1991 had ended really well with academic success, children all doing well and a life on track. The Student support people at Waiariki advised me that there was a scholarship I could apply for to assist with my course costs – I dutifully made the application.
I was totally surprised to be advised that I had won the Scholarship! The Soroptomists Club, a womens organisation, had deemed ME a worthy recipient of the Betty Loughhead Scholarship to continue my studies – all I had to do was travel 40 Km to a dinner to collect my Certificate and Cheque. So best dress on and off I went.
Raising three children as a single parent was never going to be easy. Add to that full time study, commitments to Lioness work, maintaining a home& garden and keeping contact with friends – I had a full but satisfying and balanced calendar. Life was cruising along. Then…..
At the beginning of winter my car was stolen. This was the car that had cost me $700. It leaked when washed (so much so that the kids wore togs to the car-wash) and it wasn’t reliable enough for me to take it more than 10km. So it was stolen, in the middle of the night and found a few weeks later 500km away in Wellington!!!! I only had basic insurance, the car was still drive-able so it was my problem to get it home. Great. Thankfully the extended Phipps family got it as far as Palmerston North then Dad and I went down and drove it home….in winter….without a heater….through the middle of the North Island…..with a cracked head and overheating motor!!!!
Thankfully we got home safe and my next big learning curve was assisting dad to strip the motor down and get it all repaired. So pleased to have my car back after relying on others for a month to get the kids and I where we needed to be….and then…. the car got pinched again!!! Luckily it was found only a few streets away and returned home, at 4.30 in the morning, by the nice policemen who found it – I made them coffee for their efforts.
Life resumed calmly for a while until….boom…. I needed surgery on my foot!!! Luckily it was only day surgery and I was able to return to classes the next day, on crutches, and with support from my classmates to carry my books around for me. It felt really good to have classmates who cared…I had totally missed this at school….what a nice feeling – thanks guys.
The roller-coaster year took its toll on me psychologically and towards the end of the year I cracked. Once again the support services at Waiariki were there to save the day in the form of Rae Mutu. Rae listened…. and listened some more …..and even some more. Just having someone listen while you tell your story can be enough to get things into perspective…I was trying to be wonder woman…. I was trying to prove myself ..I needed a break… I needed to give myself a break. With the assistance of Dr Mike I was referred for real counselling (aargh) and for a holiday. The real counselling was a disaster – with the psychologist suggesting I needed a Man to help me get in touch with my feelings and to make me pant….. he then offered to be ‘that man’. Thanks, but no thanks – they wonder why people are skeptical of asking for help or getting counselling…. I’ll just have the holiday.
Just before the Holiday my brother Chris organised for me to have a recreational session of white-water rafting…..adrenaline rush to the core as I rafted the Kaituna river. That trip cleansed me in so many ways and really set me on the road to recovery.
The holiday was at a church run hostel for women in the seaside town of Raglan. There were six of us there for various reasons but we all needed a rest – and thats what we got. Nourishing and nurturing meals cooked for us, housework done, breakfast in bed, afternoon naps, walks on the beach ahhh it was bliss. For two weeks I rested while Mum & Dad Phipps looked after the kids…and then I went home, refreshed and hopeful.
The year ended with more academic success and accolades followed by a job offer!!!!!!
I started to believe in me.