As if anyone is going to be interested in reading about my hair. Right? If it didn't relate directly to the fact that my back is stuffed and now my brain is strained then I probably wouldn't bother....however, I seriously doubt that I am the only woman who has gone crazy short and still doesn't know how they feel about it, as in my case. Will it always be a regret or can you learn to love it?
I used to have long hair, I've always had long hair and because it's thick, people have always said it's my best feature. No supermodel legs and perfect boobs for me, just hair...least it's something! The problem with my hair has always been management. Yes, it's thick but it's not thick in a good way, it's thick thanks to my Jewish blooded father and as coarse as Pete's chest hair. Seriously, people flinch away in horror when I pull out one of my jewish hairs, in all it's frizzy, coarse, ugliness. Thankfully most of my hair isn't like this but enough of it is that I either spend 1 1/2 hours blowdrying and straightening it or I tie it back in a pony tail. Or, like a friend suggested, I could have it washed and styled at the salon a couple of times a week, how nice would that be? Unfortunately I don't have a filthy rich mining tycoon as a husband...well, not yet, anyway.
In my car accident the most significant damage was to my thoracic, so that affects everything I do with my arms, the further they are away from my body the more painful it is. Blowdrying is a very painful endeavour and in the time after Indira was born I did it exactly once, otherwise I tied it back in a pony tail. Every day. And like every other sleep deprived mother out there, I wouldn't have noticed if I went to the supermarket with my Ugg boots on and in fact I did, more than once. As you can imagine, my hair being in a ponytail everyday wasn't even on my fashion radar...until no less than 5 people commented on how sad it was to have long hair and always tie it back - my mother being 3 of these people and the others are no longer on my christmas card list. Then I had an acute phase with my back where I couldn't lift my arms to tie it up, let alone wash it. After 6 days of looking like a hobo I had had enough. There were not enough beanies and hats in the world to solve this problem. I spent 7 hours overnight on the internet researching it and there was only one option left. CUT IT OFF.
So, I made an appointment and that's what I did. The first cut, which I think I liked, and I think I miss, is featured in this blog
. It had a long fringe so in photos you didn't automatically get slapped in the face with boy short hair. Unfortunately I'm an obsessive idiot and once I experienced the joy of washing and air drying your hair daily, I wanted it even easier, I didn't want a fringe I had to straighten...I wanted Halle Berry hair! Unfortunately it slipped my mind that I don't look anything like Halle Berry and deluded myself into thinking that if I just had her hair then I'd look just like her, a little bit paler, maybe. Also, how much easier on my back would it be if I only had to slop a bit of product on? I've got this self deception $hit down to a fine art and I don't think I'm doing myself any favours.
So, finally I come public. This is the first pic I have taken, or allowed to be taken, since cutting my hair off. One thing is true, it is so so so much easier on my back although I'm still getting used to the idea of wax everyday, unfortunately I look like a strung out tom cat otherwise. The person who is suffers the most from my lack of hair is probably Pete, he's the one who wakes up next to a boy now. No more pillow strewn sexy locks for him, no more running his fingers through my hair or holding onto it during um, cuddles - see, I told you I was good at this self deception business. Pete says he likes it, though does admit he maybe liked it more when it was longer at the front - I do love him for his lies, I don't think I could take it if he admitted he hated it. I just wish I was writing this saying that short hair had changed my life and I feel like a short-haired sex goddess like Halle Berry...rather than a short-haired burmese.
Look at this face and tell me that you wouldn't do anything to protect it. Better yet, look at your child, niece or nephew, and tell me that the thought of another child hurting them repeatedly doesn't make your blood boil (yeah, except that kid screaming and throwing his milkshake on the floor in the cafe next to you, he can probably look after himself).
This is something that I think most parents face at some time and it can lead to shit loads of trouble, trouble of the sort that people never forget because it affects the person they love the most. Lets see what a friend and I came up with yesterday - lost friendships (both of us have been through this), fights between parents, loss of trust and a sudden desire to act like a homicidal maniac in defence of your child. I'm hoping that in writing this I won't lose another friend because it really is a touchy subject but I hope that ultimately this will help parents from both sides see the bigger picture.
