Juggling | Solaris Cancer Care




As a fulltime working mother of four children, I am constantly juggling several brightly coloured fabric balls in the air at any given time but now I feel like they have morphed into very fine, fragile eggs. Prior to March 18, life was busy but organised and every day was full of work, schooling, after school activities, seeing friends PLUS the usual mundane daily housework and the constant, never ending cooking.

But all of that changed when COVID-19 forced Solaris Cancer Care to close our centre doors and we had to somehow ensure that our much-needed support headed online or via the telephone. Solaris is basically love, the love that extends to and through our volunteers, our staff and facilitators, and supports, educates and cares for everyone who walks in our centre’s doors. These doors were now closed, and I had to think how I could get all my volunteers and clients into our online world. 

I stationed myself with other staff at the Cottesloe centre, and work was never busier as I was thrown into a new and exciting space. Zoom, Vimeo and We Transfer quickly became my new best friends and I actually started dreaming about work, waking in the night with new ideas and fossicking around in the dark looking for a pen and paper. All the stress was worth it as I knew was helping by talking to our clients and volunteers, ensuring that they knew of our online support and education. Life was hectic but still quite ‘normal’ as my children were happily attending school.

BUT on Monday 30th March, some of my aerial balls began to wobble. Home schooling had begun and a few days later I started working from home and several balls fell on the floor. It’s only been a week, but I miss my beautiful Solaris centre more than anything. The first few days at home saw several new grey hairs appear on my head and I uttered many a word under my breath. I was verging on tears trying to ensure I was doing the best that I could for Solaris and at the same time assist with schooling. Maths – why is it so different to when I learnt? Projects – why do we need to make a shoe from rubbish found deep from within the recycling bin? English –persuasive text - what happened to simple spelling? And the pièce de résistance – recorder lessons… At least all other social activities have been postponed, the shops seem less crazy, but seriously, who stockpiled all the yeast in Perth and where can I purchase a packet?

As the tenth rendition of ‘Hot Cross Buns’ filled the air, I fled to my back yard, walked barefoot on the grass, watched the magpies, willy-wagtails and the parrots, calmed down and then one of my remaining aerial balls hit me on the head. I had simply forgotten to be organised. Basic, simple organisation is what held us all together in the past and it will throughout this trying time. I love a good list, a roster, a spreadsheet – we all know what is coming up, what to prepare for, to ready ourselves for – as long as I am organised, we will soldier on despite all five of us being at home 24/7.

I now have a daily schedule for work, for the children’s schooling next term, and to get through each day of this 3-week school holiday. Monday to Friday I will wake up at my usual time, get dressed and ready for work, complete my usual routine in the mornings, write a list for chores for the kids to help with, and log into work at 830am. I will have my lunch with the kids, I will walk around the house and garden, chatting to whomever needs me. I will continue to support Solaris clients, volunteers and staff every day. I will log off at 5pm and have my ‘to do’ list written for the next day and the evening will be spent with my family. Being organised will keep those balls safely in the air and all of my family sort-of sane, well, until the next wind of change anyway.


Written by Allison Hooper 

Missing her SJOG Subiaco cetnre dreadfully