Friday, May 13, 2011

The Merry Makers and my family - Compass ABC1

My sister and her son are going to be on the tv show, Compass, on ABC1 on Sunday night at 10pm.

My sister is a single mum and a teacher. Her son has Down Syndrome. They are in a dance troupe called The Merry Makers. They were in the documentary film about the troupe, called The Music in Me, and the book, Love is in the Air. Being part of the group has meant so much to them. The Compass program is about the Merry Makers performing in Disneyland last year.

If I talk about one sister, I should talk about the rest of the family. If the above is enough for you, stop reading now.

I have five sisters and two brothers. My mother always loved kids and wanted a big family. She was a stay at home mum, and helped out at school and sports. When she was 52, she had a stroke and has been disabled ever since. She’s now becoming quite frail. My father is also aging and has ongoing medical problems.

My next sister is a single mum to a child, now grown, who is diabetic. She had a child previously, who she put up for adoption. She kept in touch with her first child through letters, and now her child is a mother herself, and we all know her and her family. My sister works a stressful job in sexual health.

My middle sister was the conservative one. She is the only one who had a wedding. She married, had four children, then studied to be a teacher. When she was diagnosed with cancer she was given three years to live. The prognosis was right. When she was offered a job as a teacher she couldn’t accept because she was dying. She died two and a half years ago. She was tested because my brother was having pre-cancerous polyps removed from his bowel and told us we should all be checked. She was already at Stage 4, with secondaries. Her doctors told us the gene for this cancer has been identified and we can all be checked. We could have one gene for it, or two, which would mean it passes onto our children, or none. We’ve all been tested. I have none. Others in the family have more.

My youngest sister is a preschool teacher. She is single and has no children of her own, which wasn’t necessarily her plan

My brothers live a little further away from us. They are each married, and have four and five children. Their wives work. The brother who is closest in age to me (I made his wife’s wedding dress - they got married when they were 20 and 21) is also a volunteer surf lifesaver.

You can see a range of mothering issues right here in my family.

It reads like a pretty heavy family, but it doesn’t feel that way, being in it. And we all support my sister and her son in The Merry Makers.

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