Moving to Melbourne


by Lori Dwyer on November 13, 2013 · 4 comments

I spend Monday combing, combing, combing. My daughter and I have a rampant case of head lice. I’ve never had them before, and find the tiny crawling bugs to be just about the ickiest thing I’ve ever encountered. The Bump is grimly fascinated with the concept of having eggs in her hair.

I spend Tuesday night in the dodgiest hotel on earth.

That might be a slight exaggeration. but only by a little bit. Albury is not known for its glamour.

The kidlets and I are driving to Sydney, for my brother’s engagement party. It’s a long haul– eight hours. But cheaper, marginally, to drive rather than fly, even with two night’s accommodation tacked on top of petrol costs. So that is what we do.

The reception office at this hotel is locked. Checking in requires walking the kidlets through a grotty, dingy pub, and presenting ourselves at the bar. It smells like cigarette smoke and footy. It’s an old scent, ground into the grungy carpet. It’s as old as the barflys themselves.

I take my kids out to eat Maccas for dinner and burn off some of that accumulated energy from sitting in the car for hours. They are good travellers, both of them. It’s one of those parenting oxymorons– three hours in the car leaves me exhausted, but them wired.

Our hotel room is tiny, three beds crammed into one room. A bar fridge and kettle hidden in a cupboard. A bathroom with the very basics. A letter from the local police constable, reminding us to lock up our car and hotel room and keep the blinds drawn, is tucked into the hotel service book. The Foxtel channels don’t work, nor does the wifi. The three of us curl into the double bed and watch movies on my iPad.

I’m tired, so so tired. I have pimples on my face, my hair needs a good dye job. I’d underestimated how easy I had it, in TinyTrainTown. This full time parenting gig is hard slog.

But I’m loving my kids so hard right now. They are such a comfort, a balm to anxiety and adult fears. Right here, between them, their sleepy blonde heads on my lap… this is where I’m supposed to be.



Back To Black.

by Lori Dwyer on October 30, 2013 · 18 comments

I think the only bonus to being prone to depression is that you can recognise it quickly when it happens. Even if you don’t want to admit it to yourself. Or to your partner. Or to the people who love you, a thousand kilometres away.

I woke up yesterday morning crying. It’s not just a matter of being tired, of waking up to my daughter six or seven times every night. It’s not just being sick, having gastro, and the sinus infections seep into our house like small, unwanted vermin. It’s not just this Melbourne weather, being cold all the time, and never knowing when it will rain. It’s not just being broke and worried about money. It’s not just missing my mum, missing my friends. It’s not just feeling as though I’m never on top of things, like I’m always behind and disorganised.

It’s all of that… and none of it. It’s this black dog that nips at my heels, that eats happiness as though it’s scraps of food thrown out too early.

I have this whole new life, and it’s supposed to be okay. It’s supposed to be easy.

It’s not easy, and I’m not coping. And I hate myself for feeling like this. I hate myself for hating myself, and then I hate myself some more. The meds reach the outer boundary of their effectiveness- they make it so I’m able to feel nothing at all. But not so much that they can conjure up happiness, not so much that they can shed light on this kind of darkness.

I give up on cleaning the house, give up on showering, stop walking the kids to school and choose the easier option of driving them instead. I cant write. I haven’t been laughing at anything much. My sex drive is non-existent. I don’t bother putting on make up, or wearing anything other than jeans and black t-shirts. I have strange dreams. I wander round in a foggy half state, not thinking about anything much– my consciousness is stuck in past tense, events from years ago swirling through my brain with such thickness nothing new gets through. I am a ghost of myself, haunting my New House that doesn’t really feel like mine at all.

I don’t look forward to anything much, right now. Looking forward to things would mean I’d have to feel something, and I’m not sure I’m capable of feeling anything right now.

I have a doctor’s appointment today. They can’t up my medication any higher than what it currently is… but I’m telling myself that, surely, a good shrink is going to help.



by Lori Dwyer on October 23, 2013 · 6 comments

My Bumpy Girl is not entirely happy in our new life in Melbourne. I’m not exactly sure if that’s because she’s genuinely not enjoying herself or, as her brother so distinctly put it, because “nothing makes her happy!”.

Quite possibly, it’s a little of both.

The Bump is, by nature, a contrary soul, always more than comfortable to declare she “does not like!!” various ideas, facts, flavours, feelings, and concepts.

She’s happier still to make the point that she ‘loves’ things others may not. Rainy days. Liquorice. Long drives. Being cranky. (“Why do you yell all the time, Bump? Doesn’t it make you cranky?” “I like yelling. And I like being cranky!!”)



Miss Contrary. Photo courtesy of The KidStore, who are awesome.


Her older brother takes to life in Melbourne the way he takes to most things– a well worn glove, an easy going shrug. Water that rolls off the far-too-old feathers of my little ducklings back. The Chop adores his new life here. He loves his school. He loves the busyness of the city, the trams and bikes and new people to chat to. The street art excites him, the culture of music and movement is his haven. He misses his old school and his old friends still, sure. But I’ve watched him open and bloom since we’ve moved here. He sucks in this new environment as though it’s oxygen and sunlight, and spreads his soul to it accordingly.

But my baby girl… she breaks my heart. She doesn’t like it here, she tells me. She wants to go back to our TinyTrainHouse, back to her old school where she was so comfortable and had so many friends. She would like to go back to New South Wales, she says, and live with her Nonna– my mum.

Ouch, ouch, ouch. Hearing your child say something like that hurts in an undignified, immature way. You know they don’t mean it. You know the very thought of you leaving them would, in reality, be unbearable to them.

But even knowing all that, it still pulls at that place deep inside where you feel soft and vulnerable. It makes you want to cuddle up next to them a cry a few little tears for yourself, for how it hurts to hear that.

Despite what she tells me, I watch her ever-so-slowly settle further into her life here as the time slides along. She becomes more content as she forgets how life was before, and accepts it as it is now. I watch as she timidly makes new friends at her kindergarten. I feel it as she and I become closer, love each other more and more.

It’s heartbreaking and satisfying, both at once. It’s about finding some kind of confidence that, despite that horrible experience we shared, despite that deficit I always feel is there, I can love her enough. I can love her all that she needs.