As the parent of a child targeted repeatedly by another child, I know only one side of the story, but I can certainly empathise with the other. It's a difficult situation and brings out strong feeling of protection from both sides. Indira has a little friend who is one year older than her and has recently been though a terrible tragedy. Whist this was all unfolding in this little man's home, he had a bit to do with Indy and for whatever reason pushed her around a few times, wrenched things out of her hands and on one occasion strangled her with her hat. I do honestly believe that he didn't mean to strangle her, I think he was trying to just take her hat off her head but it was tied under her chin. By twisting the hat he left awful red lines around her throat and basically scared the hell out of her. For me, that was the hardest part. I was on the other side of the room and, in crossing it to get to her, I saw the most devastating look of confusion and pure fear on her face. A look that shouldn't be on the face of any 2 year old. He'd pushed her around a few times before and this had upset her but Indira is pretty robust, she'll yell and get all possessive about something but once it's out of sight, she's onto the next thing.
This was something different though. This was the first time that Indira had experienced a situation that she had no control over and could not escape. Once I knew she was ok, I was angry. So, so, irrationally angry. I cannot explain the thoughts that went through my head each time I saw those marks around her neck. I am ashamed of how I felt and the thoughts I entertained. Pete talked me down many times but it stayed with me until Indira was over it. For a while she said she didn't want to see this little boy again and that is/was fine with me. He is a beautiful child but for some reason, in a room full of other children, he went for her, and more than once. I can see why my his parents were so protective of him and I totally understand, they know their child is not violent - and I believe he isn't. That's not the problem, it's the issue of what could have been if we didn't get there in time and all those mumma bear emotions that I just can't control. In this case I never actually did say anything but I think my feelings must have been on my face.
The friend I was with yesterday brought this all back because her son had recently been through something very similar and it had culminated in the loss of a friendship, something that she was very upset about whilst also feeling attacked because her child was the victim yet she was the parent to pay the price. Little Bear is 18 months old and this has been his nickname since birth. He is blue eyed and blonde and much more angelic than my cheeky little terror. Bear has been friends with Mike, who is 3, his whole life and unfortunately Mike has been hassling him for a long time now. Mainly little things, taking toys, pushing Bear out of the way etc. It was enough that my friend and her partner were upset and told Mike off a couple of times. Mike's parent's weren't happy with this and asked them not to discipline their child.
Ok, time out here, I think it's important to note that this couple have no close family here so aren't used to grandparents, aunts etc doing it all the time like in Bear and Indira's case. I think we can all understand why they didn't like it but when it's happening in your own home and Mike's parent's aren't addressing it in front of you, then you start to feel helpless and probably a little resentful. They can defend their child but you can't defend yours because that would involve telling Mike off. The only thing my friend could do was repeatedly remove Bear from the situation but understandably the fear that anything could happen at anytime left her on tenterhooks, especially as the friendship was important to her and they are neighbours. Like all situations where you feel impotent, they eventually blow up. Mike pushed Bear over in a situation that could have been very serious, as it was Bear was hurt, scared and confused. Both Mums discussed it and agreed that they could probably let it go. The tipping point was when my friend mentioned at daycare that Mike had taken a few frustrations out on Bear and could they keep an eye on it as they are in the same room. Unfortunately daycare mentioned it to Mike's Mum and the fact that the whole incident was made public was more than she could take and she called it quits on the friendship.
I can't comment on how either of them feel apart from what I have heard. I have been in this situation though and know that I would have done the same. Telling daycare would have been something I did without any malice at all, it's important for them to know what to watch because, surely, it would be worse if something that could be prevented, happened? 2 and 3 year olds have no idea about the consequences of their actions, hence why they have parents. Is there a parent out there that wouldn't have told daycare? Personally I think my friend handled the whole thing admirably, I don't think I could have taken it if someone told me I wasn't to say anything when their child deliberately hurt my child, especially as it wasn't an isolated incident.
