I’ll keep this story brief – a lot can happen in a year but nothing that can’t be told in pictures. My move down to Tassie went smoothly. I did the trip in two stages, stopping a couple of nights at my daughter’s at Avoca Beach just north of Sydney. Thank goodness I had a large car, I was able to fit a lot in. The rest I left in a storage shed to be dispensed with another time. I must have looked like Ma Kettle on the drive down – all I needed was a chair strapped to the roof and I would have looked the part!
Thankfully the car didn’t miss a beat, and I was able to catch a glimpse of the opening ceremony of the Olympics at a McDonalds for breakfast – the part where the Queen and James Bond arrived – and managed to pick up a radio station all the way down to Melbourne that broadcast the rest of the ceremony. Of course, I was still bitterly disappointed that I wasn’t in London for it, but it wasn’t meant to be.
A quick return in October to the Gold Coast where I was asked to house-sit again – a close friend’s two dogs needed minding. It enabled me to sell off the furniture I had left in storage, and donate a lot of stuff to charity. Finally I could get rid of the storage shed – an unnecessary expense.
Another return to Avoca Beach in November, to be near my daughter in the lead up to her baby’s birth. I had been lucky to secure a house-sit in the same suburb, with just a cat to feed. I had not wanted to stay with her and her partner – they needed these last weeks together, alone, to prepare for their baby.
I arrived one day before the house-sit commenced and spent that night at daughter number one’s. With still three weeks to go until her due date, she popped into my room the next morning (after her partner had left for work – she knew he’d panic), and announced that she thought she might be in labour. Not in any pain, but definitely having contractions, we faffed about for a bit – had breakfast, tidied up, timed her contractions. I went to meet my house-sit hosts at the arranged time of 10am and was to return to their house at three, in time for them to leave. I told them our predicament, and that I may be late. They would leave a key out for me if that was the case.
We casually drove to the hospital – mainly so they could tell whether she was indeed in labour and when she should come back in – she still wasn’t in any pain. No beds were available for an hour, so we were sent to the cafe for lunch. By the time she was settled into a bed and monitored, we thought it best to call her partner and let him know – he was a two hour drive away. His parents also were informed, they too were two hours away.
I thought it odd that none of the nurses examined her – all she wanted to know was if she was having actual contractions and how long it was likely to take. She just wanted to go home to wait. Finally a doctor arrived, took one look at her nether regions, announced that yes indeed she was in labour and her cervix was bulging, and promptly broke her waters. “You’ll be about four hours – a centimetre an hour is usual” he stated to us. I knew different – she had been born within twenty minutes of me having my waters broken, her sister had taken 25 minutes. I promptly rang her partner who had already left work, and told him to come straight to the hospital – not to go home first to shower and grab her bag.
I can smugly say that ‘mothers know best’ – our little bundle of joy arrived less than two hours later. Steve arrived with just thirty minutes to spare. I stood outside the door to her birthing room for the last twenty minutes and kept an ear out. The sound of a new born baby crying is one of life’s greatest gifts. I raced around to tell Steve’s parents, and all three of us hung outside the door for news of whether the cry was a boy or a girl’s.
Forty minutes we waited! A nurse came out, then the doctor – “a clever daughter you have there” was all he said. I enquired as to her health – I was getting worried that something was wrong. She was doing fine, he answered. We still had no idea whether we had a grandson or granddaughter!
In all his excitement, Steve had forgotten to come out to tell us! Only when we received a congratulatery text from his sister did he realise we didn’t know – so finally popped his head out the door. “It’s a boy” was all he managed, before disappearing again.
I was a grandmother! And what a good little boy, waiting till his Nana arrived.
When we finally were admitted into the room it was very tearful. And of course, he was the most beautiful baby we’d ever seen. He was ours, that’s why.
The ten months since my move have been blissfully happy. My health has improved greatly, I’ve made even more friends, and I love Hobart and Tasmania more each week that I live here. It is exactly what I needed – there is so much history and culture here – it does remind me of Hastings (my second love). There is a constant array of festivals and events happening – one could never be bored. I sing in a choir, it is so joyful to sing with a group of happy human beings all emitting a good dose of serotonin – the happy drug. It is addictive, just like a drug, this singing.
Life is good! I’m very content in my new life as I look forward to my next overseas adventure. But this time I will be happy to come home.