Tribute to the Unseen Warriors

Photo by David Bartus on

ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and whilst the day is a commemoration of the landing of Australian and New Zealand troops at Gallipoli, Turkey on 25th April 1915, the concept of taking pause to remember, and to honour has grown to a National Day of Recognition.

“Anzac Day is a National Day of Remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served”. Wikipedia

Today there are services, speeches, parades, gatherings and busy reunions in RSL clubs, all of which will be rightly covered by social and mainstream media.

Today I want to pay tribute to three mighty little warriors who quietly trotted through their babyhood, childhood, teen years and early adulthood with a father in service.

Alexandria, Harry and Annie experienced life as an ‘army family’. There was no way to escape this label and perhaps like many diverse groups, the naming was accepted within the green family as a positive term of endearment but taboo from those on the outside.

I never allowed my kids to be tagged this way. Suffice to say, I delivered the odd lesson on semantics usually with grace and humour but there were a few times that warranted cold fury contained as assertiveness.

Our kids may be ‘unseen’ in official recognition, but they were never unseen by us.

Their lives were completely shaped by the military service of their Dad including the frequent and long absences, missed milestones, multiple schools, lost friendships, early starts and late finishes and all the lumps and bumps that came with this extraordinary life.

There were many fabulous advantages too. Generous leave entitlements which enabled family reconnections, travel across our beautiful nation and adventures in the Middle East, Europe and the USA. They always rose to the challenge of new schools, making friends and surviving being the new kid but we know they found this more and more difficult and that they will forever bear the dints that only other ‘movers’ could understand.

We admired their positivity, were proud of their academic and sporting achievements and held tightly to the mantra that so long as we were all together – they would be ok.

Today we say – thank you.

Thank you for your beautiful smiles and kind hearts. We have really nice kids. They were and always have been the nice kids – the kids that got along with others, the kids that did not tease or bully, the kids that included everyone. The kids that whilst they were sad when they were left out and made to feel on the outside – readily and quickly forgave.

They became the adults who know how to work hard, get on with it, accept change and rise to challenges.

They became the adults who love deeply and personify integrity and fairness.

They became adults who are not frivolous with the love and devotion of their partners.

They also became adults who can get right back in the sandpit with their siblings, sometimes chucking a bit of that sand – but parenthood is improving this!

Thank you for putting up with the crazy moves and the jelly bellies that must have gone with the adventures.

Thank you for having frank conversations with us where collectively you point out the beneficial aspects of the unique life that families of service members experience and sharing all that you are thankful for.

Thank you especially that as adults you choose to visit, to stay, to relocate closer.

Thank you for being our wonderful, deeply loved and admired kids. We adore you and acknowledge every sacrifice you made – each and every day.

We thank God for each of you and the exceptional families you are building.

We’ll be seeing you all for more beach picnics, boat days, fire pitties, red wine debates, grandbubbers visits, dog sitting and grass laying! Surely the grass laying is done?

Date: Tuesday, 25 April 2023

It’s Been a Talking Week

Photo by Darya Sannikova on

It looks like the photographer caught the attention of at least two of the subjects in this image, but I still enjoy the way it portrays the essential human element of communication. What draws me even more is wondering why the conversation at each of those tables was not enough in that moment to allow the click to happen without notice.

This week I have witnessed and been directly involved in many conversations, stories of life, love and death, wisdom sharing and soul bearing.

It was an end of journey for a remarkable man – flawed like all of us who have truly lived life but in the absence of history it was words and stories that illuminated his beautiful life. One of love, family, dedication, commitment, achievement, gentleness, grace and enduring friendship.

In the honoring, for those of us who did not witness the fullness of his life – we were certainly enveloped post passing in the richness of a life, lived to the hilt, warts and all.

His wife and family beautifully shepherded his final journey in such a dignified and loving manner that all those blessed to bear witness would quietly wish for such care and dedication that he had in those final months, weeks, days and hours. A feeling of peace settles within me when I reflect on the moments for which I was present, the words and reflections which were shared fell on my ears in sweet and hopeful sadness.

This week I talked with Kate. We do not have set and prearranged calls. My dear friend Kate and I tend to reach out very often over the pleather of technological options, but we also seem to know when it’s time for a real call. A ‘chin wag’ Kate calls it – which makes me smile as my Mum used the same term – a good ole chin wag!

Kate is deeply spiritual and is generous in her sharing of wisdom. We are both mothers of adult children although being older, mine are a little further from high school! I love talking with and listening to Kate – a strong woman, one who knows triumph and tragedy, deep loss beyond which you could imagine surviving and yet she has, she did, and she is – walking the planet touching and leaving those in her path, all the better for the knowing of my friend, Kate.

Quote – not my words, but I do wish they were! Extract from Romans 14:5 NKJV and what Kate shared with me.

“Think how much happier and more energized you would be if you weren’t trying to control people and straighten them out. Allow your loved ones the dignity of making their own mistakes and learning from them. If you’re always getting into someone else’s business, you’re not only going to burn out; you’re hindering God from working in their lives. They belong to Him, not you!”