Until I had Indira, I had no idea about the nature of the protective instinct I would have for her. I would die for her. I would kill for her. Very dramatic, I know, but it's how I feel when I think about it. I would do whatever I had to do to save her from whatever situation she was in. Would I make the right decision? How the hell do I know. Am I going to go all psycho about 2 year olds fighting and hurting each other? No, of course I'm not, it's a natural part of growing up. However, I now know that I may say and think some things in the moment that aren't rational, or even personal, they are solely based on gut wrenching fear. What if the child strangling Indira with her hat fell over and it was at such an angle that it broke her neck? These are the horrible and irrational type of thoughts that go through my mind in the aftermath of an incident like that. I may even wish that I could scruff that cheeky little boy that pushed Indira off the fort (not the same child) but unfortunately that was outlawed years ago! Understandable I guess because if someone did that to my child, well, then we have a whole new incident on our hands. Involve a friendship and it's all the more complicated because both parents feel the need to protect their own children, their babies. If I'm honest then I also have to say that I would probably be in Indira's corner even if she were the perpetrator because when the chips are down, I can't see any other corner. However, I hope, and think, that I would discipline her and do my best to ensure it didn't happen again.
My father-in-law would offer the best advice here, I think. Try not to confront the other party or talk to them about it until you are calm and a period of time has passed. Try to consider it from their point of view. Most importantly (to my FIL) do not become EMOTIONAL. Possible? Yeah, sure. Difficult? Hell yes! Unfortunately, I've been advised that violence should be avoided at all costs, apparently us parents are supposed to be role models for the little mites. That doesn't mean that these problems can't be solved over a bottle of wine though :) In fact, I highly recommend it.
Pete is a strong believer in Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus type stuff. Before we got together he was involved in a whole lot of Tony Robbins type um, 'stuff' through his work. I'm not a complete hater, I just don't like the fact that you can't just change your whole life, find total happiness and incredible wealth with just one book or one conference. In fact if you truly want to have successful life then you need to invest a lot of time and money in it - sometimes it seemed like the modules were never ending and seeing as he's discovering new life changing habits everyday, well, it just goes on...and on. Also, a lot of it was held away from home for Pete so the expense to him was quite incredible, but tax deductible. Ok, so maybe I don't like it at all, it kind of smacks of organised religion to me and these people ain't no Gods to me.
One of the helpful yet totally frustrating and head achingly complex teachings Pete learnt was how men tend to communicate differently to women, and how to overcome this for a successful relationship. Is your head pounding yet? Ready to tell me that I'm talking a whole lot of crap? Yup, that's how I feel whenever it come up too. Even the stuff I agree with. For some reason whenever he bring up the fact that women usually prefer sex to be paired with intimacy, my eyes roll back in my head and I mentally pass out from total frustration. Who cares if it's mostly true? The fact that you're telling me this with a complete lack of emotion, as though we're discussing the fact that "gosh, that rain looks more like hail to me", tells me that even though he gets it, he totally isn't GETTING IT! If he was then he'd realise that a bunch of flowers and a romantic home cooked dinner would tell me the same thing with a whole lot more sincerity. Just by the by, did you know that Pete's Dad has never bought his Mum flowers?! And they've been together forever. There's no hope for Pete now.
As usual, there was a point to this topic, I've just gotten mildly side tracked again. That point is that even though it's great that he knows all this earth shattering stuff about women, things that most men only learn from repeatedly listening to a dial tone or facing the wrong side of the front door while dodging their clothes flying from an upstairs window (I would never behave like this btw, I've just heard stories), none of it actually penetrated his thick scull so therefore he probably would have been better off learning from practical methods as mentioned above. For me, this is one of the main reasons why I, and I'm guessing most other women out there, cherish their friendships. No one gets it like another woman, or great gay mate.
The reason that this is on my mind is because I have been spending quite a lot of time with Pete's family. They really are lovely but they are also very close and it's a difficult unit to break into. I felt like an outsider pretty much until Indira was born. The friendships I have now with Pete's family members I certainly cherish, they are an interesting bunch - and thankfully not freaking crazy like my splintered family. In getting to know their ways, I have had to change my way of thinking on some things, learn to let little things go, not make a fuss. An example, so that you know where I'm coming from, is that Pete's parents are big meat eaters and I grew up a vegetarian. When we had Indira, I didn't want to bring her up a vegetarian but I also didn't imagine her eating great pieces of meat either. I have had to get used to Indira being served rather large portions of meat, not that she has a problem with it, as Pete's Mum says "she loves her meat!". One of the ways I sort out how I feel about things like this is to talk about them. The problem with talking to Pete is that he can't just bloody listen. He has to offer a solutions. Perhaps I should do this, perhaps I should think this. My favourite is "perhaps you should just get over it"...are you serious?! Yep, he's serious. Right down to the confused, hurt expression that he gets when he offers such a gem of advice. It can be a touch frustrating.
