There was nothing unique about my childhood. I grew up in country Victoria, in a modest 3 bedroom house with my mother, father, brother and dog Yelga (which translated from Aboriginal is ‘Dog’. My parents weren’t creative).
I was born Wednesday 31st December 1986 at 8:24 in the morning, I know this only as mum and her obstetrician planned for my brother and me to be born at the same time, we were Cesarean. The first 11 months of my life were spent on a farm then my parents realised that the house was too small for a growing family. We moved into the city of Shepparton, and that’s where I lived for the fist 21 years of my life.
A photo of Victoria Park lake before blue-green algae took over and people could no longer use it for water-skiing.
My childhood was loving, accommodating and happy. My brother terrorised me as most big brothers do, my father thought that I was an angel and dropped from heaven and my mum was the most giving and considerate human I could ever have asked for.
Kindergarten was filled with naps, play-dough and baby chickens. Other kids pretending to see the Easter Bunny and general social learning activities.
Primary school started off fantastically. Although I thought I cried on my first day, mum sad I couldn’t run away fast enough to go and explore. So much for remembering correctly. I made a great couple of friends, we stayed in a pack of 4 typically and huddled around the ‘fairy’ tree, or played mums and dads.
We got in trouble, grazed our knees, painted until our entire bodies were covered in paint and then some more. We played line tiggy, clapped hands, and lined up for everything at school from entering the classrooms, buying mothers day or fathers day gifts, and at the canteen. Everything was normal, everything was great, everything was as a little lady under 7 years old would do.
My mother didn’t spoil us, nor did she restrict us from enjoying foods, occasions, little gifts here and there. We always ate healthy, and there was always food on the table, a story before bed, love and constant education.
My dad was smart, so smart that sometimes I think he got so excited about being able to educate someone any simple answer could turn into a novel. I’ll never forget the intelligence that my father had, and how much he wanted to impart that on myself and my brother. To be doctors, lawyers, to change the world.
In my childhood there were parties, sleepovers, goodie bags filled with lollies (remember Fags? Before that became politically correct). We would run and jump and play with each other, climb trees and try to skip rocks. Draw on the concrete in chalk and skip rope.
It was after one of my friends 7th birthday party I recall getting sick; not sick enough for hospital, but sick enough that both mum and I can remember this moment. Now we realise that it was my body screaming for help. The party was at Fairy Tree Hollow, a girls dream for a birthday. A room disguised as a Fairies playground, tree stumps, glitter, frilly dresses and wings to wear.
And of course… fairy bread. So much fairy bread. When driving home mum let me stop off and get a strawberry milkshake… There are so many things we would have done, or not done if we knew then, what we do now. I’d consumed so much sugar my body was trying to tell me. We didn’t know at that point, but this was one of the louder signs I got.
I then fell asleep on the couch and the next day I felt back to “normal”… How my life would change within the next year.