I need this tattooed down both arms! My contribution and again they are not my words and I have forgotten the source but as parents of adult children we NO longer get to be coach – we had that time, we are now cheerleaders, that’s it we had our head coach gig and that time is over. Words can be easier to quote than demonstrate – we all have unique journeys.

Earlier in the week I slipped down to the big smoke. Busy, busy traffic but also a way too long catch up with Mel. There is never any BS with Mel, never has been, never will be. We’ve laughed and champagned our ways through Army Balls before kids, survived DHA (just) and moved and moved and moved! You never come away second guessing your conversations with Mel and that’s when you know you are walking with your crew.

Judy and I catch up every few weeks. We like to walk, talk and find a coffee along the way. Often, we have lunch, it is always about the conversation which can accelerate from A to Z before salads are settled upon! We pondered Kate’s words and swapped progress – given that I need the tattoo, I am definitely behind in the quest for “getting out the frigging way!”

A to Z doesn’t even go close today – and you know what I mean!

Photo by Anand Vijay Krishna on

I had a great conversation with my art teacher/mentor this week. He had just returned from a few weeks in New Zealand reconnecting with family and filling in those missing branches. Jude spoke to me of generational connections despite time and distance. His enthusiasm was contagious, and it felt wonderful to share in the positivity of renewal.

Perhaps old souls live in the hearts of young people who are genuinely interested in and feel connection to their elders.

There is a sleepy quietness in the house tonight, quite welcome after the week of words.

The wonderful collie obediently sleeps in his space, on his bed and exudes calm and reassurance.

Unlike the visiting chihuahua who has the social skills of – well none really! He is finally asleep in his bed, under the bed after sooky whimpering and attempting to wear me down and let him on my own bed. I pulled out the coach hat on the poor little soul tonight!

Don’t feel too bad for him – it’s under the bed or in the laundry!

Photo by Kai-Chieh Chan on

Sunday Siesta

Photo by Rachel Claire on

We had planned to be up at dawn but found the cooler night made us miss early Palm Sunday mass.

The morning got consumed with Pet Barn, Bunnings, Early Settler and Good Guys.

All of that led to mid-morning coffee,

Doggie guilt set in, so we took him off for a walk beside the passage and a decent dog park. He can run!

There may have been some book/siesta time rounding off a perfectly peaceful Sunday.

After a very long mass we gave the local tavern our order and enjoyed a quick bite together.

We are finishing our night now with a movie which often results in one or both of us falling asleep.

Only one of us has an early commute!

Photo by James Wheeler on

Saturday Slow Walks

Saturday is for the boys!

It was a good morning for a slower start after a win in the football which always makes for an elevated mood in this house. Nothing beats waking to the sound of baby babble. It has been a toddler type of week with Juliette earlier in the week and the bonus of Joey to round off a lovely family week.

Breakfast was a boy affair, and it seems that weet-bix is much tastier when served by Grandad.

His Mom and I were happy to enjoy a quiet coffee (sigh…the barista is home) watching the little man rest his feet on his Grandad’s knees as he munched his way through toast, cheese and cereal.

We cooked some breakfast, had tea and one egg muffins on the patio and sort of lazed around for the morning until Heidi and Joey headed home.

The afternoon was a quick drop off, a couple of shopping jobs, food organising then home to let the afternoon drift off into the early evening.

Mowing is almost weekly at this time of the year, and I know the barista is looking forward to a little less time dealing with grass.

It will be burgers and beer a bit later. No doubt there will be an eye on the telly to check in on the competition with the footy. Nothing wrong with the reward after hard work, to have the blessing of a quiet night in.

There will be no baby babble tomorrow morning which is the bonus of grand parenting – the days of 24/7 are a sweet but distant memory.

Photo by James Wheeler on

Thursday Treats

Thursdays usually start with a trip to the pool for Miss One’s swimming lesson. It is quite wonderful to see the progress of all the little ones as their confidence grows.

The day is even more special when Mr Nearly One arrives and there are some cousin antics to entertain, especially with both of them at the early walking stages. It also means things are going up higher!

I had to scoot off to attend a PVA (Partners of Veterans Association) meeting and the young parents opted to take the toddlers out for some lunch. Juliette and Mama bear headed home to the big smoke and Joey delighted his Mom with a solid afternoon sleep.

It is late summer, and the humidity has been unrelenting, so we headed to the beach for all things splash, mosh and play.

Water play builds a big appetite, so we did a quick smash and grab at the supermarket.

I tried a new recipe tonight, a chicken and leek pie which was delicious and worth the effort.

It has cooled down tonight and the stillness has given way to a fresh breeze. The collie is already sleeping beside my bed, and I will not be far behind him.

Photo by Kristin Vogt on

Wednesday Wonders

It was an early start as my favourite live in barista (the husband) was off at dawn to catch the first flight out. No dozing back to sleep today and even worse, there would be no coffee waiting for me.

