It was grey, and even drizzly as we left the house, but that wasn’t going to stop us.
Neither did it affect the herds of people walking blocks and blocks to get to the Mt Martha South Beach Market today.
It’s a beautiful little beachside market with great water views, a real village feel, and baby girl and I wandered about, smelling this, touching that, ooh-ing and ahh-ing as required, and then also…
You know those spiral spuds that you find at any kind of outdoor, food truck dependant event? Baby girl loves those. As soon as she saw there were food trucks, she was suddenly hungry, and it wasn’t even lunchtime yet.
We walked around some more before I caved in. Hell, even I wanted a spiral-y spud.
We took our skewered potato and sat on a bit of a hill, not even facing the market behind us… because the view in front was so much better.
So much of my days are spent trying to get as much done as possible… ticking things off my list, running from one task to the next…
But here, we just sat. I moved all else from my mind. Felt the damp grass on my butt. Slight sprinkling of water on my head.
At first I really wanted to bring baby girl along with me.
But the coronavirus restrictions imposing a guest limit, turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Of course the thought of her being there beside me made me happy. It was a bridal shower. It was a girls girls girls afternoon out, with pretty and dainty cakes, various tones of mauve and blush, and a beautiful entry into the delicate, finer and charming things in life.
But like I’d said. Restrictions on numbers meant adults only.
Days leading up to the event, it dawned on me.
Hell yeah! I deserved a beautiful afternoon out where I could relax and enjoy, indulging in some fine food, gorgeous company and pretty surroundings.
Sans child. Without the usual –
“Put that down!”
“Don’t touch the cake, it’s not time yet!”
“Keep your voice down!”
“For the love of God, stop!”
And so I did. I had a beautiful afternoon as expected. It was relaxed and leisurely, sunny and funny, and perfect for a Sunday in December.
Turns out I wasn’t the only one who had a great day.
Hubbie and baby girl ended up having a Daddy-Daughter day.
Like I said, blessing in disguise, for us ALL.
Because they don’t get a lot of time, just them two, together. It’s usually baby girl and I, and a couple of days a week it’s all 3 of us…
So today was kinda special. 😍
They did grocery shopping. They bought my Chrissie pressie… and kept the secret to themselves.
She scrapped her knee running, and cried. He picked her up, put Dettol on her wounds, and bandaged them up.
She talked and talked and talked. She told him things, he listened. He admired how much she’s grown.
How much she is growing up each and every day.
And this evening, as I watched her apply the brand new lip balm that her Dad had bought her, on him NO LESS, well I got a little emotional.
I was working from home when an old work colleague called me.
She told me that a mutual friend of ours, our old work friend, had died.
She cried, and I said ‘Oh my God,’ repeatedly.
It wasn’t that much of a shock. In terms of, we knew she had been battling a serious illness for years now.
But she had been winning. She had been beating it, time and time again, and I really felt like her bubbly personality and upbeat attitude would actually kick its arse.
I really did. I thought she had.
I read her posts on facebook, and I also followed her journey, taking in eagerly her updates that she was getting better, she was part of the small percentage that was still alive since her original diagnosis, watching her face on the screen of my mobile, all happy and positive, the way I used to see her when we worked together.
Back in the party shop days, when we were both in uni. We’d usually work the same Friday night shift, 4pm-8pm, and she’d fill me in on her weekend plans, the clubs she would frequent, the friends she would go out with. She was so bubbly. So positive. I don’t think I ever saw her mad. EVER. Even when a sad or sore topic crossed her lips, all it did was lower her voice, make her eyes go distant for only a moment…
But then she’d be back. That happy girl we all knew.
Today on the phone, my old work friend cried. I just stared at my computer screen, my mind blank with shock. I told her I’d call her back to have a good chat… I was at work, and had to process it all. She urged me to check out the facebook page that confirmed the sad news.
We hung up, and I knew I shouldn’t have… not just because I was at work, but because my mind was already becoming a jumbled mess.
But I did. I looked up the facebook page and burst into tears.
Why? Why her? How? She was 2 years younger than me. She was 34 when she died, months ago, and we’d only found out now. My heart sobbed. I felt sad all over. I thought of her again and again, her fight, her courage, her strength…
I struggled to think of memories. They were from so long ago, over a decade now. But slowly they came back, more and more.
Her long nails that she kept immaculate, strong and healthy despite all the balloons we tied and dust we encountered.
I remembered her 21st birthday. It was in a huge hall and she had hundreds of people there. She was dating a guy she was rapt about at the time, but he ended up to be a bit of a douche. I have to say, I wasn’t surprised about him when she later told us.
