Seeking new pastures

By: Julie Cotton

Twenty years, two months,  one week, four days, nineteen hours and what seemed like the shortest trip to my children’s bus stop I have ever taken. This is the time frame of years since I had my first baby. My last one started school the other day. I was so busy at the bus stop taking pictures, it didn’t dawn on me how I would feel until I hopped back into my empty car. I burst out crying, sobbing uncontrollably for five minutes until I stopped to wonder what it was that I was crying about? Was this day part of my new beginning or part of my new end? I had spent many years juggling work, businesses, daycare and nannies with the others, but Ginger had been by my side since day dot, until she left me the other day.

I still had all the same daily things to do, except I didn’t have anybody to share them with now. Those first few moments of loneliness were filled with a burning desire to make the most extravagant 5th birthday cake, and a middle-aged need to write a list of all the things I could do with myself. Should I learn how to drive a tractor and quadbike, so I can be a real farmer? Nah, I could see that little number escalating into slave labour. I could always go and harass local government? Nah, I think I would see more action watching kauri trees grow old. The men around here tell me pig hunting is fun? Nah, that camouflage attire would just clash with my skin colour, LOL. I hear opening gift shops is a trend amongst middle-aged women. No thanks. I’ve had a few offers for committees. Why on earth do people think that as soon as your last goes to school you have an undying urge to sit on committees? The truth is I know exactly what it is I want to do. I would desperately love to study millinery under a master craftsman. The selfish soul inside of me has long held the burning desire to create beautiful, extravagant couture hats. However, I don’t think this is possible in New Zealand, and I just can’t see my husband allowing me to run away to Paris for a couple of years anytime soon!

I live my life around the hours ticking by on my clock, and I will try my best to continue what I started all those years ago, and that is to see my children into adulthood. Anyway, don’t worry about me. I won’t be diving for the potato crisps and landing on the couch watching daytime TV anytime soon. On the contrary, my husband and I are in the throes of starting a tourism venture, which I will tell you about in another column. In the meantime, feel free to pop in for a coffee anytime. I will welcome you with open arms. I often find humans far more diverting to talk to than walls! 

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