One of the gold nuggets he learnt at TR was that when women are talking or downloading, they are not necessarily looking for a solution, they just want to be heard. Crazy that, isn't it?! Who would have thought? He knows it but it never went in or maybe he just thinks it doesn't apply to me? Who knows, but he knows all this theory but has no idea at all about the practice. Maybe that's something about Men? They need to experience it to learn it, or at least be told it 100 000 times. That could just be Pete though...
Saturday 12/10/2013 is the International Day Against Pain.Haven't heard of it before? You aren't alone, I'm a bit ashamed to admit that I didn't know about it until I came across the the APMA site on Facebook, you can find them here or here. They are a very generous and kind group of people with a wealth of information. Unfortunately Chronic Pain, Pain Management and the courageous people that suffer this affliction everyday are largely unrecognised - for the record (Peter!) I am not including myself in this group because anyone close to me will tell you I'm the biggest winger around. Treating pain, whether or not you have chronic pain, can have significant out of pocket expenses. Subsidies by the government are slim and many of the recommended medication are not subsidised by the government (under authority) - yet the government recommends many of these medications as a first line treatment for nerve pain and other pain states. To give you an idea - my scripts in a month can come to $450. That's not including any neurosurgeon's or general practitioners appointments etc that come up throughout the month. Yup, it adds up. So, if you are in this position or would like to help those who are, please read below - it is easy peasy and will take 2 minutes. Thank you. Please note that the information below was kindly provided by APMA who can be found here.
This Saturday 12 October is the International Day Against Pain. You can
take an active role close to home by letting your local MP know that the
government's current neglect of pain is unacceptable. It's so easy, because
the email has been written for you, all you need to do is add your postcode
and a few details. Simply click on the link to get started:www.campaignforpain.org.au/get-involved.html
Before having Indira there were so many things arrogantly thought I knew, but didn't. Yep, I thought being a parent would be easy! One of the most important things that I have learnt is that empathy is not innate. Children have to learn this special and important trait. Looking back, I realise I judged these poor toddlers that were biting their siblings or pushing other children out of their way - he'll become a pushy insurance salesman, I'd think of the child that pushed and shoved his brother to get the book he wanted, she'll be the school bully I thought of my little half-sister who bit me on the butt because I was in her way. Both of these children have grown up to be compassionate adults - well, I haven't spoken to my sister in 5 years but she was a lovely person last time we saw each other. Both of these children had parents or significant other adults that knew the importance of teaching/learning compassion in their lives. In fact, it's believed that without having learnt compassion the human race would have died out long ago - those big hunter gather sorts would have clubbed their women too hard on the head when they were dragging them back to their cave, I guess!
Even knowing this, the first time that Indira slapped me in the face when I was trying to put her in her car seat truly shocked me. The fact that it was my fault floored me. I started wondering about her personality and what my bad parenting was creating. Lucky for me I have a wonderful SIL who knows about such things being a social worker who is very dedicated to her job. It bruised my ego but I learnt that I would have to change my ways a bit if I wanted Indira to develop empathy at a young age.
Now, I need to say here that we don't smack, we don't hit. it's something that's important to both Pete and I, but we do snap at each other sometimes and tell Indira off when she's outta control. Doesn't everyone?! The ego bruising happened at the same time as the face slapping from Indira. Shocked as I was, I grabbed her hands and told her "We DONT hit, Indira, we never hit people!" she looked at me and smiled, little devil! "But Mummy smacks Daddy" says my angel. WHAT?! Oh my God?! I had no idea how to react or even what to think. For the record, Mummy
does NOT hit
Daddy. Nor does Daddy hit mummy. However, when Pete's frustrating me, I'll slap him on the arm (lightly) because sometimes that's easier than explaining what's happening - especially when it's all happening when he first gets home. To us, it's a joke, a 'don't be silly, honey' type thing. To Indira, this is hitting or slapping and is acceptable when you are annoyed because Mummy and Daddy do it. I felt so ashamed. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that we don't communicate like that anymore - at least while Indira is learning important lessons like compassion and empathy and takes everything we do so literally.