But I was beyond floored to hear the news of her death today.
Why? How? How did this happen? She had a loving family. A wide circle of friends.
She was going places. She loved her job. She was motivated. Dedicated. hard-working. Fun and cheeky and hilarious.
How did this happen?
This afternoon, my thoughts went into a deep, dark place. I cried over my keyboard, and then Hubbie came home for lunch and I cried some more.
He just nodded. He understood.
I told him I was scared. “What’s the point of life… we’re all leading towards death, or heading towards watching all our loved ones die. I’m scared to love anyone.”
I struggled with these thoughts. To and fro I went, battling, thinking of her, thinking how life was scary, life was unfair… life didn’t ask you. Things happened.
Things just happened.
Nothing mattered anymore. All this coronavirus crap… seriously who cared?
We were alive! We were breathing. Hell even if I felt pain somewhere, it meant I was alive.
I was feeling. Breathing.
A few little things made me realise what was important in the second part of the day. I finished work, and instead of rushing off to do home-schooling, and start the whole routine of getting jobs done, I sat with baby girl. Watched her draw with some colouring pens she’d re-discovered.
We had our coffee break on the balcony.
I used my eyes to look at the water.
My hands to wave at the passing neighbour.
I smelt the coffee with my nose.
I felt the sunshine on my face.
I heard the wind breathing as it wrapped the warmth of Spring around us.
I was alive.
We took a walk around the block. I needed it. We looked at houses. We counted street signs. We laughed. Touched leaves. Ran.
At home, I read, on whim. I’ve been holding back, trying to not read as much in order to motivate myself to catch up on my Book Reviews for my blog… but it’s made my soul sad. My soul wants to read. I want to read.
So I read a chapter just before dinner.
Yes, if you looked at it deeply, darkly… we were all leading to inevitable death. Ours, or everyone around us.
And we didn’t know what would come first.
Bleak, yes. Not very glass half-full at all.
But we had this life to live… and to love, was to live. We had to spend our time on this earth making the most of it, enjoying the little moments, using our senses, experiencing them, and being grateful that we were granted time on this earth at all.
Doing what we wanted. What made us feel good, in our core. I realised I had really followed my heart today, because the news of our work friend passing was so upsetting, I had to do something to make myself feel better…
I am still so profoundly sad. I think of her and I feel like crying all over again. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe she’s not here anymore.
Despite everything, I spent my time doing something for me today. Something to make me smile through my sadness. Something to make me happy through my tears.
And it was made all the more meaningful tonight. Baby girl kept asking for kiss after kiss after hug after hug from us, as she lay in bed tonight. It became a joke to her, saying “one more,” every time we moved back.
The tree we used to put presents underneath when I was growing up was much bigger.
It was a lot bigger than this tree. After I got married and moved out my parents downgraded to a smaller one, what with having no more kids in the house.
Despite the size, the love is still the same.
If anything, it has grown. Love has grown. Family has grown. Memories have grown. I am so grateful to have spent the day with loved ones, doing the best thing possible I can think of…
Which is sitting around a table in my parents backyard, with those that I love, relaxing in the shade and sun, music coming out of the garage stereo as we add to our memory bank and just chill and talk and eat and chill and drink and chill.
How often do you get things done earlier in the evening…
Clean up earlier?
Get ready for the next day earlier?
… so you can just sit, and do nothing?
Or maybe, sit and relax. 🌅
I didn’t even do everything earlier. The cleaning up and getting ready for the next day was postponed. After our early dinner, we went outside immediately to revel in the sunshine bathing our front porch.
When you sit outside your house, there isn’t much you can do… but sit. Maybe watch your cat rolling in the grass. Your hubbie and child running after each other, flip flopping in their thongs.
And then upstairs, we watched the sun disappear beyond the horizon.
We took in the moment of being, and just breathing, something we don’t stop to do often… but we should.
Baby girl does a variation of this with us… because it’s all about the anticipation (even if it doesn’t rhyme at the end).
She and I were on the couch tonight, and she was running the high five show.
“To the side!”
“On the other side!”
I miss as she quickly removes her hand.
I grin. We go again.
As we get to the ‘down low’ part once more, I slam my hand down and grab the tip of her fingers in a slap. Just.
She is primed and ready to say scuba dive, but I’ve got her. We double over in laughter and she does her adorable cackle.
We do it again and again, laughing ourselves silly every time she tries to pull away quicker, but I manage to get the tip of her fingers. And I sit there and think how beautiful it is to enjoy these simple things, these little moments, that make my heart genuinely smile with happiness. ♥