Along came Jane

Jane is a delightful vivacious young women. Her thick blonde naturally curly hair which she nearly always wears straightened frames her fair skinned round face. She has a nice tall slim physic.

She is the younger sister of Rupert and an older sister to Archie. The middle child.

Many years prior at my nieces christening, there was a little girl about 9 years old sitting on the steps to the Altar. She was tall, thin and had shining straight brown above shoulder length hair with a red ribbon tied in it as a hair band. I remember looking at this girl and thinking how beautiful she was and thought how lovely it would be to have a girl just like her. When I fell pregnant again after a miscarriage I was really keen to know if I was having a girl.

I spoke to Harry about finding out the sex when we had our ultrasound but he didn’t want to know. So we agreed I would find out and keep it a secret. After my 20 week scan the sonographer wrote what sex the baby was on a little yellow post it note. When I was in the change room I unfolded the piece of paper with anticipation and read the word female . I smiled from ear to ear. Thank goodness I didn’t look in front of Harry because there would of been no doubt in his mind it was a girl. I couldn’t contain my smile as happiness beamed out of my face. I was so delighted. I can still visualise the word female scribbled in blue pen on that little yellow piece of paper.

I bought little baby girl clothes and enthusiastically hand sewed a patchwork quilt for Jane throughout the next few months which I still have today 26 years later. It’s sentimental to me because it was made with such love. I hand picked the patchwork fabric, cut each individual piece and tapestried her name on the back corner to personalise it as a one and only unique creation just like she was. I was so happy to be having a daughter. Harry would ring me when he was about home and if I had anything out I would pack it away into my baby box in the wardrobe.

When I was pregnant for some silly reason I pictured the girl on the alter steps. I had imagined my baby would have fine straight whispy brown baby hair and be quite petite like the girl who many years prior caught my attention in St Michaels church. As a baby, Jane was far from petite, during her birth I felt every part of the birth canal stretching around her. It’s like her head came through and out and everything snapped back in at the neck to then have her body squeeze right out next. She was a healthy 8lb 12oz (3970g), and the opposite to what I’d imagined. She had a big round chubby face and blonde hair.

As her hair grew and she grew she looked like Shirley Temple.

Image of Shirley Temple from the internet

Jane was always a determined girl. She threw plenty of tantrums as a toddler. She threw them everywhere. In the supermarket, out in the street, in shopping centres. One day in the car park of a country Macdonalds restaurant whilst on holidays, she wanted to walk on her own. I was holding her hand, so she dropped her entire self to the ground and twisted as I held onto her dislocating her elbow. We visited an emergency department on two occasions due to this. I felt the hospital would be thinking I was an abusive mother. Feeling embarrassed we were seen by a doctor this time at the base hospital emergency department who informed me that some children have weaker ligaments and can do this quite easily as a result. She was so lovely to me. She showed me a technique to put it back in should it happen again! Thank goodness it happened one more time only in which I did manage to click it back in before she grew out of the troublesome 3’s and tantrums.

I remember her nan saying. She’s a determined girl that Jane, you’ll need to make sure you channel that determination in the right direction of good. When Jane was a little girl we would have a battle of the wills about going to bed. We’d put her to bed, and she’d get back up again over and over. Eventually we’d get to the point one of us would sit with her and hold her hand until she dropped off to sleep. That’s how Harry came to telling her his ‘telling stories’.

Every night he’d give Jane a piggy back to bed, lay with Jane and make up a story and tell it to her. He loved doing it as much as she loved hearing them. Of course she always starred in each story as a main character. Whilst he did that I’d read the Harry Potter books to Rupert. It was such a special bonding time for Harry and Jane. Ruperts and Janes room door opened into the long narrow hallway and faced each other. Jane could see Rupert from her bed. It was a lovely family time me with Rupert at one end of the hallway reading to him, Lucy and Harry at the other with Archie in the room in between who if awake could also hear our voices and feel the presence of togetherness.

At 5 years old, one day she said jumping up and down excitedly in front of him, ‘daddy can you please give me a piggyback me down the hallway’ when Rupert was sick with his brain cancer and he told Jane he couldn’t piggy back her anymore because it gave him a sore head. For sometime after that she thought she’d given her dad brain cancer because it made his head sore piggy backing her, that the piggy backs had given him brain cancer she thought. One day she asked did daddy get brain cancer because he piggy backed me?

