Washing up the breakfast dishes in the kitchen, I heard my son Taj, 11, call from the hallway.
"Mum, we're just going to the park to practise our tricks," he yelled out.
Taj and my other kids, Kai, 14, and Soma, nine, had been going to circus classes at our local youth recreation centre for around three years and they absolutely loved it. But recently they'd found out about the Flying Fruit Fly Circus School in Albury, NSW, a selective program for children who wanted to become professional troupe performers.
Getting into the program was all they'd talk about and they needed to make an audition tape to apply.
During the school holidays they spent every morning practising their tumbling in the park, and at the end of the fortnight they asked me to film them.
Having three kids bursting with energy, I was more than happy for them to run around for a few hours each day.
"Mum, Dad, if we get in, can we move to Albury?" Soma asked us expectantly.
"Sure guys, only if all three of you are accepted," my husband Peter promised.
Honestly, the program was so competitive, Peter and I felt we had more chance of winning the lotto than all of them getting in.
Besides, we had an amazing life in Broome, WA.
I loved my job with the local theatre company and the lifestyle was so laid-back and friendly.
We were at the beach with the dogs most afternoons.
It was blissful.
At the end of the week, I followed the kids to the park, armed with my phone ready to film them.
I can't believe what I'm seeing, I thought, as I watched them run around, juggling, tumbling and performing other circus tricks.
They looked so professional. They've been taking this more seriously than I thought, I realised."Well done, guys, I'm so proud of you," I said, hugging them.
Peter and I never talked about how we'd feel if all our kids ran away with the circus for the rest of their lives.
We just knew it was something that made them happy and healthy for now.
That was good enough for us.
A few weeks later, I was at work when I opened an email.
Congratulations, we would like to offer your talented children a place in our program, it read.
I was overwhelmed with pride.
Then I remembered the circus school was 5000km away on the other side of the country.
I instantly rang Peter with the news.
"You're kidding!" he laughed. "That's amazing, we have to go."
I was so relieved.
It'd be a big change but the kids would be heartbroken if we didn't let them try it, especially seeing as they'd worked so hard.
Besides, we'd promised.
That night Peter and I told Kai, Taj and Soma the exciting news.
They whooped with excitement.
"Can we really go, Mum?" Kai asked hopefully.
"Of course – we keep our word," I said, smiling.
We flew the kids over to live with their grandparents on the NSW south coast for a few weeks while Peter and I stayed in Broome to pack our home and sell off our furniture.
Then we piled the rest of our belongings and the dogs into the car to make the long drive across the Tamini Track.
"I can't believe we're running away 5000km to join the circus.
Are we crazy?" I asked Peter with a giggle.
He just smiled at me and shrugged.
On the way, I found a fully furnished two-bedroom home for rent on Gumtree that we could move into it straightaway.
It was all falling into place.
I felt sure we'd made the right decision.
The kids went to the Flying Fruit Fly Circus School for training for 18 hours every week.
It took place around their regular lessons in a composite class made up of kids of all different ages, who were also in the circus program.
First, they learnt basic all-rounder skills like juggling, dance and performance and did muscle-strengthening classes.
Kai soon progressed into the next level of the course where he focused mainly on Korean cradle, an aerial act in which he is secured to a belt on a rectangular frame where he swings, tosses and catches other performers.
It's really super thrilling to watch.
Taj mainly specialises in Chinese pole, a slim pole that can be up to nine metres long, which he climbs up, strikes a tricky pose and then slides down.
One day, his shirt slid up and he ended up with gruesome burns on his stomach, so he quickly learnt to cover up from head to toe, even on 40-degree days.
Luckily, this is the worst injury any of the kids have suffered.
It can be worrying watching them fly around, hurtling through the air, but the school has taught them how to do it very safely.
Soma is looking forward to being able to pick an area to specialise in, but she's an amazing tumbler and hand balancer.
They've been going to the circus school for three years now and every day I'm shocked at their progress.
Kai's finishing Year 12 and while he loves the circus for fitness, he plans to study mechanical engineering at university next year.
Taj is on a six-week tour of the Flying Fruit Fly Circus 40th anniversary show called JUNK 2019.
He dreams of being a professional circus performer and heading off to join a company in Montreal, Canada, one day.
Soma's still deciding what she wants to do.
People thought we were crazy when we packed our lives up and moved across the country so our kids could run away to the circus, but we are the proudest parents you will ever meet.It has all been worth it to see the broad smiles on our kids' faces.
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