Considering the lesson that we had learnt I was surprised that all parents don't feel this way. A friend was telling me about another friend of her's that kicked her son because he kicked her. Her reason? Well, a different friend again had a daughter that bit when she was a baby so they used to bite her back (gently but with enough force to get the point across). It worked for them so why wouldn't it work for her? I can't answer that but google has some great sources for those who want to know. Here
is one I have found useful.
It was with some pride that, when I was lying on the couch in the kitchen in a lot of pain on Saturday, my beautiful, terribly cheeky 2 year old came and asked me what was wrong. I explained that my back was sore. Indira looked at me, gave me a hug and disappeared, two minutes later she trudges into the kitchen with a pillow for me. Again she leave, Pete and I hear a great deal of grunting and banging and then our gorgeous girl reappears dragging and tripping over the doona we keep in the lounge. Now that is empathy that she has learnt through watching - sadly it actually has little to do with us, sad, cause I'd like to take credit. Indira knows a little bit about my back but we try to keep my pain under wraps wherever possible because we want her to have as much of a worry free childhood as she can. Without our realising, our little sponge had picked up that Mummy was in pain and what might help her feel better.
I just want to note, before anyone thinks I'm blowing my own child's horn, she is still a thoughtless, cheeky monkey. Yesterday she pushed no less than two children out of the way on her way to the slide and slapped at me when I was rude enough to brush her teeth. Have I mentioned that this empathy stuff takes a $hit load of patience?!
My mum just called to tell me that the husband of a very close friend of hers has passed away unexpectedly. I'm going to change the names here because parts of this story are provocative and this family has been through enough pain. They do not live close to us so I hope there will be no fall back on them because they are truly lovely people.
Rachel and John have been together for most of their lives, I'd guess close on 45 years. They have two children and assorted grandchildren. I played with their daughters when I was a child and have fond memories of their kindness - although telling me that I had sea lice and making me scratch all night was just cruel! Rachel and John had their fair share of challenges in their lives together but they did everything together and were always close. They took yearly trips to their house in the UK and often generously invited my mother, a close friend of Rachel and John from when they all lived together in London. Rachel suffered bowel cancer a number of years ago and then later had secondary liver cancer, both of which she has beaten. We have always had a connection due to the liver tumour issue so I suppose I have always been included somewhat in their story. John was your typical older, Italian man (in my eyes, anyway). He didn't look after himself as he should and only recently quit smoking. He was good with his hands and when he wasn't suffering with depression, something that dogged him in recent years, he would renovate their house in London.
At the beginning of the year Mum told me about the scandal in their lives that threatened to tear apart their whole family. Rachel was talking of leaving and I totally understood, even supported this thought. You will too, when you hear what happened.
John was caught spying on one of their daughter's friends. A young woman with a family of her own. I don't know everything that happened but he was taking pictures, in the bedroom, in the bathroom etc. I don't think this was the only young woman he was following and however you look at it, it's very disturbing. Heidi, their daughter and friend of the girl John was watching, vowed never to speak to her father again. The police were involved and it was made public. Rachel, well, how can I ever know how she truly felt, but she is close to her church and in this way it was a double betrayal. In the months that followed Rachel thought often of leaving and had she been younger, I'm sure she would have. Wouldn't you? Wouldn't you question every single moment of your marriage and wonder if he had been doing this all along?
Time passed and John's sister became terribly ill with a brain tumour in England. John moved over there for a number of months and did everything he could to help Maria and her partner. I haven't personally met them but they from what my mother says, they had a very, very special relationship for two women from that generation and I think John is a generous man to help them in their final weeks together. One of the lovely things that happened was that Heidi went to see Maria before she died and spent some important time with her father. A new beginning.
Mum also stayed with Rachel and John in London and says herself that he was different but put it down to depression and not eating properly.
Over the past months, since returning from London, John has not been well. He has needed a number of blood transfusions and has had bronchitis and heart problems. It was just discovered that he had cancer and was to begin treatment today. The facts are still sketchy but this man shouldn't have died last night, without being able to say goodbye to his daughters and wife. The doctors are quite shocked and there will likely be a postmortem, as it is believed this may have been an adverse reaction to a medication. Whatever the case, he died very suddenly and wasn't able to say goodbye to anyone.