She loved her dad and he loved her. He affectionately called her Doc, because he thought she’d be a doctor someday because she was a smart little thing even at the age of 5 when he died, but like him she preferred law and that was to be realised as she got older.

I would say, Jane was until year 8, one of the happiest girls I knew. Then in year 8 it all changed. She stopped enjoying school and started becoming teary. Jane has lots of friends but something wasn’t right. Basically it came down to peer group pressure, boys and girls impressing each other. Later this same year the Lone Ranger and I broke up. It was around Halloween, October. I remember Jane and I being so sad that Saturday we just laid in bed allllllll day! Neither of us spoke or barely moved. We were both as sad as each other. I remember feeling so grateful for Janes company that day. She really helped me having her company, just being there no words needed. I think we helped each other that day. 2006 wasn’t a great year for either of us so it seemed.

By year 9 the school yard shananigans had resolved itself and she became her confident happy self again. The Lone Ranger was gone and it was just us 4 again. The house became happier and we got on with things. Jane has always been a fun kid. She’s like her dad in many ways like that. She can let her hair down, have a muck around but knows where to draw the line. She was always a popular girl in school with the boys and girls. She was relaxed and taking things in her stride. So much so I had one teacher ring me and say he felt he needed to tell me that Jane was late for his class that morning but managed to have time to get herself a cappuccino and he felt it disrespectful she saundered in 10 minutes late to class with a cup of coffee in hand. That same teacher however rang me when she was in senior school to tell me he couldn’t believe the difference in Jane and her focus on school work and wanted me to know he was really impressed by her efforts. It was nice he did that. Quite often you only have phone calls from teachers telling you the negative aspects to your children and when a sole parent and feeling constantly judged about your parenting it’s nice to hear the good about them as well. That they are growing into nice people. I asked Jane at one parent teacher interview when all the teachers were singing her praise what changed. She replied, she was in senior school now and marks mattered and she wanted to do well.

In senior school she chose legal studies as one of her subjects and in her final year 12 exams got a 40. Students who got a 40 had their name printed in the newspaper, so Janes name sat amongst the kids in the top 10 percent of the state. She had excelled in this subject and decided she wanted to study law at university.

Jane overall hasn’t been a person who wanted the lime light. She had a nice singing voice but never wanted to participate in the school plays, be class captain, head of house or on the student representative. She was happy to just have a good time at school with friends.

Jane initially started a Bachelor of Arts at LaTrobe University but hated it because it wasn’t law focused enough, and transferred to Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), where she completed a Bachelor of Social Sciences Majoring in Legal Dispute Studies. She still had her sights set on law so applied to do her Juris Doctor which she commenced at RMIT the following year.

Jane met an upcoming sports celebrity who inspired her to believe that with effort, hard work and determination great opportunities can be achieved. She had started working as a legal assistant in a city law firm and was invited to meetings with lawyers within the firm. This cemented her desire to continue to get her law degree. She enjoyed the debating and discussion that would happen in these meetings.

She wasn’t only happy to study law but set her sight on completing her Masters of Law at Monash University, a well respected university for law students.

She had to improve her grade point average to be accepted. She set her mind to it, putting in what it took. Many hours spent studying in the State Library on weekends where she could really focus on the task at hand.

State Library Melbourne Australia

Jane’s determination, her perseverance and grit is admirable. I have seen her do all nighters studying to get assignments handed in on time. Most university students study and work casual or part time jobs. Jane has been working full time as a legal assistant in a mid tier international law firm whilst also studying full time law. She has taken her annual leave from her full time job at exam time, to study for and sit exams.

After 2 applications she was accepted to transfer her law studies to Monash University. This was a personal achievement and proof that Jane had the ability to focus and that she wasn’t willing to settle for just ok, that she wanted to do more than ok. She now had been accepted and was studying at one of Melbournes most prestigious universities for Law.

Many of her friends have finished their degrees and been working and earning good wages now for some years. Because Jane is completing a second degree Jane is yet to earn an income for a full time graduate. She is yet to start reaping the benefits of a professional full time employment. Getting a clerkship is the next challenging step in a very competitive climate.

Last night I attended a session with the legal forecast in which she is one of the facilitators. Jane is very proactive in improving her knowledge and skills. Her desire to do well and think broadly is an alluring quality.

She completed her final year 12 year in 2011. She has been on her path to being a lawyer since around year 11 in 2010. After 9 years this year she will have successfully gained her Masters in Law from Monash University. Her focus from choosing her subjects in senior school was to be a lawyer. This desire has not wained.

