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The gift of perspective

17 Dec


Isn’t it a shame that it takes something so completely horrific as the Sandy Hook school massacre to remind us of what really matters in life. Debates against gay marriage, weight gain, electricity prices, shopping…none of it matters if our children aren’t safe.

I was in a job interview recently with one of the most amazing men I’ve ever met. I’m usually hesitant to bring up my children when in a job interview just in case they wonder if I’ll struggle to fulfill the duties with three children in tow. Looking around his office I saw drawings and paintings obviously done by his children including one hilarious attempt at drawing their daddy and we were soon chatting about our children.

Sitting down discussing this ambitious job we both agreed on one thing: nothing matters unless our children are okay. There’s nothing we wouldn’t give up for our children. The only way we can be ambitious and pursue our dreams is if our children are well.

From the moment I had kids my life completely changed. I enthusiastically and willingly gave up everything I thought I wanted, to care for them. I have a list of amazing jobs I turned down because my son developed food allergies and we had to spend a year in and out of hospital trying to figure out what he was allergic too and how to move forward. After the birth of my second child I started working again until he developed a lung infection and it took weeks for him to recover. Then shortly after my little girl was born I accepted one day of work. I left her with my mum, some breast milk and formula she’d never tried before (stupid me). She spent the day vomiting and by the time I turned up was limp, weak and all the other things you don’t want a baby to be. My mum and dad had started giving her water which probably saved her life and thankfully one breastfeed later she fell into an exhausted sleep, fully recovered.

I’ve never had a major tragedy touch my life (touch wood) although I have known people who have and I’m constantly amazing at the strength of the human spirit as these people get up each day, deal with their trauma and eventually get to a place where they can continue to function, even if it is a much lower level of function than before.

While I have my issues with the Catholic Church I do believe in God, I do believe we are all connected, I do believe that our prayers and love can help make the world a better place and I will never stop hoping that we can make the world a better place.

Cynicism has its place but I think we can all agree that something needs to be done in the US, what we are disagreeing on is what that something is. Gun control? Better mental health services? How about both?

No one wants to interfere with a person’s right to bear arms but you don’t need an assault rifle. Even in Australia we could be doing more to treat those with mental health issues.

So, what can we do besides write to politicians, Facebook-post and Tweet? We can spend today and every day being a little more patient, a littler kinder, a little less judgmental and a whole lot more appreciative of the gift of life and the things we do have.

When you children walk into the room make sure they know they’ve lit it up, that you love them, that even though they smeared ice-cream across the lounge you still love them (but they damn well better help you clean it up!).

La Dolce Vita,

Jo Abi

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