To me, the sadest and most devastating aspect of this case is the fact that they didn't know that'd he had a slow growing cancer. The thought is that it started in his bone marrow and was causing a lot of pressure on most of his organs. Significantly it was putting a great deal of pressure on his brain. The doctors said it would have been affecting his behaviour and his thought processes for a long time, probably years. What a bittersweet thing to hear after everything that had happened.
I don't know if this is a relief for Rachel and their daughters or a punch in the gut. This man, who had been a loving father and husband suddenly did some shocking things that changed his life, their lives and their relationships. Can you imagine the doubts you would have had? The sadness and the suspicion. I sincerely hope that the knowledge of the cancer brings a sense of closure and self forgiveness. That they can be secure in the knowledge that the man they loved did NOT change. He was very sick. Physically sick. The circumstances are terrible, no one got the chance to say goodbye or all the other things that they would have wanted to say. I hope that the funeral will help and their faith, whatever that is for each of them, will allow them to let go and remember the wonderful father and husband that he was.
I don't know how these things go in your house but 5:30pm can be pretty frustrating at ours, at least for this member of the family. Indira is at her most challenging, loud and stubborn. When Pete walks in the door it is almost always when I am in the middle of feeding her dinner - I procrastinate as long as possible, wherever possible because although I love my child more than anything in the world, feeding her dinner is my least favourite activity. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to sit there and chat to her etc but actually feeding? At this point in her life, when food is everywhere? Nope, it just makes my skin crawl. Bad Mum alert me!
Anyway, we try to keep dinner easy going and have everything ready beforehand because, as I said, this is Indira's horror hour. At the moment dinner starts with cheese or mashed avocado, both of which she likes, so we're good here. Second course and the fun begins. Especially as there has to be some green vegetables involved. Indira's commentary, and no child talks as much as this child, goes something like "Go Away, Mum, Go Away!" then as I try to spoon food into her mouth, "Get Out! Get Out! Get Out!". This "go away/get out" stuff only started last week (thanks very much, daycare!) and I still don't know quite how to deal with it. At least it doesn't make me want to cry anymore...roll my eyes and dig in my heels? That's more like it. I'd like to note here that pain wise, 5pm onward is very difficult and the action of feeding Indira is physically very painful, thankfully her coordination with a spoon and fork is improving.
Again with the anyway. Pete enters and Indira turns into lovable-child-wanted-all-over-the-world again. Cuddles and kisses and general chit chat mean that Indira can do what she does best Procrastinate, with a capital P (yeah, I'm good at it too but Pete takes the cake!). You see, after dreaded vegetables comes somewhat liked berries and yogurt (or similar) and then the equally dreaded, to be avoided at all costs, bath. Oh My God, not the bath! It's so silly because once she is in, it's all smiles again. So, Daddy is home and it begins. Mum tries to feed Indira, Indira turns head away and whips hair from side to side, Mum says "Indira, please, just sit still", "One more mouthful, then you can have some more ----". Enter Dad into the conversation, "Indy Bug, one more mouthful for Daddy?". Cheeky child smiles and accepts one very small mouthful of food. Mum tries again and then the "Go Away, Mummy, Go Away" starts. Here comes Daddy in shining armour, rescues tortured child, takes away evil vegetables and sweeps Indira out of her chair to be fed her yogurt one mouthful, between cuddles, at a time. Mum sighs in defeat and walks into kitchen to bang her head repeatedly against the wall...or on really frustrated evening's, straight to the fridge to pour a very large glass of wine.
Did you notice that it went from Pete and I to Mum and Dad? This is just such a regular and incredibly frustrating part of my day that I need to distance myself for the sake of my sanity...and our relationship. This is, of course, not the only instance of this happening. Indira regularly behaves for Dad over Mum and it sucks being the one who always has to discipline - it's so much more effective when Pete does it, Indira behaves as if the whole world is ending when Daddy tells her off. Won't be pulling on Scooter's tail again today, will you, Miss?
I sincerely hope I am not the only one who regularly feels her position is displaced by the man in the house - the man who hasn't been there all day and yet walks in thinking he knows exactly what's going on and the best way to handle whatever is facing him. The same man who seems to have hearing problems at 7:10pm when Indira is in bed and we discuss supporting each other as parents. Well, as much as one can have an effective conversation when glass of wine number 2 is hastily being drunk...
And yet, every night I lie in bed and thank God for my wonderful, generally supportive partner and my incredible daughter.