Direct entry to study law due to its popularity is extremely hard, requiring applicants to obtain ATAR scores in the high nineties out of 100. To be focused like Jane for 9 years to do a full degree, remain focused enough to be willing to do another degree as a post graduate to reach her goal and not waiver is a credit to her.

She will come out of university with over a 100 thousand dollar HECS debt. This is the personal financial cost of gaining her law degree. She will be required to pay a set portion of her income of this government assisted loan back to the state government over the next few years of her working life in full employment as a lawyer.

There’s been disappointment along the way but she has hung in there, never giving up. Never losing sight of her end goal despite being told that she had reached her cap of funds allocated to individual students for government assisted educational loans and unless she could pay the last $10,000 dollars she would not be able to do her final couple of subjects to complete her law degree. She had studied at university for 7 years and was told it all could be for nothing if she wasn’t able to pay the $10,000. This was a distressing time. She applied for a compassionate grant from an external source to enable her to complete her degree and was successful.

Jane isn’t a nerd, she’s this really fun cool girl. That’s one of her alluring qualities. A few years into her university studies she decided she would take a trip to Europe with her girlfriends. A trip to Europe from Australia is a big deal. It’s a long way and expensive. The flight is 22 hours and the exchange rate not favourable to the AU dollar.

Prior to working full time as a legal assistant she worked at MacDonalds. Even then as a young 17 year old had a managerial position. She always enjoyed the mental challenge and not shy of responsibility. When we moved to the other side of town she got a job in the female fashion retail store Sportsgirl, which she found hard to take as seriously as her managers. They were required to wear the latest in store clothing items. Despite getting a discount as a casual it was hard to constantly afford an upgrade on your wardrobe. One day Jane went to work in her last seasons fashion and was sternly told that was unacceptable and so she bought a coat, wore it that shift and came home and sold it on Ebay.

She later took a job at Nike in retail where she met Harley. Prior to meeting Harley she saved money, just enough to pay for her airfare and accommodation to Europe. Problem was she’d run out of time to save spending money. The week prior to leaving she rung her older brother who she asked if he would mind lending her his credit card to take away! Of course after hanging up from her I got a phone call from Rupert who was shocked and worried Jane was about to head overseas penniless.

Jane, Ted and I had a discussion and we leant her some spending money. Crisis overted!

Growing up mothers and daughters conflict. As much as we have always been close, firstly I’m her mother. Jane knew as a teenager how to push my buttons. One time whist in year 8 she was staying at a newly acquainted friends home. I rang the home phone number Jane had given to me as agreed if she was to stay at someone’s home. I rang after school about tea time to see they had arrived home ok after school and to ensure everything was ok. A male answered the phone saying he was the father and that all was fine they were watching videos. I called again to speak about something a while later with Jane and insisted on speaking to her when the dad was being avoidant about calling her to the phone. Next thing she rang from a mobile phone. I asked to speak with the dad again but he had apparently stepped out. I became suspicious something didn’t feel right. My gut instinct came into play, I called the house number again. This time the mother answered and said the girls had gone to a party down the road. I asked where and she didn’t exactly know where. This I wasn’t impressed with. Jane had not mentioned anything about a party nor did the mother of the friend even know where it was and a short time ago I had spoken with the ‘father’ who said they were watching videos. I rang Janes mobile in which she answered and demanded to know where she was. She said she was at the soccer club with friends. I insisted she go straight back home to the friends, I was in my way to pick her up. As she got in the car I could smell she’d been drinking alcohol. They had gotten the brother to say he was the father and to cover for them. My instinct about this girl was that she wasn’t a good influence on Jane after a few previous encounters. After that night this girl was never welcome at our home and nor was Jane allowed to go to hers again. Jane said she’d still remain friends at school and that I couldn’t stop it. Overtime due to restriction of out of school catch ups the friendship wained. This particular girl went on to be very troubled, eventually lured by drugs and last we heard pregnant and in a psychiatric unit. I feel for this girl. It’s sad to see a life ruined by drugs. It’s terrible for her and her family that her life went in this direction. Albeit, I’m thankful I listened to my own gut feeling of this troubled teenager and discouraged an ongoing friendship despite Jane feeling I was being totally unreasonable at the time.

Overall Jane has been a fabulous daughter, I couldn’t have asked for a better one. Sure she pushed boundaries as all teenagers do, but she had the maturity and ability to know when her choices were poor with the right guidance and would alway find the right path. Birds of a feather flock together I believe and with the right guidance she flocked with other people with purpose, determination and similar values and morals.

