Prologue: “The Calm before the Storm”
My husband and I have been blessed with three magnificent daughters. For the first ten years of our parenting life, we thought we were nailing it. Our children were polite, respectful, creative, active and well-adjusted. What we didn’t know was that they were hiding a deep secret from us, one that would irrevocably change our lives forever.
When we decided to start a family, we chose to move from the small country town that we grew up in rural Australia, to a small city. We wanted to give our family access to more opportunities than we had as children. Unfortunately, that meant moving away from the family and friends who’d been our major support for the majority of our lives.
In the years following we got busy, building our family, getting promotions, renovating houses and living the “Australian Dream“. In the hustle and bustle of family life, we survived teething, toddlers and tantrums. We endured sleep deprivation and projectile vomits. We sustained a long distance relationship and post-graduate study. We managed to get our children to day care, preschool and school all on the same day, usually on time.
To help us in this busy time, we had to reach out and find a new support base for our growing family. We came to live by the adage “Friends are the family you make for yourselves“, and surrounded ourselves by people in similar situations to us. We also had the support of a fantastic day care mum. She and her husband became pseudo-grandparents for our children over time. We came to depend on them. They happily boasted to their own friends and family that our children were their surrogate grandchildren, and that I was like a surrogate daughter.
By 2013, we thought that we had things moving in the right direction, with two of our children at school and one in her last year of preschool, we were ready to let out a collective sigh with the end of day care and preschool in sight and were ready to rejoice in the fact that we would only have one drop off in the mornings. It was the calm before the storm.