Eventually I gave in, got up, fed the dog and made my own coffee – which is never as good. I cannot explain the science, but a cuppa made by someone else usually tastes better, especially tea. Perhaps it is because modern tea with bags and fast kettles is pretty hard to bugger up. Coffee, well – I could imagine that people might have their own routine and technique.

It was a busy day filled with the well-earned luxuries of being retired. The most rewarding aspect of terminal unemployment is the sheer bliss of time. I have recently joined an art group where dedicated time is set aside to sketch, talk and be very present with a wonderful eclectic group of artists. I am putting my toe in! Jude is a successful and accomplished artist who mentors the group with grace, humour and a passion for all art media.

They are a kind, gentle, funny and very interesting group working on an array of projects. I have been welcomed warmly and today we headed off to lunch together, to a little place I had not been before.

The afternoon was slow and easy with a visit from my beautiful daughter and cheeky little granddaughter. We chatted and watched the little Miss enjoying her new toddly walking skill. It feels like a little gift from heaven watching her face light up with joy and pride as she makes it across the room.

We headed off for our walk along the beachfront and felt the full force of a particularly balmy, still afternoon. Messy dinner, slippery kiwi, water bottle up, down, up, down and then as my kid calls it – bath, book, bottle, bed. The bubba did get a smidge extra time tonight as she was immersed with a puzzle and rewarded us with learning a new shape – the triangle!

We are all up for an early night now as we never can be quite sure of what sort of a night Miss One has in stall for us!

Tuesday Moments

The pale, creamy orange sky at dawn deserved more than a peek but it was too perfect not to snuggle back to sleep together, dozing off and on for another hour or so.

When I did get my toes on the tiles, this was waiting for me.

Later in the morning my friend and neighbour called to ask me to communicate a message to folk in our quiet little loop pocket which is nestled between a golf course and a lake. Perhaps the exquisite ambience of the area attracts and retains a peaceful, happy and cooperative feeling between the residents.

After almost eight years since the first diagnosis of dementia, a clever, talented, beautiful husband, father, grandfather, family man, world travelling business owner, funny and compassionate man is now in his very final days. His amazing wife wanted to let the hood family know that this season is ending.

If it was hard to hear these words – how can I ever begin to comprehend how utterly excruciating, it must have been to be saying them.

Words don’t come easily today. On this Tuesday, it feels like a day to just lay down the words.

Photo by Pixabay on

Collecting Beautiful Moments on a Monday

Our day started and ended at the beach.

This beautiful gentle boy and I love our walk along the Pumicestone Passage. It is a blissful way to start the day, especially on a Monday.

Our family has the mantra of – on the water, by the water or in the water. Busy life, work and family can push the challenge but most days we achieve at least one. Today it was the double bliss of a swim and beach walk.

The day ends perfectly when you meet up with your movie star mate at the beach.

‘Red Dog 2’ cast two pups from the same litter to play a scene. This fabulous kelpie boy has met us a few times around the coast and the dogs always play like besties.

Enjoying the salt air, the mild afternoon breeze and spending time with them was wonderful.


Photo by Luis Quintero on

When it has been weeks, then months and luckily you can still recall the login…

The list of reasons for not writing is long and classically – good, bad and ugly.

The visual is not my Macbook Pro although the symbolism caught my blogging eye as my apple laptop has retired during my writing hiatus.

Photo by Pixabay on

Rather than dwell on the excuses for not writing – the writing challenge I have set myself is the daily blogging of the absolute every day for at least a week. One week, surely that can’t be too difficult to prioritize?

Right now, it is a stunning afternoon. All I had to do was say, “Hey google, play Tracey Chapman on Spotify” and in seconds the rich, deep tones of her beautiful voice soothe the house into that end of day mood.

Husband and dog have headed out to the local beach where our border collie can run and paddle off lead. They swim together in simply beautiful companionship.

A cool breeze today signals the start of seasonal changes. I can tell it won’t be long before the pool is swapped for the fire pit.

Tonight, dinner will be steak, blackened corn and American style potato salad.

Footy season has started, Aussie Rules and this is a Collingwood house, so a loud house. In the NFL it’s Green Bay Packers so ditto, a loud house. We are happy for a Dragon’s win in the NRL for our son-in-law. It all makes for some excess viewing and reviewing.

Photo by James Bernstein on

Father and son spent a long Saturday prepping for topsoil and turf laying. It was easy for them to paint the downstairs family room with the game on and the fortunate situation of a lead so consistent that there was none of the usual pent-up stress watching Collingwood play.

Here on the coast, it was a busy day of the Whitehaven splash park, airconditioned shops, a long walk to Scribbly Gum, the pool and a fair bit of cooking and baking.

To focus on the collection of beautiful moments it was joyful to send young parents off to the beach for an indulgent swim followed by breakfast – just the two of them.

We’ve had the delightful double joy of watching both toddlers starting on their early walking – the beautiful staggering and bottom dropping that chases the rest of the world away in that moment.

Photo by Monstera on

Roll on gifted new week with family and friends. Let’s see what mischief we can get up to!