My beloved Poppa died in 2004 just two days before my second son was born. I was unable to go to his funeral and was just bloody miserable.
As a tribute, I named my son after him.
To be honest, I used Poppa’s name for his second name, because I just do not think you can go through life being called Donald Woog and get away with it. Don Woog. It just isn’t pretty. Or nice. No rolling off the tongue there…
But this story is not about having sexy names – case in point Arnold George Dorsey, who decided his name was very uncool and changed it to Englebert Humperdinck – this story is about families.
My Poppa was known for declaring the following, after several Bundy and cokes : “Show me your friends and I will tell you what kind of person you are.”
According to that lesson, I am just about the most awesome person in the world. (And they say that like attracts like…. Hah!)
I count my friends as the family that I have chosen. The ones that I can flick and pick as I wish, although having said that, I am a loyal subject when it comes to kindred spirits.
Oh, they shit me to tears at times and I take them for granted often, but the value comes into play when the chips are down. I might not have a handsome and boastful collection of stocks and shares , but my portfolio of friends and relatives who help me out when really needed, makes me feel richer than Gina.
My friends… I was in the doldrums.
I was lower than a bottom feeder sucking on the rocks of the underwater crater of despair. I had had a rocky start to the year, was moving house, making life changing decisions, all the while fighting my black dog with pathetic blind swung punches.
I asked for some help. The troops rallied.
And then some.
I had help coming at me from every angle. I had my Mum and her best mate unpacking cases of books for ten hours straight without a break, while rearranging furniture in between. I had my brother moving pot plants like a demon possessed. I had my in-laws swoop in and whisk the kids away for the weekend without a backwards glance.
My Dad re-assembled IKEA bunks. Without the manual! It was a lesson in spacial awareness if ever I had seen it.
My best mate spent 3 hours with my step mum, unpacking my kitchen, spending time pondering whether this or that would be better situated here, or there.
All in all, thirteen people helped me move house.
I discovered the power of accepting help. And saying yes. Asking for help. It doesn’t feel natural for me, and I suspect maybe you as well? To put your hand out and admit…that you are drowning?
We are conditioned to be capable. To be on the top of our game and invincible. But the truth is, we all have our demons that morph and manifest in their ugly ways, and while we try our best to squash them down and put on a brave face, sometimes it is to our detriment.
Maybe, most of the time. Strike that. All of the time.
My Poppa was an impatient, grumpy old bugger.
I used to watch on in horror, aged 5, as he would stop his ute the in the middle of a paddock, grab his rifle and take random shots at the rabbits who he would say, after inspecting his veggie patch, were nothing more than brazen thieves.
But then I remember him spending hours and hours teaching me to ride horses, showing me with great enthusiasm how to make sweet and sour pork and asking me to fetch him a Tab Cola during the afternoon of a filthy hot day, always letting me take a generous sip before he slobbered all over the pull tab.
So in a time where others may judge you for your unsexy name, your lack of coolness, your ugly clothes and your really, very dehydrated skin that you have neglected for a decade and you really should take better care of yourself, not to mention the state of your hair, it is quite simple, if not a tad contrite.
And also requires fair swig of Winfrey-ness-esque…
Richness in your life comes from your family. And whether they are the blood ones, or the chosen ones. Love them.
Because they adore you. And if not, they should.
How do you gel with your kin?
MORE STORIES BY MRS WOOG
*About Mrs Woog: “I can be found in the laundry, folding laundry, sorting laundry and dropping off the dry cleaning. I am mum to two boys, boss of my husband and master of a cat and two guinea pigs. Come nightfall, I watch TV while tweeting which drives Mr Woog insane. I like to read cookbooks and eat out. During my waking hours I ferry kids around in the Mazda while drinking takeaway coffees and listening to talkback. I think about going to the gym every day. I used to work in the publishing industry before I realised it was nothing like Elaine Benes from Seinfeld made out like it was. Now I write this blog. And I never get writer’s block. It is a gift I have.” You can follow me on Twitter: @Woogsworld.