Cooking is not one of her strengths, nor are sports requiring hand eye coordination, but a good sense of humour and sense of self is. At her year 12 final assembly her school principal commented on Jane out of all the year 12 students. He said Jane was someone who had the ability to work through a tricky situation looking at it from all angles with insight and the ability to think broadly. She as a 17 year old had stood out impressed him.

Prior to starting full time work we would often go out and enjoy each other’s company over lunch in a cafe. She loves fashion and a good time. We can talk on an intellectual level, as friends and mother and daughter. We have shared many family holidays together at Phillip Island in Victoria and in later years Cottesloe Western Australia. Laying on the beach with her is hard. She’s stunning! I have been blessed that until recently she has been happy to continue holidaying with us as family. Naturally now at 25 and living out of home with Harley and work commitments it makes it harder to holiday together. She has her independence and that’s exactly how it should be.

A few years ago Jane and I watched the movie, It’s Complicated, staring Meryl Streep. It’s about a divorced couple and their children. It’s one of my favourite movies. It’s funny and sad and there’s many parts to this movie I can relate to! The oldest daughter has a boyfriend who ironically has the same name as Janes boyfriend. At the time of watching the movie I said to Jane how nice this guy was and what a great son-in-law he’d be.

Harley is kind, quiet and calm person whose very helpful to me and we get along well. We can talk and have a joke. Jane is now living with him. They have been happy to give me a key to their apartment and make me welcome anytime. Harley loves our two cavoodle dogs , Thethy and Muggy and somedays he picks them up whilst I’m at work and takes them to the apartment. I drop past on my way home and he makes me a coffee and he takes a break from study and recording his music for a chat. I often stay and wait for Jane to come home, leaving in time to be home to cook tea and any other after work chores.

I was worried I’d miss Jane when she moved out and that she’d be busy with her life and not have time to stay in touch. Her being on the same side of town really has helped to remain the closeness, Harley’s love for the dogs and our genuine connection and love for each other has made our relationship as strong as ever . We share similar beliefs, likes and dislikes.

Staying connected is so important. Especially with the really special souls in our lives. The special ones are rare which makes the connection more important and meaningful. They’re the people who have a kindred soul, who just get you. There’s probably only going to be a few in your life and for me Jane is one of those. It doesn’t mean your relationship with them is all smooth sailing, you can still have disagreements but they are relationships that have a visceral pull and if they were severed for any reason they’d leave a noticeable hole in your life.

When those relationships are strained they are the ones you find a way to work through the issue, that you don’t let too much water go under the bridge, that you eat humble pie or apologise if you could of been in the wrong somehow.

Jane is my daughter, and I love her to the moon and back. She’s only 25, and right now I’m looking forward to sharing her upcoming Master of Law graduation from Monash University after 8 full times years of university study at the end of this year. I look forward to her getting her first job as a qualified lawyer and wonder which corporate law firm this will be. I’m excited for her, she has worked so hard for this. Most of all I wish her a lot of love and happiness. She’s so worthy of it. Losing her dad at age five who piggybacked her to bed, called her doc and told her his telling stories, has been hard. But she is a strong girl. She had to be strong, but underneath she needs kindness and compassion. She needs someone now and then to wrap their arms around her and tell her it will be ok. That it’s all ok. To be there when disappointments happen in life. To be her calming and solid influence. To back her and encourage her to keep striving for her goals and desires. To hang in there when it sometimes feels all to hard. To love her unconditionally and loyally. To love her for her.

I enjoy her sense of fun, her perseverance and grit to strive for her goals, her desire to do the best she can, her coolness and groove, her smile, her awareness of the world around her and hardships of others, her confidence, her sense of humour and her affection with others. I enjoy her company and hanging out with her, our text conversations, our chats, our shopping photos from various retail store change rooms of different outfits, beach holidays together.

One day she will have a car that the passenger front door doesn’t need opening from the outside. Currently you have to wind the window down, put your hand out and grab the metal handle on the outside to open your door, it has no air conditioning because she can’t afford to get it fixed, for a while you had to sit in the back seat when going out with her because the passenger seat belt fastening clip was broken, her car is an untidy mess. Let’s face it, it’s a bomb and she needs a new car. I look forward to the day she has a new car!!! I want her to get a new car more than she does.

I’m looking forward to sharing the rest of my life with Jane and whatever it brings. I love her and I’m proud of the person she is. ❤️

Love Lucy x

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