello to teachers and students when we wait for Meisha, and making friends at kindy who will then go on to be in her class at school.

But there's still a whole bunch of new kids who don't know her, and who haven't seen a nevus. So we intend to lead the way as we have always done with our Oli and be upfront and open straight away. We will talk to her new teacher and discuss the best strategy for removing any 'mystery' around her nevus - whether that be chatting with the kids and telling them or just waiting for the questioning situation to arise, I'm not sure yet. But we got this. Olive's got this. She's a bolshy and straight up kinda gal, and I have every confidence that she has what it takes to deal with what may come up.

Five years old is still pretty small, mind you. I look at her a lot and think, 'nooo, you're too little to start school!' She's still my squishy, my little sidekick, my baby. But these are my insecurities and nothing to do with her as a person. She is well ready for school. She's smart, clever, funny, friendly. She's learning to write and count. She loves to be independent. I know she will thrive even more once she is there.

And yet, this is the end of an era for our family. I will no longer have pre-schoolers. Soon I'll be the Mum of three school-aged children. No more kindy, ever. No more Fridays at home with me. No more Plunket checks. No more 'under 5's free'! Haha! No more stay-at-home Mum really - who am I home for?!

This is also going to mark the end of my blog. I've decided I will do one more post when she turns five and then I'm packing it in. I want to give her the privacy she deserves now she is getting older and is now more aware of the world around her and is learning to be her own advocate. Oh I know, I will be her advocate and biggest supporter until the end of days, but I think as a blossoming young girl she deserves to not have mum hash out her challenges on social media anymore. This is the beginning of her taking on the world herself, and if she wants to write about it when she is older, then she can.

Otherwise, she will always have this to reflect on her First Five Years of us getting to know our amazing, beautiful, quirky,  hilarious, quick-witted, clever Olive Marie.